Laparoscopy – What to Expect

For kasdaniels, and anyone else who may be starting down the Endometriosis road.

 

DON’T PANIC

 

A laparoscopy is currently the only way to diagnose Endometriosis.  So, anyone having a laparoscopy will 1) have the peace of mind knowing for certain what is causing the pain 2) get appropriate treatment for what ails you and 3) possibly join a wonderful group of women who know exactly what you’re going through.

 

As for the surgery itself, I can’t say what exactly will happen to you, but I will tell you what has happened to me – I’ve had two and am scheduled for a third, so I do have some experience in this area. 

 

What to bring to the hospital: overnight gear such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, a book (or something else to pass the time), and clothing for the next morning should include jogging bottoms with a draw-string top – elastic can be uncomfortable!

 

You probably have some hospital literature telling you to fast and what time to get to the hospital.  What they won’t tell you is just how long you’ll have to wait when you get there.  Don’t worry, fasting won’t kill you.  You’ll be uncomfortable on the day, but you will be allowed to eat after the surgery.  The hospital may tell you that you’ll be allowed to go home the same day, but I would recommend staying in hospital overnight – just so that you are monitored. 

 

Before my first operation, I was given a local painkiller anally by suppository but the second time this was administered once I was asleep, so you may want to be prepared for that.  As I don’t deal very well with people being interested in that area of my body, I was a bit shocked to say the least!  The good news is that it doesn’t hurt.

 

The next thing the nurses do is put an annular in the back of your hand – this will enable the doctors to administer injections without making you look like a pincushion.  This is uncomfortable but does not hurt. 

 

Finally I was given sadly unfashionable garments (under which you will be frightfully airly clad – not the kind of garments to go on Strictly Come Dancing!) and wheeled into a room where my anaesthetist was waiting.  She administered the anaesthesia by the annular (which did not hurt) and I found myself drifting off despite my nerves.

 

Then the magic occurred.  While I was asleep, I was given three fetching holes in my belly, gas was injected so that the surgeon could see what he was doing, and the Endometriosis was lasered off like a Star Trek episode.  After my first operation, in the Recovery room, I felt fantastic when I came around – initially I didn’t know where I was and I tried to climb off the table!  After my second laparoscopy I realised where I was and had a very nice chat with a nurse until I was taken back to my room.

 

I’ve had a laparoscopy twice.  Both times I stayed in the hospital overnight afterwards.  The first time was because I felt a bit sick after I had some food but it wasn’t serious.  It was a good thing because I spent most of that night awake reading.  The second time was because I wanted to stay in – just in case. 

 

Now, I’m not going to lie to you.  Your wound sites will hurt.  Take all the pain medications they offer you.  There’s no point in being in pain needlessly.  Also, you will want to sleep on your back for a few days.  Moving around will be difficult but not impossible: I was able to go to the toilet on my own the very evening after my first operation!  Make sure to roll onto your side and use your arms before you try to sit up.  Don’t overdo it. 

 

There are two bits of advice I can give you.  Firstly, on the way home from hospital, tell whoever is driving to take it steady and you need to hold your belly in a little (using your stomach muscles).  I say this because any giggling around will be uncomfortable on your stomach.

 

The second bit of advice I can give is for after you get home.  Take a mild laxative for use overnight.  I say this because after the first operation I had a terrible time with my first bowel movement.  Believe me, any abdominal trouble you have feels ten times worse when you’ve got holes in your belly.

 

Finally, if you’re facing a laparoscopy, remember that this is a routine operation.  It won’t hurt as much as you think it will.  If you are diagnosed with Endometriosis, you will join a group of extraordinary women.  We suffer terrible pain with no known cure and generally unsatisfactory treatment, but we do it with dignity.

 

Good luck.

 

Foxy

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4 thoughts on “Laparoscopy – What to Expect

  1. Foxy,

    You did a nice job explaining laparoscopies for those who are not familiar with them.

    Wow! You are fortunate that you were allowed to stay overnight. I could have used that. I have had 6 laparoscopies and 1 laparotomy.

    The 6 laps they all but kicked me out (typical where I live… I don’t know anyone who was allowed to stay overnight after a lap and I know dozens of women who have had laps for endo).

    The laparotomy was major surgery and I stayed in the hospital for 5 days.

    Personally, I think an overnight stay IS wise after laps. I know how I feel after a lap and it blows my mind that hospitals boot people out the door as soon as they are able to take a sip of ginger ale and sit up for about 30 seconds. I’m glad you got that extra time you needed before going home. I only wish hospitals where I live did it that way!

    I also find recovery time afterwards takes longer than doctors ever tell me it will… Many local endo support group members have had the same experience…

    Jeanne

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