Successful Surgery With A Disappointing Recovery

It’s been four weeks since I had surgery. By all accounts, the surgery was a success. It was a success because they didn’t have to remove any of my bowels, especially my rectum. What they did remove was the mysterious growth that measured about 3cm x 3cm and was attached to my rectum but not growing out of it, and still has yet to be properly named. They also removed the organs the mysterious growth damaged, which were both of my fallopian tubes. In addition, there was a large cyst growing quite happily on my right ovary, which the surgeon removed without damaging my ovary. The surgeons sent everything they removed from my pelvis to pathology for testing. Since I haven’t received any calls requesting that I must urgently meet with any of my doctors, I’m assuming either they haven’t found anything too unusual or they still don’t know what the mysterious growth is.

When I’m finally healed from the surgery, I will have a vertical scar starting just below my belly button and extending down my pelvis measuring 10cm; or 3.9 inches for you non-metric converts. I’m grateful it’s that small because it would have been much larger if any of my bowels had to be removed, and I could have had an ileostomy attached to my abdomen. However, in place of those things, I will also have scars on my abdomen from the allergic reaction I had to the white, adhesive surgical bandage they placed over the steri-strips used to hold my incision wound stitches together. The allergic reaction I had caused my skin to develop large blisters around the edges of the bandage. I now have scars that show an outline of where the bandage was. I can only hope the scars will fade in time.

Apart from the allergic reaction to the surgical bandage, the big disappointment is that my pain is not gone. When I say that I’m not referring to the surgical pain, which is almost gone, I’m talking about the pain I’ve been living with for the past two years. The first signs that it was still with me came on the day they removed my epidural. Within a few hours of it being removed the old leg, hip, and back pain came back with a vengeance and my blood pressure jumped above 160. The nurses called the doctors from the Acute Pain Service to get my pain down to a level I could bear. That took a while and the whole time they were working on me all I felt was fear. Fear that what the doctors predicted prior to surgery was coming to fruition: I could have a major pain flare after surgery that could not be controlled and I might never be pain-free.

As I’m writing this my legs, right hip, and right lower back are hurting. I’ve been having this pain to varying degrees since they removed the epidural and patient controlled anesthetic (PCA) pump. To compensate for their removal and my body’s response to the surgical pain or body trauma as some doctors prefer to call it – at least I’m assuming these are the reasons – I am now taking pain medication at a dose that is just over three times higher than what I was taking before surgery. That scares me more than the pain. It scares me that before surgery, I was taking a significant dose of pain medications that didn’t always ease my pain and now this higher dose is barely doing the same.

My pain specialists are holding on to optimism. They believe that time will be my healer. They have me working on tapering the doses of my pain medications to a point where my pain is managed with the lowest doses possible. Until then I will try to live as normally as I can, which now includes accepting help from others without resisting, and monthly appointments to the pain clinic to monitor my progress.


OK Go – Here It Goes Again


16 thoughts on “Successful Surgery With A Disappointing Recovery

  1. It’s great news that there wasn’t anything that they could find that was cancerous. May your pain specialist be correct that time will heal your pain. After all, your surgery sounds like it was fairly significant, so you might have some healing to go. There’s still room for positive thinking 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know 4 weeks sounds like a long time, but for recovery after major surgery, it’s really not. But I’ll be frank with you — recovering from drug detox was harder than recovering from my gallbladder surgery that same year. It took about 3 months to fully recover from the surgery, but it took about a year to feel “normal” again after the detox. I think the most important thing is that the growth is gone, but I guess I would be concerned about it returning.

    Well, I’m just a fountain of positive energy today, aren’t I? Sorry. 🙂

    Give your neural pain pathways time to heal — that takes longer than the healing of tissue damage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always appreciate your honesty and I learn from your experiences.
      I know it will take time to heal, but the frustration and fear lie with the level of meds I’m now taking and the fact that the growth is gone but the pre-surgery pain is not – and is in fact worse than before surgery – while the surgical pain is diminishing each day.
      I would also like answers aout the source of my pain now that the growth is out, and I’m hoping that’s not too big an ask 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re expecting nerves that have been generating constant pain signals for some time to calm down in a hurry. When I was a healthy gymnast, I pinched a nerve that took six months to heal. And that was just a pinched nerve, not surgery or a chronic pain condition. I’m just saying that it’s too soon to let frustration and fear rule the day.

        But expecting the doctors to figure out one specific source of your pain may not be realistic. It’s not like detecting a corroded wire in a computer system. Maybe it’s more like finding a single source for the malware that hackers use.

        You’re right to be concerned about your current level of meds. I just don’t know the best way to address that problem at this point in your recovery. Hopefully, your doctors will have more ideas than me.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I know it’s early to expect so much, but it would have been nice to come out of this surgery in better shape.
          Luckily, my doctors are looking at me as an uncommon or complicated case that they have to spend time investigating, which will include a lot of visits to the pain clinic.
          In the meantime, I just have to work on my patience and recalibrate my expectations.

          Liked by 1 person

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