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'Stem to stern' long abdominal incision - ouch! Any experience?
So I am 2.5 weeks on from major emergency bowel surgery which had to be converted from a laparoscopic approach to a long midline incision, breastbone to pelvis via the navel. I left hospital a week ago.
For the most part things are healing well (laparoscopy port sites, abdominal drain site, ileostomy). The big incision is so painful though. At the top end I have permanent chest pain - like a stitch. It hurts to breathe, sneeze, wear a bra. At the bottom end (below the navel) there is an area of significant dehiscence which is being monitored and dressed every 48 hrs and for which I have been prescribed antibiotics after a positive swab for infection. It hurts a great deal to do anything or nothing. Obviously I am obeying all advice on resting, not lifting etc.
So I don't know what I am asking really other than just the chance for a whinge. I am so thankful to have come safely through what was very difficult surgery, but feeling low about how bad this still feels. Any experience out there to reassure me there is light at the end of the tunnel? I am impatient to rediscover the spring in my step!
I'm waiting for a different type of surgery at the moment which will probably be incisions on the throats and lower back (two sites) so I'm hyper aware when i see mention of incisions. If only everyone talked about the recovery more, we'd all be more aware of the possibilities going in.
You’re still at the start of a journey. By two months things will all look very different, believe me.
Have had two laparotomies for bowel surgery. Takes about 6 weeks to start feeling fairly normal again (and back to work after 10 weeks/14 weeks respectively).
I had an ileostomy reversed two years ago and had complications with a wound fistula and uncontrolled bleeding from a haematoma afterwards, meaning a 5 week stay in hospital, TPN and a big hole that was expected to heal from the inside out. It did, after about three months.
This morning, I ran my first 10k non-stop, having only started running in March (I’m in my 50s and asthmatic). I just wish I’d been able to see into the future at past moments when even the hospital staff were looking concerned and I was potentially facing never being able to eat again. Things WILL improve, trust me (and keep taking any drugs they give you 😜)
Many thanks to you both. Very impressed at gobbin running the 10k after such difficult times. Honestly, the pain tonight is excruciating. If this is the universe sending me payback for my various "I Sailed Through My Hysterectomy with Barely a Paracetamol" posts then I apologise profusely for all former smugness!
Anyway I have been given an OOH appointment for the morning so will hope for sleep in the meantime and see what they say. Thanks again for the thoughful and supportive replies.
By way of update I was readmitted to hospital over the weekend due to concerns over the dehiscent area - am back home now with a new protocol of daily surveillance and re-dressing at the GP surgery, and strict instructions to take things very easy indeed. So although I am frustrated at how long it's obviously going to take to get back to anywhere near normal, I am feeling less anxious about the pain.
to all who have taken the trouble to respond to my whinge!
Do you think maybe you should still be in hospital where they are experts at wound dressing ,can get you on IV AB's if necessary and you could limit movement as opposed to having to travel to a GP surgery every day ?
Thanks again lametta - on balance I am happier at home (can sleep much better etc) and fortunate that the GP surgery is just round the corner. The hospital isn't far away if I need it, and they made it abundantly clear that I must not hesitate to present myself if in any doubt about the direction things are heading in.
Oh gosh, I feel your pain! Literally. I had this and it was truly awful, I’ve had lots of operations and treatments and this was the 1st one I woke up and actually death felt not that bad an option! It hurt beyond belief! I thought I’d be back to my old self after a couple of weeks, how very wrong I was, I tried to do far to much far too soon and it set me back such a long time. After a couple of months I started to feel a bit more like myself, albeit emotionally I was a bit of a mess mainly because I was stir crazy! It took a very long time to be fully fit and back exercising etc, my lower abdomen still isn’t great but I did have quite a bit of my stomach muscle removed at the time. Just try and relax and take as much pain relief as you need to get you through. (And laxitives too with morphine/codeine etc) hope you feel better soon
fluffy you have it in a nutshell; that's exactly how it feels. I've been through plenty of surgery before, but this is a whole new ballgame. Still, nothing is forever and I will be back on the tennis court by next summer (right?)
Just coming back to this thread with a little more water under the bridge - now almost 6 weeks since my surgery. In case anyone happens upon it in their hour of post-operative need, it's worth saying that things are so much better now. Healing is well on the way, and although I am still a bit sore and easily tired, I am feeling much more like myself.
Huge thanks to everyone who was kind enough to post - I was really struggling to find my usual optimism, and you all helped me enormously. Onwards and upwards