It has now been two weeks since my surgery and life is slowly getting back to normal.
I returned to work today- yay! It feels good to be at my desk, sitting upright. It’s tiring and walking up multiple flights of steps (first time having to walk up steps since surgery) was not easy but I know I need to be here (even for a half day) to help me transition back to the work mindset and help my body adapt to a position other than 45 degrees, propped up by pillows, on the couch.
Thankfully I was told at my last visit with the surgeon that I can start transitioning to sleeping in a more flat position. I did not go from upright to flat yet but I am slowly working my way there. I was also told that in a week I can start sleeping on my side. Yay! I am so not a back sleeper so that was definitely a big adjustment for me. I am not sure what will be a bigger milestone for me; side sleeping or not wearing the binder anymore.
So, yes, in case you were wondering, I am still wearing the binder around my midsection. The surgeon gave me the green light to start weaning myself from the binder to spanx starting next Wednesday, January 8th. Now that will be a great birthday present (my birthday is the 9th) because wearing this rigid, tight, medieval torture device is getting old. It will be nice (even though I am sure it will be really uncomfortable for a while) to not have this thing digging into my sides and restricting my breathing. Not to complain too much, but this thing sucks.
Aside from the awkward sleeping/sitting positions and the binder everything else in the recovery process has gone pretty well, definitely better (most days) than expected. Once I was home from the hospital I switched from the pain meds to Tylenol during the day and took only a half a pill of the prescribed meds at night to help me sleep. Like I said, it was a big adjustment for me to sleep upright and on my back. That was only for a few days and then I transitioned to Tylenol at night too. Based off of recommendations, I took pain medicine on Christmas Eve because I was told having the drain lines removed would hurt but I haven’t taken any since and am now going whole days without anything at all for pain, not even Tylenol. That makes me happy. My big goal was to not over medicate myself after the surgery. I was afraid that I would be too numb to feel where my thresholds were; I wanted to know if I was moving too much, too quickly, or moving the wrong ways. I did not want to do anything to impede my recovery or worse, back track. And so far, it seems to be going pretty smoothly.
Don’t get me wrong. It hasn't all been easy. There were times when sneezing/coughing/laughing brought me so much pain I just had no choice but to cry. The second or third shower I took found me so dizzy that I had to get out before I could finish. Removing, repositioning and reapplying the binder sucks. It’s much better now. Now those activities do not make me cry but there were definitely days where just going through the fastening (which is taking a strap from one side and wrapping it super freaking tightly around my entire body) of the three Velcro straps of the binder left me in tears. I can take the binder off myself but I am not yet to the point where I can put it back on. I am not sure how I would. It takes one person, using both hands, to pull the strap from one side to the other while I use my hands to hold down the protective layer that goes under the strap. Seems like a two man job if you ask me. For the most part I can get up/down off the bed or couch on my own but sometimes (especially if I am laying completely flat to put the binder on) I need assistance getting up.So no, not always easy but it is definitely better than I expected.
Oh, and since I am off pain meds and the stitches are out I am also allowed to start driving again. I have not tried this yet but I am hoping to drive myself to my haircut appointment on Saturday. Side note: that was the activity (get my hair cut) I pulled yesterday from the jar of my 52 activities for 2014 from this post.
I am still restricted to how much I can lift- my surgeon said quart of milk is ok, gallon is not- and am not close to being cleared for activity yet, which is no surprise since I am only 2 weeks out. But he did say it won’t be too long before I can start back up and should be running again in no time. He also said everything looks great, healing is going as it should, and that he is very happy with the results. So that is definitely great news. My next appointment is January 13th and by then I should be able to drive myself around, sleep on my side in a relatively flat position and no longer feel the need to wear the binder. I am pretty excited for that appointment to see how I am progressing and see what restrictions he’ll lift then.
I know this is already a really long post, and probably far more information than you wanted to know about the recovery, but I just have to add one last thing- a big thank you to all of my friends and family who have been by my side (literally and figuratively) through this whole ordeal. I consider myself to be the luckiest person alive having so many people in my life that truly care about me/my wellbeing. I cried countless times over the past 2 weeks just thinking about how fortunate (and grateful) I am for all the wonderful people in my life. It’s a bit overwhelming (in the best possible way) at times.
I also need to thank my friend EL who has been by my side since the day of the surgery. He took time off from work to be with me every day of this recovery and has never once complained, even while I was screaming obscenities at him while he put on the binder. He made this whole recovery thing a million times easier by being super kind, compassionate, understanding, attentive and accommodating. He also made sure I had an amazing Christmas and New Year's and was never alone for a minute of it. I am beyond grateful to have had such an amazing person by my side through all of this. Thank you, E!
And thank you, for being here too! I love you all so much!
Love and hugs,
This is what it looks like after every time I put the binder on post shower... we go through ALOT of gauze. I mean TONS. I should have bought this in bulk beforehand. Lol!