Recovering From A Laparoscopy

Last updated: February 2019

Since my diagnosis, I’ve had two laparoscopic surgeries. The first one only involved the removal of a polyp, so the recovery was minimal. The second felt more like repeat ninja kicks to the stomach, giving me a slightly remodelled belly-button and squeaky-clean insides. My surgeon removed all of my endometriosis - and there was a lot of it - using both excision and ablation.1

I knew the recovery would be akin to a small epic, but nothing really prepared me for the permanent state of grogginess, soreness, and grumpiness I would be in. I was bloated for days, unable to laugh for a couple of weeks - I giggle with my stomach - and generally looked like the Junk Lady in Labyrinth.

The thing about surgery recovery is that while rest is essential, it also requires some planning ahead and a step by step approach, both for your physical and emotional recovery.

Be ready to wear baggy clothes for a good while

Ensure you only wear comfy pajamas, roomy yoga pants, or any piece of clothing that will not be tight around your abdomen. I had three scars, one in my belly-button and two on either side of my belly, above my ovaries. Stitches can be extremely sensitive, so anything light and soft is the best option. Jeans are a no-go and leggings can actually be too tight. Oh and, word to the wise, if you have small dogs, don’t let them jump on you with no warning.

Don't fret about your looks

You have just had major surgery, so you are barely going to look polished. It may even be a while until you can wash your own hair. However, after a few days, do slap on some make-up or do whatever beauty routine makes you feel like yourself. Maybe it’s straightening your hair, a simple manicure, or putting some eye mascara on. It will do wonders for your emotional health.

Keep your mind stimulated

While it’s OK to vegetate for the first couple of days, ensure that after the anaesthetics wear off, you make the effort to do something slightly more intellectually challenging. I went down the rabbit hole of rom-coms and teenage comedies. Not a bad choice at the start, but after a while I felt bored and increasingly miserable. Keep some good books nearby, or reach for your favourite magazine. Have friends visit and talk about something other than your surgery. All of this will keep you alert and happy.

Drink peppermint tea, plenty of it

During laparoscopic surgery, your body is pumped with gas. As a result, some of it can get lodged in parts of your body - in my case, right under my collar bone - and cause discomfort. Peppermint tea can be very effective at relieving this.

And most importantly, take it slow

Rest until you are so fed up, you imagine yourself running marathons, climbing mountains, or dancing on a plinth in Ibiza. Your body will have been through a lot, and there is no point in rushing its recovery. Depending on the complexity of the surgery, it will take you a good 10 days before everything stops hurting. Keep an eye on your stitches and invest in compression stockings - to prevent circulatory problems while you are unable to move much.

Remember, surgery recovery is just a sloth-like period until you are back to yourself. Time really is healing, and you will be your fully functioning self, sooner than you think.

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