I know I’m supposed to post more often here to document everything I’m experiencing – but holy hell! The first week after surgery is exhausting. This morning I got up and showered – and I’m done for a few hours. Everything I do just makes me so tired.
But this is normal! My body is recovering from a major surgery. And healing is hard work.
My surgery was on June 15th. And it was fairly uneventful. They gave me a tap block (an abdominal nerve block) prior to surgery (don’t worry – it didn’t hurt). And then the next thing I knew, I was waking up and everyone was telling me I did just fine in the surgery! I was genuinely shocked the surgery was over. I did struggle coming out of the anesthesia. I wasn’t sick or anything, I just could not wake up. I basically slept all day on Wednesday. I’d open my eyes for a minute and answer a question or something, and then go right back to sleep. When I did wake up that evening, I won’t lie – there was pain. I was given both Dilaudid and Tylenol through my IV. I was pleasantly surprised at how effective IV Tylenol was at controlling my pain. I knew I needed to get up and walk, so I finally asked the nurses if they’d come help me walk (they would never have gotten me up if I hadn’t asked). Overnight, I was able to get out of bed on my own and go to the bathroom on my own. With the IV fluids going in, I had to pee a lot. Each time I got up, I’d walk laps in my hospital room before I got back in bed (and I credit all of that walking with a lack of severe gas pain).
Thursday morning I woke up with no pain. It was awesome. Which of course means I had to promptly screw it all up. I wasn’t accustomed to the slower drinking yet. I was drinking out of 1 oz medicine cups, and since I didn’t have any pain I decided I’d be a rockstar and get lots of fluid in.
Big mistake! I drank way too much and made myself sick. Then I thought if I walked a lot, it’d help ease it… and walked too much. So at this point I just felt awful. And I was nauseated as hell. And… the Zofran I took for nausea made me nauseous and I retched! I didn’t throw up, but dry heaving on a stomach that just had major surgery is NO FUN. On top of everything else, they stopped giving me IV meds and I had to take pills. And once again, I got super nauseated. Thursday started well, but it ended horribly. Luckily, they still let me go home.
And there is nothing like sleeping in your own bed, oh my gosh.
Since I’ve been home, I’ve been able to manage my pain with the medication they gave me. The first day and a half, I took it promptly every 4 hours just to be comfortable. Then I took it when I woke up and maybe once during the day and when I went to bed. I tried not to take it during the day, because it wasn’t that bad (all of my pain was centered behind my largest incision) – but when I would finally take the meds, I would realize how much I’d actually been hurting when it eased. By day 7, I took no meds during the day. I’m allowed to take Tylenol to help with pain, but after having trouble taking small pills in the hospital, I’m just not ready to try a larger pill like Tylenol.
So what having I been eating? Nothing!
I’m on a modified full liquid diet until June 29th, when I go back to see the nutritionist. And let me tell you, it ain’t easy. I’m not actually hungry. I don’t physically want food. I’m pretty sure actual food would make me sick – but my mouth sure wants it! I just want something of substance and with texture. But that will come.
My goals are to drink 64+ ounces of hydrating fluid, get 60-80g of protein (and this can’t come from the hydrating fluid), and 500-600 calories per day. That sounds damn near impossible, doesn’t it?
The first few days you will NOT meet those goals. It was day 5 before I could. And frankly, I still struggle with the calories. My menu is basically:
- Grape juice (diluted 50% with water)
- Premier Protein RTD Shake
- Isopure Zero Carb RTD Shake
- Strained soup/broth
- Sugar free popsicles
- Syntrax Nectar protein pack samples mixed with Fairlife Skim Milk
And for an occasional treat, I’ll mix sugar free Hershey’s syrup with Fairlife Skim Milk.
The best way to get all of my fluids in, especially right after surgery, is to be meticulous. I bought those 2oz Red Solo Shot Cups. Every hour, on the hour, I’d fill 4 of them with fluids (some combination of water and protein) and walk around a bit. My goal was to drink all 4 during that hour and repeat. If I hadn’t done that, there’s no way I would have met my goals.
And then I found my game changer: Genepro protein powder. It’s unflavored and has the equivalent of 30g of protein in 1 TBSP. I can mix that with my soups and broths to get my protein in, and the soup still tastes good! There is a minor change in taste, but it’s really not noticeable.
So what’s my progress so far?
Total Lost Since Surgery: 6.8
Total Lost: 17.8
I’m also tracking my measurements, but I won’t post those yet since I’ve still got some swelling from the surgery.