RECOVERY - Learning As I Go
I have posted this other places, but I decided it needed it's own "space" so to speak...
On April 13th I had an emergency bowel resection surgery (small intestine) for intestinal necrosis. My intestines had tied themselves in a knot and cut off the blood supply to a large portion of my digestive system. When I went to surgery they thought I just had an adhesion from a previous surgery (RNY gastric bypass), but when they got me opened up they realized the extent of the damage and removed 3 feet of my small intestine. They also had to remove the staples from my gastric bypass and reconnect the part of my intestine that had been cut loose in that surgery to create malabsorption, so I no longer have that to help me keep my weight healthy.
During surgery I went into respiratory distress. I almost died. And if they hadn't operated when they did I wouldn't have lived more than a few hours before the dead tissue and infection it caused killed me - I was already deep in septic shock by the time I went to the operating room. I don't remember most of a 3 day period - I remember being in pain on Friday evening, then I have only flashes of memory until I woke up in ICU with a respirator in my throat and my hands tied to the bed about noon on Monday. I was in the hospital 8 days - which was actually less time than the doctors thought I would need inpatient care. Some things healed quickly - I got on solid foods pretty fast and my incision closed w/in a week. Other things have taken much longer - my blood chemistry was all messed up and it's taken time to get it close to normal (some things still aren't in normal range or are barely in the range so that is something I'll continue struggling with). I get tired easily and my muscles are still sore close to the incision site - I guess the surface healed fast but the deep tissue is having trouble. I don't have any hernias or adhesions, though, which is good.
My surgeon and general care doctor couldn't really tell me how long it will take for me to heal completely, so I started looking things up online. At first I only found information by doctors that focused most on describing the surgery and on hospital care, maybe giving a little info on the first week or so of recovery at home. That information said, when it said anything, that full recovery occurs by 2 months. That really discouraged me, cause here I am 2 months out and I am far from fully recovered. Then I found some posts by patients who had similar surgery. None of them had my exact illness but they had open abdominal and bowel resection procedures. They all said the recovery is much longer than 2 months and can't really be rushed. Some hadn't fully recovered after a year or more, but all were making progress. That made me more hopeful and helped me feel more "normal."
I hope other people who have had surgery like this will share their stories, so people like me who are seeking information can find a more realistic viewpoint and so we can find support. There seem to be support groups for everything, but I can't find one for this.