I am a 3 stepper - with step 3 planned for next week as long as I pass my tests. I am a 3 stepper because of my extended use of prednisone, use of Remicade, and the fact that I was so sick I lost 20 lbs in the 6 weeks prior to surgery. I also have to get a loading dose of pred and taper during and after each surgery. However, after surgery #2 I was able to do a quick taper with no adverse issues.
My surgeries so far have been a hand assisted laproscopic surgeries. For me this meant that after surgery #1 I had 3 lapro scars and 1 horizontal c section like scar (approx 4" wide). I could wear a small (not tiny) bikini and other than my stoma (ileostomy) scars and the 2 small lapro incision scars noone would know. With boy shorts bottoms you would see nothing but my ileo scar. However, since I really don't have the figure for a small bikini, I'll continue to wear my tankini - and you won't see any of them.
For surgery #2 of 3 I believe that they only reused 1 lapro incision - and that was for one of my drains. They did expand my horizontal incision to approx 6" wide.
As everyone has said, my surgeon and his NP both told me before every surgery that if anything happened and he didn't feel that he had enough visibility he would
open me up and do the surgery
open while in surgery. He had the ability and skills to do it full lapro but was more comfortable w/ the hand assist for my specific situation. Just like Meesh - I let him operate the way he felt was best for me and the way that he preferred.
From a pain aspect...I can tell you that for surgery #1 I was very sick going into it. I had general anesthesia and a dilaudid pain pump following along with oxy, Tylenol, and Toradol. I was in a lot of pain in recovery and kind of out of it for the first 8 hours+ and on day 3 had horrid nausea and a bad day compared to day 2. It also took me 5 weeks before I finally started feeling ready to be able to go back to work. The 6th week after surgery I improved by leaps and bounds. For surgery #2 I had a spinal block + general anesthesia. I had no pain pump and only had Tylenol and IV Toradol for pain killers afterward (oxy was offered but not needed or taken until just before the drive home). I walked the night of my 2nd surgery. Recovery was much better and faster and I had none of the nausea and other side effects that occurred when I had full general anesthesia. I'm not sure what they're planning for this round since it is a much shorter surgery but I'm hoping for an even better recovery this time around.