Posted 3/25/2011 8:25 AM (GMT -6)
Welcome to Healing Well! It's great that you've joined us. Like you, I found this forum as I was making the decision to have the surgery, and it made a huge difference to me. I had my surgery in February 2009, and people here helped me tremendously. I meant so much to me that I decided that I wanted to stick around and help others the way I was helped.
The recovery from this surgery is generally pretty easy. You'll be in the hospital overnight, if you are like most of us. Of course, you'll need a ride home. If you get everything you need set up before your surgery (food, medication, comfortable recovery spot, be it bed or couch), you'll be able to settle in without much trouble.
Your dog is an issue during the first few days. Can you just let him out from the door, or do you have to walk him? If it's the latter, you should probably get someone to take over that task during the first week. You won't want any pulling on the leash, and won't really feel like walking as fast as your dog! You'll be taking it a little slow at the beginning. (The dog issue is a good question for your surgeon.)
Ask your doctor about his eating protocol. Will you be on liquids? Soft foods? Foods that can be chewed to a liquid? Everyone starts out on liquids or soft foods--usually until they see their surgeon after a week or so. You'll want to prepare whatever kinds of foods your surgeon wants you to be eating, so all you have to do is stick them in the microwave. You'll want to have appropriate beverages available as well. No iced drinks...they can cause spasms.
Did you discuss your living situation with your surgeon? If not, it would be a good idea. Also, ask what he wants you to eat in the early days.
While for some reason surgeons don't like to give liquid pain meds (go figure), that would be a great thing to request. Also, get some liquid Tylenol or Motrin to use when you no longer need the narcotic meds (probably after a couple of days).
Believe it or not, some people go to work after a week. That should be an indication of the healing speed. Many go back after two weeks. I wouldn't recommend either of those options, unless you have a desk job.
I was planning on going back half days after two weeks, but had lung issues (related to the reflux I had before surgery) and teach second graders, so my classroom was a petri dish for germs. On the recommendation of my doctors, I ended up staying home 6 weeks, which was great. It gave me a chance to really recover and regain my strength.
Laproscopic surgery can be very deceiving. Your outside heals very quickly, and you can forget how much was done inside your body. You've had your upper GI tract revised, and it will take time to adjust and heal.
It sounds like the surgery is definitely the right thing for you. It should greatly improve your quality of life.
Good luck! I'm sure others will be by to share their own experiences.