How I Got It
Despite my recent (2016) hand surgery, I found myself under the knife again this year, just not for a careless accident this time. During my 5th pregnancy, I’d noticed a funny little bulge near my belly button. I could push the lump back in, but when I exerted myself, it would pop back out again. It didn’t hurt, but it felt weird.
My doctor told me I had a hernia and that it wouldn’t bother me once I was done being pregnant. He was mostly right, but I noticed that it would ache a little if I lifted our heaviest weights for exercise – about 35 pounds total. My father-in-law (also a doctor), recommended that I get surgery for it. He informed me that hernias never heal on their own and tend to get bigger over time.
Covid-19 pushed things back a bit, but I had my surgery on July 9th. Things went pretty smoothly. The nurse inserted an IV and wheeled me into the operating room. Next thing I knew, I was waking up.
I felt a little confused at first. It was like waking up from a dream but not being able to remember any of it. Other than that, I didn’t feel too bad. I arrived home by 10:00 A.M., only 3 hours after getting to the hospital.
The first few days were the worst, pain-wise, but I didn’t need anything stronger than ibuprofen. I had to be careful when I switched positions, especially while sleeping, because the incision hurt. It was more like a burning feeling than anything, but it wasn’t severe. I also had some pretty bad heartburn, which I’m guessing was from the ibuprofen. It went away when I stopped taking it a few days later. My belly also swelled up a lot, and it looked like I was a few months pregnant!
As my pain started getting better, I started experiencing some weird side effects from one of the medications (the nausea patch). I had an extremely dry mouth and blurred vision up close. As long as I took my glasses off, I could still read. The nurse warned me not to touch the patch without washing my hands afterward, and I was really careful, but I still got these annoying side effects. I felt quite bit of fatigue and lightheadedness until about 2 weeks after surgery. It was disorienting and annoying, almost like wearing the wrong pair of glasses.
6 Weeks Later
After 2 weeks of recovery, I felt pretty much the same. The hardest thing was not being able to lift anything over 20 pounds. My toddlers got offended when I didn’t pick them up, and it made me feel like a terrible mom.
My scar is about 2 inches long and shaped like a smile under my belly button. It aches a little if I press on it because it’s thick and pulls on the surrounding skin. I usually forget it’s there, though. My doctor recommended keeping it out of the sun and applying Vitamin E oil.
Back when I was dealing with pain and medication side effects, I thought this recovery was never going to end. Now that I’ve reached 6 weeks, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. I’ve even paid off the bills, which weren’t cheap.
I’m glad I got this surgery, but I couldn’t have guessed how it would make me feel emotionally. The lifting restriction made me feel somewhat lazy and useless since I was feeling good otherwise. 6 weeks seemed like a long time, but now that it’s over, it’s not such a big deal. Hopefully, I can avoid surgery for a while now!