BSO Recovery – The first 72 hours

It’s officially been 3 days since my bilateral salpingo oophorectomy (aka BSO, aka ovary and tube removal surgery)…and all in all I think recovery is going pretty well. If you want more info than that vague statement provides, whether to keep up-to-date with me or perhaps to prepare yourself for the procedure, well I’ve got you covered.

BSO Day: (For a recap of the surgery day in more detail check out my previous post). The evening after my surgery I lounged in bed for a few hours, then lounged on the couch for a few hours, and then went to sleep.  I took 2 doses of my heavy duty pain meds (Oxy + Tylenol) at about 7pm and 1am…in addition to the dose I got at about 3pm in the hospital. Thanks to the drugs I got a pretty decent night of sleep.

Recovery Day 1: My spouse took the day off to keep me company and in case I needed anything, which was a lovely thing for him to do but largely unnecessary as our nanny was here too taking care of the little guy. I opted for Advil over my narcotic pain med and relaxed on the couch most of the day binge watching Project Runway. My throat was still quite raw and raspy from the intubation, and it was fading in and out with bouts of laryngitis. Ricolas helped quite a lot with that. Overall my pain definitely worsened as the day went on and I’d say that hours 24-36 post surgery were the most painful. Interestingly, the pain from the incisions was WAY less severe than the referred pain in my shoulder. Apparently, it’s very common for a nerve that runs for the diaphragm to the shoulder to become irritated by the CO2 gas used to inflate the abdomen…and to me it felt like a super intense muscle spasm (I’d rate it a 7 on the pain scale).  I had my partner massage it a bit, and then I camped out with a heating pad on it for several hours in the evening. I almost broke down and took another one of my oxys, but I managed to power through.  In addition to Advil every 4 hours I took 2 doses of GasX to try to help alleviate some of the discomfort from the CO2 and 2 doses of Colace to try to get the bowels moving again. I tried to do some walking during the day, as lots of people told me this would help with the gas pain. Unfortunately the snowy weather was not conducive to me walking outside, so I just puttered around the house a bit and clocked 2000 steps on my FitBit. I didn’t sleep nearly as well on night 2 as I did on night 1…as it was hard to get comfortable with all the shoulder pain.

Recovery Day 2: I woke up feeling quite a bit better than I had the night before. I took my Advil, GasX and Colace and snuggled on the couch watching Sesame Street with my little guy. A friend and a couple family members came to visit, which was a wonderful distraction and also helped keep my toddler amused while his Daddy attempted to work from home. The little guy has been pretty tolerant and understanding about mommy having “boo boos” and he gets that I cannot pick him up and we can’t play rough, but I think it’s hard for him not having me be as active and playful with him as I usually am. I managed to get out for a slow and short walk around the neighborhood in the afternoon which felt amazing, and I ended up with about 4000 steps on my Fitbit that day. The referred pain in my shoulder continued but was much less severe than the prior day and the pain at my surgical sites felt similar to a bad sunburn or a fresh tattoo (about a 4 on the pain scale). In addition to the GasX I’ve been doing peppermint tea and warm lemon water to help with the gas/bloating…and I think it has actually eased things a bit. Although my pain wasn’t too bad I did find that I got worn out very easily yesterday. I relaxed in bed for about and hour before dinner, ate sushi, watched some TV, and went to bed early.

Recovery Day 3: Ugh. I woke up twice in the night with hot flashes/night sweats. So the menopause symptoms have officially begun. I had an appointment with a new breast surgeon about 1.5 hours away from home this morning (more on that saga later), so there was no casual lounging around the house this morning. I took GasX first thing in the morning, but didn’t even bother with the Advil as I was feeling good.  Even though I was cleared to drive as of yesterday, I had my dad drive me to the appointment because it was such a long trip and I didn’t want to risk starting to feel crappy during the drive.  The shoulder pain started to return a bit in the afternoon after almost 4 hours (round trip) in the car, so I took a dose of Advil around noon. I was itching to get out of the house and spend some time alone in the afternoon so I took myself to the mall. My iPhone needed a replacement battery and I had 2 hours to waste while they did the repair at the Apple Store so I walked around and shopped for some new clothes to wear to work next week since I realized most of my work pants would rub right on my surgical sites…ouch! (And also because I’m still a bit puffy and bloated). There were some epic sales going on at the mall so I went a little overboard. But all of the walking felt really good and I’m on track to hit 10,000 steps today (at 9500 now).  I had another hot flash while walking in the mall and got a little sweaty, but it wasn’t unmanageable.

Overall, 3 days out from the surgery I’m feeling really good. The pain at the incisions currently feels about as bad as the day after an intense ab workout (2 on the pain scale), and the shoulder pain comes and goes and feels like it would after a night of sleeping in a funny position (3 on the pain scale). My throat is feeling pretty much back to normal. I’m still having a bit of vaginal bleeding, bloating, and gas which I’m choosing to just think of as my body’s last hurrah since I’ll never have another period.

Barring any unforeseen challenges that crop up over the weekend I think I’ll be all set to return to work on Monday as planned, and then I have about another week to go until I’m cleared to lift my kiddo again. The surgeon said to wait until after my follow up visit with him (3 weeks after surgery) to return to vigorous exercise, so I’ll stick with walking and some light stretching between now and then. As frustrated as I get with being physically limited, I am beyond grateful for how smoothly the surgery went and the wonders of modern medicine that allow me to be functioning at about 85% of my normal capacity 3 days after having internal organs removed from my body!

Now it’s time to start thinking about that mastectomy…

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