Surgical procedures are never fun. For most people, they are downright unnerving. Even relatively noninvasive procedures and “routine outpatient surgeries,” like laparoscopies, laparoscopic cyst removal and so forth, still warrant cause for concern.
Time and time again, of all the people I know, I am the first person to run to the Internet to try and self-diagnose or to anticipate how I will feel during and after a procedure. I know I am not alone in that respect. So, I wanted to share my experience in the hopes that it might alleviate some worry or shed some light on laparoscopy and laparoscopic cyst removal. Through this article, I wanted to share some observations and experiences from my recent surgical procedure – laparoscopy to remove a benign cyst from one of my ovaries.
Completely out of character for me, I didn’t even read up on what laparoscopy was or how they do it. I relied on my doctor’s two-minute debriefing and the accounts of a few of my coworkers and family members who had also endured the same procedure. It astonished me to learn that removal of an ovarian cyst via laparoscopy is not at all uncommon. In fact, as I told more people about my upcoming laparoscopic procedure, it seemed each person’s mother, cousin, friend, or coworker also had the same surgery. I was not alone!
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves making tiny incisions in the abdomen. The surgery employs a lighted instrument (laparoscope) as a camera so the doctor can perform the procedure with clear visibility into the abdominal region. My procedure involved three incisions. The first one was inside my bellybutton (the most painful!), one on my left lower abdomen, and one in the pelvis area, just below my bikini line.
As the typically super busy person that I am, I found it easy to avoid and ignore the upcoming surgical procedure for a month and a half leading up to the big day. I stayed off of the WebMD and Mayo Clinic Web sites. I also completely blocked the surgery from my mind until the weekend preceding it. Even then, I really didn’t give the laparoscopy or the cyst removal much thought.
What to Expect on the Morning of the Laparoscopic Cyst Removal
When July 15 finally arrived, my stomach was tied in knots. My husband took me to the hospital and my mom and sister met us there. First, I met with a nurse for some preliminary stuff like testing blood pressure and going over a pre-surgery questionnaire.
Somewhat amusingly (in retrospect), I went into my surgical day with the intentions of enjoying a nice celebratory lunch once the pesky ovarian cyst had been whisked out of my body. I imagined French fries and a turkey club, hold the mayo, tomatoes, and lettuce. At first, I had the impression that my laparoscopic cyst removal surgery and recovery were going to be a breeze based on what I heard from the majority of the people who’d had laparoscopy or those who knew someone who had. I was not prepared for what I was about to hear, or what happened to me later that night.
Following some discussion with the nurse, the anesthesiologist visited me to go over some details. He reminded me of a character from one of the medical shows I like to watch so much. He casually informed me of various side effects of the anesthesia that would most likely impact the way I felt after the laparoscopy… nausea, pain, extreme pain in my shoulder from GAS THEY WOULD USE TO INFLATE MY BELLY!!! It now seemed that lunch might not be such a definite part of my day. In fact, I started to get really nervous at this point. Of course, the anesthesiologist assured me that I would already be sleeping for any of the scary parts of the procedure.
A quick word on surgery times and scheduling…. Be prepared – there may be a bit of waiting around and sitting in a hospital gown with your butt cheeks flapping in the wind as you await your turn on the morning of your procedure. For me, the worst part besides being scared in general involved the fact that I could not eat or drink anything at all after midnight. I normally guzzle water like it’s going out of style every day, starting around 9 in the morning, if not earlier. It was tough to be allowed only a small sip of water here or there – I think a total of three sips from midnight to my surgery, which didn’t begin until around 11 a.m.
My hubby and mom and sister got to take turns sitting with me until my doctor came by to make sure I was ready. The nurse carted me over to a room where I met another nurse and then received an IV to relax me before they took me into the operating room where I would have the cyst removed from my left ovary. The IV did make me sleepy, and I barely remember anything between getting stuck in the arm and then talking a little bit to the anesthesia guys. The last thing I remember is just a blip – I saw these two big blue, bright lights above me and out I went.
Waking Up from Anesthesia After the Laparoscopy
Oh – did I forget to mention that they put a tube down your throat while they work and as you sleep? Yeah, well luckily they remove it before you wake up, but I did have quite the scratchy throat as I came to. Luckily the nurses have a heavy supply of ice chips and Styrofoam cups with little plastic spoons to help ease the raw throat.
Apparently, upon first waking up I asked the nurse about replacing my navel ring. I guess I was so worried about it closing up that it was the first thing on my mind when I started coming out of the anesthesia. I honestly don’t even remember asking her about it. Truthfully, when I realized the swelling and pain in my belly and especially bellybutton area, I realized that I would not be replacing my bellybutton ring anytime soon. In fact, I don’t think I’m going to replace it at all because I’m quite sure, at more than a week later the piercing hole is more than likely sealed shut. This piercing is the only one I have, other than earrings, so this is the only thing I had to remove besides all my jewelry.
One thing that amused me in particular upon waking up from the anesthesia – if you don’t take enough deep breaths, a machine hooked up to you starts to beep so that a nurse comes over. It took me a few times before I asked her what it meant, and then I made it a point to breathe better. I wanted to get out of the recovery room and go see my honey and my mom and sis! Soon after I learned the trick to earlier release, I found myself on the way back to the original room where I first started out that morning.
What to Expect in the Hospital after the Laparoscopy…