Phewww--thank god. I thought I would be on my own. I am glad you started another thread. Since the other board was closed....
WOndering about kegels and the amount to do in a day and the most effective way to do them (standing, sitting, etc). If that is the exercise to keep us healthy and working than I want to be doing them correctly.
In terms of the memory form pillow--those arent as soft as regular pillows...does that matter.
Is there anyone out there who went back to work week 4? I am a teacher who can sit or stand and do not need to be bending, etc. Just wondering.
Last question--the doc said he will be putting me on mineral oil I think its called....will I be able to make it to the bathroom? When can you start to try holding the muscle after surgery?
Glad you found it. Hopefully others will join us soon. I'm just getting used to Kegals; I've aways been so bad about doing them. I found a website that talked about 2 types of Kegal exercises: [url]http://www.thewomens.org.au/Pelvicfloorexercises[/url]
I was never on mineral oil or stool softeners, just high fiber.
I like the memory foam pillow (which was recommended by my doc) because it molds to you creating no pressure points like a normal pillow might.
I went back to work part-time at 3 weeks, but then was WIPED OUT at home the rest of the time--working from home on the laptop laying down. This week I'm back to working full-time hours and able to help around the house a little bit (7 weeks post-op).
Thanks for that website--it has some good info on it.
About the memory form pillow--those are somewhat hard arent they? But I guess if your doc recommended it then I will go get one.
What is the best way to lay during the times you are horizontal? Sorry for all the questions but I want to make sure I let myself heal correctly and dont screw anything up during that time. I wonder how long the stitches are in until they dissolve?
Now that you have went through all this...are you happy you did it? That seems to be the general idea---although the recovery is hard, it seems most of the ladies are happy to have done it and get on with their lives.
By the way in an earlier post I said how my baby sitter had someone in her family go through all this and the surgery...anyway its been 5 years since the surgery and no problems since so thats great news!!
Sbremom -- The memory foam pillow is not hard and it really molds to the position you're sitting in. It is much more comfortable than sitting on a regular pillow, in my opinion. I still take it everywhere when I go out because I am uncomfortable without it.
I think all of us would say during our recovery we layed on our sides, and while sitting we sat on one cheek or the other. It is really uncomfortable--I'm not going to lie to you--but it does get easier over time. Every person heals differently, too. To answer your question as to whether or not I'm happy I went through with the surgery, I have to admit that I wish I had done more research beforehand. I had a fistula, and my symtoms were not the same as everyone else's. The doctor said he thought my sphincter muscle looked like a U instead of an O, so he wanted to combine the sphincteroplasy surgery with the fistula repair. I wish I had known that I would have ended up with stool leakage from the sphincteroplasty because I may have just gotten the fistula repaired and not the muscle. That said, who knows if I would have had issues later on with the muscle since it wasn't completely intact. I guess maybe it is best that I did both surgeries, but I'm not thrilled that my symtoms aren't completely gone at 12 1/2 weeks post-op....
How's everyone doing? I'm pretty sure my wound is completely closed now, however I still have stool leakage and need my pillow to sit comfortably. The leakage bums me out because I didn't have it pre-op, but I am hopeful it will go away with time.
Perineal Strengthening Exercises
Lying on back with knees bent, raise head and reach hands toward knees.
Raise head and reach right hand toward left knee. Relax. Raise head and reach left hand toward right knee. Relax.
Flatten back. Pull abdomen in and squeeze buttocks together.
Take a deep breath in. Squeeze buttocks together and close anal passage.
Sitting: Squeeze buttocks together. Relax.
Standing: Pull abdomen in and squeeze buttocks together. Knees should be relaxed.
Another simple strengthening exercise is to pretend to hold in a bowel movement and count to 20. This can be done 15 or 20 times a day while walking down the street, riding in a car, or sitting in a chair – whenever the patient thinks of it.
Thanks for posting the exercises, Suzanne! How are you feeling?
Spring, I can't imagine your frustration, because you didn't experience anal fecal incontinence like the rest of us and now are having to go through the sphincteroplasty recovery. I'm so glad your wound closed FINALLY. I thought mine was, but I still have a couple of freckle-sized spots that are superficial. So do you still need the pillow because your perineum's tender? Mine is tender as well, but using mostly the one-cheek sitting method which is not comfortable, as you mentioned.
Update (8-weeks post-op): I am so glad I had the surgery! I'm ready to start exercising again (lightly--nothing too crazy too soon) and go to the gym without fear of an "oops!" 6 minutes into walking/jogging on the treadmill. I'm able to be more active and help around the house a bit more. I'm back working full time for the most part, but am about to take some time to travel and hang out with my kids. I'm so excited to feel like I can get around better, have more energy, and better and better BM control. As long as I'm faithful to my high-fiber breakfast, I have good days. I have shooting pains very little now--once a day or so. I still shower or use Cotenelle flushable wipes to clean myself after most BMs. My biggest dread, which is lessening, is to be away from home when I have a BM, because my perineum is still tender and cleansing myself is easier & more comfortable at home with the wipes, etc.
So glad to hear you are doing so well and able to resume some of your previous activities! Very exciting! I still need my pillow because my perineal area is still tender and it hurts to sit on hard surfaces. I'll be glad to retire the thing though, because it gets annoying explaining to people in public why you have a pillow, or getting strange looks in restaurants. Oh well! Yes, the leakage is very frustrating, especially since I didn't have that symptom before. I try to do my kegals every day, however the other exercise my doctor gave me bothers the area right now; I think it's because I'm not completely healed up. I will probably try the other exercise in a few more weeks once I am less sore.
I have an appointment with a urogyn at the end of July to see if he can figure out the urethral mystery. I have noticed that the air bubbles may be slight urine leakage, so I'm not thrilled. I have to keep positive though and think that maybe the problem doesn't need surgery, otherwise I will just cry! Anyway, I'll keep ya posted on that.
'Hope everyone is doing well. We are definitely strong women to endure this!
Spring, Yes! Keep us posted on the pee-bubble problem. I hope you non-surgical good news!
I thought that my wounds were completely closed. Then I had an active weekend--going to church on those hard pews, walking, and outings. I also did a tom of Kegals (which I'm usually awful about doing. Then Monday, noticed a couple of freckle-sized wounds where I thought they had closed. So I wonder if the Kegals plus other activity irritated the area. So I'm going to do "Kegal-light" for a couple of more weeks before I go whole-hog.
Yah, I find that the exercises bother my perinium, too. I haven't done too many kegels in one day (usually 10-15 per day), and I'm going to wait until the tenderness subsides before I do more than that. I think it's like any other muscle and physical therapy--the exercies hurt at first so you need to ease into them.
Sorry you stressed your bottom. Did the wounds get bigger or did you just feel raw after the weekend? Sometimes if I do too much I feel really sore and know I need to take it a little easy.
Comparatively, I mean--considering where we were when we first started to write one another, we are light years beyond that. But, geez! We're young (I'm 36), active mothers. We're more than ready to get on with our busy fun-filled lives. But we need to blah-blah-blah, listen to our bodies, and remember that a few weeks of recovery is relative to the years we'll get minus fistulas (in your case) and fecal incontinence (in mine). Fingers crossed and knock on wood!
You are so right! Hopefully a year from now this whole sphincter-o-nightmare will be a distant memory! I do hope that our conversations and posts will help other women out there who are suffering through any "complication" from childbirth, though!
I can tell you the posts definately are helping me through this. I don't know where I would be without them!
What did your individual docs say about the longevity of this surgery? I know Kim you said your doc said there havent been good studies done bc the muscle naturally loses tone, but wondering what other docs have said about it. My doc seemed very optimistic about the longevity of it. I am going to ask him more next time I see him bc that was just the initial consultation.
One other thing---do you ladies also have problem holding gas in? I can probably guess the answer but just wondering. Like many times I try to hold it and it just comes out...probably right at the point where the muscle is no longer a circle. I cannot wait till I am fixed.
The threads on this board and the support have been invaluable for my emotional health through this whole ordeal. Without you ladies, I would feel absolutely defeated becasue the recovery has been much more involved than the 2 weeks mentioned by my doc. Instead, I feel strong and motivated to take care of myself so I can recover fully now without relapses. Just think about Tiger Woods messing up his knee surgery because he HAD to play the big tournament TOO SOON. Recovery needs to be #1 priority.
To answer Sbremom's question, holding gas for me has been better since the surgery. Many of the women have had a worse time with controlling gas, but mine is better than before.
I too feel that the support system on this board has helped me through this difficult recovery. I definitely took many precautions and didn't push myself too hard like Tiger. All I had to do was think about the fistula recurring and I started to freak out! I even had some nightmares in the beginning that I was passing gas through the vagina...talk about anxiety! I just hope that the repair will last and that I won't have to go through this again. I had a hard morning trying to have a BM today. I thought I had eaten enough fiber yesterday, but I guess I didn't because I had an awful time with hard stool. It almost felt like trying to go to the bathroom right after this surgery, that's how difficult it was today. I didn't want to push too hard for fear of wrecking everything, but I finally went somewhat even though it was difficult. I really think that we're going to have to pay close attention to our diets for a long time. My rectum has been sore all day from this morning; I don't think the muscle will be completely healed for many more months. Anyway....sorry for TMI, but I know you ladies are the only ones who understand!!! I was practically in tears over it!!
Not TMI, Spring! I know what you mean about monitoring our diets (which something I never did before). I live in Texas and Mexican food is fabuloso but dangerous for me. Spring, was your diet different in any way? Were you dehydrated?
I usually have the opposite extreme--looser stools.
Unlike others, my doc didn't recommend Sitz baths. And I don't have a bathtub in our bathroom. So I mostly got in the shower with peri-bottles at first, Then after about 10 days, I used a removable shower head to cleanse and "soak" area.
Some general info/tips to help you with your surgery:
Nursing lying down. My son was 8 months old and 22 pounds when I had the surgery. We never got the hang of nursing lying down, so he sat on my lap while breastfeeding (he's also very tall). This put a lot of extra weight on my bottom. I'd recommend working now while your baby is young to nurse her while you're lying down (if you don't do this already).
Backup childcare. My son's nanny went out with an unexpected health problem 2 days after my surgery, so I didn't have childcare for several days. I did find backup help, but I lifted him quite a bit the first 5 days after surgery. You might want to have a backup, just in case.
Meals. Our Sunday school class always provides meals during times of sickness or other need. However, I was embarassed about my surgery and didn't tell anyone about it. What a mistake! My husband did let them know after a week and a half, and we were given two meals, which helped a lot. When asked what the surgery was for, he just said "complications from our son's birth". I encourage you to let anyone who offers provide any help they will.
Laxatives. I was on stool softeners for 10 days after surgery per my doctor's instructions. I had one small bowel movement 3 days post-op. At day 5, I took a laxative. I continued this for a couple of days. It did result in diarhhea that I couldn't control, but I found it much easier to handle that than regular - even soft - stools. The pain from my stitches opening up was much worse than the initial surgery pain, and I can't imagine having to strain at that point.
Boppy pillow. I sat/sit on my boppy. Others have said it's better to use a memory foam pillow. I actually use both. The boppy opens wide enough that I don't believe it pulls too much, but then again, my stitches opened up completely, and I still have a gaping hole that hasn't healed, so what do I know?
Sitz baths. My doctor said no sitz baths initially. I know others say it helped them, so who knows? If you do them, definitely make sure you dry the area well with a blow dryer to prevent infection.
Others have said it, but it bears repeating:
Use a peri-bottle, blow dryer, and 2x2 gauze.
Thanks for the updates. Kim and Spring - sounds like you're almost there! Hang in there I appreciate you providing details. I'm almost 6 weeks post-op, so it helps knowing what to expect. Has the drainage stopped for you two? My certainly hasn't, and now I'm bleeding more than I did earlier. Wondering if that's normal?
I'm starting my exercises this week. Will let you guys know if/when I experience an improvement.