Hi Sarah! The internet is a wonderful thing because it brings us so much information . . . right up until we hit saturation point and it starts giving us TOO much information! I think most of us hit that point.
When I was told I had to have a hyst (cervical cancer) I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. First I read medical sites. Then I found discussion boards. I learned (within a week or two) that I needed to be careful as to what types of discussion-board-type info that I read. I decided to ONLY read about women's experiences with the type of surgery I was having (LAVH). That REALLY helped slow down my panic. Recovery for each type of surgery is different. Each woman is different. And we all fear worst-case-scenarios.
That being said, I had an LAVH (lap assisted vaginal hyst) to remove my uterus and cervix only. My cancer was found at stage 1. I've never been pregnant and was 44 when I had my hyst. I had a cold knife cone biopsy (under general anesthesia) the day before my hyst (to determine what type of surgery I'd need the next day).
I don't remember a lot of preop, but I know they got the IV in me pretty quickly so they could give me meds as soon as I was approved for meds. That was good. If/when anxiety started creeping in they gave me Versed and that chilled me out right away.
My surgery was about 3 hours. I woke in recovery and was in pain, but they gave me an injection within 1 minute (literally). That got the pain under control VERY quickly. I was in recovery longer than I needed to be only because the hospital didn't have my room ready. I swear, there was a nurse standing next to me the entire time (at least that is how I remember it).
I had a concern about nausea post-op and the anesthesiologist gave me LOTS of meds (pre op and post) so I felt absolutely NO nausea. As soon as they got my pain down to a 6 or 7 (pretty quickly) they put me on a PCS pump (patient controled pain meds - it gives a small controlled dose, but you can push a button to get more. It is set on a timer so you can't overdose). I love that thing!
I stayed in the hospital for 2 nights. I probably could have gone home after 1 night (and most of a day), but I was a little afraid of going home "just in case." It ends up that I didn't sleep a lot at the hospital between people coming and going from my (private) room and the meds cycling me from awake and uncomfortable (not pain) and knocked out. I've decided if I ever need another surgery I'm going to ask them to use something that doesn't cycle me through awake/passed out to such extremes.
Coming home was probably the worst thing I had (that and passing gas!
) but I think I was more afraid of the pain than the pain itself. Make sure they give you pain meds right before you leave the hospital. And send someone to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription - don't plan on stopping on the way home. You'll want to get home and go to sleep.
I was sooooo glad to be home. I actually slept 6 hours straight. Aaaah! I woke up, went to the restroom, ate a little, took my pain meds, then went back to sleep for the next 6 hours. I did that for a day or so. I was gradually able to stay up longer and go longer without my meds.
I had surgery on a Wednesday, came home on Friday. Hubby was home with me that whole time. He went to work on Monday (he only works 5 mintues away). I was a little anxious about being home alone, but I was fine. I rested and relaxed. I was able to get out of bed on my own. I was even able to (carefully and with pillows) lay on my side by Monday. Yay!
This is long. I just wanted to let you know that many women have complication free recoveries. We are all afraid. We don't know what the future holds. Have people there to help until you are able to do it on your own. If people volunteer to help, let them. They WANT to, so let them do something. That is one of the huge lessons I learned about life.
Take care and write back!