How a Puppy Helped Me Recover From a Hysterectomy

Photo courtesy of LipBomb

In June 2011 I took my puppy to a local vet to be spayed. I had no idea that watching a puppy heal after her surgery would be so pertinent for me in just a year’s time.

When the puppy came home after surgery, she didn’t move much, and she slept a lot. She was not eating much – only small portions of soft food.  The vet told us she shouldn’t play hard for a few weeks to avoid injury.  The puppy curled up and protected her abdomen much of the time and stretched carefully before taking any steps. When attempting to move, she would whine so that I would help her.  One week after the surgery, she was moving better, but I noticed that when we had more commotion in the house, she moved into a quieter room to be alone.

As I write this, I am recovering from a Laparoscopic Subtotal Hysterectomy with a Salpingo Oophorectomy, which means that I was spayed just like the puppy. My uterus and fallopian tubes were also removed. It has been a year since the puppy’s procedure. I am reclining with a pillow protecting my abdomen, trying to finish a few ounces of a protein shake.  The pain killers are wearing off and I need to go to the bathroom.  When I first try to get up, the puppy, who is now bigger, begins to whine so that my friend will assist me.  I remember how the puppy stretched gingerly after her surgery, and now I completely understand why.

After a week, I am fatigued as I cannot sleep on my back without erupting into painful coughs and the incisions are on my abdomen and sides, preventing me from lying prone.  I am antsy and achey. I’m tense most of the time, bracing against anything that might use my abdominal muscles. After the second week, I am well enough to attend a Fourth of July party, but called it an early night so I could curl up and sleep – I couldn’t take the all of commotion.  The doctor tells me this is normal, but I feel like I’m missing something.

I finally realized I have been neglecting my wellness routine since the surgery! I was amazed at how much better I felt overall after just two days of starting it up again again. Here, I will share with you what keeps me feeling well as I continue to recover:

1. Restraint.  Just because you have a ‘good’ day does not mean that you should do more than the doctor ordered!  It takes a few more weeks for the incisions to heal all the way through, so try to be a patient patient.

2. Asking for help.  Prepare your friends and family what you will specifically need their help with.  You may need to prepare yourself to ask for help if this is something that is difficult for you.

3. Daily meditation.  I have a reminder set on my calendar to take a break and meditate for an hour every day.  In the past, this has increased my productiveness and energy levels tremendously.  After surgery, I didn’t have to be productive so I let my meditation slip. However, my body is working harder than ever, and meditation helps healing too.

4. Drinking water.  I normally drink at least a gallon every day.  After surgery, I just wasn’t drinking it.  As soon as I increased my water intake, I was much less fatigued and the pain seemed to decrease more quickly.

5. Eating every few hours.  Try to eat every 3-4 hours. Make sure to get lots of protein. Over-eating right after surgery makes your body work too hard for digestion when it should be focusing on healing. Balance your diet as much as possible, and include acidophilus if you’re taking antibiotics.

6. Maintaining a calm environment.  Friends and family will want to help, but if they bring drama, commotion, or unhealthy foods that aren’t good for the healing process, they’ll cause more harm than good.  Feel confident telling people you need to be alone to rest.  Friends who really care will understand and won’t be offended.

7. Reframing your thoughts.  Instead of thinking, “It has been TWO FULL WEEKS since my surgery! Will I ever heal?” try thinking, “It has ONLY been two weeks since my surgery and my body is still in the beginning stages of the healing process.” Mentally prepare yourself to ease back into your activities very slowly.

It may not seem like it, but you will make it to the end of the healing process. Make it a little less painful by following the above 7 steps. Having a four-legged friend by your side helps too. :)

Laurie Sherazee is a woman in the middle of a journey in search of her Authentic Self.  In her day job, she works as a Lead National Deployment Engineer for a major cable company. She also runs an eCommerce business. Laurie is constantly striving toward self-improvement, which led her here to DailyPath.

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    • Linda McGuire

      Inspirational to those of us recovering from a severe illness or surgery. Thank you for a well written insight to healing. Linda