Not quite wonder woman

Surgery #3: more post-op

I’m very much losing track of time with this no schedule life I’m leading right now. I started a post and was going to pick up and finish it but realized that was almost two weeks ago and I have no idea where I was going with it.

So today I am 4 weeks plus 3 days post-op but I’m gonna try to patch together the past few weeks.


On March 14th 20 days post-op I had my second doctor visit.

Emory Hospital. There is construction going on everywhere but parking and getting in the building was surprisingly easy.

They removed the staples and replaced them with Steri-Strips. For those of you unfamiliar with these strips they are thin very sticky pieces of tape that hold wounds close. They are supposed to fall off by themselves in approximately 10 days or so. About half of mine have fell off as of today (11 days later).

On March 17th only three days later the Steri-Strips that were right where any clothing waistband hits fell off, were kinda gooey, and needed attention.

I know this picture is pretty yucky but that’s the reality of the situation.

Instead of rushing down to Emory to get it fixed we bought some Steri-Strips at the store and I reattached them. 3 thin strips was all it took but the opening was still a concern. My RN daughter had a look within the next few days and we decided it was okay. I’m not sure as far as scarring goes if that was the right call.

On March 21 (27 days post-op) I put a message in my patient portal addressing the waistband issue, an issue with an odor that I can’t even describe, the drainage tube, and going back to work. I got a response within a few hours which was nice because they say it can take up to 24 hours for a response.

Quick response with Emory’s patient portal.


So today I’m feeling like I’m getting back to normal. It’s hard for me to not feel like a patient when there is a freaky tube coming out of my side, a faint weird smell that drifts up from my stomach, and drying tape strips clinging on for dear life to my incision. I dread taking a shower because I have to deal with all those things but sometimes when I see improvement it’s good. Most days I just think ‘ugh’.

Here’s the steri-strips and the bandage I put on the ones susceptible to being aggravated by my clothes, after I put more steri-strips on it.

The saggy pouch is due to the void left by the hernia. The skin has been stretched. The dr said only time will tell how well my skin will bounce back, how much of that is swelling, or how much weight loss will improve it. Swelling can last 6-12 months. It may be a while to know the final results.

There are informative sites that will tell you that recovery from this procedure is 1-3 weeks.  I’ve come to the conclusion that they are referring to a simpler operation. Some hernia repairs and abdominoplasties are performed laparoscopically and some use an incision from hip to hip. I think these might have shorter recovery times. But it does make me wonder if the push to get back to normal and worry about time off from work and being ‘lazy’ prompts doctors to release patients to full activity or people just return to full activity and push themselves before they are ready.

I had the idea that I would go back to work 4 weeks out on March 22 and at that point going to the store was still exhausting, my drainage bulb was still putting out about 60 cc per 24 hours, and then there is the incision problem. I’m glad my doctor just plainly said, “Nope, you’re not released until you at least reach 6 weeks post-op.” I don’t have to make any excuses just following doctors orders. So I have a few more weeks to convalesce and honestly I think I need it.

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6 thoughts on “Surgery #3: more post-op

  1. Michelle Schumacher

    This is me! Down to the steri strips, smell, pain, etc. I need to know who your dr was please as I live in Athens TN. How did you find your surgeon? What kind of mesh did they use if any?

    1. April Post author

      When I found out that Emory University hospital was in our insurance plan I started researching their gastrointestinal department. I found Dr. John Sweeney and he added Dr. Albert Loskin to do the plastic part. They did use mesh and what kind is on my list of questions for my appt. next week because I keep forgetting to ask and write it down for future reference. I would definitely look at Doctors in Vanderbilt if I lived in TN. I think the high doctor quality is making a big difference this time around even though recovery is slow go.

  2. Kara

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. I also had a perforated colon that resulted in a temp illeostomy last year. Just got home from the doctor this morning because I suspected a hernia. He said it isn’t technically a hernia because the hole is too big, but it amounts to the same thing, and will need surgery to repair. Not as severe as your opening was, but the bulge, the clothes not fitting right, all of that is where I am now. Doc set me up for a surgical consult next week. I’m so upset at the idea of more surgery after all I went through last year. Somehow, your story is reassuring. Thanks for putting yourself ‘out there’.
    I hope your continued recovery is uneventful, and steady.

    1. April Post author

      Sorry I’m taking so long to reply. I think being put under fogs my brain more the older I get and staying on task is a lifelong problem. I hope you are able to get coverage for a plastic surgeons help if you need it. I think I have about 2 more ‘sick’ post in me. I really don’t like taking about being sick but the lack of personal experience online was disappointing so I thought badly of myself if I didn’t. 🙂 I am wearing clothes that aren’t baggy the past weeks if that encourages you. Gonna get rid of a lot of shirts that could have been maternity shirts. So hang in there.

  3. Kimberly

    Your belly looked like mine does. I’m interested to see how much you’ve healed. Hope you post again soon. I was just referred to a hernia specialist today and I have no idea what he’s going to say or what his plan will be but I’d love to have my belly button back. Not to mention my life! Hope you’re healing.

    1. April Post author

      Hope your referral was a success. I researched my doctors and then told my GP who I wanted to see so he could refer me. Too many bad experiences with doctors I didn’t choose. My scar is still swooping around something that looks like a belly button lol. I vaguely remember saying to save my belly button but I wouldn’t have been too disappointed or surprised if I had woke up without it. Let me know how it went!

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