Laparoscopy for Endometriosis: How to beat the Bowel Prep!

Bowel Prep*Click photo to enlarge* 

If you have not seen my Hospital Bag post please go check it out. It has helpful tips & what I suggest packing for your trip to the hospital. This post however will focus on helpful tips/items to have on hand before you start the Bowel Prep process.

On August 11th I will be doing the dreaded Bowel Prep for my Laparoscopic surgery for Endometriosis. Since I will be having a possible Bowel Resection my surgeons ask that I be completely cleaned out. Many surgeons recommend this even if you will not be having bowel surgery done. I did a mild cleanse with 10 0z of Magnesium Citrate for my lung surgery in 2010. My Bowel Prep this time includes four Dulcolax laxative tablets, one 8.3 oz bottle of MiraLAX powder & one Fleet enema the morning of my surgery. I am sure by that you can tell already that this will be one SERIOUS Bowel Prep. Because of this I have gotten/found some great tips/items to make it go a lot smoother…no pun intended! 🙂

Tip #1 Eat lightly for a few days leading up to your Bowel Prep. Light foods that are gluten & soy free are what I prefer. Try to avoid things like red meat, milk, yogurt, cheese and bread. Stick with lots of fresh green veggies & fruit. Less in….less out!

Tip #2 Have lots of flushable moist wipes on hand! Baby wipes will work as well just do not flush them! I suggest fragrance & alcohol free wipes with aloe in them if you do not have an allergy to it. Pat…do not wipe!

Tip #3 Have plenty of hemorrhoid cream and/or wipes available if you are prone to hemorrhoids! Something with soothing ingredients like aloe will be even better.

Tip #4 Have some Desitin or other diaper rash cream on hand. Just in case you get a rash or broken/irritated skin. Even Vaseline could work.

Tip #5 Stay away from drinks with artificial food dyes like red, blue, & etc.. These colors stain the bowels and make it hard for your surgeon to see disease in order to remove it. You have a better chance of your surgeon removing more disease IF they can see it!

Tip# 6 Drink plenty of clear fluids like Gatorade that has added electrolytes. Water, popsicles, jello and chicken broth work well also. At least 8oz every hour is best to prevent dehydration! You can have coffee or tea…no milk or creamers.

Tip #7 Have some slices of ginger on hand in case you get nauseous during the prep. Add it to some boiling water for a homemade gingerale.

Tip #8 If you find yourself getting nauseous even after trying steps like gingerale…slow down on the prep. Try to space out the amount you are drinking at one time. Another option is starting your prep a few hours earlier so that you have a bit more time to get it all down.

Tip #9 Make the mixture ice cold! It tastes better…at least to me it does. Also mixing it with a strong soda helps. Pick one you won’t mind not ever drinking again…trust me!

Tip #10 Clean & organize your bathroom. You will be in there for most of the day & you will want it to be nice and tidy. Add some candles to make it nice and inviting!

Tip #11 Bring in your tablet or laptop and watch things like Netflix or Redbox online. My partner suggested bringing in my favorite gossip magazines…I think having some magazines/books on hand is a great idea.

Tip #12 Prepare a room close by. Have it prepped with pillows & a blanket. If you can place a TV close by with your favorite movies. You will not want to be very far from the restroom during this process.

Tip #13 Make sure any family members or visitors have another restroom to use. You will not want to be sharing a restroom when you have to “go” and it is occupied!

Hope these tips & items helps you to make it through the Prep process a bit easier! Please leave any helpful tips in the comments section!

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Laparoscopy for Endometriosis: What’s in my hospital bag?

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24 days out until surgery and I am finally all set up! My bag is packed and waiting by the door. My bedroom is organized and stocked with my Post Op Surgery Supplies. Now it’s just sit and wait it out!

For weeks I had the hardest time finding a list or blog post of things to take in my hospital bag. I got extremely lucky with some tips from some wonderful ladies in my Endo support groups! I am hoping that this will help you to decide what to take with you. I have included all the things that I hope will make me to feel comforted before & after surgery. Feel free to build off of this list and pack things that will make you feel at home away from home! I am not sure if I will stay 1-6 days so my bag is a “just in case” measure.  Not everyone will need or want to take all of these things! Most of these things I already had on hand in my home. No need to go out and buy all of this stuff if you don’t think it is a must!

If you are traveling out-of-state for your surgery I will include a few extra helpful tips at the end of this post!

What I packed in my hospital bag:

  • Loose Fitting Clothes– Relaxed clothing with no zippers to wear to and home from the hospital.
  • Robe & Pajamas- I will be taking pajama sets that are 1 size bigger than I normally wear. They all have soft waist bands with lots of give.
  • Comfy Slippers/Socks- After surgery you will need them for walking plus hospitals are notorious for being cold.
  • Loose Underwear- I recommend buying either bikini or hi-cuts at least 1 size bigger. Some hospitals give you those stretchy mesh panties. They are wonderful…take as many home as possible.
  • Menstrual Pads- In case there is any post op bleeding. Most hospitals offer them to patients….but just in case take your own.
  • Feminine Hygiene Spray- I am not sure how soon I will get to shower…I prefer to bring this just in case!
  • Deodorant & Body lotion- Your skin can get really dry and itch…try to take something slick and long lasting.
  • Body Wash- In case you are there for a few days & have a shower in your room!
  • Mouthwash, Toothbrush, Tooth Paste, Floss Picks- Floss picks come in handy when your hands are shaky but you have food in your teeth. Traditional string floss can be tricky.
  • Body Spray or Light perfume- Easy way to feel fresh & pretty after surgery. Please keep it light in case a nurse or etc. has an allergy.  
  • Shampoo/Conditioner- If you have a shower in your room and feel up to it. Instead of buying the small travel size get those small clear bottles and use your current product!
  • Comb/Brush- The smaller the better!
  • Hair Ties or Head Bands- You will not want to deal with hair in your face.
  • Facial Cleansing Cloths & Moisturizer- Easiest way to refresh your face without needing a mirror or sink.
  • Chapstick or Vaseline- Your lips will be really dry after surgery!
  • Hand Sanitizer & Wet Wipes- Mostly for any visitors or my partner if she needs to change my bandages or etc.
  • Throat Lozenges- Your throat will be incredibly dry and a bit sore after surgery from the intubation tube.
  • Mints/Gum- Will work wonders for dry mouth and nausea if you have any!
  • Nail Clippers, Nail File, Nail Polish- Since you cannot wear polish into surgery I find that painting your nails after surgery is a great way to peep yourself up. Yellow is always a great color choice!
  • Ear Plugs & Eye Mask- If you will not have a private room these will be your best friend.
  • A small soft pillow- For the car ride home. Put it in between you and the seat belt to protect your wounds. Also will come in handy of the pillows provided aren’t very comfy.
  • Light Weight Blanket- In case you are cold and want something from home to comfort you.
  • Magazines, Books or Puzzles Books- You may be waiting before going back & get bored. They also come in handy for your family/friends that will be waiting during your surgery.
  • Phone, Tablet, Chargers- I will need these for updating my fellow Endo Warriors! Also create a soothing playlist of music before surgery to relax you!
  • Camera, Charger- If you would like to document your surgery!
  • Medical Records, Insurance Card, ID, SS Card- These are a must!
  • Emergency Contact list- If you are traveling without your closest relatives this may come in handy. Just in case!
  • Medication/Allergy List- In case you are too sedated and the nurses may need to give you a new medicine. It is good to have a current list as well as things you are allergic to.
  • Pre Op Forms/Hospital Registration Forms- Cannot forget these!

Those of you traveling out-of-state please consider bringing the following:

  • Food & Drink– It may be less expensive to bring these in than to buy once at your hotel or etc.
  • Hot/Cold Packs/Cooler– To keep foods cold while driving. Cold packs are also great if you have swelling in your joints.
  • Allergy Meds– In case you run into pollen or etc on your drive. Pollen levels are different in various states.
  • Pain Meds– Fill them in advance in case your pharmacy isn’t out of state or you have pain on the drive.
  • First Aid kit– In case you get in minor burns or scraps.
  • Razor & Shave Cream– To prep before surgery!

I hope this helps you to prepare for your surgery! I know it can be overwhelming to go through surgery as it is without the stress of packing. Hopefully having your bag packed and ready to go will free up some anxiety and allow you to focus on more important tasks.

What are you hospital bag must haves?

My Endo Journey begins: 30 days out til surgery!

Today June 13, 2013 marks 4 weeks until my excision surgery! I am exactly 30 days out from surgery!

I had not idea time would start to fly like this. I am glad that I have OCD and started prepping as soon as I did. I am extremely  happy to say I have absolutely nothing left on my Pre/Post Op Surgery list!  My hospital bag is already packed and my home care supplies have been set up. I will do a blog post soon with my recommendations for your hospital bag and home care supplies. I will also be doing a post with tips on the bowel prep & post op ailments that can happen once you are home.

On another note….I logged in today to find my last post was 7 days ago…I didn’t even realize that. Crazy thing about having Endometriosis is that life can change in seconds! My pain went from moderate to intense in a matter of hours! I pretty much sat in bed for 6 days straight except to go to the restroom or eat. My partner has been working overtime to save a few bucks just in case any other bills/emergencies come up before or after surgery. I realize I am really lucky to have her support.

Only issue we are dealing with now is trying to figure out my sleeping arrangements prior to surgery. We don’t own a recliner and our futon is way to firm and low to use as an option. Our current bed is a full and very hard with broken springs. She is also a wild sleeper so there isn’t much room for someone with stitches to recover LOL. I would not want to be sleeping and to be jolted by a knee or elbow. In order to prevent this very possible disaster we want to get a queen bed. We had saved for a queen size memory foam bed but that money has had to go else where. That leaves us with 30 days to figure out where I will sleep.

I also just realized that my ID expired June 30th and I have to get a new one. I have 30 days to do so for surgery but 20 before I need it for a FNA(Fine Needle Aspiration) of my Thyroid on August 2nd. I am starting to stress a bit and worry but I know it will all work out!  I am sure it will all get done…I am making it a priority starting next Monday.

I am so excited for my new life….new me will be born on August 12th 2013.

My Endo Journey begins: 45 days out til surgery!

Today is now June 27, 2013 which marks 45 days until surgery. So much took place yesterday mostly all emotional! I had a lot of pain & a few more things to purchase off of my Pre/Post Op Surgery list. I ended up getting some free Anti Gas pills from Walgreens so that has been checked off as well!

NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!!! The good news is that my surgery & all procedures are now 100% covered! I am having a TOP surgeon at a TOP hospital perform surgery at no cost. I am so freaking excited and so grateful I could cry. Heck I almost did when I opened the letter from the Financial assistance department last night!

The fact that I would never otherwise be able to afford this is a blessing on its own. But this surgery could mean that I may never have another Endo episode in my life time. This surgery could be my freedom to be able to leave my house & not have to be bed ridden for days at a time. This can also mean that I can go back to work & do what I love again! It can mean that the financial & emotional stress in my life can be lessened! It could mean that my partner & I can go on dates again…you have no idea how much I miss dancing! : )

But also yesterday was really rough for me & my body. I woke up about 10 am and made breakfast for Christina(my partner) and I. Immediately after eating and taking my estrogen pill I got the WORST sharp stabbing pains in my left side. Kinda like someone was trying to pull out my ovary. Yes I know that sounds so lovely right?! But that is the best way I can describe it. I tried using my best friend….Mr. Heating Pad but no relief. I tried walking around and doing deep breaths…no relief. Finally after 43 days of no pain killers I had to take 2 Tylenol #3 to get the pain to stop. Even then the pain was only lessened and turned to a deep ache instead.

I am starting to think the estrogen pills to stop the Depo Provera bleeding has now increased my Endo & let it spread. I am sure they are in there having a ball & throwing parties now that they have a new supply of estrogen to eat & grow off of. I have about 8 more pills to take and I am hoping the increased pain subsides a bit but I would love if it stopped all together too!  I am doing much better today but I have not taken my estrogen yet so I am not sure what the day will end up being like.

I am counting the seconds until my surgery & the hopes that this will no longer be my life!

Anyone else experience increased pain on estrogen- Estradiol 1 mg? Did the pain decrease/stop after your last pill? I would love to hear your feed back!