So, I have a hernia, an incisional hernia that burst through my former Open Roux en Y Gastric Bypass (which was in 2001) scar. The outer scar goes from just above my belly button to about 3 inches below my sternum. The hernia, an opening in the layers of my abdomen, is small, about 2 inches in diameter, but when I saw the surgeon, she said she’d rather see humongous ones than small ones because small ones can constrict more than large ones. Great, of course I get a small one.
I sat up in bed and the hernia burst through the tissues and I was in enormous pain. It took all day to get the intestine back into my abdominal wall, but I finally did. If they stay out and constrict, it’s emergency surgery time. I didn’t/don’t want that!
I spent the time waiting to see the surgeon sitting still. Thank goodness I had no babies due. The hernia only popped out one more time, but I was able to get it back inside my belly without a problem.
I saw the surgeon last week and she was awesome. She explained the whole hernia experience to me, what happened, what’s coming down the pike (surgery) and recovery after surgery.
Regarding surgery, before I saw the doc, I’d gone online and checked out surgeons’ sites and saw that almost all of them required their hernia patients to have a BMI of 30 or less. Oh, criminy. That would be about 130 pounds from now! While I am on the Eat to Live Diet Plan, I just don’t think I can wait to lose 130 pounds before I have surgery. They do that so they can do the surgery with a laparoscope instead of an open procedure (with a long incision). The more incisions you have in your belly, they more complicated your insides become… adhesions and more possibilities for incisional hernias. This doc was great and told me that even if I didn’t lose any more weight than the 20 I’ve already lost, she would still be able to do the surgery laparoscopically. There would always be the risk of having to revert to an open surgery, but she felt comfortable with the laparoscope. Even so, it’s best if I lose some weight, so we put the surgery off ‘til June, so I can try to lose about 40-50 more pounds. (Wouldn’t that be awesome? Sounds great to me!) I want the surgery to be as safe as possible.
So, what about working? I have one client due now and will attend her birth, but I am having to pass off the rest of my spring and summer clients. Bummer all around. I have a binder to hold in the hernia as I do the upcoming birth, but the surgeon told me that binders don’t always work, so no lifting anything above ten pounds until surgery. Afterwards, no lifting anything more than twenty pounds for six weeks. That’s a long time! I’ll have to be creative at the upcoming birth. I can do it, though.
I did really well not getting a hernia after the gastric bypass. About 50%-70% of patients get one within the first couple of years post-open gastric bypass. I went 12 years! Pretty good.
Now, the goal is to keep the hernia inside as much as possible so I don’t have to have an emergency surgery between now and June.
During the surgery, the doc will put a large mesh over the hole in my abdominal wall and she’ll staple it there. I might feel the staples until they disappear (3 months or so post-op). It’s outpatient surgery, too, so that’s great. She said I’d feel like crap for a few days, but then will feel fine unless the staples hurt on the inside, which is rare. We talked about the risk of a seroma and she told me if I get one to NOT let anyone try and reduce it with a needle, to just let it disappear on its own. She said the needle, no matter how sterile, introduces bacteria into the mesh and the mesh gets infected most of the time and that’s a huge mess if that happens. No aspiration of seroma; check.
Otherwise, everything sounds surgery-straightforward. I just need to keep myself as safe as possible during the surgery.
Isn’t this fun?