Chronic Pain, Disability, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, health

Weeks 4-6 Post-Op

Disclaimer: This post is part of a Surgery Recovery Diary and therefore there are some graphic photos included (including photos of needles).

This week’s post is a 3 for 1, which means I am officially up to date with my recovery diary (no, I never thought it would happen either…). The last 3 weeks have been full of ups and downs, which I guess is all part of the process (not that it made the downs any easier to cope with). 

So… let’s review the last 3 weeks, shall we?

Week 4 Post-Op

Sunday 11th October (Day 22) to Saturday 17th October (Day 28)

Week 4 was a pretty average week in terms of recovery, there were no major setbacks but there were definitely challenges, which halted the progress I wanted to make (I’ve had to remind myself numerous times that this is a marathon and not a sprint…).

Progress:

  • I was able to start spending more time downstairs than in bed, which was a lovely change and meant I could spend more time with Mum.
  • Got started on a new pain medication regime by my GP to start slowly reducing my morphine doses. 
  • The swelling in my knee started to almost completely disappear, making it much easier to move. 
  • I got to have my first bath post-surgery, well sort of… I managed to sit on a bath stool with my legs in the water, but I managed to get in and out without injuring myself so I’m calling that progress.
  • I left the house again (this time to accompany Mum to her appointment), well I went from the house to the car (I stayed in the car the whole time) and that was it but it was enough to make me feel like I had a tiny bit of normality again.

Challenges:

  • I still could not fall asleep before 1/2am so I spent most of the week feeling like a zombie.
  • Although I managed to spend more time downstairs, I wasn’t able to sit at the table for more than 30 minutes without searing pain in my knee.
  • My skin officially decided to reject the brace and the dressings that were on it for so long and decided to break out into a huge reaction next to my scar
  • I managed to get a loose stitch at the top of my scar, cue me nervously attempting to trim it with a pair of nail scissors (yes, I know I probably shouldn’t have, but the thought of it catching on something and opening my incision back up was enough to make me feel physically ill).

Week 5 Post-Op

Sunday 18th October (Day 29) to Saturday 24th October (Day 35)

I won’t lie, week 5 was pretty horrendous and was full of mostly challenges and setbacks. I spent the majority of the last 3 days in bed refusing to move due to being fed up with the setbacks. 

Progress:

  • On Tuesday it was time to increase the flexion on my brace from 0-30° to 0-60°, it was not a pleasant experience but I did it and it was the start of getting back on my feet (or so I thought…).
  • After having my first (kind of) bath the week before, I managed to have an (almost) proper bath (if having one leg resting on a stool whilst the rest of your body is in the bath counts? I cannot even express how it good it felt to properly lie down in the bath and enjoy a nice bath bomb.

Challenges:

  • Yet another week of not being able to fall asleep before 1/2am…
  • My knee started feeling really unstable and I had 2 moments where I managed to jolt my knee to the point it felt like my kneecap was going to sublux again.
  • Because of the instability and the pain that came with it, I had to decrease the flexion on my brace back to 0-30° as I couldn’t move without pain and panicking that I was going to damage the ligaments again.
  • The big skin reaction that started during week 4 got steadily worse throughout week 5 and more reactions started happening, to the point every morning my skin would be red and itchy.

Week 6 Post-Op

Sunday 25th October (Day 36) to Saturday 31st October (Day 42)

Back to the present day and this week has been mostly positive (finally) and I’m beginning to feel a bit more like myself. 

Progress:

  • I managed to increase the flexion on my brace to 0-60° once again and so far, haven’t had any instability (please cross your fingers that this continues).
  • I’ve been able to bend my knee to 60° without pain.
  • Started being able to get my knee from straight to 60° without using my hands to move my leg.
  • I’ve finally started to slowly regain a bit of strength and walking with my crutches no longer makes me feel like I’m going to black out.
  • After many weeks, I have finally managed to get a full night’s sleep (and fall asleep at a reasonable time). I was beginning to think this day would never come but I am SO glad it has.
  • I’ve managed my first walk/hobble outside, it only lasted 5 minutes but it felt good to get out and start trying to strengthen my quads.
  • This week also saw me learn to properly pace myself for optimum recovery, which has meant lots of trips back to bed to rest in between doing some physio exercises, writing blog posts, attempting to do a little bit of studying and of course watching TV.

Challenges:

  • My scar is healing pretty well but this week it has got to the point where it is really tight and because it’s over the knee joint, it’s beginning to get pretty uncomfortable when I bend my knee. 
  • The biggest challenge of this week by far has been my anti-coagulant injections. I haven’t really spoken much about my injections on this blog but they have definitely been the worst part of this whole recovery. Because I have family history of blood clots, I have to inject myself with anti-coagulants every day for 8 weeks. This week, I have officially started running out of places to inject myself that don’t hurt a ridiculous amount. My tummy is beginning to look like a dot to dot puzzle from all of the attempts to get the needles in.

Just over 2 weeks left until I see Mr M again and I’m doing everything I can to hopefully ensure he has good news for me (fingers crossed please)!

Lauren x 

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