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1554508 tn?1294345138

Exercise, cooking & sexual activity after vertical laparotomy?

Hi all,

I am new to this forum and this is my first post. It has been two weeks since the emergency surgery taking out my ovary and a big old fallopian cyst (5 inches, 1 liter!) and I have a lot of questions about recovery. Whenever I go for followup the doctor is in such a hurry that I don't get to ask much.

The surgery was a vertical incision starting below my belly button and going down into my pubic area. After 2 weeks I am almost off the Vicodin (2.5 mg) and not feeling too bad, but what I am really wondering about is the limits my doctors put on activity.

Can any of you tell me how you phased back in some physical activity / exercise over your recovery period? Before the surgery I usually did abdominal exercises, stretching, daily walks, and swimming. I figure the abdominal exercises are out for now, and so is the swimming. The doctor said I can go for some longer walks as more weeks go by, but didn't really say how long, so I am not sure.

The doctor said I can't have intercourse until the 6 weeks is over. That's fine, but the doctor also said I can't even have an orgasm for 6 weeks. I feel a little awkward talking to my (male) doctor about this, but I usually have orgasms in my sleep, about once every other week. Not since the surgery, but if it happens I really can't help it. Aside from that, I would sort of like to be able to masturbate since it relieves some of the tension and sadness about all this. It seems a little weird that this would be a restricted activity. Is that normal for this kind of surgery recovery? I can't help thinking that no doctor would ever try to tell a man he couldn't masturbate for six weeks.

Next question: They put me on 15 pound lifting limit. Still, I've been making my own meals.  I don't really have someone who can be at my constant beck and call, and I like to eat a lot of fresh vegetables and whole grains so it takes a lot of chopping and steaming. It also involves lifting a couple pounds at a time and standing in the kitchen for 30-60 minutes. I don't lift heavy pans or cutting boards. Does this sound like okay activity? I am scared of not healing right, but part of healing is eating well too I think.

I would welcome any other advice about the recovery process too. Thanks for being here on this forum, I have so many questions and nobody to ask.
2 Responses
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225036 tn?1294509400
Hi and welcome to the forum.  I'm glad to see that you are recovering nicely.  This type of surgery can take from 6-8 week up to a year to completely heal from.  I will try to answer your questions as best I can.

1.  You should not do more than walk for the first 6 weeks.  Walking is very good to help rid your body of the gas that was used during surgery and to help keep blood clots away.  I don't think that doing any stretching, swimming, abdominal, aerobic, or weight lifting until your doctor gives you the all clear.  Keep in mind that it takes longer for your body to heal on the inside than it does on the outside.  So please give your body at least 6 weeks to heal before you start to exercise.  Walk as much as your body will allow. You will know if you have done too much activity.  Your body will definitely tell you if you have overdone it.  

2.  You should not have sex for at least 6 weeks.  Again, it takes at least 6 weeks for your body to heal.  You don't want to end up back in surgery again.  I have always been told nothing inside the vagina for 6 weeks or until the doctor gives the all clear.  I have never heard of no orgasms before.  I would not masturbate either unless you talk to your doctor first.  If you are uncomfortable talking to your male doctor, you could always call and talk to the nurse.  

3.  You are luck to get a 15 pound weight limit. I was always told nothing heavier than a gallon of milk.  I think that cooking is ok as long as you are not lifting anything too heavy or bending a lot.  You could always sit down at the table to chop or stem your vegetables.  Just keep bending and lifting to a minimum.  

I hope i have answered some of your questions.  Just because we feel good on the outside, doesn't mean that your body has healed on the inside.  Please give yourself plenty of time to heal.  

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Avatar universal
I was given a 5 pound weight limit and my body instantly told me something was too heavy by the painful tug I felt in the surgery area.  I did pretty much nothing for 6 weeks while my husband cooked and I supervised or lightly assisted. Returned to work at 6 weeks and it was hard to get through the day for week 7 and 8. Even after that my movements were restricted. Fast walking still hurt until 8 or 9 weeks and heavier lifting was still difficult. Then my employer laid me off at 10 weeks, the uncompassionate idiot.

This is major surgery and it is better to sacrifice life's routines for a few weeks and heal properly than to suffer a lifetime of regret and pain for not following directions. You cannot control what occurs in your sleep but you can control everything else.
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