Having laparoscopic surgery to diagnose and/or remove endometriosis?
Here is my single most critical piece of advice. The thing that, a full year later, I am so grateful I did.
After surgery, you will be coming off of anesthesia and thus retaining very little information. Your surgeon on the other hand – not coming off of amnesia – will be ready to report what she or he found. They will likely go to the waiting room to meet whoever you brought with to the hospital and if you've given permission, they will update them on what was found.
Get a recording of that conversation!
You will be able to hear, directly from your surgeon's mouth, what happened. And you don't have to wait several weeks for your post-op appointment.
I watched my video on surgery day, once I was home for the hospital. It was such a relief to get all that information the same day and be able to process it privately. Rest assured, you will get this information eventually, but if you miss the summary on the day of surgery you will have to wait until your follow up appointment with the surgeon which could be weeks later.
The other big reason to tape this is because the telephone game, played by by non-medical professionals (aka friends and family) does not end well. They might be scared or nervous and just listening for "she's doing great!" They also probably haven't researched endo as much as you have, so what might seem like nothing to them, could be really critical info to you. Further, having the surgeon record their summary, takes the pressure off your family to remember every single thing and gives them the chance to just listen and learn.
This video will be invaluable in the days, weeks and months after surgery (I've rewatched mine at least a dozen times) and you only need a smartphone to make it happen.
This should be an easy ask.
If your doctor does not want to be recorded giving a summary of your surgery, they are not a good doctor. Plain and simple. The thing about women's health, is sometimes we get bad doctors. You want to know what kind of doctor you have before surgery day.
During our pre-op meeting, my surgeon was excited when I asked about a video and told me how he likes to do his recordings. He elevated what I was planning on getting and I'm so grateful. I have a blog all about what to ask in that pre-op appointment here.
There's lots of different ways to record this summary. I've outlined three below.
#1 The ideal option: video, with surgical images, narrated by the surgeon
In this video, your surgeon will take the cell phone in their hand, start a video recording and have the camera pointed at the table where they have printed out images from your surgery. Then, they offer commentary for each image. My surgeon does this for all of his surgeries so he was totally ready for it and very smooth, but someone else can absolutely hold the phone to get the video for your surgeon.
Here's a clip from my surgery recap video.
Note: there are surgical images in this video so be prepared. I've also zoomed in to protect my privacy since personal information was printed on the surgical photo sheets.
Here's another example with someone holding the phone for the surgeon. This video comes from Grizzle Growth. I found Jolene's videos so helpful before I had surgery.
#2 A very decent option: recording of your surgeon's voice (face optional) summarizing the surgery
It's 2020 so you should have access to surgical photos, however, if for some reason you can't, getting the play by play from the surgeon is still great. If being ON camera makes them uncomfortable, they can record a voice memo or heck, even a video of the floor. For best audio quality you'll want your surgeon to hold the camera.
#3 The grab-and-go option: recording of surgeon's voice by someone in the room
Let's start the breakdown of this option by saying, it is not unreasonable in ANY WAY to record a summary about what was done to your body by a surgeon. If during the pre-op appointment your doctor balked at the idea, find an advocate in your family or friends and have them come to surgery. This person can casually take a video of the floor while the surgeon is talking. They don't need to make it super obvious, or announce that it is happening. It should not come to this, but get your recording however you have to.
And just like that, you have your health information at your fingertips, with same-day delivery! You can play this video for your gynecologist, physical therapist or anyone else that's interested.
TEMPLATE: Asking Family/Friends to Get Your Endo Surgery Summary Video
As you know I have laparoscopic surgery on [DATE]. I would like for you to come and be my advocate. Specifically, I want to get a recording of the surgeon giving a summary after surgery. I've already talked to my surgeon and they know I want this. I need you to hand him/her your phone, get the recording, then text it to me. This is really, really important to me. So let me know if you don't feel comfortable doing this.
To give you a heads up for what to expect:
So, does that sound like something you can do?
Share your knowledge!
Let me know in the comments if you used this tip. Also reach out if you have any questions.