There are things you can control, and there are things you can't. Tackling the things you can control ahead of your laparoscopy for endometriosis will set you up to spend your post-surgery time healing. A few simple things will maximize coziness, ease and recovery.
This guide is all about setting yourself up for success. Obviously you don't have to do any of this for your surgery to remove your endo. They will complete the excision with or without you doing a single thing on this list. This is about making it as easy on yourself as possible and promoting a calm recovery.
This also doesn't need to take up all of your time and money. I had a work trip the weekend before surgery, and moved from LA to Chicago the weekend before that. For those reasons, I was really committed to slowing down so that I could let me body heal.
This is not minor surgery. Sure, the American health system sets it up as outpatient surgery, but I was told not to lift anything over 10 pounds for three weeks. I took one week completely off work, then worked from home for an additional week. The work from home week was also very light, and I set expectations with my team that I was having surgery and would be unreachable until I wasn't.
All that to say, treat your body with some respect. No matter what amount of time you have, indulge your body in serious care.
Recovery Setup at Home
I watched a ton of videos and read a lots of blogs on endometriosis lap surgery and came up with a list of things that sounded ideal to me for recovery. You might not identify with stuff on this list and that's fine, use it as an idea generator to create your ultimate recovery setup. I used Amazon links when possible to try to give you a one-stop shop option.
1. Set up "nests".
For me, the biggest thing was creating my "nests" in different rooms. I wanted to be able to go into any room in the house and have all my essentials already there. I had plastic containers – some from the Container Store and some from the Dollar Store – set up in my bedroom, the guest bedroom, my living room and the bathroom. Linked here is my favorite container. Inside each was some combo of the following:
2. Have recovery clothes set aside.
Post-surgery, you won't want anything to touch your stomach and unfortunately, waistbands hit right around the incision points. Some people are allegedly back in jeans within a day or two, but I'm not about that. For a week, I lived in night gowns, baggy shirts and sleep shorts from Target's Gilligan O'Malley line. They don't sell that brand anymore, but they have another line of super soft sleep shorts that's also great. I set up a laundry basket filled with my "recovery outfits" and anytime I needed to change, my husband could just grab the basket and let me pick what I wanted.
3. Invest in some period underwear.
I bought several pairs of Thinx and used them during the first few days of surgery recovery, when I was bleeding. They are comfortable, sustainable and can be used after surgery during your regular cycle. I'm a really big fan of this company and I love their product. Check them out here. (I don't have a referral code, but lots of people do, so look online for discounts before you buy.)
4. Stock the kitchen with "sick day" treats.
I haven't been laid up for a week since I got strep as a kid, so I leaned into it. Really, I'll take any opportunity to get back into popsicles. My freezer was stocked with these endo friendly, no-sugar-added, delights: Outshine Fruit Bars. I also had eggs, oatmeal, soup and peppermint tea at the ready. RXBAR started making a protein-infused instant oatmeal that I definitely would've been going to town on if it existed. Here's the link to the apple cinnamon flavor, but there are others.
If you have friends and family that want to help, having them bring food is a great way to get them involved and support your recovery. Just make sure you are clear with what you can eat.
5. Clean the house before surgery.
The hardest thing for me to do post-excision? Vacuum. Something about that motion and your abdominals is impossible right after surgery. If you can't do anything else on this list, I'd clean your place up. Having fresh sheets, clean bathrooms and a lack of clutter made things calm and cheery. I would not recommend starting the Marie Kondo method for the first time, but clear all the surfaces and give your place a deep scrub.
Other, Miscellaneous Tips:
Plan to get better.
Plan to take care of yourself.
Plan for a non-linear healing journey.