I spent much of 2013 trying to figure out why I had unintentional weight loss and digestive issues. In November, after a pretty stubborn bout with constipation, I went in for surgery for an umbilical hernia. It was a laproscopic surgery so the Dr. could take a better look inside to see if anything else was going on. My husband prayed with me before I went into surgery that if there was anything hidden it would be revealed. The surgeon discovered another hernia called a spigelian hernia. After resting a few days I got online to research this rare hernia. I found very little information on it. Most of it was to doctors on how to treat patients with the spigelian hernia. None of it was about what to expect in recovery from surgery. That is why I’m writing this. I want to tell how recovery went for me in hopes that someone else can know what is normal. Of course this is not medical advice. Just my experience in hopes to help anyone else finding themselves in a similar situation.
From what I’ve researched the Spigelian hernia is rare, found in less then 2% of people. These kind of hernias are found in the muscle wall usually on the right side. Mine was on the left. If left untreated the hernia can strangulate the bowels or intestines and damage the organs around it. This breakdown had already started in my body. The Dr. said my skin was aging. He was a little surprised to see that in someone my age. When he tried to attach the mesh to my skin it was to fragile to hold so he had to use tacks. The Dr. believes that this hernia has been my problem. It was strangulating my bowels and intestines so I had a hard time digesting food. He also discovered my bowels did not have a smooth path like most have. Mine had scar tissue that caused some turns that caused me to have constipation. He scrapped away some of the scar tissue to open up my bowels.
Mesh was put in under my bellybutton where my umbilical hernia was and on my left side where the spigelian hernia had been to prevent them from reoccurring. I couldn’t tell where the mesh was for the spigelian hernia in the first few weeks but I could feel the mesh under my bellybutton. It was like a piece of stiff cardboard that didn’t flow with my body. It felt restrictive. After 3-5 days the mesh didn’t feel as stiff and I could move better. It took almost a full 2 weeks before I could laugh, sneeze or cough without it hurting where the mesh was under my navel.
Doctors orders were for me to rest for two weeks. I was not allowed to lift much. I don’t remember the lift limit right now but I couldn’t lift my 2yr old son. I was told to take it easy. He really stressed the importance of not overdoing it so I could give the mesh time to take hold in my body. It wasn’t difficult taking it easy for two weeks. I was not feeling up to myself. My energy was low and I got tired easy. It hurt to do much. I wasn’t expecting how much the surgery took out of me, so that was a little frustrating. We are used to a fast paced world but in reality you really do need to give your body time to heal. That was a hard lesson for me to learn. Especially when I went back to the Dr. after two weeks and he told me to wait another week before doing anything. He was just surprised how weak the skin in my body was, especially for being in my mid-thirties, and wanted me to have time to heal.
After surgery the Dr. didn’t want me straining to go to the bathroom so he told me to take colace. I was more faithful at taking it the first week but slacked off after that. At the two week check-up the Dr. told me to take it every day for at least a month. I needed to give my body time to retrain itself on what to do. It did help.
After my three weeks of resting were up, I was mentally ready to go. It was Christmas time and I was ready to get back to being healthy and living life. So I went Christmas shopping both Saturday and Sunday for several hours. Then went home and wrapped gifts for about an hour each day. I was in PAIN that next week. Oh man!! My left side hurt so bad. I figured I would have some pain but I didn’t think that much was normal so I went back to see my Dr. to make sure I didn’t mess anything up in there. Thankfully I didn’t mess up anything. The Dr. said if the mesh on my side had come unattached I would notice a bulge on my side. He said my body was still adjusting because he did a lot of work in there. He also said it would take awhile for my body to be strong again. Possible 8weeks or even three months.
I ended up taking it easy for about six weeks. I was putt-in around the house but didn’t do to much at once. I learned my lesson from the Christmas shopping experience. It was actually a very peaceful time. I have four children 11 years old and under so peace and rest was totally from God. Friends and family helped with the kids and with meals. My husband was absolutely awesome at helping me through all of this. I got things done I’ve been sitting on like sewing up holes in my kids clothes and stuffed animals. After six weeks life returned to normal pretty well. I just had to know my limits and work my way up to being as strong as I was.
Since my skin on the inside of my body was fragile it wouldn’t hold a stitch to hold the mesh so tacks were put in instead of stitches. I was told the tacks would dissolve in 3 to 4 months. The one put into my hip bone bothered me for 4 to 6 weeks. I am now about a week short of 3 months after surgery. The tack in my hip doesn’t bother me anymore but there is also one by my bellybutton that does bother me from time to time. I also only take the colace occasionally when needed.
I’m very happy to say the surgery worked. Not only is food flowing through my body like it should but I believe I‘m getting more nutrients from my food because I have finally started gaining back my lost weight. Only about five pounds since the surgery but it‘s a good sign. I haven’t been able to gain anything for a little over two years.
I am SO glad the Spigelian hernia was found. It was truly an answer to prayer. Many prayers! The surgery took more out of me then I thought but I’m so glad I had it done. All praise goes to the Lord. I know that I know, that God was guiding the young surgeon. After surgery I found a picture online called the Chief of the Medical Staff. It’s a picture of a medical staff working on someone in an operating room and Jesus is standing right next to the surgeon guiding him. I just know that was what was happening when I was in surgery.
To anyone who has gone through this surgery or is about to I would say it was worth it for me but be patient and give your body time to heal. Put your daily tasks aside for a little while. It will be well worth it after all is said and done.