OTC Pain meds - Tylenol, Tylenol PM (no NSAIDS before surgery!)
Allergy Meds - Benedryl, Clariton, inhalers (be aware of different climates and pollen levels!)
Tummy meds (for prep, and post-op nausea) - Antacids, gas relief, anti-nausea, fiber, peppermint tea
Vitamins and herbal supplements
Narcotic pain meds - I got mine from my PCP before I left, just to be sure I would have them
Sore throat relief (breathing tube irritation) - cough drops, chloraseptic spray, tea with honey
Tushy care (for your bowel prep) - Desitin, moist wipes
Pill cutter - sometimes you don't need a whole pain pill :)
Thermometer - to monitor for post-op fevers, or if you're trying to conceive, like me, and are still charting your basal body temperature
Heating pad - the Endo Patient's best friend! I use it on my neck to help me relax and fall asleep naturally. You'll want to avoid using this during your first few days of recovery, however, so that you do not damage the delicate tissue during recovery. You can purchase one of our natural heating pads, for which $1 of each is donated to excision surgery fundraisers, from our Etsy Shop!
Miracle Balls - recommended by my physical therapist, these work like acupressure to release tense muscles
Hospital pads (for heavy bleeding, I had these left over from my cyst rupture)
Gauze pads for cleaning your incisions, and to absorb any drainage (I had a lot from my belly button). You may also want someone to help you the first time you change the dressing...I nearly fainted!
Breathable adhesive gauze pads, which I found to be the best for covering my incisions! The larger size is best for the belly button incision. Your incisions need to be covered to be kept clean and prevent infection, but they also need to have air to dry out. The adhesive gauze pads, with an extra gauze pad underneath, work very well.
Smaller sized adhesive breathable gauze pads - for smaller incisions
First aid kit
Face wash, moisturizers
Make-up and remover
Shaving cream and razors
Bikini trimmer (to make post-op bleeding a little easier, a trim goes a long way)
Brush and comb
Deodorant, body spray
Here are some other items to pack and tips that may make your trip even easier:
- You will also want to pack long, flowy dresses, which are the most comfortable when your belly is bloated and tender.
- Entertainment: don't forget to pack/load your tablet or laptop with a great playlist of relaxing music (I use my meditating music on Spotify), and some digital copies of your favorite movies!
- Reading materials! I brought my iPad with my Kindle app, along with books a friend let me borrow.
- Medical records pertaining to pelvic pain, including any imaging. Mine actually filled an entire binder! You will also want to have any color photos of previous laparoscopic surgeries, which will help your surgeon, in conjunction with your medical records, lab-work, and exam. I highly suggest that you order your FULL medical records and read through them thoroughly! You should be an expert on the subject of your body! I was shocked by some of the things I learned. I had no idea that my first documented ovarian cyst was complex, which could have been an endometrioma (it just so happened that my 7cm endometrioma and my most recent complex cyst were on my left ovary). I think it is invaluable to also know what your doctors are putting in your permanent files. I learned that a psychiatrist I saw at a pain management clinic before my diagnosis wrote that my pain was likely psychosomatic (or "in my head"), and that I should be reevaluated before given prescription pain medication (a very common and disrespectful dismissal of endometriosis patients complaints of chronic pain). Knowing all about your medical history and having it in writing will help you to advocate for proper, respectful treatment of your disease.
- One great thing we encountered upon our arrival at our hotel was that when we mentioned that I am having abdominal surgery, and staying for a week recovering, our hotel offered the use of a mini-fridge and a wheelchair for free!
- Another great tip is if you qualify as an elite member, either through personal or business travel, some hotels offer an executive lounge where you can find complimentary coffee, tea, cookies, toast, jams, honey, sodas, and other treats. You might also consider getting a room in a hotel that offers a complimentary breakfast. You may be staying a while, and any way to eat for cheap, or better yet, FREE, will help defray the cost of traveling for great surgical care.
- I am on an anti-inflammatory diet (no gluten, soy, dairy), but I hold off during my prep. As I learned during my bowel prep for my colonoscopy (which went very smoothly), eating low fiber foods and mostly liquids will help make the bowel prep much easier. I prepared last time by only eating applesauce, yogurt, cheese, eggs, white bread, butter, and honey about 4 days before my prep. 2 days before my prep, I ate only clear liquids, such as broth, jello, popsicles, and juice (especially Gatorade). Please consult with your physician about what they recommend to make your prep go smoothly, and also check with your physician before making any dietary changes.
- Finally, we brought a memory foam mattress topper, since hotel beds tend to be stiff, and for me, uncomfortable. We bought a cheap body pillow and asked for extra hotel pillows to put on either side of me during recovery. I found that propping my body on both sides kept me from tensing my sore abdominal muscles, which caused more pain. Your recovery period will go quicker (and thus, traveling home will be easier!) if you get up every 2 hours and move around a little bit. This can also help with the gas pains, caused by the gas they use to inflate your belly.
- Here are some items that fellow endo patients have found useful during while preparing for their surgeries:
pillows, small blankets
ice pack and cooler (if traveling by car)
books/laptop/activities such as Sudoku or journal
Gas-X and stool softener
Throat lozenges, cepacol, products containing benzocaine
Ginger and peppermint tea for gas pain
Bible, faith, trust, and prayer
Thermos of organic tea and raw honey
Organic biscuits, green powder for nutrients, nutrition supplements
Aromatherapy, music, compression socks
I hope these tips will help you prepare for your surgery, and help relieve some of the stress of packing. If you have tips to share, post them in the comments!