Living with a chronic health condition, you know diligence is key. You also know it’s best to prepare for and try to prevent a complication or flare up rather than react to one. So you need a plan for your upcoming hysterectomy.

It’s a big enough deal to prepare for a hysterectomy under the best of circumstances, but it gets extra complicated if you also live with a chronic health concern. You’ll need to take some precautions. There are some considerations that will need to be made. And you’ll need all of your medical providers to be on board.

While your surgeon may know a bit about your chronic health concern, you probably have a specialist, too, who helps you manage that condition. You also live with it every day and know how you are affected personally. Communication between you, the specialist, and your surgical team is going to be key for making sure everyone is on the same page and things go as well as possible for you.

To help you create a plan of action, here are some important to tips to remember as you prepare for your upcoming hysterectomy.

Be extra diligent in the weeks before your hysterectomy.

Surgery is physically traumatic for everyone, but more so if you have a chronic health condition. Your body is already compromised, so the trauma of surgery has potential to worsen your condition. The better managed it is before surgery, the greater your chance for minimizing problems after surgery.

If you have diabetes, be extra diligent with your blood sugar in the weeks before surgery. If you have fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis (RA), be gentle with your body in the days before surgery, especially if you are asked to stop your pain medications. Eat well, drink plenty of water, practice relaxation techniques, and get some sleep.

Don’t leave your specialist out.

It’s a good idea to sit down with your specialist early in the process of scheduling a hysterectomy. Your specialist may have some recommendations for the type of surgery, anesthesia, and medications that are best or your condition. He can also help you find an alternative management plan if you must stop your maintenance medications in the days before your surgery. Your specialist may also want to change your medications and maintenance plan for recovery.

If possible, schedule your hysterectomy at a facility where your specialist also has privileges. This can allow him to take an active role in your care if necessary.

Your anesthesiologist is critical.

When you have a chronic health condition, your anesthesiologist plays an even bigger role during your surgery. If you have diabetes, he will be monitoring your sugar levels and administering insulin. For painful joint and bone conditions, your anesthesiologist can take special care when positioning your body to minimize post op pain. Neck collars, placement of the IV, and positioning can all help with inadvertent movements you may make while under anesthesia that could lead to extra pain for you. Your anesthesiologist can also adjust medications and anesthesia before and during surgery to better suit your diagnosis.

If possible, schedule an appointment to meet with your anesthesiologist prior to the day of surgery. This will allow you to have the time to be able to explain your situation so he can create the best anesthesia plan for you.

Don’t assume – make sure everyone really understands your situation.

You know from living with a chronic health condition that things can get complicated and there’s a lot involved. That’s why you have a specialist. So don’t assume that everyone on your surgical team will know how to handle your situation. Yes, many doctors and nurses know a bit about all kinds of health conditions, including diabetes, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis, various heart conditions, and more. But most of the people who will be part of your surgical team will not be specialist in any of those areas.

To make sure you are taken care of as well as possible and your surgery plan is the right one for you, talk with all of the critical people who are scheduling procedures and making decisions about your care. You want them to be aware of your diagnosis so the best plans can be made for you. For example, if you have diabetes, it’s important that you have surgery as early as possible, so make sure the scheduler has been given that information. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, so share and share and share some more so you are well taken care of.

This content was written by staff of by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: 4 Tips for Preparing for Surgery with a Chronic Health Issue



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