Warning – Post-Op Images Shared!
So, my latest surgery was on May 11, 2022.
See my previous post about being 3 months post-op and needing another surgery – Slipping Rib Syndrome – 3 Months Post-Op and Scheduled for Another Surgery.
This procedure was my 7th thoracic surgery and my 3rd with Dr. Hansen.
All went well and my new absorbable plate is in place where it should be. It should dissolve in the next 2 years.
Once inside my chest wall, Dr. H noted that my 9th rib was where he last put it but the sutures had come loose – my 10th wiggled its way out again. My 9th had almost grafted itself back in place, which is good news! All sutures from 10 were removed and everything was put back in its place.
Dr. H has learned that the ribs are finicky (especially mine it seems) and they want to be where they want to be – so this revision was slightly different than the last – giving my 10th rib some stability but also letting it lie where it wants to. Dr. Hansen was honest with me too, letting me know that revision #2 was not the best plan in hindsight but this Slipping Rib stuff is relatively new and it’s so unknown, that it is a learning process for all of us.
So, we fixed my 10th, removing small portions of the cartilage tips to use as buffers in between the ribs (think toe separators), and plated my 10th, 9th, and 8th in place. We used a previous incision so no new abdominal scars for me.
My hand veins got blown out though, with red marks and bruising along my xiphoid process and my underarms, but otherwise the same as each surgery.
I felt sore but I felt less sore than last time – we didn’t puncture my lung this go around! I did get pretty sick the first night with my Clindamycin and ended up vomiting what little food I could stomach. Those antibiotics hate my stomach and my IBD and it doesn’t help that I have to take my Stelara late – I take it 2 weeks late so as not to bring my immune system down right before surgery.
But, I’m on the mend, it could be worse, and, I was happy to head home after my follow-up with Dr. H. 🍀🤞
One Week Post-Op
Day 8 post-op and I had made it past the one-week mark.
The first few days had been uneventful – I was unable to drive still so I had been staying home and taking it easy. I am slowly getting off the pain meds and only taking them at night now.
I attempted to make dinner and dessert for the first time since I had been back and all went well. Yay for moving and doing basic things! 🥳
I had been having issues sleeping, as always. I find myself tossing at night and turning to sleep on my side – which makes me wake up in pain.
My herniated disc in my neck hasn’t been helpful either – the past few weeks I have woken up with neck pain so bad that I can’t turn my head.
I did reach out to primary care to try and get another appointment with my chiropractor before surgery – they told me not to see a chiropractor for my herniated disc – but yet they had me go 20+ days in a row last fall for this exact issue. 🤦♀️
I do have a pending referral for neck surgery but that has taken the back burner to my latest rib surgery and I want an outside surgeon, not a VA surgeon. We all know my failed surgical history there – I mean, 4 failed rib surgeries AND 3 surgeries on my left hand to remove a painful ganglion cyst that is still there today.
I have attempted to drive a few times – 3 miles each way. The last time I had surgery and was driving at 2 weeks post-op, but this time I needed more time – and I’m restless. It was not fun and my ribs hurt the whole drive even with my rib brace on. But, I got free coffee and that always makes my day better.
At 8 days post-op, I was also a week late for my next Stelara dose. I had to wait until the following Wednesday for my shot and my body knows I’ve gone without it. I can usually tell a difference 2 weeks before my medication, so waiting another 2 weeks makes a difference for my Crohn’s disease.
Otherwise, my world had been boring for the first 8 days post-op – and that’s fine by me. I’m trying to heal and the rib swelling was going down slower than usual but I’m okay.
Day 12 Post-Op
Day 12 Post-Op and my incision was trying to heal. A corner of my incision where the glue came off had opened back up.
This area had been puffy and swollen where the hematoma was, and my tank top must have rubbed on it because the open corner started draining. And when I say draining, it was like a faucet I couldn’t turn off – and my side poured out about a half-pint of black tar-colored blood and pus. I know, TMI.
I called Dr. Hansen’s office and luckily he was on call so I could get transferred to his cell. He assured me it was just that hematoma fluid draining and I’d be better off with the fluid out rather than in.
I was told to monitor my side, make sure it doesn’t open up any further and keep it clean and covered. As long as it isn’t new blood or bright red, I should be okay.
I will say, my incision had been doing good and it was only on day 11 that I woke up with it bruised – but I blamed that on sleeping on my stomach during the night.
The puffiness has gone down significantly now that all of that fluid has come out and it had only leaked a little more the following days.
I had been feeling pretty rough otherwise, my sinusitis had been killing my nose and forehead and I feel drained – but I’m okay. Just another day of healing. At two weeks post-op, I was more than ready for my Stelara shot that was overdue, too.
Another blog post will follow this one for my one-month follow-up.
It could be worse.
Previous Posts on Slipping Rib Syndrome from It Could Be Worse: