Intense nausea

Did anyone else deal with intense nausea, dizziness, and vomiting after surgery? I’m almost four weeks post op and these symptoms just don’t seem to be improving.

Hey Jaime,
Yes, yes and yes I had all of those (and to some degree, even years later, I still do).
When it comes to neurosurgery four weeks is still REALLY early in your recovery and it can take months for some people. Often the medicos can give us a ‘Best case scenario’ theory (often 6-8weeks recovery time). Some people are fortunate enough to meet that timeline, but unfortunately, for some of us it can take a bit longer and then for some there can be lifelong issues.

The reality is that no one has exactly the same journey. For some the symptoms may be manageable for others they can be overwhelming. If you are seriously concerned, you need to contact your medical team. They can do a scan and see how things are travelling, but I can assure you I had/have all of those same symptoms. It just takes time. Some people think recovery is a straight line of progression. It is not. I was on a seesaw of symptoms for months and months, it wasn’t a case of one day ZAPP and everything was normal. For me it was more that the BAD days became more spaced between. The days in between weren’t great, just not as bad as the BAD days. Learning my own medication management/activity management/time management helped, I could then ‘Try’ to manage around it all. I say ‘Try’ because sometimes I was very successful, but sometimes I simply wasn’t.

None of this is easy, we know this because we’ve lived it too. If anybody ever tells you it’s simple, they have never been in this position, they wouldn’t have a clue. So, come talk to us, we know from our own personal experience.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

Anything you found that helped reduce the symptoms? I haven’t found anything that works, so I’m guessing it’s just a matter of time. Unfortunately it’s causing me to just lay in bed all day, which isn’t great for my physical or mental health.

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That really can depend, for the initial post surgery recovery nausea there are some medications which can assist. They don’t really eliminate but rather reduce the nausea. For me a large part of the problem has been the variability of symptoms, some days it’s all minimal, some days it’s overwhelming. I found that trying to identify triggers helped. Identify and avoid. Also management is important, time management, activity management, medication management etc, etc… it all plays a role and feeds off of each other. For example I have a task to complete. I have to ask myself ‘Am I OK?’ Do I have time to complete the task? How much energy do I think I’ll need? Have I got meds to be able to manage if I ‘hit the wall’? If I think I can manage, I do. If not I need to come up with another approach ie Breaking the task up into steps, then completing a couple of steps, questioning self ‘Am I still OK?’ if the answers yes, I continue. If ‘No’, I have to stop.

As for your mental health ‘Ohh HELL YEA’. Prior, I had 2 speeds, full tilt and stopped. I can’t even get to 1/2 pace without being symptomatic. I had to relearn all of my body’s limits and I HATED it
I use to push myself to continue, but found that if I pushed past my body’s limits, I paid for it in agony for days after. The frustration was HUGE and I’d beat myself up for not achieving my goals. I needed help, I was driving myself into the ground and driving those around me crazy. They could see what I was doing to myself.

I went and see a psychologist. This was one of the best things I could have done. They helped me to work through some of my angst, put steps in place to de-stress and understand how to plan my tasks. I also have a range of medications to help. I have some real strong heavy duty pain killers (oxy) then I have some lesser opiates. These lesser are my usual ‘go to’ meds, then if I need stronger I have them available. I have sleeping tablets for at night, if I need them and I also use medicinal cannabis, it helps to calm my mind because if I let it, my mind can take me down some awful dark holes. I use them all on a needs basis. I try not to take them as ‘regular meds’.

That’s what helps me to manage the best way I can. It really can be a case of trial and error to find what works best for you and if you need external support/professional support then ask. There are lots of differing services out there to help. Use them to your advantage.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

I can say yes to all of those symptoms too. my experience has been similar to Merl’s. With the nausea, I actually received a diagnosis of gastroparesis. I’m still trying to find the right balance of activity and meds and all of that. But seeing a psychologist, acupuncture, and medical cannabis have probably been the most useful interventions for me. Hang in there and be patient with yourself. Like already mentioned, it really is not a straight line of recovery and it can be really frustrating. But learning to listen to your body (that was really hard for me) is key to recovery. Sending you healing vibes.

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