And then I had surgery


I went into hospital for surgery, this emblem sat above my hospital bed.  My body is not big or strong and I do not have child bearing hips. And I’ve had a whole bunch of babies. Six, actually, and the first four all came all at once.  I don’t regret any of it for a second, but let’s just say that my body paid a pretty big price. My back has ached for ten years. And my physiotherapist looked at my tummy and laughed saying “no amount of pilates is going to fix that!”

I had a big old gap right up the middle.  The female body kindly and gently stretches and gives way to growing bubbies. And, by and large, it regroups and sorts itself out again after the event. NOT SO with quadruplets.

I’m not into giving a detailed discussion my of child birthing stories. They happened. They hurt. My body never recovered.

So I finally got around to having surgery; tight stitches right up the middle of me, pulling together those tummy muscles that haven’t seen each other for 10 years.  Its called abdominoplasty.

I’m not showing any pictures, you would not believe how many there are online! However, here’s the view from where I’m sitting.


While I was in hospital, my  poor bubby had to cope without me, and the constant availability of milk!  He visited twice a day and looked at me as if his world was falling apart.


I got an unbearable itchiness a week after surgery. Its is unbearable because the part that is itching is not part of me anymore. It’s the skin that was removed. But I can still feel it! I just can’t scratch it because it’s not there! It is driving me up the wall.

I guess when nerves and skin and blood vessels get cut and sewn up in a different order, there’s a bit of internal confusion as the various parts figure out their new arrangements.  All I know is that my brain is getting very strong itchiness messages, but there’s no corresponding piece of skin with an actual physical itch.

A phantom itch!



It was a year ago when we were in Phnom Phen, Cambodia that I read an article about phantom pain in amputees. People who had lost limbs from landmines reported excruciating pain years later, but felt it in the limbs that were no longer there. Not just in the knee below which there is no foot, but pain felt in the absent foot itself. A guy called Stephen was working on some kind of mirror therapy to help in the pain reduction. It kind of involved tricking the brain using a mirror into re-feeling the missing limb, which corrected the pain messages.   It even works when both limbs are missing.


Cambodia is a country in pain in so many ways. Bits of its history, its culture, its hope and bits of bodies were all destroyed.


We saw signs of rebuilding, signs of hope, but also signs of corruption and squandering and irresponsibility, especially in relation to the care of children. This post I wrote on not visiting children in orphanages still gets comments, and is the only thing I’ve written that gets people upset!


So I’m sitting in my well-cared-for comfort, as pain free as is medically possible. I have fluids and dressings and drugs and a tummy brace and family who bring me cups of tea and are letting me off all cleaning/cooking/lifting duty.  I had the privilege of deciding to have a surgery that (although an awfully good idea) was not life saving or medically necessary, and having the money to jump the public queue and pay  privately, in an elite hosptial with a masterful and friendly surgeon and amazing nursing care.


And I’m  itching like crazy and its making me think of these guys….






Related posts:

11 Responses to And then I had surgery

  1. Charlotte October 24, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

    Hope you heal quickly. Take care!

  2. Heather Costaras October 25, 2013 at 2:45 am #

    Food for thought, this post… I had bariatric surgery (3 years ago)… and although I am GLAD GLAD GLAD I had the surgery (which was very effective and has significantly changed my body, health and eating habits)… I can’t help with the niggling feeling of… I dunno – wondering about “fairness”… Maybe mine’s a different kind of itch… a part of me sometimes wonders whether I had “the right” to this kind of (very expensive surgery) – when MOST people (with eating disorders) simply don’t have luxury – or the option… (as I did)… and I wonder if it’s fair or not… or if I was somehow “wrong”… or if I’ve upset the equilibrium some how… actually – it’s really REALLY difficult for me to articulate my feelings on the matter… my strange *itch*. (OBVIOUSLY not implying that your itch is the same as mine… but just that your post gave me some interesting food for thought). Relax… heal up… and enjoy all the family-love! :-)
    Heather Costaras recently posted..Letting go…My Profile

    • Jill October 25, 2013 at 9:52 am #

      Absolutely. it felt very indulgent for me too. But the alternative was getting weaker and experiencing more pain, and being less able to lift Sparky. And that would be the reality for many people. But I did it. And I totally know most people couldn’t. But many of those same people (and their bubbies) would not have survived the pregnancy that was the cause of it all…. Dunno what the answer is….BTW getting very excited on your behalf Heather!!!

    • Autumn October 30, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

      I get how you feel. 2 and 1/2 years ago I had a terrible accident. I was fortunate to live and keep my limbs. I was enormously blessed. But there is this background voice saying it isn’t fair. It isn’t fair that there are others lying and dying on hospital beds that are in over crowded hospitals with an overworked Dr. who can’t make it to you and even if he/she could, they wouldn’t have your required medicine or access to the tools they need to fix you. I walk a fine balance of extraordinary appreciation and overwhelming guilt that others in the world don’t have access to walk I have. It’s hard. Learning how to deal with those feeling is difficult.

      • Jill October 30, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

        I know how you feel!

  3. Jenny October 25, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    It’s great how you put your post-surgery “suffering” into that larger context, which made us think hard while we were in Cambodia. It was so sad to see those hurt people, especially when they were so young it was obvious these were injuries caused by “left behind” grenades and bombs. And to know that the ones who planted them, years and years ago, have no intention whatsoever to remove them or even to compensate the people of Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos for their suffering …

    Good healing to you!
    Jenny recently posted..Weltwunderer-Bloginterview Nr. 14: Ein Heim auf Zeit in NeuseelandMy Profile

  4. Alyson October 25, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    Hi, hope you feel better very soon. My husband had surgery a few weeks ago on Ko Samui, an emergency hernia repair, We’ve been sitting tight on Ko Phangan ever since, while he gets back to normal. It’s taking a lot longer than we thought, the general anaesthetic really knocked him for six, but after 3 weeks the actual incision is fairly pain free. The Drs here did a wonderful job, but no hefting backpacks for a while! Take it easy.lady.
    I just wanted to mention the COPE centre in Vientiane Laos, we went a few months back. It’s another organisation that helps amputees and victims of the cluster bombs still littering Laos after the Vietnam war. Again, the kids learnt about phantom pain. It looks similar. It’s on my blog if anyone is interested, we think it’s a cause worth supporting.
    Alyson recently posted..Cheap Family Accommodation in LaosMy Profile

  5. Helen Riseborough October 25, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Jill – sorry to hear you had a medical problem, but glad you have taken steps to resolve it, and also glad the services were available to you. First world advantage. Thank you for the reminder to us all to not take services like this for granted.

    Helen R

  6. Granny October 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    Hi Gill. Enjoyed your blogs. We really respect the way you balance your privacy and your need to get your message out to your readers.

    • Jill October 27, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

      Thanks. Yes, its tricky one

  7. Seana Smith November 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Hello, glad that you’ve had this done and to read of how you know how fortunate you and we all are here in Oz. I had some post-pregnancy/birth damage too (bit further down!) and had myself reupholstered earlier this year.

    You’ll be stronger and fitter and able to chase after those bairns of yours… and I’m more comfy… and so grateful.
    Seana Smith recently posted..Novica – Ethical Gift Shopping + $100 GiveawayMy Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes