Women's Cancer Care of Seattle

After Your Surgery

Recovering From Surgery

Recovery takes time. It's important to follow the post-operative instructions specific to your procedure. These instructions are included in the handouts we provided prior to your surgery. Please call us if you need another handout.

Many patients will not have a strong appetite after surgery. Try eating smaller, lighter and more frequent meals. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Use your anti-nausea prescription as needed. If you continue to experience nausea or vomiting, please call our office.

Many patients feel fatigued after surgery. Make sure to get plenty of rest and listen to your body. Mild exercise will help with the healing process, so make an effort to take a leisurely walk around your home or outside each day. Depending on the type of operation you had, it can take anywhere from one to three months to return to your previous energy level.

Managing Pain

Remember to take your prescribed pain medications as directed. Typically, patients are sent home with either Percocet or Vicodin and ibuprofen. Discontinue any other pain medications you may have at home, unless you have discussed these additional prescriptions with your physician. If your pain does not subside, discuss your options with your doctor.

Follow-up Care

After you arrive home, a nurse will contact you to ask how your recovery is progressing and to schedule follow-up care. Please remember that pathology reports take time to process accurately. We will contact you as soon as we know your results and can schedule an appointment for you and your doctor to discuss the pathology report.

Most procedures require a post-operative check-up with your surgeon or our physician assistant. Follow-up care is dependent on your individual circumstances, and our nurses will organize it for you when they call you after surgery.

When to Call the Doctor

For both urgent and non-urgent issues during business hours, please call our office at 206-368-6806, Monday–Friday, 7:45 a.m.–4:00 p.m. After hours, weekends or on holidays, please follow the audio prompts to be connected with our answering service. The answering service will page the doctor on call for urgent and emergent issues, who will respond to you within 30 minutes. We encourage you to write down your concerns before calling so you don't forget to tell us anything and also have your pharmacy name and number available. Please be aware we do not refill narcotic prescriptions over the weekend and we ask you to inform your physician 24 hours prior to the weekend if you need a narcotic refill. Depending on the nature of your call, you may be instructed to go to the emergency room.

    Call if you:

    • Have a fever above 101.5 degrees, and/or "shaking chills"
    • Are having difficulty urinating or signs of a urinary tract infection
    • Have had no bowel movement for more than three days
    • Are vomiting after eating
    • Notice your incision is draining yellow/green fluid, is red like a sunburn and spreading or has increasing swelling or tenderness
    • Experience abnormal vaginal discharge that is foul smelling and yellow/green in color
    • Experience vaginal bleeding that is bright red in color and more than just spotting
    • Feel an increase or sudden onset of severe pain
    • Have any reaction to your pain medications such as a rash, itching or severe nausea

    Seek care immediately if:

    • You have chest pain and trouble breathing
    • You are having heavy vaginal bleeding that is bright red
    • If you are unable to urinate on your own
Our team is always on hand to care for you and to ensure you are properly prepared for your surgery and recovery period. If you have questions, please call us at 206-368-6806.