Surgery recovery

Hey y’all! I am scheduling surgery tomorrow.

For those of y’all that have already been through this, if I were to have surgery the first week of January do you think it’s possible I’d feel well enough to fly from NC to CA (roomy Delta Comfort+ seating) by January 29? My company retreat is January 29-Feb 1. Tickets already booked. I had to cancel last minute this past year due to health complications and really want and need to be there this year. I don’t want to miss networking opportunities and haven’t even met any of the colleagues I’ve worked with for nearly two years now. There is also a possibility I will be able to schedule surgery for the very end of December, after Christmas.

The other option is to schedule for early February after returning from California. However, I would obviously like to get it over with and I’d also ideally like to no longer be dealing with these symptoms when I travel. That said, if the post-op symptoms a few weeks later will be even worse what’s the point? Maybe I should wait? I feel so conflicted. I know that some people feel much better soon after surgery, but if all of my past surgeries are any indication, I will have a difficult recovery those first couple of weeks. That said, I could be feeling good by week three. I truly don’t know what to expect. Dr. Hackman said I shouldn’t need more than two weeks off work, but I work remotely and have the ability to work from bed, which is obviously different than flying coast to coast. Any insight is greatly appreciated.

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I spent about three weeks in NC before heading home to BC. The flight itself was uneventful, though I almost got sick on the bus from Chapel Hill to the RDU from all the motion.

But everyone’s case is different. Mine is combined with something else in the neck, possibly some instabilities that are still undiagnosed, or “general” wear and tear including arthropathy, facet/uncovertebral joint hypertrophy etc.


Flying shouldnt be a problem even a week after surgery. Eating and talking could be a problem though. At least that is my experience after 2 Styloidectomies.


@slekeille - I expect that by a month post op you would be able to fly cross country. You should make sure to have pain meds w/ you & access to ice, in case flying causes a pain flare.

The biggest problem may be that your energy level will still be low (it took 2 mos for my energy to ramp back up after each surgery) so spending time being social at a company retreat & networking face to face all day may feel overwhelming. If you can take breaks & rest, then I’d say it could be doable.

As Benyon noted, eating & talking can be difficult for a bit post op due to stiff jaw joints as some doctors dislocate them to gain better access to the styloids. You should ask Dr. H if he does that. A few of our members have had some tongue paralysis post op due to the glossopharngeal nerve needing to be moved during surgery. That can make speaking clearly a challenge for a few months.

I think Dr. Hackman is an optimist telling his patients they can go back to work in 2 weeks after bilateral ES surgery. He’s obviously never been on the healing side of this surgery. I think many people can go back to work part time at 2 weeks but to jump back in full time would be very tough.

I would vote for you to have surgery in Dec. right after Christmas if you can. That would give you some extra healing time.


@Isaiah_40_31 I am going to reply to you and @Benyon together!

So, I already rely on my J tube for nutrition (I barely eat anything by mouth at all). I made a joke at my appointment when Dr. Hackman said I might have issues chewing and swallowing, “well I’ve already got that covered — thank gods!” Lol.

I am also only having my right side done this time around. That’s what he thinks is best, and I agree. The left side isn’t causing any symptoms at this time and he’s worried about swelling if we do a bilateral approach, due to my history.

Regarding returning to work, I have every ability to take it as easy as I need to. Even if I am back full-time, I can work from bed, work for a few hours, and then take a nap, all sorts of other things to make sure I’m OK.

Regarding socializing at the retreat, everybody already expects me to have to take breaks, go back to my room to rest and so on because I already deal with chronic pain and lack of energy. For context, and as a reminder, I am in palliative care for my vEDS. I am tube fed for my gastroparesis. I am on pain meds and have been for years, so I will be given temporary extra after this surgery just like I was my last abdominal surgery.

I am going to try to schedule for the end of December. I am prepared for the potential and hopefully temporary side effects like issues with my tongue, partial facial paralysis, and so on. I am just going to hope for the best and hope that I’m capable of traveling at the end of January. If I can’t, and if I need more time off work, I will absolutely deal with that when it comes and make sure I take care of myself first. I spent all night reading success stories on this forum because I couldn’t sleep and I’m feeling more hopeful. I’m still terrified though.


So pleased that you’re going to schedule surgery! I’m pleased for you that work is so understanding of your medical issues and that you’ll be able to take things steady after surgery…good to keep reading the positive stories on here :hugs:

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I had forgotten about your J tube @slekeille (how could I?!) so eating will definitely not be an issue! Since you’re only getting one side done, I expect you’ll be able to make the trip to CA with no problems. You are great at covering all your bases of need because of your disabilities & you’ve done that again as you’ve thought this trip through. Great work!!


Thank you! I never thought that I would be so grateful to be reliant on a tube for nutrition. Lol. I do think I have all of my bases covered. I’m still nervous, but I really want to go. I should have my surgery date by tomorrow.