Returning home and to a normal diet
When you go home will depend on how long you take to recover. It is normal to spend 10 to 14 days in hospital but some patients stay as little as a week and some stay in hospital for months. You should be given enhanced recovery information and advice from the ward when you are discharged. Following the advice will make sure that you
recover in good time and are ready for your next treatment as soon as possible. It can take some months before you get properly back to normal and in the early days you will need help to get washed and dressed, cook meals and to do shopping and housework.
Getting back to normal
- All wounds go through natural stages of healing
- Scabs protect new tissue underneath so don’t be tempted to pull them off
- If the wound becomes painful, starts to leak or becomes red and inflamed, seek advice promptly
- Tingling, itching and numbness around the wound is normal
- It is normal to feel a pulling or tugging around the wound
You should contact your medical team if you experience any bleeding, dizziness, a temperature above 38 degrees or worsening pain.
You will feel very tired after returning home. This is normal, so try to build in some rest
time during the day. You may feel worried about going home not being able to do the
things that you could before. The best place to recover is at home, as you can build up
your activity slowly.
It is important to increase the amount of exercise you take every day. Start with short
walks and gradually build up to longer distances. Avoid any heavy lifting, pushing or
pulling for the first 6 to 8 weeks.
You should be able to safely drive about 6 weeks after you leave hospital. You need to
be confident that you have the strength and concentration to drive and that you could
do an emergency stop.
Returning to work
This depends on your job and how long it takes you to recover. It is reasonable to allow
3 to 6 months after hospital discharge; however, how long it takes you to recover varies
between individuals. If you are having adjuvant treatment alongside surgery it may take
longer to be able to return to work. Discuss this with your medical team who will be
better able to advise you.
Some people develop diabetes following pancreatic surgery. You may be given tablets to
manage your blood sugars but some patients will need insulin injections to replace the
insulin that the pancreas normally produces.
You may be referred to a diabetes nurse specialist who will help you manage your
diabetes and give help and advice about insulin injections and managing your diet.
If you are at home following surgery and have symptoms of diabetes, such as thirst,
rapid weight loss and passing a lot of urine, contact your GP.
You may need to accept some help from friends, family or neighbours during this time. If
you live alone or there is no one around to help, you may wish to speak to your nursing
team or social services about organisations to help you short term.
Returning to a normal diet
It can take time to return to normal after some surgical procedures. It is advisable to try to eat little and often, with lots of small snacks and high energy drinks between meals.
You will need to ensure you are getting enough energy and protein from your food so try to avoid watery soups, too much fruit and vegetables and large drinks at mealtimes.
It is important to note that some people develop diabetes following pancreatic surgery. You may be started on tablets to manage your blood sugars but some patients will need insulin injections to replace the insulin the pancreas normally produces.
You may be referred to a diabetes nurse specialist who will help you manage your diabetes and give help and advice on your insulin injections and managing your diet.
If you are at home following surgery and have symptoms of diabetes including thirst, rapid weight loss and you are passing a lot of urine, contact your GP.
Suggested foods for returning to a normal diet, include:
- Small bowl of porridge (add cream/jam/honey)
- Small glass of fruit juice
- Small piece of cake
- Milky coffee
- Scrambled eggs made with full milk and butter
- Creamy soup with croutons and toast and butter
- Thick & creamy yoghurt or mousse dessert
- Glass of milk
- Small portion of meat with potatoes, rice or pasta; small portion of vegetables; ice cream with sauce
- Chocolate bar, cheese and biscuits, packet of crisps
- Hot chocolate (milk based), fruit juice, milky coffee
Some people need additional high protein or high energy supplements to help them recover from the operation. You will be advised about these by your medical team. It is important to ask your medical team before taking any other supplements or herbal remedies as these may interfere with your treatments.