About two months ago, I went in for a hysterectomy. At 43 (at the time) I was on the younger side for this surgery (at least I would like to think so!). Since that time, women have been asking me often how it went, my opinion of the surgery, how painful it was, and whether it was worth it. I figured I’d post my update to my last post on the surgery so I could answer some of those questions for those who were curious. If you’re easily queasy, you may want to pass over this post.
The why. As a woman with fibroids, VERY heavy bleeding, and pretty bad PMS, my doctor recommended the surgery, especially after a polyp appeared. Originally, I was surprised when the dr. mentioned the idea. It seemed so drastic. Also, I was concerned about being out of commission for what she said could be 6-8 weeks. How would I cope with 2 kids, a husband with an opposite schedule, and my own job? She said the alternative was to try meds to alleviate the symptoms I was having. The meds lasted all of one round. I was so miserable and cramped on them I immediately called the Doctor and said “let’s move forward with surgery”.
Surgery was scheduled for January 10th. I was battling on getting my insurance situated until about 2 days before. It was a tad stressful. At the last minute, everything fell into place. I arrived at the hospital anxious and kept getting teary. My first worry was my kids. I think once you’re a parent, any type of surgery makes you a bit anxious because now you have other people to be responsible for. I was also anxious about sharing a room. I HATE sharing hospital rooms. I did it once and it was such a bad experience that I ended up getting moved to a private room. Luckily the dr soothed my fears by letting me know I would be on the women’s floor (aka childbirth and ladybit floor) and would have my own room. The women’s floor is probably the best floor to stay on. The nurses are SPECTACULAR. The dr warned me to take it easy after surgery, and not to put anything “up there” for at least 6 weeks. She then proceeded to tell me that if I ignored that advice, I could have vaginal or INTESTINAL PROLAPSE. In other words, my intestines could fall out of my snootch. Talk about instilling fear into a girl. I swear I had nightmares about that conversation for DAYS.
After surgery, I was a bit sore, but nothing too bad. I was up and walking around the ward the next afternoon. Mostly I got tired super quick. I was released the day after surgery and came home to be a potato for a week. I lived the potato life for a week and watched all the Downton Abbey. Yep, every episode of every season. I walked around the house every hour or so, but otherwise took it super easy. (It’s a rare day when I get to do absolutely nothing.) After week two, I went back to work. Everyone, including me, was a bit surprised, but a girl has to make that money, and frankly, the short term disability I could get wasn’t going to cover all the bills. I am super fortunate that I can work from home and that my company is so supportive. I started back on a full time work from home basis until I was about 4 weeks post op. Then I went back to the office.
Since the surgery, I feel GREAT. No longer am I taken down for 3-4 days each month. No longer do I worry about bleeding through my clothes. I no longer feel so stressed each month. My PMS has subsided quite a bit. I still have my ovaries, so luckily I am not going through menopause. I no longer get that awful bloating. I feel like myself only way better. The surgery for me has been life changing in so many small ways. I feel….awesome.
They say some women go through periods of depression after the surgery. I didn’t, but I can see why some would. I briefly went through a stage where I would see babies and think “I can’t have another now” and got sad for a moment. Never mind the fact I am not prepared financially or even emotionally for another child, nor the fact that when I had my daughter almost 8 years ago I was considered high risk for “advanced maternal age”. I know I wasn’t going to ever have another baby by choice, but perhaps knowing that I simply now could not physically do so even if I wanted to was a small shock to the senses. For those women who wanted children and had no choice but to have the hysterectomy, I can see depression as being completely normal and somewhat devastating. I also know that there were days I felt a bit crappy and sore after surgery but realized I looked totally fine on the outside. I had a laparoscopic hysterectomy. This means that I had a few small incisions on my stomach, but otherwise looked totally fine. My insides looked a bit like a dumpster fire, I’m sure. Cut and stitched and repositioned. There were sore days, but nothing I found unmanageable. One odd feeling was that I sometimes got what felt like ligament pain from when I was pregnant. It was the same sensation. Lastly, my skin stuck together from one of the steri-strips and almost got infected at the incision. Because I couldn’t see that well, I almost missed the issue. At first I thought it was the incision itself that looked like that, but instead it was my skin. It was gross, y’all.
For those women considering the surgery….I can tell you it’s one of the best decisions I have made. I feel great, aside from some lingering fatigue. Yes, you will get tired easily. There will be some soreness. You might get a bit sad about the loss of the parts. But at the end of the day, I feel good. There is a lot of cancer in my family, and while I had the genetic testing and came back fine, it’s one less organ to worry about, if that makes sense. The pros outweigh the cons for me. 2 months in and I feel so much better. It’s not for everyone, but for those worrying, I can say my experience was a good one!