Probably not a post for guys, but hey, you never know. Sometimes it’s good to know what us ladies go thru. I ended up with diagnoses of endometriosis, ovarian cysts and fibroids – and hey lets throw a little PMDD in there just for the heck of it!
So, a few months back I found out that a hysterectomy would probably be a good way to help some of the health problems that I had been living with. I knew that I had endometriosis and ovarian cysts, both of which had been the source for a great amount of abdominal, pelvic and back pain. But when I started having non-menstrual pain, pressure in the pelvic region, mood swings, anger, depression, pressure in the pelvic region, back pain, and overwhelming fatigue, I knew something had to be done. I couldn’t keep living like that, nor could my family.
After talking with my doctor, I got a referral for a surgeon, I hoped that the worse was behind me and prayed fervently that the surgeon would be a God-send.
Thankfully she was.
During my appointment we talked about the symptoms I have been having, how long I have had them, and how they have gotten worse. Since I had a history of endometriosis, that along with springs that I had in my fallopian tubes were identified as being the main culprits to my pain. We also discussed PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), which she said that she figured to be a component of everything that was going on.
For anyone who does not know what PMDD is (don’t worry – I didn’t know what it was either until I started researching it), it is essentially PMS on steroids. It is absolutely horrible and it changes you into a crazy monster that has no control over your mind. I explained it to my husband like this: one day I am so angry that an ant is walking across the road that I will yell and scream and stomp on him, then fume the rest of the day because the ant was the most irritating, anger inducing creature on the planet. The next day (yes, the very next day – that’s how quickly your mind will change, sometimes even later that same day) I would be weeping for the poor little ant and would don ashes and sackcloth, thus going into full mourning, and feel as though I couldn’t go on because the little ant was gone. And as soon as I would start my period the crazy would go away, and between periods I would have 10-15 days a month were I felt like myself.
Honestly, it was crazy. I will say – if you are ever around a woman that is having issues that even sound remotely like that – try to help them (on their good days – all the other days, go hide in a cave!). I almost lost my family and my job because of it. I can only wonder how many families have been destroyed by it, because it is not a well known and difficult to diagnose. Most of the time it is diagnosed as a mental disorder.
Anyway, back to the story. While talking with my surgeon she said that a robotic laparoscopic hysterectomy is what she would recommend. This, I will say, is when I laughed a little. Being a medical coder, I knew what the procedure was, and how it was done, in fact I had even coded her doing that exact procedure. When I mentioned this, it made her laugh out loud, she thought it was great and hearing that actually helped ease my nerves. Then we talked about when it was to happen. It was early August and I had a full garden in. That, and we put up our harvest, with me being out that would definitely make problems since my husband doesn’t know what to do. I explained to her my worry that I would do too much and not heal properly, and make more problems than I wanted to deal with. She agreed, and the procedure was scheduled for November.
Let me tell you that was a long 3 months. With all that needed to be done, finding out that I would be losing my job in the new year and hearing rumors that surgeries might be cancelled because of the pandemic…well, let’s just say that God heard from me a lot…and often.
A couple days before I had surgery, I had my covid test and preop appointment, I had also started drinking a lot of water. The next day I hydrated also, I knew that the extra fluids in my system would help with the surgery and recovery, The strangest thing was I wasn’t nervous. I knew what would happen, I was more worried by the amount of pain that I would have afterward. The night before was normal, I didn’t have to take anything to clean out my system. I did ask and my surgeon if I had to, and she said no. Which made me happy, I wouldn’t have to worry about gastrointestinal jokes from my husband. I did have to take a shower and clean myself with an antimicrobial cleanser the night before and the morning of. I felt so clean, I think I squeaked when I walked.
The morning of, a family friend came over to watch my daughter – at 6am. She really is a wonderful friend! We chatted for a few minutes and were off. I was having the surgery half an hour away ‘in town’, and let me tell you, that drive seemed to take forever.
Once we got to the hospital all I had to do was let them know I was there and wait, I think it was only 5 minutes, but the reality started to sink in and it felt like hours. After we got called back I was given an – ultra flattering and fully ventilated – hospital gown to put on (oh, how I wish you could hear the sarcasm for that!). A thin cotton, open-backed hospital gown and a cool preop area makes one a little chilly – a BIG thank you for the RN and CNA that brought me heated blankets!
Then it was time to get me prepped – they took urine, blood, and vitals – they wanted to make sure I wasn’t pregnant (I myself wasn’t fully sure that God wasn’t going to pull a sick joke on me at the last minute and send me home pregnant!). They put bags on both calves that were hooked up and massaged my legs (these were to help with blood flow) and I also had 2 IV’s put in – one on each arm. When I asked why they said it was because the surgery was robotic and just in case one was pulled out accidently – due to the robot being docked above me – they wanted to make sure they could keep me under sedation with the other.
hmm, good to know! And – Thanks! I really appreciate that!
After that it was a waiting game, the doctor stopped by for a chat before hand. My husband who had never met her, told me after she left that he thought she was a nurse – she was so happy. My thought was ‘of course she is, she gets to play with a big, expensive toy in a few minutes!’
Next, they gave me a lovely hair net (I was feeling very vogue…there’s that sarcasm again…) and something to help me relax. And I was wheeled in to the OR. Anyone who has had surgery before knows what an OR looks like, they are all pretty much the same. A big, white, cold room with staff running around prepping everything. What I focused on was the robot. It was sitting at a far wall with its arms up. I remember thinking it looked like an octopus. They got me on the table and put a mask on me…and I woke up in post op.
I was dizzy and sore. And other than feeling like I had just been run over by a truck, I actually wasn’t too bad – initially. But once I woke up more the pain kicked in. I asked for something for it, and surprise, surprise, it made my blood pressure tank. It wasn’t bad enough for them to be extremely worried but bad enough that I ended up staying in post-op longer then normal. After they got my blood pressure under control they moved me to the next stage – which is just a little further out post-op. I had my own little area and my husband was able to be with me. The meds made me tired and I ended up sleeping another hour or two. It really helped, I was able to sleep off the rest of the anesthesia.
When I woke up I was more alert, and felling more pain. I was also having pain in my rib cage under my breasts ( I found out later, it was due to the straps that were holding me to the table) I asked for half a pain pill, which made the nurse look at me like I was crazy (pain meds usually make me sick, and thankfully I have a high tolerance for pain). After taking it, I remember that everything that I had read said to get moving as soon as possible to get the excess gas out. I figured going to the bathroom would help, and it felt so good to stand, that when I was done that I asked if I could walk.
Walking really helped, it made me feel almost human again. But the gas pain moved in quick. I had only been sitting for a few minutes after the walk when pain started in my upper back and shoulder, it was actually quite shocking. I moved my arms and shrugged my shoulders and it eased away. Thankfully! After that it was a waiting game again, they needed to take labs at a certain time so they brought me crackers, water and juice and I just relaxed. After the last labs were taken they checked my blood pressure again and since I was doing good, I was discharged.
The day before the surgery I had put a blanket and pillow in our car. Which was good, I ended up using them both. I did opt for a fluffy pillow, when a more dense one would have worked much better for the car ride home. But with the help of wonderful heated seats, the pillow and blanket, the half hour car ride home wasn’t bad.
All in all the experience wasn’t as bad as I thought. The first week I was a bit sore, but I’ll talk more about that in my next post. In the end the doctor ended up taking the uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes. They also found a good amount of endometriosis and ovarian cysts. And when the pathology came back it showed fibroids. Ugh, no wonder I was in pain.
Now that you have heard my story, what is your experience with a hysterectomy?
Follow-up with my journey with the following posts: Post Hysterectomy Life and Update: 6 months post hysterectomy
4 thoughts on “My hysterectomy experience”
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