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The joys of being a woman – Catherine’s story

6 weeks on after laparoscopic hysterectomy – I seemed to be finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (forgive the analogy!) At 48 and years of heavy bleeding due mainly to a fibroid, I’d tried 2 coils- 1 fell out, 1 lodged itself in my cervix and then an ablation 22 months ago.

This year turns out the scar tissue from the ablation was causing horrible blood and fluid build up in my womb- something I had not been warned about!). I’d had enough. I decided on private care and found a surgeon who specialised in minimally invasive surgery. He was fabulous and within 3 weeks I had the op. In spite of his surprise finding scar tissue joining my stomach to bowel and a womb which was twice normal, he managed a laparoscopy and I went home the next day.

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I set myself on a mission of recovery- getting dressed, walking, pottering round the house. 10 days in, light bleeding started, I wasn’t sleeping and getting up 5-6 times and peeing constantly. A trip to the consultant led to a blood vessel bring cauterised and HRT. A week later heavy bleeding with big clots and a trip to hospital. A very scary night where they packed my vagina and we waited. Blood tests revealed infection and a scan 2 days later was clear (I was relieved!)

A further visit to the consultant revealed probable haematoma above wound which liquifies over 3-4 weeks then releases, plus infection plus urine infection. On medication I started sleeping and getting the rest I needed. I almost dare not say I’m feeling better but I am 🙂

A few visits to work (I am a headteacher) has been mentally good and I’m driving. Doing my pelvic floor exercises but after going on a mission with walking initially, I am now getting my exercise by moving around. I’m now contemplating light exercise at the gym (treadmill / bike) and swimming in a week or so (giving it time due to infection). I still get tired after a busy day so I have a nap and get lightheaded with exertion- emotional or physical ( this is improving). I have oral thrush due to number of antibiotics and athletes foot due to TEDs but reading some of these stories, I am starting to relish the prospect of NO MORE PERIODS!!!!

I am giving myself as much time as I need before returning to my prior regime and I can’t even think about when I’ll be riding my horse again ( !!!!!!)- but it’s a price worth paying after years of misery. On reflection, I would say although it’s important to get some movement early on, rest, rest and rest! If you’re not sleeping or you’re peeing lots or bleeding- get checked out for infection. If I’d known the bleeding was a haematoma it wouldn’t have been as scary – ask for a scan and it can be drained if necessary which prevents infection due to it all sitting there!

Most importantly, I made the decision very quickly and underestimated the impact of this op on my whole body- it is a major operation! Everyone will have advice about what you should be doing and when and how to recover. Be kind to yourself, listen to your body and take the time to recover properly and fully 🙂

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in my own words book coverNow available on our online store and all other online book store’s. In My Own Words: Women’s Experience of Hysterectomy is full of many other real-life stories from women the world over.

Other people’s stories help women feel less isolated. They show that they aren’t going mad, missing the point or stupid.

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Linda Parkinson-Hardman

Transformational coach and founder of the Hysterectomy Association. Professionally I'm an information scientist who specialises in the adoption and engagement of digital technologies. I am a writer and author of nine books to date, and I've edited a further seven; phew what a lot for a Thursday afternoon :-)

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