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Not as bad as you might think – Ali’s story

So, I am four weeks and four days post hysterectomy. I asked them to leave my ovaries as at 49 I didn’t want to go into the menopause any earlier than necessary . I also asked them to leave my cervix on the basis that ,to my mind ,the only reason to remove it was to prevent future cervical cancer. But on that basis I should also have my breasts removed to prevent breast cancer …so no ,I kept my cervix.

My hysterectomy was about 11 years in the offing. I had a huge fibroid …the equivalent size of an 18 weeks pregnancy which I had had since my first child was born and soon after my second was advised to have removed. As I psychologically was unprepared to give up the possibility of a third child at that stage and being very emotional so soon after giving birth I resisted.
Actually I resisted a couple of other times ..coming close, asking for second opinions I even asked for non invasive methods of reducing the fibroid but in the end I was advised that removal was the only solution.

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The reason I eventually agreed was that although I didn’t suffer in the way that many women do with heavy periods I did have incontinence and wind problems which meant that I couldn’t run or sneeze without an accident which frankly meant that as someone who has enjoyed being active throughout my life was leading me to have a poorer quality of life and it wasn’t going to get any better as I got older.

I was put on a new drug called Esmya by my consultant at the beginning of this year which puts you into a menopause but has the benefit of reducing blood flow to the fibroid which in theory means it should shrink,ensuring that surgery is easier (smaller cut) and less blood loss. I can personally recommend Esmya …it didn’t reduce the fibroid but my brilliant surgeon still managed only a 10 cm horizontal cut and the drugs settled my hormones and improved my mood prior to surgery for six months ( happy husband).

The first 48 hours were pretty ghastly I was in pain and sick from the gas they use to blow the stomach up. However my recovery has been good, I’ve been walking about since day 2 and started driving week four. Now back at work part time having worked from home from week three.

I’m looking forward to the bruising finally going …still bruised on my tummy. And the scars reducing but all in all pleased I’ve done it finally and I can sneeze, cough and laugh at will without fear of wetting myself and looking forward to running and playing tennis when the sun shines.

For those of you worried about having the op it’s not that bad but I think you have to have the right mindset before you do it otherwise you might take longer to recover. I know for some people that’s not possible but if you can, take time to get your head round it and ask loads of questions exploring all your options. Also there is a lot of mystique around hysterectomy and I am surprised that some people almost make me feel ashamed about having it, so now I make a point of telling people what I have had ( if they ask) and explain that it’s not that bad at all! Best of luck

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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 :-)

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. It’s been great to hear your positive experience Sarah. I am interested to hear the lactulose gave you wind pain. I have been in agony since day 1 with this in my shoulders. I am now day 4 and at home. Have not had lactulose since yesterday morning and the pain has definitely eased. I made River Cottage Honey and Peanut Butter Booster Bars which are brilliant for constipation. Took them into hospital. Peppermints and mint tea also helped with the wind. I also have a sore lesion next to op cut. Hope you continue to make good recovery.

  2. I am 3weeks into my hysterectomy. It’s been a different feeling and what I can do each day. I was so pleased to have my hysterectomy due to heavy, painful periods every 14 days. I became so anaemic and felt life was passing me by whilst periods ruled what I could do. I’m only 43, have two children but felt like an old lady! My ovaries have been left and my cervix( only because my surgeon couldn’t get to it without damaging my bladder). I’ve had all the symptoms after surgery, terrible wind pain which had me in tears! I tried lactulose to help with going to the loo as its agony to start with, but this just gave me worst wind pain! I actually don’t think there is an easy answer to this, just time. At the moment my cut has a sore legion on it which is being dressed but the rest of my cut is healing well. I’m struggling with walking though and find it hurts me alot. Even though I thought I would be able to do a few ‘ light’ jobs around the house I’m actually finding it too difficult. Rest is definatly the key. It’s hard to watch your family doing everything, in my head I’m thinking ” I could make the packed lunches, or peel the veg for tea” but you really have to turn off the ‘guilt’ button in your brain and accept help! Anyway I just wanted to share my views as reading some of the other posts of ladies up and back to work after 4 weeks makes you feel like your own recovery is slow! I actually think there is no set time and it’s a huge op which deserves the big recovery without making you feel like your being ‘ slow’ at getting back to normal. I’m just eternally grateful to say ‘goodbye ‘ to my periods from hell! Good luck to all you ladies recovering. This operation can only change us for the better!

  3. I had TAH Dec 2015. Exactly 4 weeks ago. 4 days in hospital. Started driving today. 2 weeks total bed rest. Started few hours of work after 2 weeks due to boredom. Just sitting down in the office. My boss chased me home. No heavy lifting. No house work. Constipation was the only issue. Prunes and papaya helped. No pain killeres after 2 weeks. Still sensation lower abdomen. Lost 15 pounds after surgery. Lost appetite. Started ensure. Appetite back.
    Started hormone patch after 1 week.
    Back to almost normal life.

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