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Better late than never as they say! – Karron’s story

I write this story some 6 months after my hysterectomy, I was one of those people that used to pop in and read all the stories, which I must confess really helped me, especially the hints and the special things that would help. So here is my story. Sorry it is late.

I presented at A&E this time last year with gallstone pancreatitis seriously ill, at the time the medics found I had a mass in my womb, which I did not know about, I just thought I had a bulky tummy. Turns out my womb was full of fibroids, totally obstructing the whole of the womb. This made sense retrospectively as I was starting to have problems with my back, and of course those awful gastric problems. I was advised that a hysterectomy was needed. This on top of gallbladder removal, and countless procedures. I am 55 and I was still having really regular periods, my mum and grandmother were all very late finishing their periods.

I had endless tests to make sure that there was no possible cancer within the womb and more so on my right ovary as this had a big cyst on it, I had to have a hysteroscopy just to check things over. So in all I had already had 4 general anaesthetics so by the time I had my op I was an expert !!!

I read the stories and took comfort. I had a massage a week before my surgery, started drinking lots of water, walked loads, and generally tried to get my fitness up to a reasonable level. I had lost some weight because of the gallbladder issue, so this all seemed to help. I had my hair cut, highlighted and blow dried the day before the operation as I knew I would be out of it for a week or so, just the little things about making you feel better. Oh yes, I drank and still do drink loads and when I say loads I mean lots of tea bags of peppermint tea, this is a life saver. I bought new night ware and a lovely cotton dressing gown, and new slippers.

Day of operation, I shaved my legs, took my nail polish off, and presented at the hospital as relaxed as I possibly could. I packed my peppermint tea, bottle of water, and toiletries. The experts had elected for a total hysterectomy but with the possibility of retaining my left ovary (my right ovary had many cysts on them) I was petrified.

My surgeon came first thing, I was at the hospital for 7.00 in the morning, it all happens really quickly so you really don’t get time to really fret about things. My anaesthetist talked me through things, and I mentioned that I am generally really sick after being put to sleep, she said she would try her best for me. All made me feel really assured.

I went to sleep at around 8.00 in the morning and woke at 4 in the afternoon, I was told that I was under for 4 and half hours, but quite simply did not remember a thing, so please do not worry in this respect. I had NO pain whatsoever. Expert advised that he had managed to do the operation via laparoscopy but with a incision mid line just below my belly button. My left ovary was retained.

I drank peppermint tea, and I drank more. DO IT, you will not be sorry.

I managed to wake up around 5 that evening, still no pain, just a dull ache, bit like a period pain. I have to say the worst of it for me was that I was unfortunately violently sick, but this only lasted for a few hours, and I honestly think it is to be a bit expected after this type of procedure. I was asked by the night nurse if I needed the toilet for a wee, they pump you full of fluids etc., and I was so scared to stand up, but this is a real requirement, and after help from the nurse, she slowly walked me to the toilet, where I managed to go, which was a very strange feeling, I had to rock back and forth to get things going. A few hours later they asked again, and I said no, but they checked me via ultrasound and my bladder was full, ha !!! I was playing coward, and didn’t want to get up again, but I did have a strange sense of not really knowing whether I wanted to go or not. This does improve daily.

The next day I was discharged, pleased really as you can never really sleep in hospital. I managed to walk to my pick up car, and my husband put me to bed quite literally, I slept for hours. I gingerly got up every few hours, and walked just around my upstairs, very slowly, but this really does help with the wind which I no doubt you will get, this can be quite painful, but moving and walking really does help get that pain through your system. I walked a circuit of the house daily, upstairs to begin, I did not go downstairs until about day 3 or 4. I simply rested in between, please do this, it helps with the healing. Kept my fluid intake up, mum got me barley water to help with kidneys etc…

Went to the loo properly about 4 days later (that was an experience) but once done, its done, and you will feel GREAT !!!….

I still slept on my back, each day got easier, still little pain, and wondered when this would really set it, it didn’t. It wasn’t a walk in the park, but by my standards I think I have a pretty high pain threshold.

By week 2 I had my make up on, hair washed, and presented back at hospital for my 2 week assessment, all good, scars healing well. I was still have a slight brown discharge but again this is very normal, and went on for around 5 to 6 weeks post operation. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THIS, unless it presents more and becomes troublesome. It will go.

I was signed off work for 8 weeks, and boy did I take the opportunity of spoiling myself and fortunately sat outside reading many novels, catching up on my box sets, and really looked after myself. My expert said you only get the chance to heal properly once, and I listened to everything he said. and it paid off.

Sex was a thing I was worried about, I waited nearly 8 weeks, it was not great but I think this was more me being uptight and I must admit it did feel different, but it is improving. I am dry, but I have been using a well known lubricant.

I am now just coming up to 6 months post operation and I feel pretty dammed good. Back at work but I did go back gradually, and work have been pretty good. I continue to lose weight, which is a bonus, and I still love to walk. I do still get niggles in my tummy area, and my tummy can swell by the end of the evening if I have done too much. I still try to be careful when I lift, but cuddling my granddaughter is the best thing ever.

We are pretty tough us women you know, we can do it, I thought I could not possibly go through this operation. I have decided to ride out the menopause and up to now I have just been getting hot flushes occasionally, I do get a bit emotional, but then it is good to have a good cry now and again. Husband says I am less narky ha !!! so all good in that department.

Sorry if I have gone on a bit. But honestly I am getting to that phase slowly where I heard women who had gone before say “it is the best thing I have had done”

Karron

Linda Parkinson-Hardman

Transformational counsellor, coach and women's health advocate. Professionally I'm an information scientist who specialises in change management, culture change and adoption of digital technologies in large enterprises and organisations. 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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