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10 weeks on………life without a uterus! – Susannah’s story

So where to start?

Perhaps the fact that this is the first time I’ve managed to sit down and write something and usually I love writing, is an illustration in itself of how the last 10 weeks have been. An ‘uphill with lead boots on’ type of monumental struggle. A physical, emotional and psychological adventure playground of highs and lows.

The operation itself is a biggy, key hole surgery or no key hole surgery. I WOEFULLY underestimated this. To state the bleedin’ obvious here – it hurts. Loads. But then there are so many other symptoms too. Strange anatomical eruptions, leakages and disruptions to normal bodily functions that one really wouldn’t anticipate. Or at least I hadn’t.

The hardest thing by far however has been the hormonal tsunami that has ripped through my body rendering my mind a mulchy slush of tears, bad tempered crossness and volatile irritability. Not great – not least for the nearest and dearest who have tried their very best to care for me.

I had naively assumed that because I was keeping my ovaries, the soundtrack to my new uterus free life would be a glorious aria of birds tweeting , children laughing and unicorns playing harpsichords as they frolicked across bright azure skies. Well b*****cks to that quite frankly. Think 24/7 jackhammer like moods. Think death metal so loud it would burst the stupid bird’s ear drums. Think crying for no reason other than I bloody well want to alright??

I am assured however that this is normal. Normal? Really? Normal for how long? When will my poor pissed off ovaries, suddenly wrenched from their uterine reproductive sister decide to forgive the enforced separation and start working properly again? Dear God make it soon please. For the sake of humanity, not just for me.

There’s also the small matter of now no longer being able to bear children. That’s ok though isn’t it because I didn’t want any more? I really really really didn’t you know. Absolutely not. Shudder at the thought. So how come I feel bitter and twisted when I see a pregnant woman on the street, so happy and content in her reproductive peek of life?. How come I spit emotional bile when I see maternity clothes hanging gaily in clothes shops with all their promise of smugness and new life woven in to their annoyingly over-sized tent like fibres? Bitter? Moi?

Not wishing to sound like a complete Moaning Minni here, I do know I’ll get over it. Of course I will. I’m just being petulant because I no longer have the option to have another child regardless of whether I actually wanted one or not. I already have two perfect offspring for whom I am truly grateful for and they are more than enough. I do feel physically better too. My ‘lady bits’ had caused me nothing but trouble, pain and misery over the last few years (I had adenomyosis) so it was undoubtedly the right thing to do. I just hadn’t anticipated the emotional and psychological roller coaster having them removed would send me on. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe I wouldn’t have done it if I had.

As my consultant said to me AFTER the operation, it’s still very unclear how the uterus and its removal effects the female psyche. We are after all programmed to reproduce. ‘Woman’ and ‘uterus’ are inextricably linked in ways we do not even begin to understand. One (the woman) goes with the other (the uterus) like baked beans and toast (my analogy not hers) So what happens then when the beans are suddenly served on their own? Do we decide we didn’t really need the toast anyway? Do we find something else to serve them with? Do we think ‘well I needed to cut down on the carbs’? Who the hell knows. Clearly the medical professionals still don’t.

So whilst I’m glad I had it done. It was the right thing to do and I don’t regret my decision at all, I still have a way to go. My lovely long suffering GP thinks 6 months before it will all settle down and that maybe I’m being a little hard on myself. It‘s a major operation after all and if I’d had any other organ removed I’m sure I’d be cutting myself a bit more slack. But guess what, I’m a woman (still), and us women are complicated. Now who the hell would have thought that!

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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.

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 :-)

This Post Has 7 Comments
  1. I also had to have a total hysterectomy and ovaries removed, but via abdominal surgery. I had my op back in February 2015 so 5 months ago. After the first few months i seemed to slip backwards, wow the lack of hormones really did belt me, panicky feelings, crying for no reason, a feeling of heavy doom as though a brick was laying on my chest…………i really wasnt prepared for this side of the recovery. On the physical side im much better, but do still get really tired, and if i do a bit too much then my abdomin does swell and ache. Im learning to cope with how my body feels, but the sweats and feeling far too hot which seems worse now than in the beginning is difficult, the mood swings and feeling low and not being capable of seeing people sometimes im finding the hardest part. Im told by my Doc that this is normal yet wouldnt prescribe HRT (im 49 so i dont know if that had a bearing on why the Docs wont give me HRT), at first the Doc suggested i took St. Johns Wort which i did and i have to say this did ease some of the feelings for a while, the Doc then decided to give me anti depressants, the lowest dose 10mg of Citalopram, i took these for 3 days and promptly threw them away, for me they caused extreme nausea, dizziness, and could not eat a thing or sleep. So im going to make the decision to steer clear of antidepressants if i can cope. i was using st johns wort, and the Dr Bach rescue spray which i bought from Holland and Barrett previous, so im going back to them, coupled with drinking lots of water, deep breathing and gentle exercise. Im hoping this helps. The other after effects of this op i wasnt told about, was that suddenly where i had nice firm thighs and bottom, these are now flabby cellulite blobs haha, ah well at least i dont have heavy periods anymore, and im still young enough to cope….hopefully.

  2. Hi Susannah,

    Thanks so much for writing this, it made me feel so much better about my recovery as I have felt very similar to you. I was just wondering, how soon after your hysterectomy did you think it ‘worked’ in resolving your adenomyosis? X

  3. So glad you have shared your experiences Susannah – I am still waiting for a op date and feel the more post op information I can read the better. I’m sorry that you’ve had a roller coaster of emotions and hope that you will start feeling more “yourself” very soon. None of us choose to out our bodies through the procedure but we can only hope that it’s for our sakes the answer to a better future of our health. Wishing you a speedy recovery and appreciate your honest sharing – it’s inspiring x

  4. thanks Nicola for reminding me that I am doing the right thing
    Susannah’s experience whilst traumatic and I do empathise whilst 10 weeks into waiting for an op date, your comments relate to my fibroid situation and I know that when the nhs get their act together will be inevitable. However the last few months having no bleeds on the pre op drugs have reminded how life was like before losing so much time through bleeding and pain each month. I was beginning to think staying on Esyma would solve my problems but I can only take it for 6 months max so I will still need the op. Here’s hoping when I get the date eventually all will go well x

  5. Wow….. could have easily been my words I’m not such a freak after all. Thank you ♥.

  6. I read Susannah’s story’s with interest. As I am 10 weeks on after a tah, for really big fibroids and very heavy bleeding. I would like to say to anyone thinking or having the op. Go for it. It is now where anywhere as bad I as had thought.

    The worst bit for me was the wind and going to the toilet after. But, I made sure I ate plenty of fibre and fruit and veg and my body did the hard work. I was also tired and slept quite a bit after. I was not very sore, I only needed strong pain killers for 2 days. I took paracetamol for around 2 weeks after, and nothing after that. I’ve still got the old ovaries, they are still working ok! Yip hee!
    I have not felt tearful or emotional. I had to have this op, had no choice as I was poorly, so I am so happy now as I am better. This may be a simple way of looking at it. But, it helped me, with the process of losing the bits that supposedly make me a women. I really do not feel any different. It’s just another stage in life. I have a lovely daughter and concentrate on her. Not the fact I cannot have anymore children.

    I have just got on with this. I am still healing and still feel a little tired some days . But, I’ve had a big op so it’s to be expected. I am back to walking my dog around 2 miles a day. Which is really good for mind and body.

    I am so glad I had it done it. Enjoy the rest, it’s not often in life, a busy women has a really good excuse to do NOTHING and not feel guilty.
    Oh, one last thing. All is absolutely fine in the bedroom department if you know what I mean!!!!

  7. I loved your blog! I’m just approaching three weeks post op and some of that could have been written by me. Until I read about your views on pregnant women, I hadn’t realised that I too am looking at them differently. I, like you, don’t want any more children and I don’t regret having a hysterectomy in any way but I do think that there’s more going on in our subconcious than even we realise.

    Thanks for making me laugh.

    Nicky x

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