A New Beginning – Elizabeth’s Story

At the age of 25 I had to make probably the biggest decision of my life. I started my period when I was 10, and right from the very beginning they were a nightmare, I was off school every time it came because they were so heavy they used to come through onto the seats. I was also in so much pain, I remember my mum took me to the doctors and they said there was nothing they could do for me as I was so young.

At the age of 14 they put me onto the pill to see if it would help to control them. It didn’t. I used to have 2 wear 3 pairs of knickers and 6 pads and it would still come through onto my trousers and onto the seats at school, I was so embarrassed. I had terrible mood swings I was a nightmare to live with.

I met my husband and we began to try for a family, after 2 and a half years of trying they did some blood tests and found out I wasn’t ovulating every month. I was sent to see a fertility specialist who wanted to do a Laparoscopic investigation, however a week before I was meant to go in I found out I was pregnant. I was overjoyed as they had told me it would be very difficult for me to fall pregnant however it wasn’t to be and a week later I lost my baby, thankfully I went onto have 3 beautiful babies, 2 boys and a girl. I also lost a further two babies.

I bled all through my pregnancies which as you can imagine was very distressful. The doctors said that pregnancy should sort my periods out and make them regular and less heavy. A few months after my second son was born they did a vaginal exam and saw that I had very bad erosion on my cervix, I went in for an operation to fix this and they thought after that the bleeding would be controlled again.

After my daughter was born and I had my first period it didn’t go away for 2 months then after that I would bleed 3 out of every 4 weeks. I decided to get sterilised in the hope it would help me, I knew I didn’t want any more children so if it was going to help then I was all for it, but yet again it didn’t.

I tried the pill again and the coil nothing worked they then put me onto monthly injections of decapeptyl which basically stopped my ovaries releasing an egg therefore stopping my periods I was 24 when this happened it was the first time in 14 years I had had a break from the pain and the constant bleeding, although the mood swings stayed my periods stopped and I felt I had my life back.

However because the injections I was getting took a little bit of my bone density every time I got one, I was only allowed 6 so my joy was short lived. I spoke to my consultant who decided that it would be a good idea to try Microwave Ablation which could give me up to 5 years of very light or no periods, although it meant another operation I was all for it if it would give me a break bring it on I said.

So, the day came for me to have the MA done. I went to theatre and was told that it would take about an hour, however when I came round it had only been 30 minutes I knew something was wrong, the doctor came to see me and told me they had extreme difficulty in dilating my cervix and because of this they had perforated my womb and had to stop the operation immediately. I was devastated; this was my chance of having a few years break. I had had enough and I asked for a hysterectomy, I couldn’t take it anymore, the mood swings were getting worse I would shout at my husband little things like not putting the shopping away the right way, or the kids would be shouted at for nothing.

I asked my doctor for a hysterectomy, he said he wouldn’t do it on someone as young as me; he wanted to try the microwave ablation again only laparoscopic this time, although he couldn’t give me a definite answer as to whether there was a chance it would happen again. So after talking it through with my husband I decided to get a second opinion.

My GP referred me to Dr Rae who listened to what I had been through in my own words instead of reading my notes; he understood that I wanted no more children. He told me that really a hysterectomy was the only medical option for me as I had really tried everything. He agreed to do it for me, I was so overjoyed words can’t explain. I was set to go in on the 21st of September 2011. Dr Rae came to see me and explained to me that he would perform a Vaginal Hysterectomy, leaving my ovaries behind but taking my womb and cervix. I was very nervous but also excited at the same time. I was wheeled into theatre went to sleep, woke up a few hours later and it was done. I wasn’t in any pain because of the painkillers and I had a catheter in and also a vaginal pack.

My husband and son came to see me that night but it’s just a blur, I think I slept through most of the time they were there. It had hit my oldest son the hardest, he hated to see me in hospital, when I had the microwave ablation I was supposed to be in and out, but I was in for 5 days, he came to the hospital expecting to take me home but his dad had to explain to him I couldn’t get home he cried his heart out which is why I decided I couldn’t do it anymore.

The next day it was time to get my catheter removed and the vaginal pack, I really wasn’t looking forward to this, the nurse said that I would feel pressure when my pack was removed, well her words were you will probably feel like your insides are falling out, didn’t help the nerves. When she was removing the pack I just kept thinking god how much has he put in there it just kept coming and coming. That night they were having a problem with my blood pressure it was very low because of the painkillers so the monitor was continually beeping and the nurses had me lieing this way and that way.

The next day I had to have a bladder scan because my bladder wasn’t emptying as it should be. I was told to drink plenty of water to get it working again. Dr Rae came to see me and told me that I was allowed to go home the next day; he also said that my womb had been sent to the lab and I would get the results in about 4 weeks. Of course hearing that I started to assume all sorts of things had been found. Google really isn’t a good place to look up womb and lab!

My ovaries went into shock for a few weeks which was tough, my sleeping pattern was terrible sleeping all day up all night, the hot flushes were constant and I was worried that they had gone into shock permanently however they got better each day. Before I knew it it was 4 weeks post op and I had begun to walk a wee bit, which after being stuck in the house with nothing but day time TV and gossip magazines was great.

My family had been my support line. I am now just over a year post op, and I have to say it was the best decision I have ever made. Sure there were days before I had it when I would sit and cry and say to my husband I wouldn’t be a proper woman, and what if something went wrong with the operation. I think everyone has fears, especially when they are young. I wanted to share my story just to show that even though I was very young, at only 25, I know I made the right decision, I am now pain and period free and I have my life back, me and my husband renewed our wedding vows on September 29th a year and a week after I had my op, I have my life back now and this is just the beginning.

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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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