Early Days but a Positive Journey So Far – Lisa’s Story

Any woman who has a hysterectomy does so for her own reasons. I had a total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy 7 weeks ago, two weeks after celebrating my 40th Birthday.

My specialist first suggested the procedure 3 years ago. I spent around three miserable weeks of the month bleeding and the other one feeling so low everything was black. I suffered terrible migraines and was constantly at the GP complaining of feeling generally unwell. A visit to a different Doctor from my practice spurred me into action as he told me until I had my ovaries removed I would never feel well.

Family commitments and setting up our own business were always a reason not to have the operation, it frightened me not being able to do anything for 6 weeks. I have an autistic son and this was a major concern as he likes routine! I eventually got round to signing the consent form and waited for a date.

My 40th Birthday was coming up as was a new school term. I needed to have these under my belt. Fingers crossed the date would be far enough away but not to close! The call came sooner than expected and I still wobbled at the thought of having it done. What if it wasn’t right? I put all that to one side, enjoyed my birthday and got my son settled into the new term at school.

D Day came. I was a complete mess. If it had not been for a good friend and the support of my family, I would not have gone through with it. It’s such a big decision. I had been having Zoladex implants for 5 months before the operation and they had been successful, I felt great. To know that I was going to make myself not feel great was not an enticing thought! I had felt better than I had in months. I nearly walked out the door that day, out of the ward and back into my miserable life. Instead, with a little help from a little something to calm me down, I got in my gown and waited.

The surgery list had backed up. I was delayed. I chose to have a spinal as I had previously had a bad experience with anaesthetic. What a superb decision. I also had a general, but not such a heavy dose. I am also pretty bad with morphine, so my fabulous anaesthetist laid off that too. To this day I think he is wonderful!

Before I knew it I was in the anaesthetic room. That took a while, longer than I anticipated and the jab in the spine was sore, but not unbearable. The worse bit was when they tore off the covering I had on my back without warning. Free back wax!! I felt a weird burning sensation going down my legs as I heaved them back onto the bed, and that was about all I remember. Next thing I was in the recovery room. That was a new one, have always felt so dreadful in the past I had never seen that room before! No pain. I don’t remember going back to the ward, or seeing my family. I strangely remember my parents had sent some flowers with a card ‘now all you have to do is get better’. That was the perfect thing to say.

That night I slept on and off, probably more on than off, although it didn’t feel like it. I had some foot compression pumps on my feet which helps prevent blood clotting, they were weird, but I guess they were doing a good job, I was however relieved to be free from them! The next day I had some breakfast. I had heard I would fancy some but I didn’t believe anyone. All I had read were complete horror stories! I enjoyed it too.

I didn’t look at what was underneath the dressing. It was uncomfortable, but certainly not unbearable, more sore than anything else, but nothing compared to what I was expecting. I could get out of bed, albeit gingerly, and take myself to the toilet. The nurses recommended a folded towel on my tummy, this was a huge comfort and I took it everywhere with me for the next couple of weeks!I was tired. Very tired. I would have a visitor and have to sleep while they chatted amongst themselves. Don’t under estimate how tired you will feel!

I stayed in hospital for 4 nights and my family were completely amazed at how I could move around. I showered the day after my operation with a little help from a nurse and the next day I managed by myself. I was quite amazed! My stitches came out on the day I came home. I was worried about that but I should have trusted the nurses – there was no need, in fact it was a relief when they came out. I should also have stopped worrying about opening my bowels, as that was OK too. Sure, I would rather have been having a G&T but hey, no pain, no gain!

Coming home was hard. I took to my bed. I had to keep telling myself that life would be there when I was over this and most things can wait. Be selfish. Lay it on thick! You will need support and you will need errands done, but people rally round. I am now 7 weeks post op and apart from two UTI’s, it’s all gone pretty well.

I really wished I had read a story like mine instead of everything else. I went back to work last week and have started driving again. Yes, my days are short. Yes, I am tired. Do I feel better? I think so. It’s probably too early to tell in all honesty. I know I am not bleeding, I know I don’t feel black, I know a migraine isn’t imminent. Even that’s worth something. I truly believe that this ‘new woman’ is ready to emerge like a butterfly, just as soon as she’s finished with her chrysalis! Good luck girls. You can do it. If I can, you can.

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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.

1 comment

  1. Thank you Lisa for your very positive blog. I’m going in for surgery – total abdominal with Bilateral Sal-Ooph and have been putting it off for a year, terrified by all the horror stories I’ve read. But your story, especially the end bit – “You can do it. If I can, you can.” – has given me a lot of hope and I now feel more positive about the procedure. It would be nice if more women would focus on the positives against the negatives, seeing as it’s something we’re bound to experience at some point in our lives as women. Thanks again

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