End of a long road – Shona’s Hysterectomy Story

Well my hysterectomy story began in 2008. Unfortunately I was having bad smear after bad smear and numerous cervical laser treatments to help. I had been on the combination pill for many years due to heavy and very irregular periods and when I hit a certain age and weight I was told this was no good for me anymore and thus had to change to something else, but what else?

Due to the numerous cervical laser treatments over a period of 4 years, my age, my weight (5.3 and 14 stone) my options were limited. My husband and I have one beautiful little girl who is nearly 9, and she was a miracle as arrived after 4 other pregnancies. She was a miracle we thought we wouldn’t have and had made the decision that we would be grateful for our mercies. However, when my gynaecologist said “we suggest you don’t have anymore children due to a, b and c” this becomes a whole new ball game and actually suddenly you don’t like that decision you made rationally.

We came through this together and last September 2012, I underwent surgery to tie my tubes, abrasion of the womb and had half of my cervix removed. I was too young under my PCT for a hysterectomy so they saw this as next best thing.

4 weeks after laparoscopic surgery I had a large cyst come up on my left ovary, so more surgery. All of the cysts unfortunately could not be removed due to the connectivity of blood vessels, they would have had to have removed my ovary which they deemed would not be a viable solution. I had a total of 9 weeks off last year from working full time in the finance industry.

By February off this year I knew I wasn’t right, my periods were worse than before, every 11 days and extremely heavy, so the abrasion did not help, the pain was horrendous on my left side (yes the ovary that still had cyst) this was re-inflating every cycle which was very often. My gynaecologist then agreed that a hysterectomy would be best, so scheduled this and went for approval from the PCT (due to age, 36) for October this year.

Tuesday 1st October, I underwent a total abdominal hysterectomy with left ovary removal and cervix removal. They tried to do ovary removal laparoscopic using incision from last year, however they found that my left ovary was attached to both my bowel and my stomach from scar tissue, hence the pain. They then tried vaginal hysterectomy, however again due to scar tissue from previous treatments this was not possible either, so abdominal 7inch scar it was and a 3 1/2 hour operation instead of 1 1/2 hour.

My hospital stay was very good, my drain was removed (and I must say, an extremely horrible experience) the day after and the catheter 2 days, I was discharged on the Friday 4th October, and although I so wanted to be back home, I was also very nervous of this.

The ride home was the first difficulty, pot holes is all I’ll say! Our roads are shocking! When I got home, I then realised that I have a three storey property and my bed was on the top floor, one step at a time and having rests I made it, I felt awful but grateful for my bed. I was sent home with Tramadol, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen which I needed 4 times a day for certainly the first 3 / 4 weeks. I invested in the belt from this site before my operation and was grateful for it, made everything feel a little more secure.

Sneezing, coughing and laughing are hard and you must brace yourself as it hurts! Hug a pillow, cushion and get your knees up (if you can) or bend, as this helps. The fear of opening your bowels for the first time, is only a fear as it is ok actually.

I unfortunately ended up with a pelvic infection on day 8 which was more pain but different, with two sets of antibiotics and a trip back to hospital for scans.

Week 5 saw me again back at hospital and this time unfortunately seeing a general surgeon as my scar had got infected due to me unfortunately doing too much. You are told not to do too much but also told not to do nothing, but no one tells you where the line is. More antibiotics, cream and redressing the wound and thankfully more surgery was avoided.

I started to feel much more like myself and able to truly function week 6 and ended all painkillers too. I drove and felt ok, however the hand break made it uncomfortable and if changing gear too much due to the clutch action.

I’m not going to sit here and say that it was easy, it was by far the hardest thing I think I have ever had to do, the feeling that encompasses you and creeps up on you when you’re not expecting it is hard.

The moment my daughter asked me what I had had done and I replied “you know you lived in mummy’s tummy, well the part where you lived for 9 months wasn’t working and the Dr’s have taken it away now so mummy can feel better” hit me hard! This was the finalisation of me being able to physically carry a child, irrational thoughts again, as I wasn’t having any more children anyway. Seeing pregnant ladies everywhere, and programmes on tele (as you’ll be watching a lot) all to do with birth are hard! But you do come through it and the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter, the pain becomes discomfort, you begin to feel more yourself and are able to get back to almost your daily routine (but still taking it gently).

The people it affects most is your closest family, my husband for two years in a row has had to help me with things that do not come naturally to a man, the feelings and emotions that they have to deal with because they can’t physically help but yet they want to. You can be fine and then grumpy and there’s no reason for it, you’re asked “what’s up” and you don’t know…… You just know something is. I was a very confident, a busy, always on the go woman, to then being very vulnerable and asking for help for the littlest things which was very difficult to do, but you know if you don’t ask it’s you who suffers.

Well today I am week 8 and back to work tomorrow! My head is so ready however I know my body is still recovering and will be for a while longer yet, so a phase return for 2 weeks. I am so lucky that I work for a company that is so understanding and have helped all the way throughout this journey.

I hope this story helps someone somewhere for their own journey as the others I read helped me.

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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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