Feeling Positive After Hysterectomy – Helen’s Story

They say we all have a cross to bear, and mine has always been gynae issues. Dodgy smears as a teenager, the agony of endometriosis and finishing off with a fibroid, despite having a Mirena fitted to control the endometriosis (Mirenas are often the first line of defense to prevent a fibroid increasing in size).

I am 44, have never had kids and had a grapefruit sized fibroid. I opted to have a hysterectomy because my body had been through enough quick fix procedures. It was simply time to take control back of my own body.

Reading your stories has made me consider how negative our experiences can be but I wanted to express the positives to anyone about to go through this.

  1. Get your head straight. If you can confront the issues of losing your womb before the op you will find it easier to cope afterwards. I always wanted kids, but that is not what life had in store so I took time to prepare my mind. I concentrated on the positives of not having my own children, but being a great auntie to my friends’ kids.
  2. Talk to friends & family. I was literally astonished by the number of women who said having a hystectomy was the best thing they had ever done. Not having periods has been liberating for them and more importantly they have been pain free, often after years of suffering.
  3. Take it easy. I am 3 days post-op so I am still in bed, although how long a control-freak can put up with hubby doing the cleaning remains to be seen! However, I want this operation to be a long term success and fully intend to rest my body in order to achieve that goal. I have taken up knitting but you might like to learn a language while you have this rare excuse to put your feet up. Learning a new skill will enrich this time, even if I am still constipated, bloated and sore.

The pulsing pain that ran over my abdomen when the epidural wore off is now a distant memory (got to love that Tramadol). In no time at all I will forget I vomited when I tried to pee for the first time post op. I’m sure the first time my bowels (finally!) move will be a great relief. In the meantime I am looking forward to saying”my hysterectomy was the best thing I ever did!” Helen x

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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 :-)

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11 Responses

  1. Dee says:

    I am having a hysterectomy next week and feeling anxious but happy to see the end of troublesome fibroids. Helens story is great and a positive one, I have read so many gloomy stories before this. I tried for the past two years to wish my large fibroids away but I feel only surgery will give me back my quality of life. I am concentrating on being informed and prepared and planning for a good outcome.

  2. Mellissa Hill says:

    Hi, How are you going after your hyst ?? I’m in the stages of thinking about it but I’m quit scared it wont help. I too have Endo and need my life back!! Looking for positive stories about this, hope you are healing well. Mell

  3. Helen says:

    I have just had a lavh September 2016, kept ovaries, feel pretty good, no more painful periods, swollen abdomen or 10cm fibroids pressing on the nerves in my spine anymore.
    Probably best thing I have done, wish I had done it sooner but initially only went to see GP because of chronic back pain (lasted more than 6 months), thankfully my GP asked heaps of questions and sent me for numerous tests which picked up the fibroid, then was sent to a gyno who was excellant, explained so much to me and put me at ease about this procedure.
    Have been looking on internet during recovery stage to read up about hysterectomy and what to expect following.
    Have to say, way too many doom and gloom stories out there that can really scare someone.
    I feel fit enough to tackle small jobs around house and go for regular walks as this is good for recovery, but am mindful of what I can and cannot do and listen to my body when I need to rest, (this is so important for recovery).
    Also found drinking more water helps get rid of swollen abdomen and sensible eating, has also helped me lose weight (sorry had to brag on that one?) the water also helps get rid of constipation.
    Do find I get tired easily, but hey its spring time in Australia at the moment so great excuse to sit outside in back yard where it is very peaceful with my dog who is great for recovery and relax.
    I guess what I am trying to tell ladies out there that have gone though this procedure or are about to is that it is not all doom and gloom and everyone’s recovery is different and if your are sensible and listen to your body, you can get your flat tummy back (including your life) and not everyone will suffer a prolapse or ongoing issues.
    I am 50 years old with no children (my choice), and I am now going to start enjoying life again, pain free and free of those annoying periods.
    Embrace this operation, keep positive and dont believe all the negative stories you hear or read.
    It really does change your life for the best.

    Take care everyone, and enjoy you new found freedom
    Helen M xx

  4. Lindsay says:

    I am having a total hysterectomy on Saturday after 2 years and 5 failed lap procedures to “rid” my body of Stage IV endometriosis and it always coming right back. My boyfriend and I don’t want kids so taking back my life was the logical next step but after reading so many negative articles, I seriously contemplated cancelling my procedure! I know this was written years ago, but I have to say Thank you for the positive outlook on something very scary! I feel a little better as I head in! Many healing thoughts and life long of happiness to you all!

  5. Tracey says:

    It is great to read such positive comments. I am due for hysterectomy next week and am looking for positive reinforcement as have read some real horror stories. After years of long heavy bleeds and endometriosis and pain and trying lots of other treatments this is the last resort. To be honest I was scared of having it done as know I will go into menopause etc but great positive highlights are making it much easier. Great big thank you to all xxx would love to read more.

  6. Angela says:

    I am 48. I had my uterus removed a year ago after coming up with no alternatives to dealing with thousands of fibroids on the outside of my uterus and completely debilitating periods, bleeding that was so heavy, in fact, that I was afraid to leave the house for six days every month. Embarrassing incidents at work and on social occasions were devastating to my confidence, and I could not bear the thought of living like that for 10 more years while I waited for my periods to stop. I was a wreck.
    To make matters worse, the vast majority of woman-friendly (supposedly) advice out there, decries hysterectomy and foolish individuals who fancy themselves feminist actually equate the presence of a womb, in tact, with the core of one’s identity as a woman. All that garbage made me delay a very difficult but necessary decision.
    I had what they call the DaVinci method. Basically, it was three or four incisions made in my abdomen, each about the size of a nickel, through which my uterus was removed. Recovery, despite what they tell you, was not easy. But it was shorter than I had anticipated. Don’t skimp on the painkillers, try to rest A LOT for the first few days and then get up and walk. Your first bowel movement might be a little difficult (don’t strain!) but will make you feel like a new person.
    My hysterectomy was almost a year ago and I am very, very happy that I had it done. I no longer cringe as “that time” approaches on the monthly calendar or panic over meetings or social events that fall during that time. I became more physically active. Sex got tremendously better, too.

  7. What a wonderful comment Sarah and thank you. We try to be impartial here. A hysterectomy is what it is; for most women it will be a very positive experience, for a tiny few it won’t be. But that’s the same with everything in life I guess 🙂

  8. Sarah says:

    I had a total with ovaries left. I’m 42 years old and after years of suffering, I took control of my health and it’s been the best choice for me at this point. Four weeks ago, I had the surgery and now, close to when my period would have began… I feel totally different. No aches, pain free and the list goes on and on. I don’t see my gyno for another two weeks but I think all is fine. I don’t have the abdominal type so my recovery is much different. I can state this because I did have a c-section birth years ago. It took a very long time to recover from my c-section as I had a baby to care for and no down time. Lapascopic procedure through my belly button and three very small 5mm scars on my abdominal area is all I have to deal with now. I am VERY pleased to find positive personal stories of recovery from a hysterectomy here. Many women who had it done in my community are very pleased with their results. Whether a year later or 25 years later… Bonus! I’m tired of coming across protest sites that guilt women about removing their uterus and stating we’ve ruined our bodies and posture forever. They are not medically trained to state such negativity. That’s terrible. I just want to thank all of you for the positive reinforcement.

  9. Helen says:

    Quick update at 4 weeks:
    Been to see my GP today for the checkup my surgeon advised. Luckily we have a couple of gynae specialists at my practice and I am happy to say it all seems good news. That being said, the past few weeks have been interesting!

    Constipation
    I was desperate for the loo by day 9 but could not go, despite all the fibre I had been consuming. I can thoroughly recommend sliced lemons in hot water but Lactulose has been a godsend! You don’t need a prescription, just get it from your pharmacy if things don’t start moving naturally 🙂

    Physio
    I thought I was making really good progress until I started exercises. Had three small bleeds but luckily no major damage done. My advice, when you think you are ready to do anything more than basic pelvic floor clenches, stop. Wait a week.

    Productivity
    I have lost count of the hats I have knitted during recuperation, but a great children’s charity have agreed to take some of them http://www.mumsthewordcharity.co.uk

    General advice
    1) If you are going to be left alone, ask your carer to put a cup of milk in the fridge where you can easily reach it, and some water in a small pan on the hob. Then when you want a cuppa you won’t have to overstretch or lift anything heavy.

    2) A rolled up towel across your abdomen will help when you want to laugh, sneeze, cough or use the loo.

    3)Better still, don’t laugh, sneeze or cough!

    Be well
    Hx

  10. Karen says:

    I totally agree with helen’s story, I had tah and bso 6 weeks ago after 12 years of suffering with endometriosis. Its the best thing I have done and although not fully recovered feel better than I have done in years.

  11. karen watchus says:

    I hope your operation went well. I had to wait some considerable time to say it was a good thing – 15 months later I succumbed to another horrendous attack of cystitus, which confirmed a further prolapse in the vaginal wall. ongoing problems and despite a rather bad time, yes having the hysterectomy was a very good thing..no painful periods, I too had large fibroids, no more pain.
    but what they dont warn you about is the atrophy problems afterwards and how you have to be educated about Replens, creams and vaginal pessaries – it took many months of thinking the hysterectomy had gone wrong and there were problems, for someone to tell me this aftermath is normal! now, I am finally getting to grips, getting control back and know how to deal with the problems when they emerge – there is SO much they dont tell you, you find out for yourself after alot of discomfort, wondering what went wrong, will it go right ever? much more post operative information is needed to help women who are thrown into this and suffer deeply because of the lack of information.
    I just thought I would share this as I am sure there are loads of ladies who wish they knew the aftermath goods and bads before their hysterectomy!

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