I remember sitting on the kitchen floor of my Mum and Dad’s house when I was 11 and I said to my mum my tummy hurt – she said perhaps it was my period due to start. Sure enough it started a week later, as did 22 years of constant pain.
I remember taking magazine cuttings about endometriosis to my weekly doctors appointment but they would just tell me it was my age and part and parcel of being a woman. That was after years trying to convince them I did not have IBS.
When I was 21 I cried so much at one appointment they referred me to see a Gynaecologist, who reluctantly agreed to do a laporoscopy, and of course they found the endometriosis I knew I had. A further surgery followed shortly after where I had the nerves around my womb cut in half in the hope of stopping pain in that area.
For years I still struggled with pain, everyday, whether it was my period or not, I had pain and I felt let down by the hospitals I went to as I was generally fobbed off; and even once I was told if I did not think about the pain it would not hurt.
Then at a local endometriosis support group I met a consultant who said he could help me. I used my private medical cover and he performed a laporoscopy and removed endometriosis and adhesions, but that nagging burning pain remained. 5 months later I had my left ovary removed due to adhesions re-attaching it to my bowel, but I still had that burning feeling, as if deep heat had been rubbed in my womb and nothing could shift it.
Then the word adenomyosis was mentioned, out of desperation I tried a medically induced menopause and found I did get some relief when I was topped up. Just over 18 months after I first saw this amazing consultant my husband and I had to sit down and decide what our future really did hold. Was it the little girl wearing princess dresses to every occasion that I had always dreamed of or was it to save the heartbreak of trying and probably failing, and instead put my health first. We chose the hysterectomy and booked a date.
The run up was worse than the surgery itself, I was only 33 and felt so young to be going through this, I would never be a Mum and I was tearful. Only my closest friends were let in on the ‘secret’. The day of surgery came and I was cool as a cucumber, I had a lavh, removing my cervix but keeping my remaining ovary and after 2 nights in hospital I was allowed home.
At my 3 week check, the words ‘histology confirmed the presence of adenomyosis, a hysterectomy was your only option really’ were spoken and that’s when I finally allowed myself to cry. I had been so strong since the hysterectomy, to know that I had not imagined the pain was a big relief.
Recovery was very much a one step forward, 2 steps back kind of experience, but never did I have pain like I did pre op. I started working from home at 2 weeks post op and at 6 weeks went back into the office.
I am now 7 weeks post op and will be having counselling to deal with the emotional side of a hysterectomy, I am grieving for my womb. The emotional side has only hit me in the last few weeks. I don’t regret my decision as it has given me my life back and there are a lot of things I can look forward to now.
Now 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.