I will feel like a 17 year old again – Paula’s Story

I am now day 9 post Total Abdominal Hysterectomy, to remove fibroids. I’m 45 years old, and hadn’t expected anything like this to happen to me. I’d never really had any major gynae problems, and I’m not one to go to the doctors unnecessarily, so it all came as a bit of a surprise.

However, over recent years I’d felt like I had something heavy inside me, like being pregnant. I was beginning to worry a I was getting pains and pressure on my other organs, so decided to go to my GP. I’d firstly thought that I may have problems with my ovaries, so my GP referred me for a scan.

Luckily I have Private Medical Insurance through work, and was able to contact a very good Gynaecologist who a number of friends had recommended. She examined me, and straight away knew from the large lump in my tummy that I had fibroids. She recommended further investigation which involved a laparoscopy under a general. I was surprised that even this op, meant I felt unable to return to work for 2 weeks post op.

Between myself and my consultant we decided to leave it for a few months to see how I was able to cope. At 45 heading towards Menopause the thought was that my fibroids would eventually shrink. We did discuss the Marina Coil, but I’d heard a few nightmarish stories from friends, and decided if I could live with out it then great.

I actually left it a whole year. I had good months, but when I look back the bad months far outweighed the good ones. I felt that although I’d joined a gym and wanted to get fit, I was struggling with the pressure on my tummy. I was getting increased bloating, and pain in my back. I was also struggling with indigestion and felt like I was 7 months pregnant.

In February, I went back to see my consultant. When she examined me, immediately she could tell that the largest of my fibroids had grown. She looked at me and asked me how I’d feel about a Hysterectomy. I had expected as much, and knew from out last meeting that it could be on the cards.

Luckily for me I have a very supportive husband, and work for a large employer, so the recovery time is not an issue. A part of me did think! OMG, I am now officially old! In my head I am still 17! However, I knew it was for the best, and that I’d never feel totally well until I’d got this sorted out.

As I didn’t have any ovarian problems, I was able to keep my ovaries and tubes, but we decided on removing my cervix as I had a loop cone procedure in my 20′s to treat CIN3 pre cancerous cells.

As I was going to have the operation Privately I was able to chose my date, to coincide with a less busy period at work. I also ensured it was after my birthday!

The operation went well, even though my consultant said it was a very difficult op, as a lot of the fibroids were attached to various bits of my insides, she was pleased. I was offered an epidural along with my general anaesthetic, and as I’d had one before during child birth (C Section), I accepted. Although I’d not remembered how uncomfortable this was! I assume the pain of childbirth meant the epidural was a walk in the park! This did help the post op pain. And I was also given fluids and antibiotics through a drip, as well as paracetemol! I was surprised that paracetemol was so effective intravenously!!!

I was in hospital for 5 days (4 nights). Initially I struggled with pain the first day. The hospital had also given me Oxycontin, which is a 12 hour pain relief tablet. It’s a strong barbiturate, so I wasn’t keen on keeping this going, although it did work very well! However, for the first few days I took some co-codamol which helped. The biggest issue for me was constipation! I didn’t go for 5 days, which was excruciating. However, I have increased my fibre intake, taken some gentle laxatives, and it seems to be improving.

Day 9 and I am still very sore, and finding it hard to go the whole day without sleeping. However, I am moving about much more, and am taking it easy. I do feel guilty watching my husband run around like a headless chicken all the time, and just getting up from my dinner, and sitting in front of the TV. I feel like I’m being lazy! He’s back to work tomorrow, so my parents are coming round to pick me up and I’m spending the day with them. I am hoping that in 6-8 weeks time, I will feel like the 17 year old again!

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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.

13 comments

  1. Hi Wendy. You’ve just had major surgery, your body is still recovering and it will take time. One of the reasons you may be upset is because of the anaesthetic and the post surgical blues. Your hormones will also be in free-fall, regardless of whether your ovaries were removed, until your body recovers. Don’t be hard on yourself, this is all perfectly normal.

  2. Hi I have just had my hysterectomy at 46 after three years of pain. No pain in stomach but terrible back pain. Tonight started crying for no reason and can’t sleep. When will my symptoms get better. I had it done 5 days ago

  3. I had my vaginal hysterectomy and pelvic floor repair on 9th June 2014. As the stitches tightened it became agony. Three weeks post the operation the pain subsided. However on 3rd Aug, I was felling hot and then freezing, I had a fever. The following day I saw my doctor and was admitted to hospital immediartely with a serious infection. I was on IV antibiotics for one week and then sent home on Augmentin 875/125 three times a day for four weeks. The side effect of these was terrible thrush, mouth ulcers and feeling lousy. When I finished the antibiotics, I thought I should feel great. But not so, I believe it will take another six weeks. Last Wednesday I decided to vacuum and steam clean some of my rooms. I had been getting back ache when I walked and stood after the op. But last night as I was sitting at the computer my back gave way completely leaving me almost totally paralyzed. Tonight the pain has eased and I can stand very gingerly. This is going to be a much longer recovery than I anticipated. I have suffered pwith back ache for thirty years but I only had one episode like last night before and that was thirty years ago. Not wishing anyone the same as myself, I hope my experience may be helpful to others.,

  4. It been 5 weeks now never thought i would get here. The last 3 days have been the best. I suffered terrible with trapped wind, and not being able to go to the toilet and open my bowels . But the operation was the best thing i ever did. I had fibroids. I was told by my consultant. That the biggest one. Was the size of a4 month pregnant woman. I suffered a lot of back pain. I used to go to the gym. 5 days a week and could never get my stomach completely flat. I had a six pack. But also a big lump. Now i can see a complete change. With a bit of swelling after. Operation but doing really well.

  5. Hi, I am 9 days post op and have so many unanswered questions however reading this blog has certainly answered a few of them. Each day I feel strongerbut the nausea just doesn’t seem to want to go! Was wondering if anyone can tell me if I was in menopause when I had my TAH,actually nearly done with it, will I then have all the menopausal frustrations again? I have been experiencing such night sweats, and as for emotions, the tears just randomly pour! Also feeling a bit apprehensive about future intimacy and how this all works out in the end…..forgot to mention I’m 45 with what I’m hoping, loads of active, happy years ahead. Any comments would be much appreciated xx

  6. Hi Cheryl, have just read your letter, and i seem to have had a similar experience to yours. Was just wondering how things are and if you had any advice please? Thanks. Chris xx

  7. Hi
    I am 7 days post abdominal hysterectomy for fibroids removal and am feeling amazing! I was up and showered on Day One, stopped all opiate analgesia (codeine) by DAY 4 and am pain free today without oral paracetamol – and I have just been out to lunch! I am not sleeping as much as I expected but as I am resting most of the day its almost like sleeping. All round, I’m not sure I should feel this well so soon, but I am feeling so much better now the drawing pressure has gone from my lower abdomen! I am blessed by having a good supportive network of family and friends and despite wishing I was at work – which is really busy!- I am very pleased not to have to endure the anaemia and discomfort of the last year ever again!
    Cheryl

  8. Hi Paula,

    It is really reassuring to read your story. I am due to have an abdominal hysterectomy next tues 28th for fibroids, the nearer the time gets the more petrified I have become. I am due to go on holiday abroad 6 and a half weeks after surgery and am really concerned that I will not be fit enough to go. Hearing about your positive recovery is encouraging and hopeful.

  9. Karen. I’m really glad my story has put your mind at rest. I’m now 3 1/2 weeks post op and every day I feel better. I’m getting out more. As my parents are retired they are picking me up and taking me out for a few hours. I do however know when it’s time to sit down! I can feel a slight pull in my tummy and that’s my queue! I also try and only go out on alternate days. Today is a rest day so it’s time for my book and a few chick flicks! It is very frustrating and you do feel a bit of a fraud sitting on your behind. But it’s VITAL if you are to recover properly as Alyson says. I do a lot of supervising my 17 year old son with housework, and my hubby is good at ironing. Don’t stress you will be fine. It will be so much better for you in the long run. Good luck.

  10. Hi Paula,
    Just read your story and it’s given me a boost, I am due to go into hospital on the 4th June for a full hysterectomy as I am suffering two large fibroid’s which put pressure on my bladder.
    I work in the catering trade so I am on my feet all day so my back suffer’s and also I get pain in my stomach.
    I’m petrified about going into hospital and there is so much to sort out before I go in, what to take into hospital, time off work and organising the home.
    I have a really loving and caring partner who is worried about all the pain I am going through at the moment but I am hoping if he read’s your story he may understand a little.
    Many Thanks for your story and best wishes to you and rest.
    Bye for now Karen

  11. So pleased to hear you are making a good recovery. It’s a year since I had my TAH and I am feeling great. So much better. The bleeding and constant abdominal pain was making me so miserable. I was a bit scared about the op and the pain after was hard to deal with in first few days but it was totally worth it. Just don’t over do things, I know it’s tempting when you see others taking over your role but honestly it’s important to let body recover or you could have problems with bladder and bowel later on. Best wishes to you. Aly.

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