I was referred to a gynaecologist for post menopausal bleeding 3 months ago. He did a vaginal ultrasound and saw a cyst. Removal of the ovary was mentioned as a possibility because of my age (55) but he first ordered a MRI for further information because of the bleeding. This showed a solid area in the cyst which I was told could mean borderline or early ovarian cancer so the decision was taken to do a BSO and hysterectomy within 30 days with the possibility of further surgery to the lymph nodes and omentum if the histology was unfavourable.
I wasn’t expecting this news and had gone to the appointment alone and was too stunned to ask any questions. He felt that the bleeding was probably coincidental so I did feel fortunate that it had enabled the growth to be picked up.
A bed became available the night before my operation so I was asked to go in then instead of waiting until 6am the following morning to ‘save’ the bed which took away some of the anxiety. The anaesthetist was very kind and listened to my concerns but he wouldn’t budge on the issue of morphine. I didn’t want a PCA machine but he said it was necessary because pain could effect my recovery and cause pulmonary problems if I was hunched over. A medical student then came to see me to practice his case-note taking and was very embarrassed to have to ask if he could feel the growth internally while I was under anaesthetic! I was fine with this.
I woke in recovery pain free and couldn’t believe I had had surgery. The morphine made me nauseous later on but the nurse responded to my request for anti sickness meds and PCA was removed the next morning when I was told I could go home if my bladder was working after the catheter removal.
Unfortunately, I suffered urinary retention and spent another 3 days in hospital but was totally pain free with just paracetamol and eventually went home with the catheter still in situ. This was the worst part of the whole process as it kept getting blocked because of blood clots so I had to visit my GP and A&E. I returned to the hospital for the Trial Without Catheter clinic 1 week after surgery and managed without it but was then found to have a minor wound infection which was treated with 2 courses of antibiotics. Tip: take metronidazole on a full stomach to avoid nausea.
I started going for walks as soon as the catheter was removed and achieved the 1 in 3 and 3 in 6 targets. I felt fully recovered at 4 weeks and returned to my part-time job. At 6 weeks today I am looking forward to starting swimming and gardening again. I was already post menopausal so I don’t feel any different.
Fortunately, at my 3 week follow up I was told that the histology was benign (serous papillary cystadenoma) so I didn’t need any further treatment and although the uterus was healthy I don’t regret having it removed because at the time they couldn’t be sure what they would find during and after surgery and at least I won’t bleed any more. I found the Hysterectomy Association daily emails very helpful and recommend their support pants. Now I am back in jeans I find they protect my belly button which is a little tender from the healing process.