My positive hysterectomy experience – Veronica’s story

I have suffered with horrendous menstrual bleeding due to a huge fibroid over the past seven years. I researched fibroid problems and was gladdened by the fact that they shrink during the menopause. As I grew older, heading towards 56 my very heavy periods showed no signs of stopping. The bleeding became heavier as each month went by and my stomach would swell making me look pregnant.

In February this year my stomach swelled as usual but my period did not start. Menopause could be starting? The fibroid got so huge that it congested my pelvis to the point where I could not pass urine due to it pressing on my bladder and ureter. I attended A&E and was given a scan which confirmed the fibroid was now around 10 cms and there were also some smaller ones adding to the problem. I was fitted with a catheter which enabled me to empty my bladder which made me feel more comfortable. The day after the catheter was fitted I started my very late period which as you can imagine was an absolute nightmare to manage. I bled for four weeks and my stomach settled back down and the catheter was removed.

My care was taken up by a fantastic gynaecologist who understood my concerns and worries about my career and future health. She put me on GnRH injections monthly which would damp down any further activity from the ovaries and hasten my menopause. I was scheduled for a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral oopherectomy in June. The hormones did their job and I did not have any more periods and my pelvic congestion calmed right down.

The operation went ahead as scheduled and I could not believe how well it went. I felt really well and on day two was up and out of bed. I went home on day three and continued to progress at home. Perhaps I felt too well, I pottered about at home and started to do a few household chores such as washing the dishes, one at a time, tidying the odds and ends away (very carefully).

On day day 10 I began to bleed. Very alarming, it was bright red blood with quite big clots. My husband took me back to A&E and they assured me that some bleeding was normal as at this time the internal sutures were beginning to dissolve. I was sent home and I had a restless night but no further bleeding. All seemed to be settling down.

I went to the toilet the next morning and I could feel the blood starting to flow again. It was trickling into the toilet and huge clots were on the toilet tissue when I tried to wipe myself. As fast as I put on a heavy duty sanitary towel, the blood went right through it. I was in a terrible state I was covered in blood and feeling really faint. My husband rang for an ambulance and I lay on the floor on a pile of towels and tried to calm down. I was taken back to the hospital and given fluids, antibiotics and tranxaemic acid to stop the bleeding. I was admitted and kept under observation overnight. All worked well and I was told it was a common infection of the internal wound. Apparently the edges can break down as the stitches begin to dissolve.

I was so scared in case it was anything I had done but the gynaecologist assured me I was just unlucky and it was nothing I had done. I have been sitting or laying down and being very,very careful since coming home from hospital. I feel a little better each day and I have been so impressed by the care I have been provided with from our wonderful NHS.

I hope my experience will help other ladies in the future as the forums have helped me over the past weeks. I have read lots and lots of other ladies experiences and they have really got me through. Please rest up following your surgery and try to ignore the dust and bits on the carpet. You need to take lots of care and recover slowly but surely. Looking forward to returning to work in September all being well!

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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.

3 comments

  1. Hi Jackie, I hope you get this message. I have had fibroids or at least known about them for the last 6 years. 4 years ago the biggest one was 13cm x something and I had bad pelvic congestion, problems urinating but was too scared to do anything about it and pretty much put up with it. Eventually my consultant gave me an injection of GNRH substance, one injection which she said would last either three or six months (cannot quite remember) before she was to take everything out. The menopause was instant and very noticeable but not painful or anything to worry about, just a pain in the butt really!!!! Don’t worry about a chemically induced menopause it is just a series of symptoms. If you want to ask me anything else please do and don’t worry!!! The symptoms of the menopause I would have a hundred times over compared to the awful problems my fibroid was causing me. The GNRH was so good I stupidly decided not to go in for the hysterectomy because of how scared I was. Now 4 years later and having been in discomfort because they obviously grew back one of them has degenerated and I have something sticking under my ribcage. I ended up having an untrasound and the radiographer did not like the look of it at all. I then had to have an MRI scan as it loked suspicious with contrast and last week a CAT scan with a pleasing iodine to drink and more contrast into my vein. The worry about cancer was horrendous but I was told yesterday that they were happy with the CAT scan and they will take it out before the end of the month as it is now 15cm x something along with a bit sticking out the side and two other pesky fibroids. My abdomen is so full of stuff they cannot see my ovaries so they were very concerned it could be coming from there. Really scared about my op. but just want it out of the way now and it could have been so much worse. I looked at the faces of other people as I left the clinic after my CAT results and felt so much for people that have to go through this and then get really bad news. Morale of the story here fibroids are horrible insidious little monsters that have given me grief for too long and if you get the chance to have them taken out go for it!!!

  2. Hi Veronica and thank you for sharing your story. I have been recommended the GNRH ahead of my sub total abdominal surgery for large fibroids in awkward positions that are impacting on my bowel and bladder function. The consultant threw me a bit at my appointment as I thought I was simply going to be told what type of hysterectomy and details of what would happen next (he says sub total and probably leave my cervix which I’m not sure about – why, as other forums and experience seems to be that they remove – I’ve had countless problems with smears coming back with small changes etc that I’d not be worried to see it go but he says that is not done so much now and is a tricky thing to do?. I don’t know anyone else who has had the GNRH injections and I am totally worrying myself about it. I had expected to go into surgical menopause after my op and not before it. I am on birth control to control the awful flooding/bleeding that I had and I am really afraid that this will return the moment I stop taking it. How quick do you think the GNRH started to help your symptoms? I expect as they are attempting to shut down the ovaries that all the suggested complementary therapy stuff is out the window as you wouldnt want to stimulate any oestrogen production at all at this stage. Did you experience menopause type symptoms like flushes or muddle mind? As I said I had read up quite a bit on the types of surgery that might be proposed but never thought it would be quite that “bad” – he explained we have to do the GNRH first to shrink them due to location and size and that I would be in danger of bleeding a lot during the operation/afterwards if we don’t prepare in this way. I really didn’t expect this – I thought I would have the next few months to read up and prepare but feel I am being kind of thrown in at the deep end of a type of unexpected menopause. I can’t find any information about experiences of GNRH so perhaps I am looking in the wrong place on the forum but it seems to list post surgical menopause and not the GNRH experience? Thank you for listening. I am a bit frantic – I go this week for the injection and I feel I have had no preparation for this at all. I am due to go on a planned holiday in a fortnight and I really don’t want symptoms ruining such an occasion but my consultant told me it must be started as soon as possible. Help – am I worrying about nothing?

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