I had a TAH BSO (total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo oophorectomy) basically everything removed because of fibroids.
In May 2012 I realised that I had an extremely large lump in my abdomen, 17cms to exact! How had I not noticed this before? I hadn’t really had any obvious symptoms until a couple of weeks before. My periods had been heavier for a couple of years but I thought that was just part of getting older (I’m 47), and they weren’t ridiculously heavy. My bladder was getting fuller quicker and not completely emptying, but I didn’t really realise this until after the diagnosis. I guess I knew it felt slightly different but not uncomfortable. Anyway I started getting a side pain and after a couple of weeks thought I’d better go to the Dr’s.
So the fibroid was discovered, but as it wasn’t 100% sure whether it was a fibroid or not (risk of ovarian cancer) I was referred under the 2 week rule i.e. must be seen by the gynae consultant within 2 weeks. I also had to have an ultrasound. This led onto a CT scan.
Due to the size of my fibroid it was determined that a total abdominal (vertical) hysterectomy was required. One ovary was completely hidden by the fibroid and the fibroid didn’t have normal fibroid characteristics. Until the mass had been removed the Dr’s couldn’t be sure if it was a fibroid or something else. One ovary had to be removed and I had to decide whether to have the second ovary removed.
I decided I would rather have surgical menopause than leave one ovary behind to possibly become cancerous in the future, especially as we didn’t know if the mass was cancerous at this point.
My operation was twice as long as expected (4hrs) due to complication with my bladder, ureter and kidney. Basically the mass was squishing my bladder and ureter, the ureter wasn’t draining properly and so my kidney was dilated. anyway the urologists arrived and managed to safely remove the mass from my bladder.
So recovery – I had opted for morphine for pain control – other option was epidural, which I was told was very effective, but didn’t always work – morphine was the right choice for me. It was patient controlled, so basically I pushed a button when I needed morphine. I would like to say that at NO POINT did I feel real pain. I was very drowsy for the first day, but I think this was good, helped me rest.
By the third day I was just taking paracetamol and ibuprofen! I was frightened when they said I should try not to use the morphine, but it was fine, it was still attached if i needed it, but I didn’t! Actually I think I had some codeine as well as paracetamol and ibuprofen for one day. But I would have never have imagined that by day four paracetamol and ibuprofen would be fine!
Day 2 I managed a very short walk with a couple of nurses, day 3 was able to walk unaided, only a toddle to the toilet and back. Day 4 had a shower, that was great! Day 5 went home, PHEW!
Due to the bladder complications I had to go home with a catheter, normally it would come out before you leave hospital, but this really wasn’t a problem. It wasn’t uncomfortable, easy to empty and meant I didn’t have to get up at night to wee! And even better, I didn’t get a UTI!
I’ve tried to not do too much and stick to this website’s recovery plan, but I have done a bit more, like going up and down stairs the first week, couldn’t be avoided but I figured as long as I did things carefully and stopped as soon as I felt anything pulling. I have been absolutely fine.
Part way through my 2nd week at home I kept forgetting to take the paracetamol and ibuprofen so I figured I didn’t need them and just took them when I started to feel a bit uncomfortable. Now, at the end of my 3rd week at home I don’t need any pain killers and haven’t really taken any for a few days.
Menopause – I started getting hot flushes, but only at night, on about day 6, they were bad for a few nights and I would stay awake for a few hours but then gradually eased off. I do still wake up a bit hot now, but it is summer and it is warm. I do feel “down” some days for no reason but have not discussed HRT yet… had to wait for the results to make sure the mass wasn’t cancerous and that took 2 1/2 weeks, PHEW all ok!
I would also like to say having the staples out from my wound was fine. Also having the catheter out isn’t uncomfortable at all.
So if you are due to have a hysterectomy, I hope this helps you. I was pretty terrified in advance and it was all so much better than expected. In fact i think its pretty amazing!
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