4 days ago I was filled with dread and in the preceding week considered cancelling my appointment hourly. I was going to have a Laparoscopic Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy (LAVH). Partial leaving the ovaries. It all happened so quickly in the end from a 1st appointment end of September to confirmed surgery a little over a month later.
I had not been to a gynaecologist since the birth of my 3rd child nearly 18 years ago. And the only reason I’d been to a doctor or hospital in my life was to give birth, visit others or on one occasion due to a broken bone – never had any kind of surgical intervention. But I’d reached a point after nearly ten years of unmanageable bleeding I had to do something. It had started to really damage my quality of life with embarrassing situations at work, socially, and because the bleeding barely stopped it now disrupted every holiday. I had put it off because of the fear of hysterectomy – just good old fashioned squeamish with a low pain threshold! I had watched my mother recover from an abdominal hysterectomy 20 years ago at the same age I am now, 49 and it was a long and painful process. The fact she reassured me it was the best thing she ever did fell on deaf ears.
A couple of large fibroids that could not be removed any other way due to their location left me with the choice to carry on with the half-life I was living or the hysterectomy.
The way things worked out I didn’t have the time to prepare as is recommended, in fact, I was flying back from a long-planned family occasion the afternoon before my surgery. The only preparation I really did was download to my kindle the ‘101 Handy Hints for a Hysterectomy‘ found on this site – which I managed to read and finish the night before. As a result, I came armed with my own supply of mint tea, a pillow (as I have a smokers cough!) and the best way to get out of bed! All the other advice has filled my head – so I’ve been drinking plenty of water, walking, raising my feet on a stool for 1st bowel movement, looking forward to the freedom and being able to plan. It’s practical and positive and I am quite sure this has been a huge contributing factor to my initial strides in recovery. If you’ve yet to have your hysterectomy get the book! (or maybe even if you have, you’ll still gain)
I had my surgery on Tuesday, this is Thursday and I can honestly tell you I had nothing to fear. I know I need to take care of myself over the coming weeks and I will. But what I was most frightened of was the pain, the inability to move, things coming apart or falling out – none of it!!! I’m up and about, haven’t needed more than a couple of paracetamol for pain relief. Had I known how things would turn out I would have done this years ago!
Every experience is different, I can only share mine in the hope it will help someone else. And to the Hysterectomy Association THANK YOU – you have been a wonderful resource & support.
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.