Fibroids, Hysterectomy and Facing the Fear: Miranda’s Story

I just wanted to say a big thank you for all the hints, tips, website and personal responses to my emails.  I can’t tell you how well supported I have felt throughout what was a very harrowing lead up to my op.  You may remember I had fought this op for 3 years and was terrified, so much so I had felt like doing something really stupid.  I am 47 and had fibroids the size of cricket balls.

I had my op as planned on 3rd April at 5pm and was back out in Recovery at 7:15pm.  My surgeon said the uterus was monstrous and he didn’t know how I had coped with it as long as I had, it was about a foot long, all knobbly and weighed 2kgs. He had carried out a sub total hysterectomy due to large bulky fibroids but had managed to preserve the lower part of my cervix and my ovaries at my request. Following my initial consultation 10 days earlier, for the first time in about 10 months I stopped bleeding, most likely down to the emotional shock and trauma I was feeling at finally having lost my battle to fight the op.  I then realised I had become urinary incontinent and had been leaking urine.

The constant bleeding, changing and wearing sanitary protection had clearly disguised the fact for some time and I was horrified.  I had put up with indigestion for some 2 years and had put it down to ‘maybe a wheat intolerance’, the bloated feeling I put down to be a ‘bit over weight’!  Who did I think I was kidding?!? My uterus was so large it was wedged under my rib cage.

I experienced some sharp pains immediately post op but the PCA morphine drip kicked in quickly and it became very manageble, so much so they took it down in the morning and removed the catheter.  So 13 hours post op I was out of bed and in the shower.  Yes it was a silly thing to do because I did come over very dizzy and queasy and had to lie on the bed for a few minutes while it all passed off.  I also had some sharp pains to remind me of the surgery but 5 minutes later I was back in the bathroom drying my hair, cleaning my teeth and putting on a bit of makeup to make myself feel better.  The bleeding went to nothing within

24 hours and although a little slow and careful I was up and walking about the ward from day 2. Tramadol and paracetomol seemed to control the pain well and although I had some wind pain which left me a bit uncomfortable on the 3rd / 4th evening, an extra dose of oramorph and a dose of movicol to get my bowels working seemed to help the pain and got me through the night.  Day 5 they wanted to send me home but were concerned about the lack of bowel movement and despite regular doses of movicol not much was happening.  Thankfully one of your website visitor posts had mentioned Lactulose and taking the hint I had purchased some  from the local chemist beforehand and took it with me into hospital.  I took a very hefty dose on top of the movicol administered and finally Day 5 mother nature kicked back in and I could just about say I had ‘moved my bowels’.  I was allowed home.  Two days in bed at home was as much as I could manage and I started pottering about.  I got severe earache from my husband who all but washed his hands of me for ignoring his requests to rest.  I was determined to keep active whilst ‘listening to my body’ and resting if I felt I needed to.  Within 10 days I was pretty much back to normal, cooking, cleaning, washing albeit carefully.  I am now 3 weeks post op and yes I have probably done some stupid stuff, lifting stuff I shouldn’t but the slightest twinge and I stop and resume the well behaved bed ridden post op patient for a rest and so far so good.  Yes I do periodically get a bit of wind pain but it passes if I move about and I haven’t taken any pain killers for about a week.  I feel uncomfortable in my jeans because it puts pressure on my vertical scar.  I had 19 clips removed after 7 days and it appears to be healing well.  I have a very small amount of white discharge but certainly not enough to warrant any pads and is lessening day by day.  I have been warned not to ride my horse for 3 months and not to lift a back of livestock feed (25kg) for 6 months but am hoping for a reprieve certainly on the first point.  I am not driving yet but again hope to get the OK from the doctor in the next week or so.  The indigestion completely disappeared immediately post op and so has the incontinence.

Did I make the right decision to have the op?  You betcha!  Was I a complete and utter wuss who should be totally ashamed of her lack of backbone?  You betcha!  Maybe I was lucky and got away lightly, maybe the worst is yet to come and maybe I will be my own worst enemy and not listen well enough to my body and undo some of the good progress I have made – I don’t know.  All I do know is I am very grateful for all the emails from you, the hints and tips, the website and the support I have received.  It was so helpful getting the facts and not just relying on forums which sometimes only seem to post the horror stories.  Thank you so much Linda, and your team and all the amazing ladies who post what it is really like to go through this.  Without you I may well have not gone through with it and would still be suffering both the symptoms and the agro from my husband, both of which were only set to get worse.

I’m not sure how helpful my story would be to others but if you want to share it, please do.  I hope it might help someone like me who is pre op and terrified.  The after is so much better than the before!  I have already been on the organisation’s facebook page and responded to a couple of posts to try to reassure a couple of people pre op.  I know we are all different and experience it differently depending on the op we have and us as individuals but sometimes the fear is worse than the actual reality and when you’re frightened all you seem to read is the horror stories.


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.

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