Others can’t see the loss – so I care for myself with knowledge, creating and love – Kate’s Story

I’m 44 years old, in Australia and had a total abdominal hysterectomy (cervix, vaginal cuff gone but retained ovaries) on 8th Feb 2012 and now just 8 weeks post-op. I know many women find relief after a hysterectomy but I did not feel ‘sick’ and simply did not want the operation.
My husband and I have tried for 10 years to conceive including IVF but no luck – I do have a beautiful 16 year old stepson though :o)

I was a conundrum, with a history over 15 years of pap test results showing CIN or AIS but procedures – 2 LLETZ, 2 cone biopsies – with clear results or vague pathology. They just could not find the cancers that were supposed to be there. I took a lot of convincing but my GP and Gynaecological Oncologist finally got me to sign the paper for the hysterectomy.

The report – a perfectly healthy uterus and no cancerous changes but extensive cervical endometriosis – something they could not have known but I wish someone had thought of it earlier!

The Loss – It is one thing to have the ‘normal’ slide into childlessness and menopause with time to reflect and grieve. It is another to take pen to paper and literally sign away the ‘hope’ and ‘possibility of a miracle’ that I had been clinging to. And because it is internal, others cannot see or begin to imagine what has happened.

The Knowledge – If you are so inclined, there is an internet and libraries out there to find out about your body. I am grateful that my doctors gave me the space and time to research, argue, debate and question them. I would regularly go to consultations with 3 or 4 pages of questions, so do not ever be afraid to ask or get detailed explanations and take someone with you to compare notes.

At the hospital or outpatient clinic ask, ask, ask – carry a small notepad and write things down if you can to help your memory. Both my husband and I are also grateful that we found this website as it has been a source of clear, sensible and understandable information…and very warm, brave women.

The Creating – Grab an art book or notepad that is yours and yours alone then write, rant, cry, paint, scribble, draw, collage, knit, grab a needle and thread…anything to help you imagine and express your feelings. Who cares what it looks like – it’s the process that matters.

Ideas can come from the most amazing places. I found a fresh fig that was the exact weight and dimensions of my uterus -I drew it, photographed it, sculpted it and…even just holding it helped. Next plan – put a fig tree in the garden as a ‘ceremony’ to honour our loss but also celebrate life!

The Loving – Believe the posts on this website which tell you to ‘do nothing’ whenever and wherever you can. This is time for you and your healing. If someone asks you what they can do for you then tell them! Cook, clean or ‘please leave me alone today but call tomorrow’…

It is so hard to take it slowly but I trust that this is the best way to help me be the strongest and healthiest I can. I even found some simple breathing and visualising meditations which have helped tremendously.

Actually feel like I am ‘actively’ contributing to healing my body from within. Having a routine – get up, walk for the time I can then do a 10 minute meditation – also gave me a structure in the early weeks. I was also clear about returning to work – tried it for 1 day at 6 weeks post-op and no good so got another week off. Again, caring and loving yourself is the key.

Thanks for reading. I hope there are some tips there that help – even though they might sound a bit ‘out there’ (believe me, I wear a very serious suit to work!). Hugs, K


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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