TAH hysterctomy, large fibroid – Lisa’s story

My Story – Hi I am 46 and was diagnosed with 2 small fibroids six years ago. I was told to go away and was not monitored. At that time there was very little information about fibroids. Last year on holiday I noticed a large mass in my abdomen which turned out to be a now very large fibroid (size of a 24 week pregnancy). I was very lucky that the only symptoms I suffered from were heavier periods and the feeling of a full bladder during the day and the night. I was advised by my consultant that as my childbearing days were over that a hysterectomy was a good option. There is a lot of information now about fibroids and I wish when I was diagnosed six years ago that I had insisted on being regularly monitored and insisted on a less invasive form of treatment.

Operation – Due to being in very good health at 46 and with family support I decided to go ahead with the hysterectomy but if possible, leave my ovaries. I looked into the benefits of leaving my ovaries and as I had no family history of ovarian cancer I felt that leaving them and all the good things they do for me outweighed my risks. I had had a caesarean with my second daughter 19 years ago and felt that I knew what I was in for. I was admitted to St Albans Hospital and was very well taken care of. I was offered various options of pain relief for my op but decided to try with just paracetamol and opt for something else if need be. I had my operation late on the Wednesday night and when I woke up I was in quite a bit of discomfort. I had had the TAH and managed to keep my ovaries. During the night and the following day I was offered morphine but managed to stick with the paracetamol. When my catheter was removed early the following morning I made myself get up to go to the toilet. A must is definitely raising the bed to help with rising and I managed to get up and walk about a bit. The following day after getting up and walking about I felt the worst pain in my shoulders. I was told this was due to trapped air from the operation. It subsided later that day. I also had trapped wind in my stomach and drank lots of peppermint tea and ate ginger nut biscuits. Both peppermint and ginger are great for relieving these symptoms. My main advice here is to drink lots of water and get up and walk regularly. This really helped me and I was discharged the following morning just under 48 hours from when I was admitted. Regarding the similarity between a caesarean and a hysterectomy, apart from the obvious incision the hysterectomy was far more painful and sore due to the bits being tampered with on the inside. Not being able to lift anything was difficult and it is not until you cannot use your stomach muscles you realise how much you do need and use them!

Going home – I was fortunate to have my husband and older children looking after me. Again, I drank lots of water and made myself get up every hour or so and just walk around the house. The following nights were difficult with getting in and out of bed and general sleeping.

Constipation – I had been worried about being constipated but as soon as I was home I started drinking a smoothie of strawberries, blueberries, banana, water and 6/7 prunes. Prunes contain sorbitol which is a natural laxative. My first motion was on the Friday evening after my op and it wasn’t too painful at all. I did put my feet up on a little stool to make my position easier whilst going. I have to say that since then and I am 8 weeks post op now, I have been to the toilet each day and swear by my smoothie for keeping things going. I did suffer with pain whilst emptying my bladder for at least 4 weeks but this just disappeared one day and all is fine now.

Scar – I had my caesarean scar and scar tissue cut away so I have a bigger scar but a neater one. I read that at week 3 you should massage your scar for a couple of minutes each day. I have been doing this with bio oil then I have been putting a scar healing silicone gel on my scar. You can buy this from amazon. I am pleased to report that my scar is very neat and has healed really well.

Exercise – I tried to go out walking 8 days after my op and that was a mistake. I left it 2 weeks and then started with a gentle and slow stroll for 10-30 minutes each day. I followed the guide by the and was walking 6 miles a day by the end of six weeks. The walking and the fresh air was a real tonic for me and made me feel so much better. I am now at week 8 and apart from weights and running which I will resume at 12 weeks I have been walking, swimming and spinning on a bike at the gym and feel in excellent health.

Sex – My husband and I tried at 6 week and although he was gentle and there was not pain at the time, I suffered the following day with quite bad stomach pains. I had been to my GP and had the all clear but I left it another 2 weeks before trying again and I am happy to report there was no after pain at all. The only downside is that my O’s are not as strong now I do not get any uterine contractions at the same time. I have read that this can improve and I hope that this is the case.

Conclusion – I do not regret my decision to have a hysterectomy at all. For me, it was the right decision so far. I didn’t think the big lump that was very noticeable in my stomach was an issue as I was used to it but now I cannot feel that or my cervix (which was 2 inches above my belly button) it is lovely. I have, by no means, a flat stomach now but I hope with healthy eating and daily exercise the swelling will go down and I will regain feeling in my lower stomach. I think you have to expect a certain amount of pain and discomfort at the start and I would definitely recommend whatever pain relief you feel you need but for me the paracetamol was enough and it meant I was home earlier than I planned. Each person is different and for anyone reading this I hope my story has helped as I personally found this website incredibly helpful from each persons story to what to pack or cook or what to expect each day. My daily emails were a real lifeline and I would like to thank you for that!

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