Troublesome fibroids

I discovered I had troublesome fibroids about 16 years ago, I was 36 at the time. The first one was large and causing some very heavy bleeding. My gynaecologist at the time suggested a hysterectomy as I already had my children, I felt hysterectomy was a very drastic measure at 36 and went on a waiting list for a new non invasive surgery called fibroid embolisation.

I had the embolisation a year later, it stoped the fibroid growing and held off the symptoms for another 15 years. When I reached 50 I started to have further issues with erratic bleeding spotting and unusual discharge. I saw my doctor and we decided to wait and see if all these things settled down as I approached menopause. Almost 3 years later the symptoms are worse rather than better I have literally had to use sanitary protection every day for the last 3 years this was not fun, completely takes the spontaneity out of sex and is very difficult to manage.

I decided that a hysterectomy would be my best option, my doctor also said that there was now evidence that embolisation although it stops the fibroid growing and calcifies it, it can also start to degenerate over time which meant that my symptoms weren’t hormone related and would not stop after menopause.

I had an abdominal hysterectomy on the 3rd March 2018. I discussed with my doctor that I would feel more comfortable with him saving my ovaries as I haven’t entered menopause and wanted to have a natural menopause. He removed my uterus, fallopian tubes and cervix. I had an abdominal scar on my bikini line of around 6 inches.

After my surgery I felt quite sick and didn’t do much for the first 24 hours, my pain was managed with a morphine drip and I had antibiotics, fluid through an IV line, and a catheter Within the first 24 hours I stopped using the morphine and just had paracetamol and codeine. The following morning I got up showered dressed and had a wonder around. I went home the following morning.

The recovery was far more straightforward than I had imagined the pain was manageable with pain meds which I really only needed to take for the first week.

I followed the doctors advice, I walked each day (a little painful at first) and rested each day, I actually found the most difficult thing was to not carry on as normal and listen to my body, taking rest when I needed to.

The third week I had a slight set back as the skin around my wound was red and inflamed and a bit itchy, I went back to see my surgeon who gave me 5 days of antibiotics which cleared it up. I would recommend taking action as quickly as possible if you have any worries about infection as if caught early a quick court of antibiotics will resolve it. I am now 5 weeks post surgery and feel great. I am walking 2-3 miles most days and have resumed most normal activities. I am returning to work next week but feel I probably could have gone back this week. I keep reminding myself that recovery isn’t a race and I promised myself from the beginning that I would take at least 6 weeks to allow myself the best recovery possible.

I am honestly so pleased I made the decision to do this, I haven’t had any bleeding, spotting or discharge since the first day after the operation, which is a huge relief. My scar is healing nicely I only had internal stitches and the cut had surgical glue on, I had a tiny amount of seepage for a few days but now just have a thin red line which has healed beautifully. I do have a slight overhang of skin over the scar which is a bit lumpy at the moment and not the most attractive thing in all honestly, (I look fine dressed) but I figure this can only improve and is really a very small price to pay to be free of all my symptoms.

My advice to anyone having this surgery is allow yourself time to heal well, listen to your body and don’t over do things even if you feel like you can, you may pay the price later with a setback. Nap if you want to, read books you haven’t had time to read, catch up on TV, binge watch Netflix if you want to and don’t feel guilty about any of it, you are investing in your recovery.

Accept any help that is offered to you, keep on top of your pain medication (certainly in the first week or so) I have been told by many people that this is major surgery and that it can take up to 6 months to heal, I believe this is true but it’s really not been that bad, 5 weeks on I feel I can resume most of my normal activities. Good luck 😉

(Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay )

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