Ginny’s Hysterectomy Story
Type of Hysterectomy: Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy
Age at Hysterectomy: 54
Location: Endicott, NY
I decided on a hysterectomy because I was tired of having to deal with heavy, inconsistent periods, labor like cramps, bloating and bladder pressure. For a number of years, the clinic I went to simply said that my symptoms were due to the fact that I was getting older and probably entering menopause. Last summer, I changed providers and went to an ob/gyn practice recommended by some friends. I was diagnosed with multiple fibroids. My doctor and I decided on a D&C. However, that was unsuccessful since the fibroids were so vascular and bled quite a bit whenever he tried to scrape them away. We spoke of my options and I decided on a hysterectomy. He told me I could keep my ovaries and cervix and that I would be healed and ready for my planned Disney vacation four weeks later. I did not get any other opinions. I had seen the ultrasound, and felt that the bleeding and bladder pressure were ruling my life. I was told that the fibroids would shrink when I went through menopause, but we did not know when that would happen, and I needed relief sooner rather than later.
I had a great experience in the hospital. I was given general anesthesia, and was asleep before we left my room/cubicle. I never saw the OR, and the next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery. The surgery took 2 1/2 hours. I had a laproscopic, supracervical hysterectomy. Even thought my uterus and fibroids were pretty large, I came out with just three tiny incisions. The doctor put uterus, fibroids and tubes inside a bag and used a morcellator to cut everything up. The catheter was out before I woke up, and they had put some sort of massage sleeves on my legs to prevent blood clots. Those things felt great! I sent a thank you note to the anesthesiologist when I paid my bill. They had given me something that kept me from getting sick to my stomach, and made my recovery so much easier. I was allowed to go home that evening, once I had eaten something and passed urine (that took me probably about 15 minutes, and I was beginning to worry that I would need the cath put back in.)
The most important thing for me was making sure I got enough rest and exercise so that I would be ready for my Florida vacation. My recovery seemed pretty easy. There really wasn’t much in the way of pain, just some discomfort, mostly around the belly button incision. I did have to deal with swelly belly for a number of weeks. I can still see it in some of the vacation photos. For the first week or so, I wore a binder off and on because I felt like I was going to fall apart. There were a couple of times when I definitely did more than I should have and ended up in pain, but I learned from my experience. My only real worries were about resuming sexual activities with my hubby and being ready for our trip. I worried if sex would hurt when we resumed. Having said that, I was a little uncomfortable the first few times, but as time went on, things have gotten much better. I was cleared for sex after two weeks. My doctor said that I could drive after a few days and released me for work in a week. I was not permitted to push or lift anything heavier than a jug of milk for four weeks.
I am so happy I had this surgery! My life is so much better. I had forgotten what it was to wake up and feel really great. One immediate result of the surgery was that I dropped about 6 pounds (uterus and fibroids.) I have also dropped another five, now that I can exercise on a regular basis. Really couldn’t do anything when I had my period because the bleeding was so heavy. Doc did find a large fibroid that he was unaware of on the outside of the uterus. This one was lying on my bladder and was the reason I felt I had to go all the time. I no longer wake up multiple times each night to visit the bathroom and don’t have to plan my activities around whether there is a bathroom available. I no longer have to plan my schedule around my period and deal with day after day of horrific cramps. Sex is better than ever! I have been dealing with hot flashes for the past three months, but the doctor said I was probably close to menopause before the surgery anyway. I have found a hormone free product that gives me relief, so all is good. Having a hysterectomy was the best decision I ever made. When I went back to see my doctor for a follow-up, I thanked him profusely for encouraging me to go ahead with the surgery.