Kate’s Vaginal Hysterectomy

Vaginal Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 36
Location: Perth, Western Australia

I had multiple health issues over the past 10 years – mainly related to hormone imbalances as a result of hyperprolactinaemia (a pituitary tumor which creates an over-production of prolectin resulting in milk production, fertility issues, periods varying from heavy to absent for longer periods of time).

As part of the management of the hyperprolactinaemia symptoms I had regular pelvic exam scans – to keep an eye on cysts that were developing.

In May 2014 (aged 35) less than 24 hrs after I had a scan I had a call from my local GP / doctor to come in that day – it was urgent, and she would stay back beyond her normal appointment times to make time for me. I had a cyst that was producing it’s own blood supply (an indicator of potential cancer). As a result of that – I had my right ovary, my appendix and the tumour fully removed. The operation was a success and they said that there was no trace of pre-cancer remaining. They suggested at this time however that I have a hysterectomy within 5 years to prevent re-currence of ovarian cancer.

Towards the end of 2015 I had a very heavy period that didn’t seem to stop. I ended up having the period for nearly 5 months straight and the pain was becoming unmanageable. I went to the doctor and was referred to a gynaecologist who then referred me to Perth hospital for specialist advice and surgery. The whole referral process took a few months, however once I had an appointment in Perth – the surgery was scheduled within 3 weeks of my appointment date.

I was scheduled for surgery the day before my 37th birthday. To make light of the situation, I joked that I was “getting my bits out for my birthday”. The fact was, I was very scared. In the weeks prior to the surgery I was doing a lot of research about what I could do to aid in my recovery process as I remembered how tired, sore and dehydrated I had been with the surgery less than 2 years ago.

I was allowed to drink clear fluids up until a couple hours prior to surgery, including juice without pulp, tea / coffee (with no milk), water etc. I drank a lot of coconut water and peppermint tea prior to the surgery to ensure I was well hydrated and that I would not have problems with gas pains. It really seemed to work.

I had surgery at 1pm that afternoon.
Like any surgery – the waiting was the worst.
I remember lying on the table and them trying to get the needles in as they began to prepare me for surgery. The nurses were very nice and chatty – distracting me from the fear I was feeling. At some point as we chatted I “went under” (fell asleep) from the anesthesia.

I woke a few hours later very drowsy and dopey and kept falling back to sleep. That part was horrible – I still felt the effects of the medications. My husband was there waiting for me and I kept trying to stay awake so I could say hello to him, and he simply told me to sleep if I needed to.

At about 1am in the morning I woke up properly and was hungry and thirsty. I began eating the toast and orange that had been left by my bedside from the dinner I couldn’t previously eat (I must have been asleep at that time) and drank the full glass of water that was there.

By 6am in the morning I was so alert that the nurses told me that provided I ate a good breakfast and was able to go to the toilet at least 3 times properly I could go home. They removed my catheter after breakfast and then in my mind the count was on. I went to the toilet the three times by 10am and then was discharged.

I only stayed in the hospital the one night.

I pushed myself a fair bit in my recovery to do things.
I took the advice from the recovery booklet that I had from the hospital that stated “if it hurts, stop. Try that activity again in 3 days”.
I started with exercise / basic walking 5 minutes every hour from the day I got out of hospital – even if it were just to go and feed the animals in the backyard.
Within 1 week I was walking to the shop and back.
Within 2 weeks I was up most of the day and began to drive again. I also was able to lift about 4kg.
Each week I increased slightly the exercise I did and the amount I could lift.
Within 4 weeks of the operation I was out in the paddock on the tractor ploughing a field – just having a cushion for extra support. It felt good to do something.
It took 6 weeks before I could return to work (as I have a very manual job), and the first week back I was extremely tired. I am now back 4 weeks at work and am back to lifting about 15kg, and walking 15 – 20 km per day as part of the job.
The doctor liaised with my regarding my recovery over the phone as I live nearly 6 hrs drive from the hospital. He released me to go back to work whenever I felt ready but not to have sex again until 10 weeks to ensure that the internal scarring had fully healed.

The hysterectomy was a blessing in disguise.
All the back pain I had had for many years disappeared overnight with the surgery. I had more energy than I have ever had and was waiting for my healing to catch up to the process so that I could get back and do things again.
Sexually – it did hurt a bit at first, but now I am enjoying sex more than I ever did, I have a higher sex drive and get a greater amount of pleasure from it.
I haven’t taken HRT at all. I waited to see if I would get many menopause symptoms as I had heard a lot of women don’t. I hardly got any and the few I did are managed through Soy and Maca. I am glad I had my hysterectomy now and also glad that I did my own research into what I could do to manage the processes involved.

When considering a hysterectomy I would recommend that people prepare for their recovery beforehand.
– Pre-cook a number of meals
– Clean the house and give yourself permission for it to be “let go” a bit during your recovery period.
– Organise people who can help you out a bit or check in on you each week.
– Make sure there is something for you to do – a small project that you can work towards bit by bit and that you aim to complete during your recovery period. (This keeps both your mind and body active)
– Be positive. There is a reason you are having this operation and it may have more benefits than you realise.

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  • Trish Lyons

    I had vaginal Hysterectomy in 2014 after being diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in 2013. Tough decision in my life at the age 36 because I did want another child. 2years later I feel blessed as ever. My Hysterectomy was successful and my recovery was great.
    If I could share my thoughts and feelings on losing my fertility. I would say I still miss my Ability to conceive and Birth a child. But If my story inspires others to frequently get your regular pap smears PLEASE DON’T PUT OFF! AS Busy Women today as we are we tend to put ourselves on the back burner. Early detection and God is why I have a testimony to share.
    Please follow my Women Empowering Page on Instagram Women_FearlesslyCreated
    I have a mission….