Jean’s Hysterectomy Story

Type of Hysterectomy: Radical Hysterectomy with lymph node removal
Age at Hysterectomy: 55
Location: New York

I had some spotting after menopause. I went to my Gynecologist. He sent me to a colleague that did hysteroscopy surgery because something showed up in my uterus during a sonogram. They said it looked like a polyp. It had to be removed and biopsied. I had this done in February 2014. When my biopsy results came back, I found out I had cancer. The Doctor said it was in the early stages. I was referred to a Doctor in the Bronx where I live. Instead I decided on Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital in Manhattan. They are tops in cancer surgery and treatment in New York. I was very happy with my Doctor. He was thorough, and put my mind at ease. He also said it was in the early stages. I did not feel the need for any other opinion. I received the same opinion from two excellent Doctors. On March 14, 2014 I had my surgery. It was a radical hysterectomy with lymph node removal.

My surgery was a Da Vinci robotic surgery. This is what I wanted. It took 3 hours and of course I was completely asleep with general anesthesia. When I was in the recovery room after surgery, I slept! I’ve had other surgeries but never slept in the recovery room before. The nurse let me sleep and woke me up a few times to take vitals. A few hours later they wheeled me into my room. I thought I was in a hotel room! It was set up just like a hotel room bedroom and even had a small living room area. My Doctor and nurse told me to get up and try to walk in a few hours. I walked the entire floor with my Husband and later on, did it again with my best friend. I stayed in the hospital overnight.

First, I must say, it was a great relief to have had my hysterectomy. I was so glad it was over. Recovery from robotic surgery is less time than regular surgery, where they would have made a large incision. The recovery was not too bad. It was fairly easy. There was some pain, but I am not one to take pain killers. I didn’t take anything stronger than Advil. I had 5 holes in my abdomen. The stitches were internal and they dissolved on their own. I did everything the Doctor told me to do. This is very important and I believe this helped in my recovery. I was able to return to light activities within 4 weeks. My greatest challenge through the whole ordeal, was all the worrying I did. I was so afraid the cancer would require chemotherapy or that it had spread. When the biopsy results came back, I found out it was Stage 1A and grade 3. Grade 3 is an aggressive cancer. I had 3 internal radiation treatments to be on the safe side. It was one a week for 3 consecutive weeks.

My health has been pretty good since my surgery. It hasn’t improved or gotten worse. Things have changed for me though mentally. I always worry about cancer now. I guess that’s fairly normal. At my last follow up appointment my Doctor helped me off the table, held my shoulder and told me I did a great job. I told him he was the one that did the great job. He saved my life.

My advice to any woman that needs a Hysterectomy is to do your homework first. Look into all your options and speak to your Doctor about them. Choose what is right for you. Most important is to follow all your Doctors instructions before and after surgery. During recovery, do not over-do it just because you feel a little better. Take your time and ask for help if you need it. You’ll be back to being yourself soon enough.

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