Kate’s Hysterectomy Story

Type of Hysterectomy:  Total Hysterectomy  and a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy
Age at Hysterectomy: 43 and 46
Location: McKinney, TX

My first surgery was due to severe pain, heavy bleeding and large fibroids. We have a family history and many family members have had their uterus removed before age 45. After my first surgery my mother was rushed to the hospital, had emergency surgery and diagnosed with stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. She like I, had her Uterus and Cervix removed before age 45 but chose to leave ovaries and fallopian tubes. My mother was in remission after Chemotherapy for 3 months before the cancer game back in the form of 3 tumors. At my yearly appointment I mentioned this to my doctor, due to family history she stated she wanted to begin a yearly sonogram as part of my physical. During my sonogram, much to my surprise, 2 cysts were found on my left ovary and an “abnormal” mass on my right ovary. At this time due to family history we began discussing options. I opted due to family history to have them removed.

For my Uterus/ Cervix removal – overnight hospital stay with general anesthesia. I left the hospital early the next morning at my request, I was up walking and felt I would recuperate better at home. My second  surgery was in an outpatient surgery center under general anesthesia. I left the hospital after 5 hours and recuperated at home.

After my first surgery, the first 3 days are a blur. I chose to take the medicine as prescribed as many friends urged me to “not be a hero” and advised “you do not want to chase the pain”.On the 4th day, I began to ease off the medication. I actually recuperated very quickly, my most difficult time was with gas pains and constipation. I was back at work full time 10 days post surgery. No problems.
I am still in recovery from my second surgery (2 months). My initial recuperation from this surgery was quick. I was up early the morning after and felt well. I stopped pain medication and began taking 800 mg Ibuprofen. My challenge after this surgery was fatigue, not pain. I am told that is due to the ovary removal. I returned to work 6 days after surgery. I was doing very well until end of week 2, at which time I began having pain right above my pelvic bone and below my belly button (not in location of surgery). The pain was not sharp, but having pants buttoned against my skin was very uncomfortable. My doctor felt perhaps I pulled a muscle, I went back on ibuprofen and heating pads. I continued to work (with sweaters over unbuttoned pants ). I was to return to dr if no improvement after a week. Although the pain lessened it would still occur at random times, my doctor wondered if perhaps I had a hematoma and offered a CAT scan. This seemed drastic to me as the pain did seem to be lessening, so I agreed if it was still occurring in a month I would get a CAT scan. The month is upcoming next week. Of course, due to the removal of my ovaries, I have been gradually experiencing intense night sweats. Some times severe, sometimes I get to sleep through the night. I am beginning to notice problems due to lack of sleep and after speaking with my doctor she has offered Brisdelle ( no hormone therapy due to family history). I have not begun taking this medication yet.

After my first surgery, my health was greatly improved. the pain suffered monthly prior to surgery was so intense I would miss work. I wondered afterward, why I waited so long. After the second surgery, it is more of a burden being lifted. I have had all medical problems my mother has experienced, my doctor and her oncologist both believe that my mothers issues probably began at around the same age as mine. Unfortunately back then, little was known and family histories and follow up were not as diligent as they are now. It is heart breaking to know that my mothers diagnosis, which now requires she remain on chemotherapy the remainder of her life, has saved my life.

Be vigilant, learn your family history and find the right doctor. It is a serious surgery that cannot be taken lightly however with the right support you can make it through and hopefully, as in my case, it will improve your quality of life. My only regret is that I suffered to long before my first surgery due to fear.

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