Sarah’s Robotic Prophylactic Hysterectomy
Type of Hysterectomy: Robotic Total Hysterectomy – Prophylactic
Age at surgery:40
Location: Kansas City, MO
I am the youngest of four children in my family. My brother was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer at a very young age (36 years old) with no prior family history. A year later, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer (she was 35 years old), again with no prior family history. From that moment on, our family wondered what was going on – and that there had to be an explanation. In 2014, my brother underwent some genetic testing to try to determine if there was a gene to which we could attribute this cancer. I should also mention that in 2012, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer, but he was a lifetime smoker so we didn’t suspect it was related. He passed away in 2014. Through the genetic testing, it was determined that my brother had the “Lynch Gene”. Lynch gene is attributed to digestive cancers, as well as ovarian, cervical, uterine cancers, among others. Based on those findings, my mother and sister underwent the testing to see if they had the gene. My mother did not – which means my father was the carrier. Mysteriously, my sister also did not carry the gene. So there is still no real “cause” for her early breast cancer (she does not carry the breast cancer gene either). After that, my other sister and I were tested for the Lynch gene and we were positive. The oncologist recommended that we undergo a total hysterectomy (since we were both done bearing children) as well as other regular tests related to the digestion issues. My story is different than many, I was not ill, did not have any discomfort or any issues with my female organs. I simply had the hysterectomy to eliminate the chance of getting cancer in any of those organs.
My surgery was uneventful. My husband thought the surgery took a long time, but of course I was none the wiser. I felt ok considering major surgery. I had two previous c-sections, so I somewhat knew what to expect. I was able to go home the next day with no complications.
My recovery was pretty normal, I think. The first few days were a blur. I had a great caregiver to provide me with everything I needed. It is so important to have someone to help you with your medication, meals, etc. My husband was excellent. He made sure I was on schedule with medicine, meals and water. I had no appetite for a couple of weeks, so it was nice to have someone stay on top of that for me. My greatest challenge was staying “low” for so long. I have a big family and my children and step children keep me very busy and active. It was difficult to let the world spin around me and not be able to help with that. The BEST part of recovery was being off work. My doctor suggested taking 6 weeks off – and I was lucky enough to be able to take that much time off work. It allowed me to slowly recover and ease back into life gradually. I was driving within two weeks and resuming normal activities little by little. My biggest challenge was Christmas. My family makes a big deal out of Christmas and I didn’t want to miss anything – I overdid it and felt some major discomfort in one of my incision sites. I say discomfort because I just managed it myself with rest and pain meds – I didn’t seek any additional medical attention.
I am mainly glad I had the hysterectomy. I don’t miss that pesky monthly visitor. However the intimacy is still not 100% and that is disappointing to me. I’m still hopeful things are going to get better. I am not able to take hormone replacement based on my sister’s breast cancer history – so I have to suffer through the side effects. At this point it is just hot flashes and night sweats.
Ask questions, and get more than one opinion. Make sure you have a support system in place for at least 2 weeks following your procedure. Even if it isn’t round the clock, having someone to help with meals, medication, transportation is priceless.