Rachel’s Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

Type of Hysterectomy: Laparoscopic
Age at surgery: 37
Location: Wisconsin

I had been having abnormal paps, bleeding, fibroids, cysts and pain for about 17 years. I had tried getting on different birth control pills, had a LEEP procedure, colposcopies, and had my tubes tied to get off birth control completely. Nothing seemed to help completely. I would have relief for months or years and then it would all start again. I had been to several different doctors during this time and my current doctor, whom I trust completely. I was offered the option of an ablation or hysterectomy in January of 2015. I put off doing either because I was newly engaged and trying to figure out what I wanted to do. Taking 6 weeks off both jobs (Corrections Officer and Fitness Instructor) just seemed excessive to me.

I started to train for a physical event and realized that I was bleeding every single time I exerted my body at all. If I walked briskly, used an elliptical, or had sex, I would bleed and have abdominal pain. I was bleeding more than I wasn’t. My periods were so heavy that I was bleeding through super tampons every hour or two. I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted from having so many problems. I made the decision in October to go through with the ablation after an ultrasound showed cysts in my uterus. My doctor could not, however, guarantee that the ablation would relieve me of my symptoms. After breaking down several times in her office and at home, I finally realized I would never truly feel relief until I had the hysterectomy and all the organs that were so inflamed were gone. I had the surgery on November 4th.

I went in for surgery and felt optimistic. I was ready to be done with bleeding every day. Once they wheeled me to the operating room, I burst into tears. I had had so many issues for so long that I was simply letting go of all the stress and uncertainty of what had been going on inside me.

I stayed one night in the hospital, which I was not thrilled about at first. After waking up in pain and having the option to access my pain pump, I was glad I did. The pain meds made me vomit, but the nurses helped with that. I rested pretty comfortably the first night. The next morning I was anxious to get the catheter out! After a few hours, it was removed and they waited for me to urinate, then I was okayed to leave.

I found out very quickly that my active lifestyle needed to come to a screeching halt! I had a hard time relaxing and resting. The WORST part of the recovery was the constipation from the pain meds. I was incredibly uncomfortable for several days. I was able to finally have a BM after many doses of stool softener and straining more than I probably should have!

I overdid it after about a week and realized I had to just throw in the towel and let my body heal. The swollen belly was a constant reminder that there was major surgery and major healing happening. It literally did not go away until 8 weeks, and still sometimes shows up when I work out or work a 16 hour day. At my post op appointment, my doctor went over the pathology report and she explained that while doing the surgery, she had found that I had endometriosis between my uterus and bowels that we didn’t know was there. She also found adenomyosis within my uterus and believed that was the source for my pain. She explained that she and I had come to a good decision to go ahead with the hysterectomy as the ablation would not have taken care of the bleeding and I would have simply ended up having the surgery at a later date. I was very relieved to hear that.

I had very little bleeding, only at about the 4 week mark, but I followed my recovery process and it seemed that we all had it at that time. Apparently the stitches were healing and the new tissue was forming. I felt a rollercoaster of emotions during my recovery! My hormones were a little crazy even though I kept my ovaries. I had hot flashes, and would burst into tears for little or no reason. I didn’t drive for about 3 weeks. My doctor cleared me to go back to work at the 7 week mark, mostly because I was still swollen and tired a lot. I didn’t think my 8 pound duty belt would be comfortable yet. I am glad I asked for one more week. I was more ready after that. I did not go back as a fitness instructor until 8 weeks and just took it easy.

My health has definitely improved. I have had no issues of pain, only some bleeding this week. I had it checked out and had some granulation forming and the doctor removed it in her office. I am finally realizing how much pain I had on a daily basis that I simply just lived with. Now that it is gone, I feel good about my decision! Not having a period that literally drained me every month as been awesome! I don’t miss it at all!

For me, it has been the best thing I have done. I was really feeling the emotional toll of all the issues and the uncertainty why it was happening and if it would ever develop into cancer. For years I had dealt with the pain and bleeding, but after 17 years, I was feeling it emotionally.

I would say, you know your body best. If your symptoms get to a point that you can no longer exist with, have the surgery and start to really live! I have no apprehension of swimming and spotting in my bathing suit, having to wear pantiliners every single day, bleeding through tampons and being embarrassed, not having the spontaneity of intimacy for fear of what might happen. Its an amazing feeling to finally feel ‘NORMAL.”

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