Elissa’s LAVH Hysterectomy Story
Type of Hysterectomy: LAVH, fallopian tubes removed, both ovaries kept
Age at surgery:44
I had very heavy bleeding for 3 years and became anaemic as a result. Fortunately I didn’t have much pain with my period unlike many others, but it was having a huge impact on my quailty of life. I had to plan my life around it and wouldn’t attempt social events, bush walks, beach visits or long car trips during those 5 days every month. Three years ago, an ultrasound only showed a small 2cm fibroid at the first scan and a small polyp. No one seemed overly concerned so I just got on with life and did nothing for 2 years. My anaemia got worse and by the 2.5 year mark I was completely over it and had further investigations. My fibroid was still only small at 4cm but I was losing over 400mls blood each cycle with large clots and flooding. I was referred to a gynaecologist who suggested endometrial ablasion; however, it was not able to be done due to the size and position of the fibroid.
I sought a second opinion and opted for a LAVH. As I am only 44, I kept both ovaries, but to reduce my ovarian cancer risk, both my fallopian tubes were removed. I have two children with no plans for anymore so the decision to have a hysterectomy was a relatively easy one.
I was admitted to hospital at 12 noon with planned surgery for 3pm. Due to some emergencies in the afternoon I was bumped back to 5pm. I finally made it to the operating theatre and was about to be given some sedation when another emergency meant I literally had to get up off the operating table and walk back to pre-op!
Fortunately I had been doing a brilliant preparation for surgery meditation for the two weeks before my surgery so was very calm and relaxed and this sudden change didn’t bother me at all. All the doctors and nurses commented on how calm and positive I was.
I was finally back in surgery at 5:30pm and had a full anesthetic. I remember nothing until I was back in the ward at 10pm. I don’t remember the recovery ward at all. I spent the night in hospital and found it hard to sleep with the leg pumps they had on me to prevent clots, as they constantly blow up and go down. I only had a bit of shoulder tip pain and felt generally uncomfortable, but nothing major.
The next morning I found out that I had been in surgery for close to 4 hours. My surgeon accidentally cut my bladder and this was stitched and I also had a bleed that they were unable to isolate. It was not a major bleed, they just called it a constant “seeper” but it took a while to sort it out.
I stayed in hospital 2 days and was discharged on Christmas Eve.
My recovery was straight forward with no issues. I did have to have a catheter for 2 weeks after my surgery due to my bladder cut. After a few days I got used to my bladder bag and just got on with my recovery. I was determined to get well as quickly as possible, so set myself small goals each day to walk 2 minutes each hour, then 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then three lots of 10 minutes, until by the 2 week mark I was walking 3 lots of 20 minutes a day. It was on flat ground and was pretty slow, but this gave me something to focus on each day and I think it made a big difference to my recovery.
I had to have some further bladder scans and investigations at the 2 week mark to check that my bladder had healed properly. Once I passed all these investigations I finally said farewell to “Bob the Bladder Bag” and I was catheter free!
I was suprised at how long it did take to recover. As I am relatively young and was fit and healthy prior, I wrongly thought I would bounce back in a few weeks. It was 5 weeks before I honestly felt normal and could do most things.
My greatest challenge was resting! I am so used to being on the go all the time, resting was tough; but I quickly realised this was so important and did not overdo things and rested regularly.
I feel great. I have no regrets and can say having this surgery was one of the best decisions I have made. I am still adjusting to not bleeding every month and still catch myself checking the calender before I commit to social activities.
Have a doctor you trust and seek a second opinion if you are unsure if this is the right thing for you. Ignore all the negative things you hear and read. Be well informed, but not so informed that you are wracked with fear! Things can go wrong but your medical team is highly trained and always has your best interest at heart.
Emotionally I feel no different to before my surgery. I feel no less a women and haven’t once had any negative emotions about having this surgery.
I feel I made the right decision for my circumstances and now 9 weeks after surgery feel FANTASTIC!