Tonia’s Abdominal Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 36
Location: NY, USA
I needed a hysterectomy because I had a massive fibroid. My uterus was the size of a 5-6 month pregnancy. I went to the doctor with concerns because my periods were lasting longer (over a week) and the bleeding would stop for 2 days and then come back, stop and come back, you get the idea. I was also getting frequent vaginal yeast infections and urinating more frequently. I had gotten two opinions and the second doctor was the one who performed my hysterectomy. The first doctor wanted to remove the fibroid and sew up my uterus because I never had children. However, he seemed very unsure of doing this procedure.
I wanted the hysterectomy for relief of my symptoms but I was also afraid and skeptical because I didn’t know if I could give up my ability to conceive. I looked into uterine artery embolization but found out that I wasn’t a candidate.
I was put under general anesthesia with an IV. There was a strong possibility that I would need a blood transfusion because of the size of my incision. Surprisingly, it wasn’t needed. I had a catheter put in for the first day and oxygen under my nose. I was admitted on a Monday morning and discharged on Wednesday at noon (2 days).
I was instructed to take it easy for at least 4 weeks. I did need to walk short distances, however, to prevent blood clots and get rid of painful gas. Considering the size of my incision, I was not in much pain at all. My greatest challenge was getting used to seeing the massive scar on my abdomen and living with the reality that I would never get pregnant.
Prior to surgery, I told my doctor that I wanted to see the tumor. When I had my one month follow up, he gave me the photos. One photo was of my uterus (with my fallopian tubes and cervix attached) and the other was of my uterus and tumor split in half. It was massive, even more so than it felt. Seeing those pictures made me realize that I made the right choice.
I haven’t had any complications from the hysterectomy. I did get one yeast infection, but it happened over a year later and it had nothing to do with the operation. I don’t have periods anymore (obviously) and I also urinate much less. My stomach no longer feels as though it has a boulder inside of it. I am not in any pain or discomfort, thankfully.
Talk to other women who have had hysterectomies. Although everyone’s experience is different, it helps to discuss your experiences and issues. Women need to be there to support each other. Also, get AT LEAST two medical opinions and weigh ALL your options. This is especially true if you have never had children and would like to in the future. Don’t give it up if you don’t have to! I honestly believe that I had no choice but to get a hysterectomy; I highly doubt that my doctor would have given an otherwise healthy 36 year old woman like myself a hysterectomy if she didn’t need it. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t grieve for those children that I will never have. I grieve EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE.