Samantha’s daVinci Hysterectomy

daVinci Robotic Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 34
Location: TX, USA

I had a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the ovary. The road there was a little bit of a surprise, and I was lucky enough to catch it early.
I had always struggled with heavy bleeding or erratic periods, and I have tried every birth control possible, but wanted something really low maintenance and long term. I was diagnosed with PCOS after years of suffering with the host of problems it creates, and birth control regulates many of these symptoms. After I got married in 2014, I wanted to get the Mirena IUD put in, but it ended up that I didn’t have it done until 2015. Mirena was placed successfully, and when I went back for an ultrasound to follow up, the tech discovered something on my left ovary. My GYN she suspected endometriosis was the cause of the cyst, so I went in for DaVinci surgery in Oct 2015 to have the cysts removed. I didn’t have a second opinion initially, because I really trust my GYN and I had no real concerns about cancer at that time.
Once my ovary was tested and the results were cancer, I went back for a second DaVinci surgery 6 weeks later to have a hysterectomy and remove my right ovary as well. At that point, I got a second opinion because my GYN sent me to a GYN/ONC for the second surgery – I didn’t seek one out but I did have the benefit of a second doctor to reassure me that we were taking all the necessary steps.

I registered online for the outpatient surgery, and I went to the hospital for the forms and the “financial counseling” portions. The nurses and staff were very kind and I felt comfortable and understood what was going to happen to me under general anesthetic and how I would feel. The day of the surgery, my doctor had an emergency case so I got pushed back to dead last, so they let me leave the outpatient and go home to get some extra books and things to make the waiting easier. Once I was checked in and sent upstairs, it was a lot of waiting in the holding room, and a slight mix-up – I was confused with the girl in front of me who had my same last name. I remember getting the “cocktail” that makes you woozy on my way to the OR, and commenting how the robot and the lights look like a scene from an alien abduction; the nurse laughed and said they were going to have fun with me!
I woke up in bed with some soreness and a catheter, which really confused me, but I felt okay overall. I stayed overnight at the hospital, and in the morning they removed the catheter and let me start drinking juice and broth as well as the water. I was given pain medication; first a shot, then later oral meds, once I was able to eat something. I went home about 24 hours after being admitted for surgery, and was already walking a short bit, as I had to go to the pharmacy to get my medication and such.

I was able to stop taking prescription pain meds by the 3rd or 4th day and switch to Aleve/Tylenol. I only took a week off work and was back ready to go about 10 days after my surgery. The pain medication caused a lot of itching, but the pain pump they had put in me seemed to help a lot. That came out after about 3 days of being at home, and I was a little scared that pain would rush in when it was gone, but it really wasn’t that bad at all.

Most important in my recovery was rest. I’m pretty energetic so I was really tempted to do a lot for myself, and accepting the help that was being offered to me was very important, for me and my helpers!

My recovery felt pretty easy. I had a few issues with constipation, but that was probably my biggest issue during the recovery period. I was worried that I would not really enjoy sex with my husband afterward, or that he would blame me for being disinterested because of something that wasn’t my fault. I also had a lot of worries about vaginal prolapse and the affect of early menopause on my figure and health.

By the end of the second week, I was feeling really good, and walking well. My ONC doctor released me back to regular activities at the 4 week mark, but my GYN cautioned me against having sex for at least 6 weeks.

I think my health has improved overall since having a hysterectomy. I love not having a period, or worrying about counting the days because I was always late, even on BC. I am so glad I had the surgery, and even though it wasn’t really my choice to do, I would probably do it again for just my endo issues and cyst problems, and to be free of the debilitation of heavy periods, mood swings, etc, etc. I am exercising and eating better, and on my way to beating cancer, so I feel like things are really looking up for me.

Consider all your options, and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion, or even to change doctors! A good doctor who cares about you and is on your side is an invaluable source of confidence through the whole process.

To me, the most important thing to know is while having a hysterectomy changes everything, it doesn’t change who you are. Be true to yourself and love your body. It’s amazing with or without a uterus.

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