Elena’s daVinci Hysterectomy

daVinci Robotic Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 33
Location: Denver, CO

I have had a poor relationship with my reproductive system basically my entire life. I was put on birth control fairly young to control painful periods with heavy bleeding. The pills would work for awhile to control things….until they didn’t anymore and then I would switch to a new pill. Yaz worked the best for me but after a gynocologist told me Yaz was basically death in a pill form, I decided to take a break from BC pills.

After a truly horrific 9 months in which my period came whenever it wanted and lasted as long as it wanted and in which I missed several events because of the horrible pain, I caved and went back on the pill – and to my primary care doctor because I wasn’t going back to that gynocologist. She decided we should take a look at what was going on inside of me before making any decisions and scheduled me for an ultrasound.

The ultrasound came back with the diagnosis of a rather large fibroid on the outside of my uterus and the recommendation to go to a specialist. I had a friend who strongly recommended her gynecologist, and I went in for a consult. The surgeon recommended we wait 6 months to monitor the fibroid, and I stayed on birth control during that time, but was having tons of breakthrough bleeding and still pain.

The ultrasound after 6 months came back much worse. The original fibroid was significantly larger, and it apparently got lonely and invited friends to the party, including several inside my uterus that explained my nearly constant bleeding.

At the first appointment, my surgeon had several ideas about treatment options but at this point she was blunt – we could remove the fibroids but they would come back and at the end of the day, if I wasn’t planning on getting pregant (if I even could) a hysterectomy was my best bet. I was ecstatic. Finally, a way out of this mess. I had never wanted children, and this system had caused me nothing but trouble. I scheduled surgery as soon as possible.

I had an amazing hospital experience, I have sorry to hear about people with more difficulties. The bowel prep wasn’t the most fun ever but it wasn’t as terrible as I was expecting. The worst part of it was how hungry I was the entire day. I started to hate people that I saw eating! My surgery was the second one of the day, so very early. The nurse got me all set up with my hospital wear and IVs (one in each arm because if an IV fails they didn’t want to have to adjust me – once davinci is set up it is a pain to move) and my husband and I hung out in the pre-op room waiting for the surgeon and anesthesiologist aka candy man aka my new best friend. My prep nurse said he was the best in hospital and maybe she says that to everyone, but they were totally the words I wanted to hear.

Surgeon stopped by briefly to confirm we were ready and to discuss ovaries (leave them if possible, take them if they look suspect) and then the anesthesiologist. I opted for the abdominal block and confirmed again I would be asleep before being intubated and the cath would be gone before I woke up.

Once everything was ready it went fast. They gave me a benzo sedative before leaving the prep room and I was loopy before we got to the operating room. I sort of remember switching to the table and next thing is recovery. I spent a couple hours there waking up. First time I was nauseous and thirsty and couldn’t speak but the nurses figured it out by looking at me and gave me some ice chips and drugs. Second time I was fully awake and wheeled into the post op area. I was told my ovaries were left in and that my big fibroid was one for the books – the experienced staff all took photos of it they were so impressed. After I peed all by myself and changed my clothes, I was allowed to go home – I was home about 12 hours after getting there.

I had an easy recovery. Which isn’t to say that there weren’t hard moments or times where I got concerned, but it was mostly linear, and I had no complications. I never had to take the opiates for which I thank the abdominal block. Peeing definitely was uncomfortable, probably up to a month post op. I was lucky in that I slept well the entire recovery time and because my ovaries were left and “awake”. I didn’t have any hormonal issues. I would get specific areas of pain in the pelvic region that seemed to move around as time went on. That was disconcerting.

I was fully released for activities at 6 weeks, but I think my body needed longer. Sitting at my desk at work was not fun and my stomach would swell nearly every day making pants uncomfortable. I didn’t really want to walk or hike or ski or do much on my horse so I honored my body by being “lazy” awhile longer. At about 3 months I was able to start increasing activity and I would say for me it was about 5 months before I felt so normal I didn’t even think about my surgery anymore.

My health has been awesome since my hysterectomy! No bleeding, no insane cramps, no canceling last minute because I can’t stand up or even think about driving. I have been waiting for 6 months to at least have a twinge of sadness that I have been rendered infertile but nothing. Nothing but sweet relief. Now that that part is over I am dealing with hormone issues (acne, headaches) that were presumably masked by birth control but for me this is a much better situation to be in.

I am so glad I had this surgery.

I am not much of one for advice except for realizing that everyone is different and you need to do what is right for yourself. Don’t get pressured into a hysterectomy if you don’t really want one. And if you have one, from my lessons learned box, try not to compare yourself to anyone else’s recovery. I know how hard this is, my problem was the people who were like – “I had surgery this morning and just ran a marathon this afternoon and I feel GREAT!” (/hyperbole) I am young and healthy and active and was upset my body wasn’t ready for that as quickly as others. Best of luck to anyone deciding, this site was invaluable for my recovery! I chose not to read anything in advance because I didn’t want to hear any horror stories to make me paranoid.

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