Felicia’s Abdominal Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 52
Location: Orlando, Fl, USA
I had my hysterectomy due to a large, multi-fibroid uterus. Also diagnosed with cyst and complex solid cyst of left ovary. Postop, I was diagnosed also with adenomyosis. I did not explore any other treatment. I did not have a second opinion as I trusted my doctor and I also needed to get the surgery over with before the end of the year.
I had an abdominal supracervical hysterectomy with bilateral salpingectomy, and right oophorectomy under general anesthesia. Surgery was performed in the late afternoon. They were unable to find the left ovary so it was not removed for that reason. They think it might have shrunk or adhered some place in my pelvic area due to adhesions from 2 prior pelvic surgeries. They also opted not to remove my cervix because of adhesion to pelvic wall. Recovery in the hospital was uneventful. Cather was removed the second day and I was able to urinate within minutes. I spend 3 days in the hospital.
I was able to get up and walk the next day. I had moderate pain. I would describe my worst pain as a level 7-8. It was not excruciating, it was bearable for me. I woke up with a pain pump which I used at occasionally during the first night and then it was removed the next day and they gave me Percocet, which I believe is what caused itching all over my body. Dr. gave me a script for Percocet, which I did not fill because I was pretty sure it caused the itching plus I did not want such a strong narcotic and I decided to have my brother buy me a bottle of Motrin, which I used once I got home but found it was not as effective, but I still stuck with it. Ironically, my right ovary was the visible one during presurgery ultrasound and it came out during surgery, but the left one, which was also to be removed, was the concerning ovary presurgery due to the complex cyst on it via ultrasound that is the ovary that could not be found during surgery. I was told that ovary most likely shrunk down in size and it most likely did not have any cysts or masses, presumably what showed up on the ultrasound could have been one of my many fibroids which they felt was the solid mass, but who knows?!
Once I got home, my recovery was pretty okay. I rested mostly for the first 2 weeks. I did have some issues with bowel movements. The problem was not constipation as I was drinking prune juice and lots of fluids, etc, but I was having really bad, excruciating intestinal cramping leading up to minutes before a bowel movement. I often wondered if it would last but it did not last for more than maybe the first 2 weeks. I did do light household chores after 2 weeks such as cooking light meals, sorting laundry,etc.. I unfortunately had to do my own shopping as I have no other adults living with me. I did drive and venture out to Walmart maybe 2 weeks out and I did recall feeling “weird” like a weak feeling and maybe slightly light headed. I also had an intense hot flash during that visit to the store and I felt clammy. I did experience hot flashes for the first 2-3 weeks somewhat intense but they did ease up; however, now at almost 3 months, they are returning once again frequently.
At almost 3 months post-hysterectomy, I feel okay. The abdominal numbness is slowly fading away. It is still numb in some areas on near the incision line but some areas have regained sensation somewhat. I still have very slight tenderness in that area. I guess it takes time to resolve. I do not miss having periods. I am hoping my next set of blood work in about a month will show that I am no longer anemic and I do not have to take iron supplements any longer. One surgeon thinks that my so-called periods some months may have actually been the fibroids bleeding and not an actual period. I was in perimenopause when I had the surgery as I was missing periods here and there, I’m 52. Before the surgery, I would occasionally spot bright red blood randomly and sometimes I would feel a sharp pain in one spot in my uterus before it bleeds. I am not really sure where I stand menopause-wise. Since I still do have that one ovary which cannot be found I am not sure. I did have one month where I felt like I cycled because I had the painful breasts, as well as carbs/sweets cravings, and moodiness. I have not had any mini-periods since the surgery since I still have my cervix; however. I have not cycled since that one time that I have noticed. I guess the next step to determine where I stand is to do hormonal testing, but I think I will ask my doctor about that when I go for my Pap smear in August, as well as it depends on the symptoms I am having. Overall, since my hysterectomy I feel okay with occasional insomnia, hot flashes, which is annoying especially at bed time, I’m always hot and everyone else around me is NOT hot or they are feeling cold. I think I may be a bit more moody as well.
A hysterectomy is a personal decision. Many women have no choice but to have it done due to serious health-related issues that she is experiencing. Some women opt to have surgery due to fibroids that is causing excessive bleeding, and also depending on her age, she may opt to have bilateral oophorectomy/salpingectomy as well. When faced with a hysterectomy, the best thing to do is to prepare in advance for postoperatively. Read, read and read about what to do or not to do post-hysterectomy on this wonderful site. Take good care of yourself and not overdo it. Even though we feel good and have healed on the outside, remember that we are still healing on the inside and we need to take things slow and listen to our doctor’s advice. Take it slow and remember to pamper yourselves.