Anna’s Abdominal Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 42
Location: Ontario, Canada
I had irregular spotting 5 years before and had an internal ultrasound and they found “something” but I never heard what it was. I continued to have irregular spotting which progressed into bleeding when I ran or worked hard on the bike. My periods got progressively worse and I started having a lot of issues with incontinence. I saw a Pelvic Floor physio for my grade 2 prolapse and went back to my Dr since the bleeding and incontinence were now impacting my life.
The Ultrasound found a large fibroid outside my uterus (7.5×6.6cm) so I was sent for an MRI. MRI confirmed the fibroid and noted that it was pushing my uterus down into my bladder and my bladder was pushed right of the midline of my body. At no time could my right ovary be seen on either imaging.
When I went to see the Uro/Gyn after the MRI he recommended a TAH + BS. My GP wanted me to explore options including a myomectomy and vaginal hysterectomy but I love my GYN and he is a phenomenal surgeon. I did speak with another GYN who told me that surgery was my only option and medication would likely not help with the size and the issues my fibroid was causing.
My surgery was booked for 8am and I arrived at the hospital at 6am after driving 2 hours through a brutal snow storm. I had general anesthetic and woke up on the way to the recovery room but the pain was unbelievable. It took them almost 2 hours to try to get the pain under control – but they gave me everything they were able and had to transfer me to my room before they could do anything else. I was given morphine shots but those made me vomit, so I was also given gravol. We switched to T3s and that was much better for my stomach. I kept both my ovaries as they were healthy upon inspection during surgery.
I stayed in hospital for 4 days – the last day I argued because we had snomageddon and I was nervous about driving a couple of hours home – so I asked to stay. The charge nurse was terrible and argued with the Dr outside my room about me staying.
I spent most of my time at the hospital sleeping or walking and drinking water. Because I’m a weird picky eater the best food category for me was “Vegan” but that included “Gluten Free” and they fed me Chickpea Chili the first day for lunch!!! I hadn’t eaten solid food in two days and they gave me chili!! I was terrified of my guts revolting so I barely ate – food didn’t improve and I didn’t eat well at the hospital but I didn’t have much of an appetite.
I was lucky that my recovery was easy. I was terrified of screwing something up – so I did a good job of doing nothing. I walked, drank lots of fluids and rested. I knew that I wanted to be able to do all the things I did before – so I spent my time healing. I didn’t lift more than 10lbs until my 4 week check up and then all restrictions were lifted.
I still didn’t lift more than 20lbs for the full 6 weeks. I listened to my body and only did things that didn’t hurt or create discomfort. My anxiety meant that I was super careful and worried – so I could have likely done more than I did but I was so terrified of hurting myself that I avoided a lot of activities out of fear.
I have my life back. This was the best decision I could have made and I can’t believe I lived with the symptoms as long as I did. I am back to running, cycling, yoga, lifting weights, gardening – and I haven’t had a single incontinence issue since my surgery (I only had a hysterectomy – no other repair work – so the issues were totally due to my fibroid).
I strongly recommend a pelvic floor physiotherapist who can help with all the muscles in the deep core and pelvic floor. She helped before my surgery and again after to get everyone working together again.
This is a BIG surgery and you need to take the time to heal right the first time. I am a super active person and sitting still is NOT my thing – but I did it for 4 weeks (and still for an additional 2) so that I could do everything I loved.
Make sure you ask lots of questions and if you don’t like what you’re told make sure to get a second opinion.