Monica’s daVinci Hysterectomy
daVinci Robotic Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 40
Location: Madison, WI
I’ve had horribly heavy, loooong, painful periods since I was a kid. I tried birth control pills, Depoprovera, and an IUD to control them. My first IUD was great. Shortened by periods to about 9 days (yes, that is short to me) and they were “normal flow.” Second IUD came out randomly. Horrible, horrible gushing periods ensued. Like 20 minutes and a super tampon and pad were soaked. Third IUD, placed with ultrasound also came out and the awful periods continued. So, know I didn’t want to have children, this seemed like the best way to get off birth control and to take care of my lifelong period issues for good. I’m overweight, but otherwise have no health problems, so it was deemed a pretty safe surgery for me.
It’s hard to recall everything at this point, but my hospital experience was good. Except they weighed me in front of my husband. Jerks! I was in a pre-op room for about an hour. Blood work, urine sample, washing my body again with some sterilized wipes (also had to do this the night before) and then they had me change in to a warming gown. It hooked up to a vacuum tube and pumped warm air on to me. It was spa like! They also put compression wraps on my legs. I thought about it like a massage at the spa! Husband stayed with me that whole time, until it was time to wheel me off. I was awake when I got in to the surgery room. Met everyone who would be part of the surgery, including my robot. Last thing I remember was scooting over to the surgery table off my bed. I was out seconds after that.
My surgery was scheduled for 1:00. I think I woke up around 5 p.m. and was groggy. Forced myself to drink water (mostly just ate ice) as I knew I needed to urinate to be safe to go home (thanks to this forum!) and did NOT want a catheter. Nibbled on saltines, even though I had ZERO appetite. I was uncomfortable, particularly when trying to move. We talked about pain pills and we decided on a mild dose. I was in and out of sleeping. Watched a few tv shows with my husband, he and I continued on our water-drinking quest. I think I just had jello for dinner. It was a restless night of people constantly checking on me. I wasn’t urinating, so there was a bladder scan. I kept getting up and trying to go, but nothing. Kept drinking water as much as I could stand (but I was still nauseated). The nurse even tried the trick of running water in the sink next to me. A second bladder scan was the last straw, and if I didn’t go this time, I was getting a catheter. But horray! I managed to pass urine! Decided to just take extra strength Tylenol for my night time dose of pain meds. Took another dose early in the morning. I was discharged around 9:00 a.m. the next morning. They wheeled me down to the pharmacy to get my pain meds on the way out and loaded me in the car. Hint: The seat recline goes down FAST when you have no abdominal control! Have someone help control that. Slept for my hour ride home. I did use a small throw pillow as a cushion/for stability over bumps for my abdomen during the ride. FYI, I didn’t use anything I brought from home, except my clothes, hairbrush, toothbrush and deodorant. I wasn’t there long enough, nor feel good enough to worry about lotion, chapstick, slippers, etc. A sleep mask wouldn’t have helped because they just kept waking me up anyway. Doesn’t hurt to pack them, though.
I’ve had my gallbladder out, and I have to say, this was just as easy, if not easier for me. I never took a pain pill except immediately after surgery, while still in the hospital. Tylenol was sufficient, and I think I only took a few doses of that. If I recall, by day three, I was just taking 400 mg ibuprofen to take the edge off that mysterious shoulder pain that often accompanies surgery and by day four I think I quit taking anything (shoulder pain was gone). I was worried about constipation, so was very happy I didn’t need prescription pain pills.
By day three, my normal appetite returned.
My surgery was on a Monday. Stayed home all week for recovery. Got very bored. Sleep was hard. I used a recliner for the first few days, and slept in the spare room so I could rustle around and use pillows for adjustments as much as needed. Saturday I went to a family outing. Felt great. Did a little bit of shopping, drank some wine. Monday I worked a 1/2 day from home. Tuesday I was back in the office for full days. I have a desk job. It went really well. Sitting was hard because of itching and some aches, but not bad. I felt so good that I had to be careful to not exceed my lifting restrictions, nor overdo it with housework. I was mindful of this and took care of myself, but I honestly felt good and didn’t want any atrophy, so kept active at what felt like the right pace for me.
I have had ZERO problems since the hysterectomy. Everything healed great. I’m so, so glad I had this procedure. I think the robotic method helped my recovery immensely. I’m a little drier during sex, so probably should get some gel, but otherwise everything works fine. I thought I’d be tired for months, but I wasn’t. By week 3, it’s like I’d never had the surgery, other than it felt like things were “rattling around” a little inside for awhile. All that extra space for other organs to stretch out!
I would tell other women to do your research, but know that the majority of hysterectomies are very successful. Come up with a list of questions to ask your doctor/surgeon.
I’d have this surgery again in a heartbeat. I thought my recovery would be MUCH more difficult. Honestly, it was pretty darn easy and I felt a little guilty that it was a walk in the park compared to what others were going through.
I didn’t need anything fancy to help me with my hospital stay or recovery. Loose fit clothing was my only “must.” I used a grabber a few times, so if you find one cheap, it’s a good investment. I also had easy-slip on slippers that I used a few times to walk out on the deck and get some fresh air. I didn’t even eat all the soup, mashed potatoes, etc. that I bought for my expected queasy stomach. Normal food was fine by day three. I did force myself to keep eating lots of yogurt to avoid constipation. I liked having a few alternative beverages around, but mostly drank water. I used the big hospital sippy cup they sent home.
I think my approach of “don’t push too much, but don’t be a lazy blob” worked well for my body. I found a good balance that helped me easily return to normal.
I hope this gives you an idea of just how good this can go (but don’t count on an easy recovery. Allow yourself time and make flexible plans for work and social engagements. You just don’t know how you’ll feel.