Samantha’s Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 35
Location: New York
For the past few years, my periods grew increasingly heavy and my cramps unbearable to the point I could not even stand. My obgyn at the time said it “was normal” and I trusted that this was the case. When I turned 34, my period came twice in one month, which had never happened before, and lasted ten days as opposed to the usual five. Again, my obgyn said it “was normal” and that “these things happen.”
Needless to say, I found a new obgyn for a second opinion. An internal exam resulted in my new doctor stating everything was fine. When it happened again, and I started passing clots the size of golf balls, I went to the ER where they did an ultrasound and it was found that I had one tiny fibroid, only about 2cm.
My new obgyn suggested a myomectomy, an outpatient procedure, which removed most of the fibroid. I also received a Mirena IUD at this time. I had two months of normal periods after that, but then was back to bleeding about 20 days out of every month. The clots were large, and many times I would bleed through my clothes. A trip back to my obgyn had me on birth control pills in addition to the IUD, but this did not help me either. The bleeding was to the point where I thought I was hemorrhaging; it would flow free from my body and not stop. I was anemic. Enough was enough.
I went back to my doctor and put my foot down, so to speak. I explained I wanted my life back, and nothing was more important than that. He agreed, and surgery was scheduled after more than a year of suffering.
My surgery was scheduled for the 17th of October at 730AM. I had general anesthesia and spent one night in the hospital. When I woke up, the first thing I asked was “did they take it out”
I still have my ovaries and cervix. I had a catheter in the hospital, which was removed the following morning at about 6AM. I had no problem going to the bathroom. They had me walking a few hours after surgery. I was on a liquid diet, until after I saw my surgeon the following morning, which was fine as I was not hungry. I did have to eat real food (and keep it down) prior to being released, which was thankfully no problem. I was released at 1PM the day after surgery.
Pain was very mild, more like a general discomfort. They were going to give me morphine in the recovery room, but I remember asking them not to. I received Toradol (I did not want narcotics). After being released from the hospital I only took Motrin. I did not need anything stronger.
I will mention that the largest irritation was my throat, from being intubated. This bothered me for about a week post surgery. Popsicles and tea were my best friends during this time. I had no bleeding after that first day in the hospital. I did not have any gas pain from the anesthesia, either. I did have an appetite, and was able to eat real food once I was home.
My recovery, overall, was easy! I was surprised, as I had read a lot of other women’s experiences which seemed difficult, so I had been expecting a rough and long recovery period. Thankfully, that was not the case.
I had to sleep on my back, though, which is not something I normally do, so my sleep was broken until it was comfortable to sleep on my side, again (around 2.5 weeks post surgery). Getting up from sitting or sleeping was hard, only because I was sore from not moving – so walking during recovery is important, even if only for a few minutes at a time.
The greatest challenge was sleeping on my back and not being able to drive. I was going stir crazy once I was about one week in, so it’s important to have some entertainment at hand. Thankfully, I ended up finding some video games and shows that were enjoyable and helped me pass the time.
I was able to return to work on November 1st. I have a desk job, so this was manageable to me. On the 11th of November, I went to a Broadway show in NYC and did a LOT of walking, without any discomfort. I was a little sore the next day, but not to the point where I could not go about my day. I was able to return to the gym at 6 weeks post-surgery, so long as I eased into it and listened to my body.
Since my hysterectomy, I feel AMAZING. I have my life back, and I get emotional even now, when I think about it. Being able to leave the house and not have to be in fear over whether or not I will bleed through my clothing is incredible and freeing. I feel healthier now, too; and happier. I admit that my mental state was declining in the months leading up to surgery, due to the bleeding and pain and emotional distress of living like that. I’m happy it’s behind me now. I am still anemic, but that is improving with iron pills and my overall improved health.
I do NOT regret my hysterectomy. It was the best decision that could have been made and I am forever grateful for finding a doctor who listened to me and supported me. He is wonderful, and I am forever indebted to him.
My advice would be to put yourself your health and your happiness first. Some people might think you are too young to have this surgery, and some won’t even try to understand what you’re going through. Remember that you are the most important person when it comes to decisions regarding your health and your life, and that no one else knows what’s best for you, better than you do. Get second opinions if you need to, but never accept that abnormal bleeding and pain is normal. It’s not. You deserve to live a full and fruitful life.
In the pre-op room I had a nurse ask me “don’t you want to have children?” I thought it was incredibly rude, regardless that I don’t, but I told her “what I want is my life back” and that was, and is, true.
We all DESERVE to love, laugh, and live a full and wonderful life.