Crystal’s Abdominal Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 33
Location: Portland, OR, USA
I had very heavy periods for three years or so. I had attributed them to my Paragard IUD. I finally got health insurance at the beginning of this year and my first order of business was getting my IUD removed. I also had routine blood work done and found out I was severely anemic. My next period was the absolute worst ever, so my GP ordered an abdominal ultrasound. I was able to get in quickly due to a cancellation. A presumed large fibroid was found. My GP referred me to a gynecologist; he and I came to the conclusion that, based on the fibroid’s size and placement, as well as the fact that I didn’t want children, a hysterectomy was the best option for me. Surgery was scheduled for about a month out. I chose not to get a second opinion as I really wanted to resolve this situation as quickly as possible, and my surgeon seemed extremely experienced and thorough. We opted for a total abdominal procedure as there was a small possibility that my fibroid was cancerous.
My surgery was early in the morning. It was my first time having major surgery. I had only ever been under anesthesia for dental surgery and a recent colonoscopy. I was pretty nervous but had spent a lot of time prior meditating and manifesting a positive outcome. My nurses and anesthesiologist helped put me at ease. The surgery theater had a video or picture of a waterfall I had hiked, which was very exciting for me (the pre-anesthesia drugs were kicking in, ha!) and this was the last thing I noticed before drifting off.
When I woke up, I felt like I was still asleep but in a lot of pain. The pain got easier as I woke up and as the day went on. It was definitely harder than I thought it might be, but I had an excellent care team of nurses and that helped immensely with my worries and discomfort. I spent most of the first day and night sleeping for a few hours at a time. I went home around lunch time the next day.
Surgery recovery was pretty hard for me. I compared myself to others who had had the surgery and wondered why I wasn’t healing as quickly as them. Once I accepted that everyone heals differently could I truly rest up and take care of myself. I’m a bit of a hypochondriac and found myself worrying about things that ended up being quite normal. Around week 4 was when I finally started to feel “human” again.
At my 2 week post op check up I was told my fibroid was benign! And that everything was healing up fine. I overdid it that day— driving, the trip to the doctor, and a quick trip to the grocery store caused me to spot fresh blood the next day. The advice nurse at my surgeon’s office had me rest up and told me it wasn’t a concern unless the bleeding was heavy. At my 6 week check up I got cleared to resume all normal activities and return to work. I was advised to ease into heavy lifting and abdominal exercises.
My health has improved immensely since having my hysterectomy. My anemia is resolved. I have color and life in my face again. My stomach is flat— I always thought I was little chubby but it turns out it was a nearly 2lb fibroid! Only now that I am better can I see how depressed I was the past couple of years. I had normalized being tired and disinterested. I have so much energy now.
If you find yourself in a similar position— Inform yourself and find good medical professionals to work with. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to! Go into your appointments prepared with these questions. This website is a very helpful resource as well; that said, don’t compare your recovery to that of other people! Listen to your body and to your intuition.