Sheila’s Robotic Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 54
Location: San Diego, CA
Bouts of heavy bleeding in my late 40s and the inability to stomach progesterone (made me very sick) led me to an ablation in 2011. The ablation worked wonders – but after severe menopausal symptoms (hot flashes and insomnia, to name two of many) I turned first to acupuncture and then to a chiropractor. When those two options failed I turned to HRT – I was limited to estrogen only given that progesterone made me ill. The estrogen worked wonders – but unopposed estrogen is dangerous and after a heavy post-menopausal bleeding episode confirmed by a high uterine lining metric (9 mm), I decided to go for a TAH and BSO (consulted with my GYN and then a surgeon) so I could continue the HRT therapy.
I had general anesthesia. Other than being extremely nervous (which they finally addressed with meds, which worked like a wonder) I had no issues and woke up in recovery feeling great – for the first 20 minutes. Then the pain set in. Once the pain was addressed with narcotics, it was completely tolerable. I was in the hospital overnight only because I didn’t pass the “pee test” (if you don’t pee enough they hold you). Other than it being very noisy (could not sleep – constant noise, light and interruptions) the staff was wonderful and it was helpful to be able to request pain medications at regular intervals. I was discharged the next morning.
I had an excellent recovery. I scheduled a private yoga session 3 days after my procedure (mostly meditation, some stretching) and was back in the gym (very light workouts) the following week. I dropped the narcotics within 48 hours – I strongly advise regularly taking the ibuprofen every 6 hours. Also loved my heating pad, which worked wonders. And after week 1 I used the heating patches you can wear. I was back at work the day after surgery (remotely) and was back in the office on and off the following week.
I have had some pretty severe hormonal issues post-hysterectomy (insomnia, rapid heart beat, crazy sweating, tingling limbs, burning mouth syndrome), which surprised me somewhat (I thought my ovaries were done … but I guess not). But I can now address those symptoms full-on with estrogen only with no worries of endometrial cancer. I’m hoping I can eventually wean myself off the HRT but we will see. Happy that I don’t have to go for pelvic ultrasounds every three months and constantly worrying about whether the HRT was provoking something medically dangerous (particularly with respect to my ovaries, which are not as easy to monitor as the uterus). The biggest annoyance right now (at two months post) is the swollen belly (still!) and my (two ) scars that are still visible.
If you are considering this procedure, my advice is to get in the best shape you can beforehand. I think my recovery was hastened because of my yoga practice and regular exercise.