Heather’s Robotic Hysterectomy
daVinci Robotic Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 48
Location: Wauwatosa, WI
Growing up, and for most of my adulthood I had textbook periods. Then in 2012 I had a much heavier period than I was used to, and I never really had another light one again. At first they were just heavier, but manageable. Over the months and years they slowly became heavier to the point that they kept me house-bound for a day or two per month. In 2015 I had an ultrasound which an ob-gyn used to diagnose me with an abundance of fibroids. At the time I was too scared to want to do anything about it. I went with the “wait and see” option. While I waited two more years, my periods did not get any easier, and it got to the point of scary-heavy bleeding, passing clots, pain, and even fevers.
Then in March of 2017 I started bleeding, and never really stopped. In June the ob-gyn recommended a hysteroscopy to rule out any cancer and to see if it was possible to remove the bleeding fibroids. It wasn’t. (Thankfully, there was no cancer either). So the ob-gyn then recommended I have a hysterectomy. I was not thrilled, but I wanted the bleeding to stop. During the hysteroscopy the doctor also noted that I was having some significant issues with prolapse, so she also recommended I get that fixed. I chose a doctor at the teaching hospital here in my city.
I had a robotic hysterectomy along with a&p prolapse repair and also had a urethra sling placed. The doctor let me keep my ovaries. By this time my uterus was so big that it was cutting off my urethra so that I couldn’t urinate a lot of times that I had to go. That was so painful! Of course I was nervous. But I took comfort in knowing my doctor’s expertise as a professor of urogynecolgy at this teaching hospital. There was a group of students in the OR with the surgical team. It was neat to be a subject of learning for these students.
I had general anesthesia, which I tolerated fine, except for a small amount of nausea when I woke up. If I ever need general anesthesia again I will be sure to ask for an anti nausea patch! The surgery went well, except I had a scary moment when my blood pressure dropped very low, and they needed to medicate me to get it up to a safe level. The operation took almost four hours. I remember waking up and feeling very relieved and very happy. No more bleeding! My stay in the hospital was really pleasant. I went for a short stroll in the hall in the evening. It was very painful getting out of bed though. My whole abdominal wall, chest to pubic area, would seize up and go into a full spasm, doubling me over, which only made the spasm worse. It took several minutes for me to get to my feet. This happened once at home too, and it was the only time I questioned my decision to have the surgery. I spent one night in the hospital. I was thankful that they kept me there.
Recovery at home went well. Not all was rainbows and sunshine though. I had my fair share of swelly-belly, gas pains, light-headedness, BM pain, some nasty night sweats, and general pain. I stopped taking oxycodone after the 4th day as I did not like how “detached” it made me feel. I needed ibuprofen and Tylenol steadily for about 2 weeks.
It took me several weeks to adjust to how my new anatomy felt. My a&p repair really tightened things up, and I didn’t like how that felt at first, even though it technically was more normal than it had been in years. I had some urine leakage for several weeks too, mostly caused by swelling.
Overall, this experience has been a positive one. I enjoyed my recovery time of 6 weeks very much. In fact, I cried when I got cleared to go back to work, even though I like my job. It was hard to go back. Three months have passed, and every day I am so thankful to be feeling so much better. No more pain, bleeding, urinary problems, anxiety, and being house-bound. I can do so many things that I couldn’t before. The relief is greater than I even imagined.
Hystersisters has been a good source of information for me. It’s heartening to know that I’m just one of many ladies going through the same challenges as me. I didn’t visit much before my surgery because, quite frankly, the things I was reading terrified me. But post-surgery I was not nearly as afraid to participate here. I appreciate the friendliness and helpfulness of the mods. I enjoy sharing my own experience too.
For women considering hysterectomy for gynecological problems and are nervous about it, I’d say that the nerves you feel are worse than the actual procedure and recovery. Sure, you will have pain and other issues, but those challenges and pain will be different from the pain you’re enduring now. The pain you’re in now is a destructive kind, but the pains of surgery and recovery are a sign that you’ve faced your fear, and it should remind you that you’ve done something very good for yourself.