Brooke’s Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 38
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
I suffered from terribly painful periods since menarch at age 11. Birth control did not help, and made me seriously depressed. After age 35, the pain which used to be confined to 1 really bad day and 4 not great days, escalated to 4 terrible can’t move days and 14 feeling terrible days, with a constant bladder stabbing pain. My tentative diagnosis was endometriosis.
I stopped trying to get medical help in my 20s, but was forced to go back to the doctor when the bladder pain picked up. Fortunately, the urologist referred me to Vancouver’s pelvic pain clinic, and got me in front of specialists who could help me.
I had general anesthetic, and was in the hospital about 36 hours. There were some mix-ups with one nurse who was not on her game, which resulted in my bladder meds being delayed by 3 hours which was the worst pain I experienced during the whole process. I was in the hospital for 3 shifts of nurses, and my partner was indispensable, bringing me ice packs, water, and advocating for me when the one nurse I had made the medication mistake. Be sure to bring an advocate with you, even if all they end up doing is bringing you better food, it’s worth it.
Also, bring ear plugs, and eye mask, a big fluffy robe, and sandals / slippers.
My surgery experience was excellent. It was amazing to wake up after surgery and be completely free from pain for the first time in years.
My recovery was easy! The surgery was a miracle. Even though I had a tentative diagnosis of endometriosis, it turned out that’s not what I had. They have no idea why I was in so much pain, except it appeared I had some odd clusters of nerve endings on my uterus, so it’s possible it was a neuropathic pain. My bladder pain is much better, and my menstrual pain is COMPLETELY GONE!
Once I was out of the hospital, I went off of narcotics and didn’t need anything in addition to tylenol and ibuprofen. My post-op pain was NOTHING compared to what I had been living with.
My recovery was mostly just fatigue, and building back up to my regular level of functioning. I really enjoyed my time off, actually.
My health is vastly improved. Without pelvic pain, I have taken up jogging. I have been going to a physiotherapist for my pelvic floor, as well as my knees, back and hips to rebuild what I lost during my years of inactivity and pain. Exercise and activity is a joy!
This surgery has given me so much gratitude for the body I have which is now largely free from pain. I also went into eating disorder recovery (as I developed an ED while trying to use diet to cure myself of pelvic pain.) The combination of body acceptance plus improved body function has been a miracle and a joy for me.
Do your research about everything. YOU have to decide if this surgery is the best thing for your health. This may mean seeking out second opinions, educating yourself on the possible complications, and evaluating for yourself the potential risks and benefits. You have to take responsibility for that.
Second, make sure you’re in front of the best surgeon you can access. I had to travel quite a long way to access my Vancouver surgeon, and as a result I stayed in a hotel for a week after the surgery, just in case. This was expensive, and while I could barely afford it, it was worth it. You only get one chance at this surgery, and one chance to heal, so make sure you have the most skilled surgeon. Research them, their statistics, and read any studies they may have published.
I credit my surgeon for a good deal of my amazing recovery. The surgery was beautiful. I had no vaginal bleeding, and the only wound healing complication was immediately post-op when steri-strips failed to hold it closed and I needed a few stitches in one incision. I healed quickly because I’m relatively young and healthy, but also because my surgeon is highly skilled, and therefore minimized the trauma to my body.