Clara’s Abdominal Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 39
Location: Bath, UK
6 months ago I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t even know what a fibroid was and I certainly hadn’t ever thought about a hysterectomy. That all changed when I went for a routine smear test and to get my coil replaced.
Basically that was the start of my journey. They couldn’t find my coil and I was sent for an ultrasound. They found my fibroid (which my husband and I later nicknamed ‘Flea’).
I quickly progressed through the system – I am lucky in having private health insurance through work – and within a couple of weeks I met my consultant. She said that Flea was massive and needed removing urgently. By then and with hindsight it made so many other things make sense – i was incredibly anaemia, was bleeding daily, had put on a lot of weight round my middle (It was Flea not me being fat!) and I was having bladder control issues.
I trusted the consultant instinctively and 2 weeks later I was in hospital.
I had to have a vertical incision due to Flea’s size (she was the biggest the consultant and anaesthetist had ever seen, needed a bucket to remove her, larger than a full term pregnancy!), do my incision is about 9 inches long running down from my belly button. This was all done under general anaesthetic and I had an epidural in my back which they kept in for about 48 hours. I was pretty immobile while that was in and had a catheter and funny things that compressed my legs alternately!
I was also lucky that they managed to preserve my ovaries.
I stayed in hospital for 3 nights. It was uneventful (save for diarrhoea on the last night – which was wasn’t any fun) and was then sent home with instructions on how to inject myself in the stomach daily for a week (it’s to stop clots, my husband had to do that as I hate needles), some surgical socks (lovely! I wore them for another week all the time and then just at night for a second week) and instructions to take paracetamol and ibuprofen.
My recovery was pretty much textbook. For a week once home I switched between the couch and bed. Then I slowly built up activity with walks every day. I started with doing about a mile a day and took this up to 3 to 4 miles a day (in 2 or 3 chunks) over a couple of weeks.
I managed pain with paracetamol and ibuprofen. That was fine but sneezing hurt so much at the beginning – I have never had pain like that!
I took the full recommended 12 weeks off work (I’m a surveyor so my job is practical) but in that time I did do paper based work at home – so emails, report writing etc – I did that from the first week.
I only had one follow up with the surgeon at just over 8 weeks, up until that I didn’t drive, I restricted lifting and we didn’t make love. But the surgeon cleared me for everything at that appointment.
I had some random hot flushes at about week 10 which were hard work but they stopped after a few days. I don’t know if they were my body settling down or the worlds shortest menopause!
Since my hysterectomy I’ve felt better than ever – Flea had made me so ill and I hadn’t even realised! At the 9 week mark I did a 3 mile obstacle course with friends! At the 16 week mark I went on a week long hiking trip in the Spanish mountains! I have a bruising type ache still in my stomach if I overdo it but you’d hardly know!
If you need one, my advice is do it – it has changed my life. Yes it hurts and it’s a long recovery but life is much better on the other side!!!
Also, keep looking at this site, even though I never posted, it gave me so much strength, comfort and reassurance!