Rebecca’s Robotic Hysterectomy
daVinci Robotic Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 38
After The birth of my fifth child in 2011, I started suffering from heavier periods. In 2013, I was diagnosed with fibroids. There was some question about possible adhesions from two c-sections so I was scheduled for my first hysteroscopy. That revealed no adhesions, just fibroids and due to the fact that we were done having children, I opted against invasive procedures to have them removed and elected for an IUD instead even though I had had a tubal ligation.
Fast forward 13 months and I was having horrendous pain and it was discovered that my IUD has become imbedded in my uterine wall and it had to be removed. I was offered hormonal birth control pills and they made me feel crazy so I just brushed it off thinking to myself I would have to deal with the periods until menopause because I was DONE with the side effects from the various pills I had tried.
I put up with the increasingly heavy periods for a while but the pain was getting worse and the bleeding was never ending resulting in anemia and iron transfusions. I underwent my second hysteroscipy in February of 2019 where some polyps were removed and it was revealed that the larger of my fibroids had tripled in size. My doctor offered my another procedure to cut off the blood supply to the fibroid and I asked for a surgeon referral to discuss other options because I was not comfortable with that procedure and I felt like it was prolonging the inevitable hysterectomy which she did. I met with my surgeon for the first time on April 22nd and she was amazing! I felt like she listened to me and after talking about my history, my pain, my never ending periods ( bleeding three weeks out of the month!), and the fact that we were done having kids, she recommended the hysterectomy. I was 100% on board due to having a major bleed the week before that landed me in the ER, surgery was scheduled for 9 days later in May 1st.
I was a nervous wreck the days leading into my surgery. My surgery was on A Wednesday and I had the worst bleed ever Monday night that resulted in a 3am shower and carpet cleaning session. As ready as I was just to be done with all of this, I was scared to death. The morning I arrived I was taken right back to start getting prepped. I was scheduled for an 8am check in with surgery at 10:30 but things were delayed and I actually did not head back to the OR until almost noon. The wait was making me nuts with anxiety but I had the best nurse ever and he was so calming. The anesthesiologist was pretty good as well and gave me some meds to help me relax a bit. Two IVs had to be inserted and for the first time ever, he numbed the site for the IV which was awesome! I have had trouble with anesthesia in the past and the anesthesiologist was very reassuring that he would take good care of me.
Once taken into the OR, I moved over to the table and things were moving fast with lots of people and I was told to breath deeply and was out before I knew it.
I woke up a few hours in what was the worst pain I have ever been in in my life. The nurse was great and really stayed on top of my pain. My surgery was scheduled as a day surgery and they really try and push there patient out but my old anesthesia complications came into play and I had a really hard time waking up. Due to this, I spent 5 hours in recovery. They got me up and moving around and the only thing holding me up was not being able to urinate. I was sent home with a catheter and My husband was trained on how to remove it the following morning. I was discharged around ten pm that night and went straight home and crashed.
The following morning, hubby removed the catheter and the waiting game to urinate started. I was never instructed how long to wait to call if I could not urinate. The first day home was spent sleeping, taking pain medication, and trying to pee. By that evening my pain was horrible and I called the after hours advice nurse. They sent me to the emergency room where another catheter was inserted and it was like instant relief. Apparently you should urinate at least every 8 hours or you will have urinary retention and the pain from that is unreal! They sent me home with the catheter again and instructions to follow up with my surgeon the next day. My second day home was managed much better with pain meds and I saw my doctor. She had me due a urinary retention test where they empty your bladder completely, fill it up again, pull the catheter, and then in therory your supposed to be able to pee. That did not happen so in again goes the catheter. I had it in for three more days and finally on Monday was able to pee on my own, I have never been so happy in my life! A few days later the UTI came and thankfully I got on antibiotics right away to get that under control. My first two weeks I was on the pain medication pretty much around the clock but I honestly think that if I had not had so many issues with my bladder, the pain would not have been as bad.
At my two week appointment, everything (including my incesisions) looked great! The following day, I woke up and my belly button incision was red and swollen so I called in. Of course my doctor who I had just seen the day before was now on vacation so I had to see her associate. She ended up opening the incision back up and packing it. The following day, I had to go in again for a wound check and site number two was infected so that had to be reopened as well and packed with a referral to wound clinic. Eventually I did have to have a wound vac on one of the incisions because the infection was pretty bad. After about two weeks of wound/infection control things finally turned around and I started feeling better.
Besides the initial complications, my health has greatly improved. I am no longer anemic and I am getting my energy back. My pathology came back with not only the fibroids but also adenomyosis and endometriosis. With all my complications behind me I am finally for the first time in years pain free!
Don’t push yourself! Take your pain medication on time, every time for those first few days. I was originally told most people who have Da Vinci are able to get back into there routine fairly quickly, with the surgical complications I had this was not the case for me and I beat myself up over it. It was a full 7 weeks before I returned to work and if I could Have afforded to take more time off work, I really would have. Rely on your village of support. I prepped 17 freezer meals for my family prior to surgery and had friends from church stop by with meals. Not having to worry about food those first few weeks was huge for us!
There was one point in my recovery right before my two week post op that I was regretting the surgery due to the pain and complications I was having. After receiving my pathology any doubts I had instantly went away. For the first time in a very long time I am pain free, energized, and enjoying sex again due to it no longer being painful. Not having to deal with never-ending bleeding and spending a fortune on feminine hygiene products on a monthly basis is just another bonus in all of this. I am no longer missing work due to my period and generally enjoying life again.