5 Things Your Family Needs to Know About Hysterectomy
A hysterectomy is a serious surgery and comes with the risk of complications. Many patients do not realize this until they are post op, and then communicating this information to family members can be challenging. While your spouse may not understand your post op restrictions and needs, both physical and emotional, it’s important to be clear about how your husband can help as you recover and ease back into your regular routine. Communication between you and your spouse and family can be key to a successful recovery.
1. It’s Major Surgery
No matter what type of hysterectomy you have, it’s still major surgery. You may have only tiny incisions or no visible incisions at all, but you still had an organ removed. Although hysterectomies are performed so frequently that society has come to think of them as no big deal, let your family know it is major surgery and you need to follow doctor’s orders and take care of yourself. Remember, you only have one chance to heal right!
2. Recovery Really Does take 6 Weeks
You’re dressed, you’re walking around the block… so you must be all better, right? Not necessarily! Because you are encouraged to walk during recovery and look quite well, your family may not realize you’re not fully recovered. Remind them that recovery cannot be rushed and until you’re cleared by your doctor, you’ll be relying on their help around the house.
3. No, I Can’t Vacuum!
Most doctors will advise you of lifting limits (usually no more than 10lbs). Vacuuming falls under this same restriction. The pushing and pulling motion of vacuuming (as well as sweeping and mopping) puts strain on your abdominal region, and, thereby your stitches and healing tissues. Ignore the pet hair on the carpet and leave that vacuum in the closet.
4. There May be Tears
The trauma of surgery, medications, fatigue, and hormonal fluctuations can lead to weepiness post op. Some women are dealing with a cancer diagnosis, the onset of surgical menopause or the loss of fertility, and this can be overwhelming. The depth of the emotions can take you and your families by surprise. Let your family know there will be tears and you will need hugs, but it will get better soon!
5. You Need to Put Yourself First
As a woman, you are used to being busy and “doing it all.” This is one of the few times in your life when you need to put yourself (emotionally and physically) first. Your family can take care of meals and housekeeping: this is your time to rest. It may be an eye-opener for them, but stand strong and leave that Super Woman cape in the closet. It will be there when you’re recovered!
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: 5 Things Your Family Needs to Know About Hysterectomy