Sherry’s Robotic Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 46
Location: Dallas, TX
I made the tough decision to have a hysterectomy after suffering for more than 30 years with painful cycles 2 weeks out of the month, excessive bleeding, endometriosis and multiple fibroids. Prior to making this decision, I tried many non-surgical options to include hormone therapy, birth control etc. in hopes to preserve the ability to have children one day.
In my 30s I started to experience more extreme symptoms along with fatigue caused by the anemia, gall bladder disease (a side of effect of the amounts of hormones being used to try and shrink the fibroids). After having my gall bladder removed, my medical team and I began to discuss the surgical options that will hopefully clear up the anemia and provide me with a better life. We tried ablation, other techniques and an abdominal myomectomy to remove fibroids from the inside of my uterus. During this time, hysterectomy was discussed, but I chose myomectomy to preserve my uterus a little longer. As I moved into my 40s, the option of a hysterectomy came up again due to the fibroids returning, excessive bleeding and high blood pressure partly caused by the amount of pain I experienced and being on birth control.
I didn’t require a 2nd opinion because I tried a lot of options before making this decision.
Perhaps the most difficult part of this experience was the bowel prep. I just don’t handle a gargling stomach and running back and forth to the bathroom well. Most of my anxiety was prior to surgery wondering what will happen and how will I cope post-surgery.
On the good note, the surgery and hospital experience was so good. Overall, I had a great medical team, they were very comforting, explained every detail as they did things during pre-registration as well as day of surgery. They gave me general anesthesia. Prior to administering anesthesia, I told the nurse that I get nauseated after anesthesia and asked if they could give me something to help with that. I had the surgery 8am in the morning and was home by 3:00 in the afternoon. No hospital stay was required, just a few hours in recovery for me.
Overall my recovery was easy. Important points to remember are not to stress over being down and out and for once to put your health before anything else. Allow others to help; this is not a time to be a super hero. The first few weeks are crucial to your recovery. The biggest worry I had after my hysterectomy was gaining weight? This was a challenge because I was not sure when I would be ready to start trying small things. Also, the other challenge was overdoing it and becoming so fatigued that I literally was down the whole day. You have to pace yourself and most importantly, follow all of the lift restrictions, exercise restrictions and time given off from work. Listen to your body and If you need additional time off tell your doctor and be sure to take it. I requested to be released back to work after 4 weeks off (I have a desk job). I was released back to regular activities after 6 weeks (cautioned to take it slow and build myself up as I get stronger).
My overall health has been pretty good since the hysterectomy, so I am very happy about my decision to move forward with it. I am doing interval running on the treadmill 4 to 5 times a week. I have anxiety occasionally, but have found exercise to help a lot. Some insomnia, but I drink a chamomile tea to help. Occasional issues with my stomach and bowel movement, but that has also been manageable with a stool softener / peppermint tea / Miralax. These issues are very minor and very easy for me to manage.
I did keep my ovaries and have been experiencing quite a bit of pain during ovulation. I made a follow up appt and went in to see the doctor who ordered a sonogram immediately. Turns out that I had two blood filled cysts on my right ovary that ruptured. After 6 weeks I went back in for another sonogram, the two cysts from earlier were resolving, but I had grown another cyst as I started a new ovulation cycle. The doctor gave me two options: I can go on progesterone only pill to stop ovulation or to remove my ovaries. There is health risks associated with both options. For now, I’ve decided to try progesterone to see if we can stop ovulation to avoid getting any more cysts while I think through the option of getting them removed.
The advice I would give to another woman is to be sure you trust your medical team. Also, get a 2nd opinion if you have doubts. Having a better quality of life is very important. If you do not have kids, there are a lot of options such as adoption or a surrogate mother and being a mentor to other children. Life does not have to end because you choose to have a hysterectomy. Being healthy will allow you to enjoy your life, contribute and enjoy the relationships you build with others and enjoy the company of many children in different capacities. Choose what is best for you!