After the Fact: 5 Ways to Cope with an Unnecessary Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy is a journey. It’s a journey that brought you to the point of surgery, and a whole new journey began with your recovery. It’s been a long road, so it can be very difficult to find out that your surgery was not medically necessary. The fact that a hysterectomy can also be a very emotional surgery may compound those feelings.
Hysterectomy involves an organ that can be deeply connected to your sense of womanhood. You may find your fertility made you feel desirable and feminine. Losing the ability to conceive can bring on feelings of grief, emptiness, and guilt. Even if you felt your family was complete or you didn’t intend a pregnancy, it can be very hard cope with the loss of choice.
Whether you find you’re still experiencing the same pain you had pre-hysterectomy, received an inaccurate diagnosis, or are having new issues since your surgery, it can be hard to accept knowing a healthy organ has been removed and your life is forever altered because of it. The suggestions below can help you cope with the effects of having an unnecessary hysterectomy.
1. Acknowledge Your Loss
It’s ok to grieve the loss of your uterus. This is an organ that has made itself known to you (for better or worse) since adolescence. You may find yourself going through the 5 stages of grief — Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance — and feel unprepared for them. It’s ok to cope with your grief by crying, feeling angry, or resentful. Those are your feelings and you have every right to them. Allowing yourself to feel these emotions helps you process your grief and move past it. You may also find it helpful to symbolically grieve your uterus by planting a tree, making a quilt, getting a tattoo, or starting a journal.
2. Don’t Play the Blame Game
What’s done is done. Rather than placing blame on yourself or your doctor, choose to move ahead and take control of what you can change — your present and your future. Unfortunately, you can’t go back in time and make different decisions, and you can’t get your uterus back. It’s counter-productive to dwell on the what if’s and why didn’t I’s. Be kind to yourself and accept that you made the best decision you could with the information you had at the time.
3. Surround Yourself with Support
As you heal emotionally, you may find that counseling, a support group, or prayer will help. Spend time with family and friends and accept their love and kindness. They may not truly understand what you’re feeling, but they can still accept that you’re hurting and give you much needed TLC. Nurture your inner self emotionally and physically by eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. Watch for the signs of depression and do your best to manage the stress in your life. You may find that meditation, yoga, relaxation, and mindfulness exercises are very helpful as well.
4. Turn the Experience Into a Positive One
During this experience, you acquired knowledge that you can use to help others. Consider joining a support group and offering your time and support. Whether it’s in your local community or online, you may find causes that speak to you. These might include gynecologic cancer, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, hysterectomy, a women’s shelter, etc.
5. Move On
Allow yourself to move on. You’ve had this experience and it’s changed you, but it doesn’t have to be a negative change. All women are made up of personal experiences. You learn and grow from them. You may have learned valuable lessons such as getting a second opinion, doing your own research, advocating for yourself, and trusting your inner voice. These are important skills for life.
You can learn more valuable information about your emotional healing post hysterectomy by browsing through the HysterSisters Grief & Depression Articles. You can also find support and share support by posting on the HysterSister forums.
This content was written by staff of Hyst erSisters.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: After the Fact: 5 Ways to Cope with an Unnecessary Hysterectomy