Kristen’s Abdominal Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 39
I’ve been meaning to share my story for awhile, so I can help others who are going through this. I had my hysterectomy about 14 months ago now, and I can honestly say it was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make but one of the BEST decisions I have ever made. I had been dealing with really heavy periods for a few years. I think they gradually got worse over time, but I knew at the time that I had fibroids from my gynecologist, so I just used that as the “reason why”. I went in for routine blood work at my GP’s office and they asked me to come in right away because they discovered my iron levels were super low. Like almost low enough to be admitted to the hospital. I had been suffering from restless legs for quite a few months at this point, and there were times I felt dizzy getting up off the couch, or just sheer exhaustion, but honestly I never knew those symptoms could be a sign of low iron. I was also diagnosed with MS a few years back, so I just thought those things I was feeling was because of my MS.
After that doctor appointment I had to go get some additional tests done, then the next thing I know I was meeting with a surgeon who told me not only that I needed an abdominal hysterectomy due to the size of the fibroids, but that it had to be a vertical cut. I sat stunned and scared. I had never had a surgery in my life, and now here I was facing this major life decision on top of it all. I then sat with the scheduler to pick a date for the surgery and at this point I was still in shock, but went ahead and scheduled it to get it done and over with in 2 weeks! My surgery was successful, I stayed in the hospital for 4 nights, (over a weekend), and that was also one of the best decisions I ever made. I didn’t rush home. My best advice is to stay in there (even though trust me I know you don’t wan to) for as long as they will allow you to. It’s the best for your body if you can just be still and heal. Also, make sure you get up and start walking as soon as you can. The first walk for me was the toughest, but after that they slowly got easier and easier.
The staples were uncomfortable and painful (but bearable), and I couldn’t wait to have them out. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do stairs, but they were no problem at all! I wore nightgowns which I never do, for the first week or two. It made going to the bathroom that much easier! Once those staples came out I felt like a new woman! I still had to heal but it was a game changer for me at that point. I didn’t work for 12 weeks and that was also the best decision I ever made. Don’t rush back to work. I was lucky because I didn’t have any complications. The doctor said he believed it was because I stayed in the hospital for those 4 nights, and I think so too. Once you go home, you are moving around so much more! I slept in the recliner once I got home for most nights. I didn’t feel comfortable laying down on an actual bed for about 4 weeks.
As I reflect a year later, I cannot believe how much pain and suffering I was going through prior to the surgery. I feel like a new person, healthy and well. Just to feel this way, and not realize how badly I was feeling prior, is kind of sad and stunning to me. You don’t realize how unwell you feel when you are living it. To feel this way now, I can’t even describe it. For me it’s extra emotional because I was blaming my MS for the way I was feeling, when really it wasn’t the MS, it was these fibroids wreaking havoc on my body.
My hope for all of you is that you feel like I do. It’s not only a physical journey but an emotional one. The body is amazing and it will heal, help it heal but listening to the doctors, and resting when you should! Big hugs to you all!