Heather’s Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
Age at Surgery 40
Location: Bethesda, Maryland, United States
The worst of my journey started 4-5 years ago. I can remember because it began a few years after the birth of my son.
Thinking back, it was as early as my teens. I had uncontrollable bleeding and heavy & extremely painful periods, they were so bad I would be in bed crying or the shower. Into adulthood this continued, in my 20s the same, only the accompanied pelvic pain that was often unexplainable or went undiagnosed. I was seen over and over for it with no explanation or diagnosis. I had several miscarriages before having my son, a DNC and was on a ton of birth control to control pain and heavy bleeding.
A few years after having my son the worst of the pain started. Horrible pelvic pain with sex, bowel movements, and worse with ovulation and my period. It got to the point where I could not bare sex. Finally I was referred to the first OBGYN, not sure what happened but my primary care doctor just put me on birth control instead. Then a few months later I went back to another OBGYN because it wasn’t getting better.
I was put through an exhaustive process of hormone therapy; put on Depo, the progesterone pill, Depo Lupron, the vaginal insert coil. Cannot recall the name. All of these things affected my mental health. Especially the Lupron. It sent me into full blown menopause and I cannot take estrogen to offset the affects because I have a blood clotting disorder. I finally settled for Depo Provera and the pills together and was on those for over 2 years. Finally, around the 3 year I decided enough! I couldn’t bare it mentally. Things seemed to be getting better as far as pain and bleeding so I came off the Depo. Within six months I was back to the same thing, pain, heavy bleeding that would send me to the ER from clots the size of golf balls. And the bleeding was out of nowhere, not on schedule, and it would be hormonal ups and downs. This happened several times over the years. I’d go to the ER and they would tell me SORRY, your not anemic and haven’t lost enough blood so there’s nothing we can do. A month later it would stop. I went back to the OBGYN and finally saw the head doctor who I pleaded with and she told me we could schedule a laparoscopic exploratory surgery to check for endometriosis. I had that surgery Jan 2021. They discovered no endometriosis.
At that point I thought well it was all in my head. Then I was called in and told to get further testing and MRIs to see if I had endometriosis in the Uterus walls which they could not see with the exploratory method. After all the testing they confirmed it was inside and within the muscles of my uterus. Not to mention I was bleeding at this point for months at a time. I was wearing pads every single day. At this point she told me I could try birth control again or surgery those were my options and I chose surgery (hysterectomy).
I was so scared and I had surgery on 4/12/2021. I’m it was a rough surgery and recovery. Not even what I expected. But I am so happy with the outcome. I was miserable before. I had an uncomplicated TLAH and kept my ovaries, the only issues I had was with my bladder it took a while to snap back and I had spasms and trouble peeing at first. Now I have a little remaining nerve pain.
So far I’m excited about not having periods anymore. The pain is gone! I would say I do have ups and downs still in some areas. One, I still feel tired all the time. I feel sad and depressed for no reason sometimes or angry, it’s weird. I also haven’t had sex yet so I’m worried how that experience will be. I’m taking it slow and not pressuring myself because this really is like starting anew.
Overall, I am happy with the decision I made to have the hysterectomy. I didn’t get a second opinion because of the exhaustive process they made me wait for nearly 4-5 years and I tried everything exhausting all my options before I was offered any kind of surgery, and I knew it was the best option for me and my situation.
From intake until surgery I was prepped. It was very overwhelming. I had three meds at intake, then went to have a nerve block and more meds then finally went into surgery. I received general anesthesia. After surgery I woke up and was given fentanyl for pain. It still didn’t make me comfortable, the pain was pretty bad.
I was wheeled into a room where the told me they might keep me because I wasn’t peeing and before surgery I had almost 1400ccs of urine so they were going to check and if I had over 300 I had to stay. I ended up staying the night and glad I did. I received a catheter and was watched closely and discharged the next day.
After surgery I continued to struggle with bladder issues, and “swelly belly”. It didn’t take much at all, and my belly would swell. My bladder would not alert me when I had to urinate at night so I had to start setting an alarm every three hours or I would wake up in horrible pain with an extremely full bladder. Then when I would go to the toilet it was a struggle to pee.
I saw my surgeon 4 weeks post op. She told me I was good to do a few things but no sex and heavy lifting. I ended up going back to work into my 6th week and it was hard. I couldn’t sit long because it put pressure on my pelvis and bladder and I couldn’t wear pants. I had to invest in loose dresses for the office. Underwear was not my friend! I hated wearing them. So the first week back at work I bought compression underwear and wore those faithfully. I wish I could have waited 8 weeks to go back. I would recommend 8-12 weeks because it was a challenge. I also have a family and kids so I had to cook and I couldn’t be on my feet long without my belly swelling, it was a challenge. One day I’d be up, the next day I’d have to lay down all day. I really listened and did what my body told me.
I’d say, my health is improved. I look forward to seeing the long journey and reporting back in a few years after I am all healed and used to this new lifestyle. I am glad I had the hysterectomy after the surgery the pathology reports taken from my uterus and Fallopian tubes confirmed adenomyosis and fibroid tumors in the uterus, and my Fallopian tubes were full of tumors as well. It was a relief to know it wasn’t all in my head this pain was done. Bleeding DONE. I am so glad I did this.
If you are considering a hysterectomy make sure you do thorough research before taking the leap. Make sure you understand the surgery complications, recovery, expected and possible life changes, and how this will personally affect you. I don’t think I fully understood the recovery or how much this took a toll on your body, or how things would change. Especially, since I had a laparoscopic surgery, I thought it would be an easy, simple, and fast recovery, but it wasn’t without its challenges, it wasn’t what I expected in my mind. If it wasn’t for the support in HysterSisters I would have been overwhelmed with the recovery and the changes happening to my body.
I think if you have exhausted all options and you’ve found no relief, a hysterectomy may be a good option for you. If you are considering having children and haven’t, or want more children there may be other options better for you. For me this was the only option, my reproductive health and mental health were wearing me down. I’m happy I made the decision to move forward with my hysterectomy. However, it’s important you do your research so you know how it will affect you and what your options are before making such a big decision.