Hysterectomy FAQ for Family and Friends | Part 2

Q: How can the rest of the family help?

A: For children living in the household:

  • Be extra quiet when Mommy is resting/sleeping.
  • Ask another adult, instead of Mommy, whatever it is you need to ask.
  • When Mommy is awake, go ask her how she is feeling ahd give her a big, gentle hug, and tell her you love her.
  • It might not be a good idea for your children’s friends to gather at your house while Mommy is trying to rest and recuperate; play at another kid’s house. This is not a good time for Mommy to have to supervise other people’s children.
  • Call a truce between siblings, and enforce a “no bickering” rule while Mommy is at home recuperating.

For relatives outside the household:

  • Offer to bring breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
  • Offer transportation (for her to doctor appointments; for kids to soccer practice, etc.) or to take the kids out for the day, or have them stay overnight (or longer).
  • Take her out to lunch once she’s feeling capable; only lunch—no mall visits, no movies.
  • Offer to pick up prescriptions or personal items for her from the pharmacy or other store.
  • Leave numbers where you can be reached so she can phone YOU when she’s awake and feeling like a chat.

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Q: My wife is always complaining of gas pains. What can I do to help her?

A: Buy lots of Gas X and take short, slow walks with her. Walking will get the gas moving, but she will need you near in case she loses her footing.

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Q: My wife cries all the time. Why is she so emotional and what should I do?

A: A hysterectomy is a very emotional surgery. Crying is normal. Just give her a hug and tell her the TWO of you will get through this together. Be patient if she wants to talk about her surgery and her feelings over and over again. She would do the same for you!

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Q: It’s been two weeks since my wife’s surgery. I took two weeks off from work to help her and to help with the kids. Now that I am back to work, I see no reason she can’t take care of our two-year-old by herself!

A: Your wife has had major abdominal surgery and she still has many restrictions, especially where lifting, straining, bending, pulling, and pushing are concerned. Looking after a busy two-year-old involves almost all of these actions. Furthermore, the general anesthesia that was used during surgery stays in a patient’s system and some residuals will remain for a while still. All of this means that your wife risks injuring herself and that her reflexes are not up to par, possibly endangering your child.

Since you have returned to work, it would be wise to either send your child to his/her regular caregiver or enlist the help of a temporary caregiver until your wife can safely look after your little one.

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Q: It’s been four weeks since my wife’s hysterectomy. She insists on taking naps a couple of times a days and says she can’t do housework yet. I think she just wants attention. This surgery thing is getting old.

A: Your wife has undergone major surgery. Just because she gets up and dressed each day doesn’t mean she had recovered yet. While most of the initial healing takes place in 6 to 8 weeks, it can take six months to a year to heal completely. Even when she is released by her doctor to perform normal activities, she will still need help with some chores like vacuuming, heavy laundry baskets, etc.

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Q: What about sex? When can we get back to normal?

A: It’s very important to follow doctor’s orders of NOTHING IN THE VAGINA until the doctor has given the okay, which is typically at 6 weeks post-op. The doctor didn’t make this up just to torture you. We also suggest that you proceed very carefully after the doctor has given you the green light, for the first few weeks or month. Tune into your wife’s trepidations and take her cue on how to proceed

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Q: I know it takes some time to recover from surgery, but it has been two months and my wife’s temper is off the chart. She is happy one minute, crying the next, yelling at me, and I have no idea what to do. She is also having some trouble remembering things. Is this normal and when will it end?

A: Your wife is experiencing hormonal upheaval. It is very common for women to have this problem until some sort of hormonal balance is achieved. Whether she has had her ovaries removed or not does not seem to make a difference in the beginning, because most of the time retained ovaries are “in shock” after surgery and not working properly. Usually they will resume functioning again but sometimes they do not, and your wife will need to have some sort of supplementation. A woman who has had her ovaries removed may need complete replacement of her hormones and it may take some time to get the formula right. Some women take a pill or put on a patch, and it works like a charm right off the bat. Others have to make adjustments to get back to normal. Hormones control many aspects of our emotional and physical being, so when they are unbalanced, women tend to be a little unbalanced. Be patient with her and realize that while she is in this upheaval she is not going to be able function like she used to and will need continued support until she’s feeling like herself again.

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Q: My wife has been diagnosed with cancer. How can I help her through this when I am so afraid myself?

A: It’s important to be open to listening to her. Regardless of what she wants to tell you or talk to you about, it’s crucial that you allow her to share all she wants to about what she is facing. There will be a million fears going through her mind. Some of those fears may include whether she will require further treatment, such as chemotherapy and/or radiation after her surgery, and if so, will it result in bad side effects and hair loss. Her mind will be going 24/7, and it may be difficult for her to focus on anything except her diagnosis in the beginning.

You will, of course, be very worried as well, but it’s very important that you not withdraw into yourself at this time. Cancer is a very hard challenge to go through, but you have to be strong for the both of you.

The most important thing is to just be there for her. Try to reassure her that she has great doctors looking after her, and that you will both get through this together. If you sense that she feels she is not getting the information she needs, then you should plan to attend all her medical appointments and, by all means, speak up while there. You will be her primary caregiver in most cases and it’s important that you both be as informed as possible about what her diagnosis involves now as well as in the future.

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Read on to the next article for Part 3

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: Hysterectomy FAQ for Family and Friends | Part 2



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