Debbie’s Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
Type of Hysterectomy: LSH
Age at surgery: 54
Location: Endicott, NY
I decided on a hysterectomy because I was tired of having to deal with heavy, inconsistent periods, labor like cramps, bloating and bladder pressure. For a number of years, the clinic I went to simply said that my symptoms were due to the fact that I was getting older and probably entering menopause. Last summer, I changed providers and went to an ob/gyn practice recommended by some friends. I was diagnosed with multiple fibroids. My doctor and I decided on a d&c. However, that was unsuccessful since the fibroids were so vascular and bled quite a bit whenever he tried to scrape them away. We spoke of my options and I decided on a hysterectomy. He told me I could keep my ovaries and cervix and that I would be healed and ready for my planned Disney vacation four weeks later. I did not get any other opinions. I had seen the ultrasound, and felt that the bleeding and bladder pressure were ruling my life. I was told that the fibroids would shrink when I went through menopause, but we did not know when that would happen, and I needed relief sooner rather than later.
I had a great experience in the hospital. I was given general anesthesia, and was asleep before we left my room/cubicle. I never saw the OR, and the next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery. The surgery took 2 1/2 hours. I had a laproscopic, supracervical hysterectomy. Even thought my uterus and fibroids were pretty large, I came out with just three tiny incisions. The doctor put uterus, fibroids and tubes inside a bag and used a morcellator to cut everything up. The catheter was out before I woke up, and they had put some sort of massage sleeves on my legs to prevent blood clots. Those things felt great! I sent a thank you note to the anesthesiologist when I paid my bill. They had given me something that kept me from getting sick to my stomach, and made my recovery so much easier. I was allowed to go home that evening, once I had eaten something and passed urine (that took me probably about 15 minutes, and I was beginning to worry that I would need the cath put back in.)
The most important thing for me was making sure I got enough rest and exercise so that I would be ready for my Florida vacation. My recovery seemed pretty easy. There really wasn’t much in the way of pain, just some discomfort, mostly around the belly button incision. Did have to deal with swelly belly for a number of weeks. I can still see it in some of the vacation photos. For the first week or so, I wore a binder off and on because I felt like I was going to fall apart. There were a couple of times when I definitely did more than I should have and ended up in pain, but I learned from my experience. My only real worries were about resuming sexual activities with my hubby and being ready for our trip. I worried if sex would hurt when we resumed. Having said that, I was a little uncomfortable the first few times, but as time went on, things have gotten much better. I was cleared for sex after two weeks. My doctor said that I could drive after a few days and released me for work in a week. I was not permitted to push or lift anything heavier than a jug of milk for four weeks.
I am so happy I had this surgery! My life is so much better. I had forgotten what it was to wake up and feel really great. One immediate result of the surgery was that I dropped about 6 pounds (uterus and fibroids.) I have also dropped another five, now that I can exercise on a regular basis. Really couldn’t do anything when I had my period because the bleeding was so heavy. Doc did find a large fibroid that he was unaware of on the outside of the uterus. This one was lying on my bladder and was the reason I felt I had to go all the time. I no longer wake up multiple times each night to visit the bathroom and don’t have to plan my activities around whether there is a bathroom available. I no longer have to plan my schedule around my period and deal with day after day of horrific cramps. Sex is better than ever! I have been dealing with hot flashes for the past three months, but the doctor said I was probably close to menopause before the surgery anyway. I have found a hormone free product that gives me relief, so all is good. Having a hysterectomy was the best decision I ever made. When I went back to see my doctor for a follow-up, I thanked him profusely for encouraging me to go ahead with the surgery.