Updated: Mar 3, 2019
Let's face it.....a hysterectomy is HARD on a woman, regardless of her age or time in life. No woman relishes the idea of losing a part(s) of her that ideally makes her a woman! (Not to mention the physical difficulty of the procedure).
I know I didn't!
I dreaded and fought it with all I had, literally, up until the last minute. Only with the help of God, a loving supportive husband and family was I able to finally surrender and realize it was for the best.
My journey started about a year ago, April. I had a nagging discomfort in my waist band area to the right of my belly button. Thinking it was just the exercise pants bugging me, I let it pass for a time. Finally, a nagging inside me told me to go check it out. My primary doc looked at the first thing one would think of, my bowels. Nothing to see there lol. However, with the CT scan I had done, they did see some venous congestion (varicosities) in my ovaries, mainly the left side. Hmmm, that's weird....not on the right. He referred me to my OB/GYN.
My OB/GYN proceeded to do an ultrasound of my parts. Finding....a fibroid in my uterus and yes the venous congestion mostly on the left. No pain on exam and all is well and that was not causing the issue I originally came in with. However, he did want to follow up with that fibroid in December of 2018 with my regular routine visit.
OK, sounds good.....must be just tight waist bands pressing on my intestines and really it had kinda cleared up. Also had a colonoscopy that was clear in December 2018, so I felt all was good.
Next stop, the ultrasound follow up in December, 2018 with my OB/GYN.
UGH!! The fibroid had grown and now I have 3. A little discomfort on exam...but in my mind....lets move on and no big deal. Fibroids are typically benign and if they aren't bothering me.....let's leave it alone.
Well, one reason I love my doc is that he is THOROUGH! He didn't have the same ideas. A woman over 50 and post-menopausal should NOT have growing fibroids or for that matter, any NEW ones. I saw where this was going......
I figured another D and C, no big deal, right.....nope...nice try but he wants it all out! There is no reason to keep those pesky ovaries either, just a concern for other issues. Basically, he wanted it all gone and no need to worry about future cancers. I get it.....I just don't like it!
Procedure scheduled for Valentine's Day this year and I feel anxious and confused. So begins the research....can I keep my parts and avoid this surgery? Nothing but proof backing him up. I have to face it....I am going to have major surgery and not to mention, lose my parts that are near and dear to me and my motherhood. My womb that brought two beautiful babies into this world and served me well with easy pregnancies and births. One of the most wonderful times of my life!! Sad, scared, rebellious, those are a few words to describe my feelings. I had a goal in mind to NEVER have surgery, let alone this one! Not to mention the battle of being laid up and restricted for 8 weeks!!! Not my style to sit around and do basically nothing for 8 weeks.....UGH!!!
So here I am, 11 days post op and doing well, thank GOD! I am being a very good girl and listening to my rules and restrictions. Looking very forward to the end of the 2 week restriction on driving that ends Thursday! I am driving on Friday!!
I have read my pathology reports and sounds like my doc was right on target.....my parts were kinda a mess. Probably a good thing we found all this before it got any worse. Glad to have all the results benign as well!! I feel it was a good thing we found all this without having the typical symptoms most women experience. Even though that was the hardest part for me, going in with no symptoms per say.....but the results proved it was needed and that is all I wanted to hear.
So, all in all, I have come to terms with losing my womb and all. It is weird to think it is gone but I really don't feel anything different. So far mentally, I think I am OK with it all. It is kind of humbling to think I am old enough to be in this period of my life but it doesn't have to be a bad thing. I am a strong 56 year old woman (soon to be 57) that has a long life ahead of me to enjoy my family and be an active influence in my grand- kids lives! That is my focus!
I am ready to heal and move on with my life and get back to being active and vibrant! It's actually kinda nice to think I don't have to worry anymore about the "C " word in regards to those parts!
Now to get through this recovery period without going nuts, LOL!
How to reconcile laying around for 8 weeks and not exercising? This goes against everything I believe, even though I know there is a reason, it is just hard! I know I am going to lose muscle tone, strength, and stamina. It will be tough getting back to it and I know I will be frustrated with myself. I can't wait to get back to my real life and will use this time to jazz up and prepare my new workout routine. I know I will have to start slow but I will be so glad to get back in action!
Another tough issue is having restrictions on lifting and carrying my grand-kids....it's killing me! I know it is only a short part of my life but this 8 weeks will be difficult limiting my grand-kid holding time, especially when they ask you to pick them up.....poor babies....it's torture!
In times like this, I really have to focus on the positives:
I'm glad for the time of year I had this done. I will be healed and ready to go for summer....my favorite season!
I only have to deal with this for 8 weeks.
It was all benign!
I have good support systems and awesome family to help out.
I had a great doctor who did a fantastic job.
It gives me time to organize and clean up my home office and home.....although not physical cleaning but paperwork and organizing.
I get lots of quiet time.
Time to refocus and re-evaluate my daily routine and work out schedule.
Time to slow down a bit.
Those are just a few positives I can think of while hanging out here at home....my favorite place!
I don't know what the future has in store but I am going to prepare myself to handle it as best I can and get back on my game!
This is just a little sharing of my hysterectomy journey. I hope that it helps someone else out there that is struggling and truly believed and worked toward not wanting any major surgery done to them...ever! Or those like me, that are fighting the inevitable. I realize we do not have control of some things to some degree but it is still hard when it was not in "my plan."
Advice to others preparing for this or any surgery:
I worked out hard up to the day of my surgery, eating right and doing all I could to prepare my body for this. I know it was the best thing I could do for myself and the rest was out of my hands.
If I could encourage anyone facing this surgery or any other....prepare you mind and your body as best you can to be ready to recover physically and mentally. You will be doing the best thing for yourself!!
Be knowledgeable, ask questions and make sure you are ready to surrender yourself to the procedure and your doctor's orders.
Prepare you body and your home for a long-term recovery period.
Use your support systems and feel free to vent and feel your emotions.
It's all good!
Sometimes we can't choose what is on our path in life but we can choose how we respond to it.....that is the BIGGEST lesson of my hysterectomy journey!
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Health and happiness,
Alicia Williamson RN, BSN, MSNW, CHC
Kylie Glastetter BA, MS, EP-C, CHC
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