Fifteen Things We Have Learned After Hysterectomy
| Fifteen Things We Have Learned After Hysterectomy|
From the Post-Op Hysterectomy Articles List
What I learned and experienced with LSH
TAH - Lesson Learned
Lessons Learned from my LSH
TAH -The MOST important thing I learned
TAH - How I Learned to Hate Lemon Jello
Options to Hysterectomy
Hormone and Menopause
Intimacy after Hysterectomy
Fitness after Hysterectomy
Grief and Loss
Ask A Doctor
Do you have a list of the "Top Things" helpful for my recovery that you can share with me?
This is a compilation of "discoveries" gleaned from multiple threads on these subjects. Consider it a sort of "digest" of ideas you may find useful in your own recovery.
Dealing with pain:
Keep a pencil and paper next to your pain meds and always write down the times you take them. Foggy memories can lead to mistakes.
All narcotics are constipating, and can give you weird dreams.
If you have spinal anesthesia and start having severe headaches (even if they are not postural), make sure to mention that it could be a "post dura puncture headache". These can be cured by replenishing some of the spinal fluid. Don't suffer for a week, like some have!
Gas pains; and "movement" of a different kind
Don't drink carbonated drinks for a day or two after surgery. They tend to contribute to a gassy stomach. Actually, if you can give them up for good, your bones will thank you, as sodas leach calcium from your bones.
If your medicine makes you sick, call your doctor. S/he can prescribe something different for you to try. And remind your doctor if you're allergic to codeine, so a pain reliever related to the codeine family isn't prescribed.
Ketchup a week after surgery isn't a good thing for your tummy. Especially with fish sticks.
Never, ever mix your Metamucil with prune juice unless you have no other plans for the rest of the day.
Don't allow yourself to get constipated!!!
Keep taking those stool softeners even after your first good BM, as your intestines may still not be in proper working order.
The Dreaded "Swelly Belly" and your incision
Swelly belly is not so bad - it keeps you from seeing the scale.
If you have a cat or dog, keep a pillow on your tummy at all times, especially when you're sleeping on your back. They don't realize that stepping on "mom" will send her into shock. Cats can make great tummy pillows -- but only if you clip their claws first.
Don't fool yourself into thinking that you will be able to wear the same clothes you wore before surgery (at least comfortably). The combination of the incision pain and swelly belly makes it nearly impossible.
If you take antihistamines, stick with them when you get home. Hayfever is unbelievably miserable with an abdominal incision.
Getting the staples out doesn't hurt much--and your insides really don't fall out when you get up after they do it.
Don't have a "last period" party and ceremoniously throw away all your remaining pads. A stubborn little blood vessel and a slow-healing inside incision can make for a final long "period".
If you have a baby, or small child, ALWAYS HOLD BABY on top of a pillow. If he accidentally kicks his little foot into the incision... BOY DOES THAT HURT! Have a pillow over your tummy to make sure the "wiggles" don't hit your incision.
Watch those big kid hugs when you are lying down in your bed. All it takes is one carelessly flung hand to send you through the roof.
Steri-strips hold things together pretty well for something that looks that flimsy.
If you freeze a bottle of water & slip it into a long thin sock, it feels good to roll on your stomach when you have a hot flash. A hot water bottle, filled with ice and cold water, is also really good on the tummy. These work like a soft pillow, "de-sweller" and pain killer.
Comedy shows like "Whose Line is it Anyway" , "Designing Women", "Golden Girls" or whatever your personal favorite, need to be viewed no matter how bad your tummy hurts. Clutch a pillow while watching, or have a hand ready to support your belly. Laughter is good for the depressed and lonely soul.
Watch Those Body Mechanics
Believe the doctor when they say do not pick things up. Don't pick up anything heavier than a frying pan and don't pick that up for 6 weeks. Ignore this advice at your own risk!
Don't move heavy items with your legs or lower body because that's just as bad as lifting. Don't think pushing the furniture is OK, just because it's not "lifting"!
Look to be sure the toilet seat is in the "down" position before sitting
Don't sit at the computer for very long. Your "backend" starts to hurt and burn!.
Also, resting means in a reclined position, not just sitting. Sitting can actually hurt more than standing.
If you drive a SUV it really is painful trying to get in and out of the drivers seat. Same goes for low-slung sports cars.
Twisting quickly the wrong way can hurt too. No ping pong or badminton.
Watch that first stretch in the morning, the one you always do before you're really awake. Those first few weeks, it's a killer.
Don't fool yourself into thinking that you'll never get bored with "Lifetime for Women" movies.
Being bored is far better than being in pain
All of the Australian ladies are on Hyster Sisters at 4 a.m., so when you have insomnia, you'll at least have someone to chat with.
Bob Barker is totally grey!!
When you get bored... have DH move the family room furniture around. The next day you won't like it and he can put it back.
Blockbuster is doing free movie deals for the summer.
Fight your children for the good TV with the DVD player, and DON'T BUDGE!
Housework, or, Revenge of the Dust Bunnies
Housework which seemed important before surgery is suddenly not as important as resting and following doctor's orders
It doesn't matter if the carpet looks like a ticker-tape parade went through. Repeat after me, "IT DOESN'T MATTER!!!" (And it's not worth hurting yourself to vacuum!)
The kids really do know how to do laundry, vacuum and cut the grass despite what they've told you in the past.
How many times can the family pass the cat puke on the carpet without cleaning it up?
The grabber tool will really help you when you just have to pick up that tissue, paper or anything else off the floor that your family seems to not see. It's a way to clean the living room in five minutes without bending. Chasing the cat with it is also fun.
Clutter expands to fill the available space. That is, the little pile of stuff your kids left in the living room last night that you didn't pick up because you were trying to be a good Princess, will have become a huge mountain that eventually takes over half the house and requires a bulldozer to move. This is the Princess' version of that old Physics 101 rule, The Entropy of the Universe is Always Increasing. Corollary: No one in the house will notice this but you.
Children do not need daily baths, especially if they're swimming. Every other day (or less) is probably enough. And they'll love you more for not fighting with them about it!
Just because you feel good doesn't mean you can actually go out and push a shopping cart. They have those cute riding carts at most stores that can really save your life if you can get over the complete embarrassment of being seen in it. Your kids will be completely jealous that you can handle the curves faster than they can.
WalMart <---Just Say NO! New Princesses should avoid WalMart like the plague!!! There is something like a black hole in that store that will suck you in with its seductive charms, then spit you out in pain with your knees buckling and a cold sweat on your brow! Resist the pull...new sheets, cute sandals, and toilet brushes are just not worth it. If you're not well enough to be at work, you're not well enough to be at WalMart. Besides, if one of those 'falling prices' hits you on the head, you could get amnesia and forget where you parked the car you weren't supposed to be driving yet.
Resist the temptation to get out and go shopping, after all, that's what the Internet is for! Discover the delights of the electronic "mall".
When you congratulate yourself for getting someone to carry the groceries to the car for you, don't undo the effect by bringing them into the house yourself.
If you buy 3 eight-pound bags of cat food (or bird seed, or dog food) in order to not lift 25 lbs, don't congratulate yourself for being "good". If you pick up all three bags at once, you're still lifting 24 lbs!
Chocolate and other major food groups
Chocolate really does make you feel better.
If you watch too many cooking shows on TV, you gain weight just from the power of suggestion. Or maybe it's from the calories being transferred by osmosis through the TV screen.
Chocolate IS one of the major food groups, and a new Princess can knock off a carton of chocolate Heavenly Hash ice cream faster than it can melt in the microwave.
As soon as you can eat at the Castle--have someone bring in REAL food. Might have some nutritional value to it and it might be recognizable too!
If you are a coffee drinker, don't cut it out of your diet pre-op. If you wind up with a terrific headache, see if you can get someone to go out and bring back some REAL coffee.
Family and Friends
When friends and relatives volunteer to help - let them. Better them doing the laundry than you!
Thank all your helpers frequently. They'll be more likely to continue helping you.
Friends who say, "Call me anytime." are never home. EVER!
When your church wants to bring meals for 2 weeks, don't ask if you can pick the cooks, just say"thank you". And mean it.
Grown children who move in with you to help during your recovery don't help much at all. They have their own agenda, so prepare to be left alone - a lot!
Everyone in your household is concerned when you're in the hospital, and only a couple of days after you get home. Then they want to know "what's for dinner?".
No one but you cares if your family has clean underwear.
You may well find out just how spoiled your family really is.
Men go through MENopause too, and they often choose our recovery time in which to do it. Another attempt to make themselves the center of attention?
At the Hospital, and other medical matters
Try to have someone with you at the hospital all the time until you can get out of bed yourself... the nurses are so busy you need the extra hand to go track them down and help be an advocate.
Doctors don't know everything. The best ones will admit this, and ask their colleagues for help when they realize they're in over their heads.
When nurse Nancy decides you need to have an enema AND a suppository because on day 2 they want to "get things moving", do not let her out of your sight; you can't get out of bed by yourself, remember?
Shower time? Make sure you have hot water before you are buck naked. Not a pretty picture.
A bladder can hold a quart and a half. This does not feel good. A catheter really CAN be your friend.
When you're at the hospital, it helps to have someone stay with you who can pull those blasted TED hose down when your big toe keeps popping out that little hole in the end and driving you crazy.
Ask questions! If you don't understand something, ask your doctor. If he/she doesn't give you a satisfactory answer, keep asking. If your doctor doesn't have the time to explain things to you, maybe you need a doctor who does.
Keep a list of everything you want to ask during your appointment & don't be shy about asking anything. They've heard it all, already!
Take someone with you to your doctors' appointments to help you remember everything that you've voiced concerns about (in case you forget something). Doctor's offices can cause one to have temporary memory lapses.
If you are a coffee addict "just say no" to any surgery other than 7:00 am or sooner. The headache from caffeine withdrawal coupled with the stress of the day of surgery can make you more miserable than the surgery!
Getting a mammogram in the first four weeks post op is not a great idea.
Is it hormones, or is it just common sense?
If you have a laptop computer and start having hot flashes while you're using it, they just might be from the heat of the laptop and not from your ovaries being in shock!!
In a Brain Fog moment, before looking all over the house for your sunglasses: check the top of your head first!
If you fly to another country, don't let the customs officials confiscate your HRT.
When traveling, pack a carry on bag that weighs less than 10 pounds; the only things it's really important to have in that bag are an inflatable donut pillow and an extra Vivelle Dot.
Give any HRT change more than just a week before you give up on it.
When you can't sleep at 5 a.m., don't drive the two miles to work (when no one is likely to be around) because then you spend the rest of the day in bed with shooting pain.
It is hard to go to sleep after you've been resting all day. No caffeine after 1:00 unless you really like watching Nick at Nite.
It is possible to exist on 2 hours of sleep a day for a month. Not recommended, but possible.
Talk to the neighbors that allow their annoying dog to bark at all hours of the day before you go to the castle. You need to rest when your body lets you during recovery--not necessarily when the dog decides to take a nap.
If you can't sleep, go outside. The stars are at their brightest, and are very beautiful at 4 am on a clear night.
Back so soon?
If you go back to work too early, it's very hard to convince your boss and coworkers that you came back too early and need to go home. It's better to take the full time and recover right the first time, then to have to try to repair the damage that overdoing it can cause.
If you go into work to just pick up your check or get your medical leave forms signed, everyone thinks you are back to work and wants something from you.
Believe everyone on HysterSisters when they tell you that it's a good 6-8 weeks for recovery. Don't allow yourself to believe that you can go shopping at the mall at 2 weeks or rollerblading at 6 weeks. Baby yourself as much as you can the first 2 months.
Don't act too good too soon. Even if you feel good try to look lousy and weak. When you act better you automatically lose everyone's help and sympathy. Make it last because even though you feel better you still need the help. Don't find this out the hard way.
A corollary to the above: stay in your jammies, make-up free, or sweats, as long as you can.
Ten days post-op really is too soon to drive (two hours) a carful of kids to the midstate fair, just because you already paid for the tickets and Alicia Keys is performing. Twelve year olds have an amazing way of convincing you just how tough you can be and how cool you are for letting them stay out till midnight.
HysterSisters and other forms of support
Use HysterSisters to ask any question or use the search function to look up answers. You will gain knowledge at HysterSisters that will empower you.
Talk to others who've gone through the same things you're experiencing. Not only is it a comfort to know that you're not alone, but you can also learn from their mistakes!
Research, research, research. There is a wealth of information out there, much of it reliable.
Don't rush into anything, but don't procrastinate either. If you have fibroids, indulging in doubts about surgery, and postponing, can turn a laparoscopic surgery into a full abdominal approach, since they will use that time to grow.
If you can wait for the surgery, have it in the fall so you don't have to watch reruns on TV.
Why men fear women -- DBF tells me "you gotta be afraid of someone who can bleed for a whole week and still not die".
Nurturing the Spirit
One of the most important things to learn is that it's not all so bad.
Take advantage of some wonderful quiet moments to just sit and do nothing at all.
Also take some wonderful moments in quiet time with God.
Notice how amazing the human body is and what it is capable of.
Start a daily gratitude journal. It can truly be soul-saving .
This surgery was never going to make you suddenly 20 pounds lighter and 20 years younger. It may, however, make you feel better about yourself than if those things had actually happened.
A major life-changing event, like this surgery, brings with it a number of lessons, some small, and some large. We share these with you in the hopes that you have a smooth recovery.
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.
What I learned and experienced with LSH
TAH - Lesson Learned
Lessons Learned from my LSH
TAH -The MOST important thing I learned
TAH - How I Learned to Hate Lemon Jello
Recommended for Hysterectomy Recovery
The HysterSisters Store has gathered products made specifically for your recovery from surgery. Here are the best sellers we can recommend to help you:
- The Great Binder Set - We have made it very easy for you and combined the two best binders and the Silky Sac into a great set to save you money! Our favorite is the Perfect Pocket binder with cold/hot packs!
- Deluxe Hyst Prep Set - As you plan, we've gathered the best products into one set for special pricing.
- Post-Op Panty - These great panties speed recovery, and reduces scarring. They contain a medical-grade silicone panel over incision to reduce scar's apperance while they provide support to weakened muscles and tissues from surgery. Excellent!
- Softest Bra Ever - When you want to wear something, but feel nothing. This is the softest bra ever, in microfiber with no hardware or tags to chafe or dig! The comfort-ribbed underband stays in place gently, so it is perfect for sleeping and lounging.
- HysterSisters Accessory Kit - Are you a HysterSisters fan? This set has a fun collection of HysterSisters items.
- Very Private Moisture - Once your doctor gives you the green light for intimacy, this is the stuff! This is a best selling product with a high rate of permanent, satisfied, repeat customers! Relieves vaginal dryness instantly, protects tissue & enhances intimacy.
"Buy it for the problem, use it for the pleasure."
|Aarathi Cholkeri-Singh, M.D.
120 Osler Drive
Napeville IL 60540
|David Mainman, M.D.
Desert Bloom Obstetrics & Gynecology
6452 E. Carondelet Drive, Suite A
Tucson AZ 85710
|Richard W Farnam, M.D.
1700 N. Oregon
El Paso TX 79902
|Wilfredo R. Ramos, M.D.
5301 F Street, Suite 210
Sacramento CA 95819
|John Lenihan, M.D.
314 ML King Jr. Way
Tacoma WA 98465
|Susan Carter, M.D.
North Colorado Medical Center/ MCR
1800 15th Street, Suite 220
Greeley CO 80631
970 353 1335
|Ruslana Kadze, M.D.
5525 Etiwanda Avenue
Tarzana (Los Angeles) CA 91356
|Mini Somasundaram, M.D.
4845 Knightsbridge Boulevard
Columbus OH 43214
|Sherry L Neyman, M.D.
Renaissance Women's Group
12201 Renfert Way Ste 200
Austin TX 78758