HysterSisters Articles for Hysterectomy
Abdominal Hysterectomy - TAH/BSO - Marie's Story
From the Princess Stories Articles List
Princess Marie's Story
My story begins about 5-6 years ago with occasional pain with intercourse. My husband of many years was very understanding. As the years went by, the pain intensified and became more frequent. At my annual check-ups the doctor would not offer any help. I came from a small town, in fact the doctor that delivered my delivered my children, and there is just so much he could do.
About 3 1/2 years ago, we moved to a new town and I found a new doctor. This was my first experience with an OB/GYN. In this particular practice, there were 5 doctors, one of which was a woman. I figured she would be the best, as she would understand. During my first visit, I explained the problem with pain. After examination, she told me that it was due to an enlarged uterus. I work for a doctor, so I know how to ask questions. I wanted to know why my uterus was enlarged and if this was the cause of all my pain. All she would tell me was that it was just one of those things that happens to women who have more than one child. Her advice was to take an Ibuprofen before my husband and I made love and that should do the trick.
One year later, still in pain, more frequent than ever, I went back for my annual exam. Again, I stressed that the pain is intense and I would like to know what was wrong. I knew other women who had more than one child and they were fine. Her next suggestion was that where I had previously been extremely overweight, my pelvic floor muscles were lax and there was nothing I could do. Again, take an Ibuprofen if needed.
One year later, before my next check-up, I was at work and suddenly could stand, sit, walk or anything without pain in my left side. I walked bent over. Needless to say, I called. Only this time I told I told the receptionist, I did NOT want to talk with my doctor, but with one of the other male doctors that a friend had suggested. He was on call at the time, so I talked with his nurse. She was great, but told me that the only doctor in was my former doctor. Due to the severity of the pain, she talked with her and they wanted me to have a pelvic ultrasound performed. Sherry (the nurse) told me they thought it might be my fibroids. I asked "what fibroids?" According to my chart, my doctor had said that my uterus was enlarged due to fibroids, especially on the left side, with my uterus (2 years ago) being the size of a 10-week pregnancy. I was floored!
I went to the hospital and had the ultrasound done. While the tech performed it, she kept having an odd expression on her face. She told me that she could see both ovaries, with cysts on them, but due to the size of the fibroids, she would have to do a transvaginal ultrasound to see them.
I went back to work. Because I do transcription, I link to our hospital and type reports for our doctors when they are needed stat. So, not hearing from my doctor, I typed my report. It stated that both ovaries had multiple cysts (probably the cause of the intense pain was where one cyst had ruptured), fibroids in the uterus and two on the outside of the uterus, measuring 7x5cm and 4X5cm on the right side. How's that for just one of those things that happen!
I waited for my former doctor, the one who had ordered the ultrasound, to call with the results. It never happened. I called Sherry back and scheduled an appointment with the doctor (in the same practice) that a friend had recommended. After he did an examination, I got dressed and we talked. He told me that due to the size of my uterus and fibroids, I needed a hysterectomy. By this time I had figured this would happen. My only concern was if he was able to do a vaginal hysterectomy. He said that due to the size of the fibroids, it couldn't be done. I would have to have a total abdominal hysterectomy. I was upset to say the least. He told me that I would be able to keep my ovaries, as the cysts would diminish in time and with keeping them, I would not have to take replacement hormones. The practice that I work for is an oncology practice and I decided that if the hormone replacements would protect me from heart disease and osteoporosis, then I wanted everything removed. He said he would do just that.
I scheduled my surgery 10 days from the day I found out. I was very brave in the beginning. I knew this was what I needed and it had to be done. I was to be off work for 6-8 weeks. That was tough as I had only 5 sick days and had already taken my vacation that year. But God would see me through. The Sunday before the surgery on Monday, November 11, 1998, I had my church pray for me. I was back in church the next Sunday (although I took it easy).
I had to be in the hospital that morning at 6:00. When I arrived, four of my pastors and two elders were there ready to pray for me again. I was prepped and given a mild sedative to calm my nerves and make me somewhat sleepy. My IV had been hooked up and we waited until the OR became available. At about 9:00, I was wheeled into surgery. My anesthesiologist was there. He had been in earlier to talk with me and told me that I would be having general anesthesia, and while asleep, he would put an epidural in for pain control after surgery. Another good thing is that my catheter was placed after I was asleep. Just before he was to do his job, my doctor was called out to deliver a baby. Whew!! More waiting. Next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room with a TAH/BSO. The nurses talked with me and made sure I was stable and into a private room I went. It was not much more in price than a semi-private room and I am glad I chose to do this. My husband was allowed to stay with me all night if he wanted to (and he did). My sister, who is an RN, came before the surgery and planned to stay the day and take care of me. I pretty much came and went for most of the afternoon, but had very little pain. Early evening I was awake and had no problems, except that one leg was numb. The nurse explained that it was possibly my epidural, but she would inform the doctor about it.
Nighttime arrived, still very little pain. The doctor had prescribed something for pain, but I asked if I could just have an Ibuprofen instead. The nurse was a little bewildered, but agreed if it was okay with the doctor. It was fine with him, but he had something stronger there if I needed it. I stayed in bed that night. During the night I felt as if I needed to go to the bathroom. The nurse told me that with my catheter shouldn't be feeling anything like that. They did tell me though, that if my urine output was not more, then I might have to keep the catheter longer than the next morning. Finally, I felt as if my bladder was too full and rang for the nurse again. She checked just a little closer and found a kink in the tubing. Needless to say, when that was fixed, my output was great and my bladder was thankful!
The next morning, they removed the catheter and I was allowed to stand. Still, not much pain. I went to the bathroom and was able to urinate easily. My doctor came in again that morning (he had checked in on me several times the day before) and asked about how I was feeling. Again, I thought that due to the epidural, I was pretty much pain free. Due to the numbness in my leg, the anesthesiologist told the nurses to decrease the medication in the epidural, but not so much that I would have a lot of pain. I told them to cut the medicine in half and if the pain was too much, they could turn it back up. After an hour, they came back to see how I was doing. Still, no significant pain. I asked them to turn the epidural off completely. They agreed, but left it in so as to turn it back on if I felt pain. Again, very little discomfort. In order to shower more easily, they removed the epidural. The only difference was that my leg felt better and not quite as numb as before. After my shower, I was encouraged to walk, but to take it easy. Off my husband and I went. We walked a while then rested a while. During one of my walks, my anesthesiologist came be to check on me and was amazed I was walking so well with so little discomfort. I have to call it discomfort, because it wasn't exactly painful. After many short walks and rests, I was allowed something to eat. No nausea at all. Truly, I have had worse menstrual cramps. That night, I guess due to my moving around a lot, I had more discomfort than before. But again, I only had 600mg of Ibuprofen for pain. That was sufficient.
The next morning, my doctor returned and asked would I stay another night or did I want to go home. I told him I really would like to go home and as my husband would be with me, I could take it easy. The only problem would be is that my bedrooms are upstairs at home and I would have to climb the stairs when I got home. He wasn't too happy with that, but told me that I would have to take it very careful, and he let me go home. I was to call him if I had any fever, bleeding (I still have not had any vaginal bleeding at all, only some tissue during my first trip to the bathroom), or anything out of the ordinary. I agreed and home I went. When I got home, I found out that if I backed up the stairs, the pull would be more on my rear muscles and not as much on my stomach, so I backed up the stairs with my husband's help.
I had my staples removed 5 days later (7 days after surgery) and everyone was amazed that I was doing so great. God is definitely good! Two weeks later, I went back for a check up. I asked him if I could go back to work. Since I do transcription and therefore sit while working, he agreed I could go back part time after three weeks. He had told me at my first prehysterectomy visit, that things would tire me out more than usual, but I didn't quite believe him. After all, my pain was simply discomfort during all this, surely I would not be that tired. HAH! After my first part day back to work, I was exhausted. I realized then that I had had major surgery and was not back to normal after three weeks. I took it easy and worked only a few hours a day. I was allowed to drive after two weeks (another thing to take easy ladies!) so I could drive myself home as soon as I became tired.
I went back for my six weeks check up and was released to work fulltime and to go about my normal activities. From the beginning, it was stressed that I not lift anything. Now I could lift, but slowly work up to normal lifting, still nothing heavy. Finally, after six weeks I could hold my granddaughters! That was the hardest part of this entire thing, was not being able to pick them up.
That's been several weeks ago now, and I've never felt better. I do not regret ever having my surgery. My scar is still sore and my stomach muscles are also sore. There are still days when I do too much, but I must remind myself that major surgery takes more than a little while to get over. As far as hormone replacement, I use a Climara transdermal patch, 1 mg. I change it every Monday morning and there's nothing easier. It is estrogen only and there was a little concern that maybe due to not having testosterone in my replacement therapy, my desire for my husband might drop. I don't know if it was due to that, or due to having had so much pain before surgery, but I found this happening. After looking into another medication with more side effects, my husband (who, by the way, is the greatest husband anyone could possibly have) and I decided to wait and give it a little while. That worked! All is well now, no pain whatsoever, and all is great once again. I didn't have to go through hot flashes or anything like that because I had my first patch put on a few hours after surgery.
I am truly blessed as this surgery was after my family was complete. I made my decision quickly, but I realize it would be more difficult if desiring more children were in the picture. I am thankful that was not the case with me and I pray for those who must make that difficult decision. I am 40 years old, have one son and one daughter, and a granddaughter from each child, one 6 months old and the other 19 months old. My wonderful husband and I have been married for 23 years. We began dating before my 15th birthday and before his 16th. We were married at 16&17 and had both children by the time I was 19. I have had tons of support from my husband. He took care of the house and cooking. I had no worries whatsoever.
If I can be of any help to anyone, please email me and I will try to help. I can definitely pray for you!
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