Two years ago, on the first balmy spring day, I had washed my car, mowed the lawn, then grabbed a bunch of grapes and a pear to munch on while waiting in my daughter's car line at school. I started getting what felt like gas pains, which intensified as I inched my way ahead in the car line. About 10 cars from the entrance of the school, I called my husband and in a raspy voice told him that I was having trouble breathing and that he better come to the school to pick up my daughter. He cut me off and said we should call an ambulance, that he was on his way. I hung up. My daughter was about to get in the car when I motioned to the teacher to take my cell phone and call 911--that I couldn't breathe and to take my daughter back into the school.
I was taken to the hospital where the doctor took several stabs at a diagnosis ending with irritable bowel syndrome. This was followed up by a colonoscopy and much ado was made about my bowel movements.
The incident in the car line was the first in a series of debilitating "attacks" I experienced over the next two years. Starting in my right lower back (I have a rear-tilting uterus...er...at least I DID!) a vice-like grip would take a hold and would not release until I was nearly faint from the pain. About a year into this, my gyn. did an exploratory laproscoy and cauterized a couple of nerves. This was like putting a bandaid on a severe cut--I wasn't going to bleed to death, but the cut was still there. In time, the attacks worsened, until the only alternative was to take my uterus/ovaries.
When I entered the hospital the day of my surgery, it was still surreal to me, at the age of forty-one, that I was going to have a hysterectomy. First of all, the thought of being in my forties is a bizarre concept, but having my uterus removed was never even in my field of vision. That was for the unfortunate women who had (whisper here) cancer.
Before surgery, I had spent a few evenings and early morning hours on the HysterSisters website, so by the time I walked into registration, I was ready trust the powers to be. This gave me a tremendous peace of mind and extremely low blood pressure--the nurse joked, "Well, you're obviously not stressed out about this!"
I talked to my doctors and the anesthesiologist and then was saying good bye to my husband before rolling off to surgery. I looked around the OR, then told myself, not to look for the evil-looking instruments that were to be used on me. My last thought was, "I wish they had knocked me out," and then they did.
When I woke up, I was rolling again, into my hospital room. It was all over. I was uterus-less!!! Even more good news--the little cigar shaped control with the little black button you pushed for morphine! Does it get any better than this? Then my whole family piled in the room and we joked around--they thought that my laugh (because my mouth was so dry) sounded funny--like my older brother's laugh--almost like a demented Santa Claus. I had a hard time staying awake though, and so everybody said good-bye.
I lost the next twenty-four hours in a blur. My family tells me that the nurse had given me the wrong kind of pain pill that made me sick. I puked up bile, because, as we all know, you don't eat before surgery. Then she gave me an anti-nausea pill that knocked me out for hours at a time. I would take a couple of careful sips of water, my throat would feel full, and then it would all come up. THe doctors straightened this up pretty quickly. So, I was off the morphine, off the catheter, but still hooked up to IV and that thing they slip on your finger for heart rate. The nurse who goofed up with my meds made light of her mistake in front of my daughters who in turn let her know they were going to watch every move she made. I had no idea this stuff was going on and do remember telling one of my daughters not to be so rude.
I was initially told that I would stay one night in the hospital, but I had to stay two--this was after a two o'clock surgery. After the proper medication, I was able to hold down fluids and eat some food and thus had appropriate urination/bowel movement. I was relieved to leave the hospital, because it wasn't the best experience--sometimes it is just a matter of being lucky and getting really good people assigned to you. I wasn't so lucky this time around.
The biggest source of pain now is that lower back area, and I'm hoping this means that my uterus was indeed the source of this pain. Today is Saturday around six and I haven't had a pain pill since this morning--don't get me wrong, I am no saint--if there is a way to get through this kind of recovery pain-free, I'm all for it--but to me, constipation is one of the worst feelings in the world--so I did take a laxative last night. I went through the last surgery without taking the constipation part seriously and went over an entire week without a bowel movement and lived to regret it when it had nowhere else to go.
I still get tired easily, but I showered this morning with no problem and my appetite is back full strength. The only worry left is the results of the biopsy, but there is no reason to think it will be anything but negative.
This website helped just in knowing that several other women around the country were going through the same procedure I was, other women were looking forward to it, and others were just coming out of it. Everybody's story is unique, but it sure does feel good to be part of a sisterhood.