My periods were trouble from day one. I had cramps bad enough that several times I ended up in the emergency room. My bleeding was so bad, I would constantly leak, and black out, and feel sick for the duration. My periods always lasted at least two weeks, but the past few years, they had started being an everyday issue. No pill or IUD or any other "solution" helped at all.
In the middle of August, I wasn't feeling well. I'd had my IUD for five months and nothing had changed. My doctor told me the next step would be a hysterectomy. At the time, It felt kind of like someone saying, if this prozac doesn't help your blues, the next step is a lobotomy. I was horrified. Well, sitting in my bed that night, I realized all of a sudden, that I was ready and it was time. This surgery wasn't horrifying or extreme, it was just the right step for where I was in the process of trying to get healthy. I just KNEW it was the right thing to do, and now was the right time to do it.
I called the doctor the next morning and set up an appointment for the following Friday to talk the possibility of surgery. As soon as I made the appointment, it felt like the idea of a hysterectomy swallowed up my entire life. It was all I could think about. My body went into nesting mode and I started cleaning my house like a crazy person--even things that were already totally clean. It was like my body knew something huge and life changing was about to happen, and it was going to see that I was as prepared as I could be.
I was nervous that the doctor would try to talk me out of the surgery and try to get me back on the pill or something else that I knew wouldn't help, but would just make me more miserable. Fortunately, he listened to me and had me schedule the surgery for two weeks from that day. I was so relieved! It was also perfect timing for me.
The first week of waiting, I cleaned and nested and prepared and spent hours and hours a day on Hystersisters to learn everything I could, and get a good solid support system. This site was really the big blessing I needed to get though this well. I had a bit of unexpected grief pop up at times, like when I was thinking about the surgery itself, and the thought came to me that I didn't know what they were going to do with my uterus. I wondered if they just take it out and toss it in the trash. I cried a bit when I thought about it.
The second week, I made myself have fun. I made a self-hypnosis tape to help me relax and feel good. I threw a going away party for my uterus. I had a bunch of friends come over and we played pin the ovaries on the uterus, ate cake with a uterus waving and saying "So long," and a bunch of other fun things. I went to the craft store and bought myself some pretty yarn to crochet a blanket while I recovered, and I basically just enjoyed myself all week.
A couple of nights before the surgery, I got sick from nerves. I was really, really scared. This felt like more than just a surgery for me. It felt like a life change, and even somehow a spiritual change. I never expected to feel that way, but it was a time of intense feelings and a lot of hope mixed with anxiety. In some ways, it felt like who I was was about to change forever. It's hard to explain, but it was a kind of spiritually intense, scary and almost sweet time.
I pretty much figured I'd be a basket case on the way to the hospital, but I wasn't. I woke up on the day of, calm and happy. It felt like I had worked though all my conflicting and intense feelings, and now I was ready.
We got to the hospital at 10:30 AM on September 9th for my surgery. In truth, my husband and I had a nice time hanging out and waiting together. We joked around and laughed and had fun.
When they wheeled me to the operating room at 1PM, I started to shake. They took me in and had me get on the operating table and I really started shaking. I was trying to joke around with everyone, but I was for sure scared at that point.
They said, "Are you ready for the good stuff in your IV?" I said I was. A second later, my hand felt tingly and strange, then in a literal instant, I was dreaming the surgery was over and I was in my room. I realized after a moment, it wasn't a dream, the surgery was over and I was in my room. I don't even remember every being in a recovery room. I was so relieved!
I spent that day in a foggy haze. My family came to visit, but I don't really remember. Apparently I entertained them in my loopy drugged up state. I really don't remember much about that day after I climbed on the operating table.
At about midnight, I started to be awake enough to try and walk. It wasn't a success. I felt nauseous and dizzy. I tried again an hour later with the same result and again around 4AM with the same result. I told the nurse what I probably needed was food and rest. She gave me some little boxes of cereal and some juice and let me sleep for about four hours.
When I woke, I felt some better. I did have to have some medicine for naseua in my IV, but I never got all the way sick like some people do. I could walk, but it was uncomfortable. Around 10AM, I got a new nurse and she said according to my chart, I'd had no real pain meds yet. They gave me some and that's when I really started feeling better.
I could walk around, eat, go to the bathroom so I could get the catheter out (thank heaven). The meds made me a little loopy and foggy. For example, I was walking around the nurses station right outside my room and when I tried to go back to my room, I had to have them tell me which one was mine because I couldn't remember.
I brought my iPod with the movie An Education on it so I could have something I liked to watch while I was at the hospital. There was a little moment when the movie started and they showed Carry Mulligan walking down the street, where I had a little flash and I thought, Carry Mulligan has a uterus, but I don't. It was kind of silly, and I almost giggled at myself, but it was the first real realization I had that things were different now, and were always going to be different. I felt a twinge of sadness, but a rush of relief.
I'm four weeks post op tomorrow. It has been a pretty smooth recovery. There are a lot of ups and down, two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes it's one step forward and two steps back.
I never had a lot of pain, and the pain I did have, the meds could take care of. I got off the big pain meds after a week or so, and just took regular Motrin for a couple of weeks after that when I needed it.
I am tired and slow, but I feel good. I just have to try and rest as best as I can. It was hard for me to be still and rest once I started to feel a bit better, but after a while, it got easier as I got more used to it. I am still spotting, so I don't feel like the true transformation part of recovery has happened all the way yet, but it's coming, and coming soon.
I am so glad I did this. I think it will change my life. I'm so used to period troubles running my life. It's been that way for 25 years. Now, all that will be different, but I can't even imagine what it's going to be like. I think it will be great!
Good luck to all of you hystersisters out there. I'm so glad we have this place to share our experiences and help each other out.