It started 3 years ago when i had unexpected bleeding, given my history, there being no previous history of unexplained or problematic bleeding, my doctor took me seriously, when it happened a second time she investigated.
I had my regular papsmear only 9 months earlier which was okay. My doctor did a smear anyway which turned up abnormal cells. I was instantly referred to a gynecologist.
After a number of proceedures including a colposcopy, biopsy internal and external ultrasounds, I had a LLETZ (or LEEP) where (although i didn't know it at the time) andeno carcinoma insitu was discovered. during the 6 months from that first smear to the cone biopsy the cell changes were rapid and aggressive.
I had a double cone biopsy which showed clear margins, my next step had the margins now have been clear was a hysterectomy. but i had been so relieved when the clear margins were found,, i stopped focusing on a hysterectomy.
However since clear margins were found i was on 6 monthly colpocopys for the next 5 years. All came back clear even my last one.
Unfortunately the procedures caused scarring on my cervix that means most of these colpocopcys were unable to be performed properly, they could not enter the cervix. I knew the scaring was and issue, i was scared every time i went for a repeat colposcopy and a hysterectomy had always been in the back of my mind but the fear of finding something else was more dominant that when the time came to make a decision i was shocked however i was prepared. (while i had stopped focusing on it, from tiem to time i would give it serious thought)
The gynocologist said she would be consulting with the oncologist to see if it was preferred a hysterectomy be the best step to take, i agreed instantly despite my age (now 32, 29 when it all started) and the fact i was in complete and total shock. But i had told them that despite that i have given it a lot of thought over the years, i have 3 children i need to be here for now as opposed to risking my life and their future over children i may never have.
The reason for the hysterectomy NOW and not when the scarring first showed it may be a problem is the preference not to perform them unless absolutely necessary of course, however onw is the 2 years mark, and of course they say every 2 years for early detection. Based on my history, it was either now or forever feel like (and probably be) a ticking time bomb, by the time something showed it would have been too late.
On April 12 i got the news the oncologist recommended it but fortunately it could be done at my local hospital (who had been doing all my care so far) rather than the major brisbane hospital . My gyno told me that it will be a 3-4 month wait as she doesn't do laproscopic, fortunately that meant i was getting one of the best in our facility which relieved my nerves.
I spent some time researching and weighing up my options, honestly laproscopic surgery scared me when it came to this surgery, i was weighing up risks of complications vs recovery. Bowel complications scared me the most,, but complications period scared me, i was a single mum, a full time student, i couldn't afford to be off my feet for longer than necessary. I chose recovery over risk because firstly i knew i was getting the best, secondly i knew the complications were few and far between, and focusing on the worst case, is not productive, what will be will be.
I decided it was pointless making any preparations due to the long time wait, only 3 weeks later i got a call to say pre-op in a week, surgery in 3 weeks......
YIKESSS!!! lol, so i was too busy for those 3 weeks to really stress, i had to make all plans, sort out kids, arrange school works for both them and myself, arrange care for them and ensure m house was low maintenance for me..i managed it LOL!! (even handing in an assignment the day before surgery.
One of my traits is to think ahead, i made ALL plans based on an abdominal recovery, i had no reason to think there would be call for it, but i just did, schools, home, food etc.
Which turned out to be fortunate.
I was lucky, i was first cab off the rank for surgery no time to stress, no time to worry lol, when i met with the surgeon that morning, i don't know what it was but he had a very confident smile that just took my fears away, I don't even remember being wheeled through the doors, but i do remember seeing the clock and thinking 8:30 on the dot as they started moving the gurney!
When i woke up i asked if everything went okay, they said something about surgical emphysema and said it became abdominal, something about it being 2:30pm and when i said "no complications?" i still recall their looks, even in my dazed state i still considered change of procedure no big deal given what could have gone wrong. they were unsure i understood, and i said "yeah if that's all the went wrong, no problem, can i call my sister now"
I got onto the ward around 4, obviously i wasn't clicking the time frame so much lol, but i was being asked if wanted people run and then handed a phone and being told my sister was on the other end. seems the time frame everyone was worried, surgery was supposed to take no more than 3 hours., i was the only one not concerned lol. Even my kids (who were in my sister's care for 2 weeks) had apparently been unwell on that day out of the blue, my sister didn't tell me about it at the time though. The nurses were all giving me odd looks when i was talking on the phone saying "it's okay, mummy's fine, nothing went wrong, they had to do it as an open surgery (words they could understand) but that's all, no complications, mummy is just fine" And i believed it. Still do, if that is all that went wrong, everything went right.
I eventually was coherent enough t o understand surgical emphysema but have yet to get all the facts. and time frame of who what how when and why,. The time for that will come with my post op check up. why stress about it now.
It seems so far I am having a text book recovery, the first two weeks drove me nuts being off my feet, the second too, honestly i don't feel like doing anything :S day to day life returns though. My kids are a wonderful help.
I reacted to the morphine (the drug you press yourself) and was off that less than 24 hours after being out of surgery (gave me itches, i didn't want it and i was only pressing the button because the nurses kept telling me too). I had dramas with nurses while in the hospital, which i may very well put in a complaint about. overall my hospital stay was pretty easy
The first day was a write off lol, surgery and sleeping, my aunt and cousin visited, vaguely remember that
After getting up that second day i didn't do much of course, went for a walk with friends that afternoon and that was it. The next day was pretty much the same, i had some visitors and was walking a bit more, by the 3rd day i was a lot more active and had heaps of visitors which was great, I also had my own room (i was moved there the night before). on the final day there i was itching to get home lol, i had been moved to a combined room at early hours of the morning, which was okay but by then i just wanted to go home. I had the option of staying another day (under the circusmtances of no one at home) on hind sight MAYBE i should have done that but as far as medical reasons there was none. at home i had my bed my whole house and my computer lol
The kids went away two days before surgery, for a number of reasons, so they weren't on the receiving end of my stress and so that i didn't have to stress, and so that i didn't have to stress about caring for them, and they didn't have to have the huge responsibility of caring for me. they were away for a total of two weeks, by the time they came home i was capable enough.
My aunt initially wanted me to stay with them a few days after being released on day 4 given there was no one home with me, but i refused (i'm stubborn lol) but when she took me home and saw the house was set up and ready to go (even the remotes were neatly placed on next to the already made up couch lol) and the freezer was stacked with microwave meals, she relented.
So far i have had a pretty textbook recovery based on all the stories i have read here. Thank you to all the wonderful Ladies that have shared their stories, i know i am not alone in saying you have made our journey much easier. I have over done it once or twice since, but nothing strenuous just things like supporting kids on sports days and running a few light errands.
A lot of people don't understand why i "chose" to have a hysterectomy, but my mother died when i was 14, life has not been easy since, I did not want to risk putting my kids through similar. Prevention is better than cure.
I have a few friends saying things like "oh they wont give me one and i'm younger than you, i've been asking for one for years" yet they have no gynecological problems, they think it's an easy cure to birth control and pregnancy prevention" They truly have no idea. I wouldn't reccomend anyone chose this option without necessaity, to me it was a necessity, i could have not gone ahead, but would have forever been wondering if cancer had returned, and a high chance if it did by the time it was detected it would have been too late.