I've been lurking here for about 2 months while I made the decision with my doctor to have a hysterectomy. I'm posting this because during the time that I was making that decision, I wanted to know every story from every other person that had ever had what I was going to have. This is sort of in a journal form.
Reason for surgery:
I have been having seriously painful periods for the last 2 years that have been getting progressively more painful. Instead of just having menstrual cramps, I felt as if I was being stabbed by a hot dagger in the area of the uterus for about 4-5 days straight every month. It really felt like contraction pain (I am a mother of 2). I was still managing to go to work on most of those days, but was taking ibuprofen by the bulk load. The week before my period, I would also have what I would have considered to be “bad” cramps before all of this started. The other two weeks of the month, I felt like my uterine area was really full and had mild cramps. Basically, the entire month there was some form of pain ranging from a 2 through a 12 on a scale of 10.
I hadn't been on birth control for the last 8 years because my husband and I had tried to get pregnant. I went through a lot of testing early on and even fertility drugs. I didn't understand why that didn't happen because with the first two, it happened right away.
I went to the doctor with the problem of painful periods and they wanted a trans-vaginal ultrasound. When that came back, it showed a “mass” inside of the uterus, along with a thickening of the endometrium. A few weeks later, I had a laparoscopic hysteroscopy and D&C. They removed the mass, scraped out the endometrium and biopsied everything. The mass turned out to be “dead tissue” that was benign. She did not see endometriosis.
After that, I was put on a progestin only birth control pill to see if that helped with the pain. It did not, and actually I started having daily migraines that were horrible. A month later, I had another appointment and told her that I really didn't like the medicine because of the migraines. I was offered lupron and I was offered depo-provera as options, but she said that may or may not do anything for me. She mentioned hysterectomy as though it were a dirty word and seemed very apologetic that she didn't have more to offer me. She said it could be adenomyosis, but that sometimes she can't really tell from the laparoscopy because she can't see the inside of the wall of the uterus until after a hyesterectomy. We talked at great length and I told her that I was 40 at this point and was finished having kids. I'm a teacher, so having a hysterectomy in the summer would be easier for me than trying other medicines and having to take off in the school year to have to deal with all of this.
She said that she was willing to do the surgery if that's what I wanted, so we set up the surgery for a month from that appointment. That way, I would be off work and ready to just recouperate. I love my doctor and think she is wonderful. She really listens and works with me on every decision I've ever made.
My greatest fear was that I would do the surgery and that nothing would be wrong with the uterus to “justify” the surgery.
Day of surgery:
Got into pre-op at 6am. By 6:45 was in gown with IV in. Doctor came in to go over surgery, anesthesiologist came in to go over anesthesia. 7:30am, they came in and gave me something to relax.
Remember scooting over to table and mask coming onto face.
Woke up after surgery with horrible pain. Told the nurse. She said that I was fine and must be getting the medicine because I was dozing on and off. When I was awake, it kept hurting worse. They gave me morphine, vicodin and something else. Doctor finally came in and said that I could have a shot of Torridol. That knocked me out for a bit.
Woke up in room. Was in horrible pain again. I was crying and yelling at the nurses because I didn't feel like my pain was being helped. Doctor came in and said everything went well. She said that she had to “tug” on my cervix a lot, so the surrounding area might be a little traumatized, that's probably why I was in so much pain. I got a shot in my thigh and finally fell asleep.
Kept waking up in pain. Vicodin tablets were started. Took the edge off, but still hurt.
Catheter was in, so was IV.
About 10pm, it finally felt like the pain was manageable. Ate a popsicle for dinner.
Woke up at about 2am with nurse doing vitals. Got more pain pills. Fell back to sleep about 3am.
Next morning (Day 2):
Woke up at about 6am and was doing ok. Took one pain pill instead of 2.
Doctor came in about 8:00am, said that uterus looked really mushy and she was diagnosing me and my pain with adenomyosis. She said that after the pain of the surgery was gone, I shouldn't have any more pain. Felt relatively ok.
They took the catheter out about 10am. That felt wonderful. Took 1 pain pill
They took out the IV but left the port in my hand. I went to the bathroom on my own and it hurt to walk to the bathroom, and peeing felt a little weird. I think my bladder was spasming a little. Got back into bed and it hurt some. Slept for a little while.
After that, my next instruction was that I had to take a little stroll around the floor. So, I went on a little walk. By the time I made a full lap, I was worn out and got into bed. I rested a little and then ate lunch. After lunch, I just laid there and watched some TV.
About 2pm, I started to get antsy because I had fulfilled all of my requirements to go home and was ready for them to come get me and discharge me.
That finally happened about 3pm.
At home now at 5:15. I feel constipated, so I'm taking stool softeners . I am maneuvering around pretty well. Just took 2 pain pills because I am in some pain. Plan for the evening is to lay around and maybe watch a movie and doze.
Just sort of laid around and didn't do too much. Went to bed about 9:30pm. Slept until about 2am, took some pain medicine and slept until 6am.
6am, took pain medicine and slept until about 10am. Took a shower and that felt great. I'm going to try to not take any pain medicine today because my lower abdomen isn't hurting that bad. I'm pretty tired though.
Friend came over about 1ish. Talked to her for about a half an hour. Took one pain pill. Slept for 3 hours. Still have not had a bowel movement.
I slept most of today. I woke up and had pain on my sides. Not sure if it is because of no bowel movement, or kidney pain. Took two vicodin and slept until about 1pm.
Lay in the bed and watched movies, slept off and on.
Finally about 6:00pm, had a bowel movement. Wasn't too bad, hurt a little.
Watching comedy show and laughing hard really hurts.
After laughing, went to bathroom and a little clot came out.
It's 9:26 and I'm tired.
Woke up about 8:00 this morning, back is hurting. Went to the bathroom, and another little clot came out.
I'm going to try not to take vicodin anymore except at bedtime. I feel like I've been spaced out for the last week and need to get my head on again.
Day 6, just took vicodin at bedtime, had a pretty good day as far as pain went.
Day 7. I kept laughing today really hard while some friends were over, so now I'm having some pain in the (I guess) old uterus area. I took some ibuprofen and it has kept it pretty mild. Other than that, I'm feeling pretty normal and pretty bored. I have not had any discharge of any kind on days 6 or 7. My checkup appointment is on Thursday, so hopefully I'll get the go ahead. If I was working, I think I honestly could go back to work right now. I might need a serious nap in the afternoon when getting home because I'm still worn out easily, but this hasn't been as bad as I thought!
I am not having the pain that I was having before. I would have been getting my period right about now and instead of being in pain and ready to pop ibuprofen, I won't ever have to worry about that again.
I'm a little sad that I never got to have the third baby, but the way the pain was going, not a lot of sex was going on anyway.
I think in the end, this was a good decision for me.