Happy Birthday, HysterSisters!
AUGUST 1, 2010
This month we are celebrating HysterSisters's 12th year online with a contest
(click here for details) and activities - as we take a glance back at where
we've been and how far we've come in all these years.
Throughout the years, I've been at many crossroads with decisions about
HysterSisters. What kind of software should I use? How could I add the resources
our members and visitors would need? How could I find a web-developer to help me
add the features we needed? Could our hardware servers manage the traffic as it
increased? And as the traffic increased, would we have the staff to provide the
help those visitors needed? Where would the needed funding come from?
Throughout the 12 years online, there have been many crossroads!
Have you been at a crossroads in your life? Have you found that your health was
a nudge, putting life into a new perspective that may have altered your life's
decisions--to change jobs, to go back to school, to travel more? Now is a great
time to evaluate where you are and where you are going!
Stop by HysterSisters.com this month and share in our birthday celebration. Stop
by the Birthday forum and let us know if we have been a help to you. Buy a
birthday badge for your profile. Upgrade your membership.
AUGUST 1, 2010
My mother's death in 1982 changed my life in many ways. Besides the typical
grief and managing life as a young wife and mom without my ever-present
relationship with her, I was left at a crossroads of decision-making surrounding
my own health.
Ovarian cancer is a disease that "whispers." Without overt symptoms, it is a
cancer that is frightening--especially to a family whose earlier generations of
women seemed to disappear off the family tree before the age of 40.
Doctors encouraged my sister and me to have an oophorectomy (removal of the
ovaries) for preventative measures, as genetic testing was not available. This
meant that under typical circumstances, the uterus would need to be removed as
I was 41 during the summer of 1998 when my hysterectomy and bi-lateral
oophorectomy was scheduled. I had gradually gotten used to the idea of a
preventative surgery because it seemed to be my best option to extend the
possibility of seeing my children grow up, marry, and have children. I wanted to
be a grandmother someday, and I did not want to be robbed of that desire because
my body might betray me.
It was during my recovery from surgery that the geek in me searched for help
online - through an original message board within AOL where I found a handful of
women who became my friends.
But because I knew that the small message board on AOL was not enough and
because I wanted other women to find help and strength from other women, I
developed a list of frequently asked questions and posted them to a website I
dubbed "The HysterSisters." And. of course, as technology allowed, I've added
more and more resources and features to the website in an effort to offer a
supportive environment to our members and visitors for their GYN needs.
What is funny about a crossroad is that sometimes we recognize that we are in
the midst of one--and sometimes we don't. I knew I was at a crossroads with my
health. What I didn't realize it at the time was that I was also at a crossroads
with my career and the rest of my life.
My mother's death, which led to my hysterectomy, became my crossroads. It
provided me with the potential of meeting my grandchildren. It changed my career
from classroom educator to online patient educator. And when thousands of other
women-- members of HysterSisters--stood at their own crossroads, they did not
have to stand alone.
And now as HysterSisters celebrates another birthday--being online for 12
years--I look back in gratitude to the thousands of women who made an impact on
the Sisters of Hyster within the pages of our online community.
Thank you for being a part of our community. We couldn't have done it without
• 1998 August - HysterSisters website launched on free website space
• 1999 July - Domain "Hystersisters.com" registered. (100 unique visitors per
• 1999 November - Added hostesses for overseeing discussions.
• 2000 May - Switched core website software to vBulletin with registration
• 2000 Summer - Outgrew three server accounts. (1200 unique visitors per day)
• 2001 January - Moved to dedicated server. (2500 unique visitors per day)
• 2003 August - Celebrated 5th year online. (4500 unique visitors per day)
• 2004 August - Server relocation to Dallas datacenter.
• 2004 December - Hysterectomy Checkpoints added. (6500 unique visitors per day)
• 2005 January - Added second server to balance load of website traffic
• 2005 July - Website upgraded software and interface. (8000 unique visitors per
• 2005 August - Celebrated 7th year online.
• 2006 August - 8 years online, 100,000 members
• 2008 March - Published for patient distribution: "What 100,000 Women Know
• 2008 April - Upgraded Website Interface
• 2009 April - Upgraded vBulletin software
• 2009 July - Relaunched Hysterectomy Checkpoints, Added video section, created
• 2009 August - Celebrated 11th year online, 170,000 members
• 2010 August - Celebrate 12th year online with 200,000 members
Happy Birthday, HysterSisters!
In These Drying Times
AUGUST 1, 2010
Menopause can be associated with all kinds of uncomfortable symptoms. And some may be equally as uncomfortable to discuss as they are to actually experience. If vaginal dryness is an embarrassing subject for you to bring up with your doctor, you are certainly not alone. Many women are simply too uncomfortable to bring up their vaginal health as it relates to menopause symptoms. In fact, some women think they just need to accept vaginal dryness as part of the process of getting older. What they don't realize is that this symptom is directly related to the decline in estrogen levels associated with menopause. The good news is that along with helping to control those pesky hot flashes and night sweats, estrogen therapy also effectively manages vaginal dryness and atrophy.
During menopause, there's a decline in your estrogen levels, which causes vaginal dryness—a common menopause symptom. This can include itching, burning, and irritation in and around the vagina. Another symptom associated with menopause is called vaginal atrophy. Vaginal atrophy includes narrowing and shortening of the vagina, symptoms you may not even be able to feel. Left untreated, vaginal dryness and atrophy may worsen over time. That's why it's so important to talk to your doctor about treatment options. Don't be shy—trust that your doctor is no stranger to this topic of discussion.
If you're only using estrogen therapy to treat dryness, itching, and burning in and around your vagina, talk with your healthcare professional about whether a different treatment or medicine without estrogens might be better for you.
12 Things You Need to Know About HysterSisters.com
AUGUST 1, 2010
HysterSisters is so large that a visitor could get lost in the gigantic maze
of pages. Here are some notable bits of information and pages that you may not
know. even members who have been around a long time may not know about these
- The website of HysterSisters started with frequently asked questions and
Bedtime Stories in a fairy-tale setting of the Land of Hyster.
- The website of HysterSisters has over 200,000 members and over 3 million
posts in our community
forums. Good heavens! Yes! Did you read those numbers?!
- The HysterSisters website offers live chat events for our pre-op
hysterectomy members and post-op recovery events, along with special chat
events for options and alternative discussions. Check out our
upcoming chat events.
- The HysterSisters website has a
health forum--and, of course, a page with articles listed and other
resources for intimacy questions.
- The website of HysterSisters has been called a
And we have other favorite threads in our
- The website of HysterSisters has a
area which is divided for discussion based on whether you kept your
ovaries (or not) and whether you can take hormone therapy.
- The HysterSisters website has an extensive
article list for
our members' support needs.
- The store of
HysterSisters has awesome products selected especially for our members' needs
during and after their surgeries.
- The booklet
What 100,000 Women
Know about Hysterectomy is still sent free to women requesting a copy.
- The HysterSisters website added a
for doctors to list themselves as a resource for our members to get additional
medical input - second or third opinion - prior to their surgeries.
- The website of HysterSisters is the sponsor of
GiveMeASecond.com website and
video? (Pass it along to other women!)
- The website of HysterSisters is celebrating 12 years online with a
Former Cancer Patient on New Path to Help Others: One Member’s Story
AUGUST 1, 2010
Like many women, our member Jane found that her hysterectomy represented a
crossroad, an opportunity to make a decision that altered the path she thought
her life was taking.
HysterSisters: What led you to this crossroad in your life?
Jane: Before my hysterectomy, I had been a stay-at-home mom since 1979.
Before that, I worked in doctors’ offices in reception, billing, and insurance.
I did lots of volunteer work. I also signed on to be a coordinator for exchange
The road that led to my hysterectomy was a little different. Yeah, I had some
of the cramps and long heavy periods, but these were treated with birth control
pills, which helped for the most part. I even had a very boring annual checkup
just 3 months before I came to this crossroad.
I was taking my daughter to a college visit when I had some lower abdominal
pain. I thought, bad time for a UTI or bladder infections (have had 3 or 4 in my
lifetime) so I did extra drinking. Things stabilized for a few days before
things got worse. Along with that I was bloated. I decided I should get this
checked out, so I went to my family practice doctor. He thought it was my
appendix or maybe an ovarian cyst and ordered lab work and an abdominal x-ray.
After seeing this, he ordered a CT scan. The radiologist had him come see it. My
family practice doctor showed it to the surgeon and ob/gyn, neither of whom
wanted to touch it. "IT" was a large ovarian mass and had the appearance on the
CT of not being good—possibly cancer. This happened in one afternoon. That
evening, I was sent to a nearby highly respected medical center, which also has
a cancer center, where I was admitted. This was on Thursday night. On Tuesday, I
was having a TAH/BSO amongst other things. It turned out to be Stage 1 Grade 1
ovarian cancer, and I would need three chemo treatments.
HysterSisters: This sounds like quite a shock. How did you respond to
Jane: Yes, it was a shock. Cancer? Not me! My family has all sorts of heart
issues. Not cancer issues. That took a bit to absorb. Three treatments of Taxol
and Carboplatinum, three weeks apart. Hair loss, feeling totally yucky, etc. I
have to say that it took a good year to really feel better. I have some on-going
issues. Low thyroid went out of whack and taken care of. Blood pressure went up
as well as cholesterol levels. These are mainly hereditary, but could also have
come on me earlier than most in my family, but it does not really matter. I also
experience depression and anxiety issues.
I found HysterSisters after I returned home to recover from surgery when I
was googling “hysterectomy.” I received lots of information and found the Cancer
Concerns forum. I learned on HysterSisters that one should have a gyn/onc
perform your surgery when cancer was suspected. I checked the business card my
surgeon had given me – gyn/onc – whew! I think God was looking out for me. I
have since been free of cancer. I stayed with Hystersisters for quite a while so
I could give to others going through cancer the same support I had found. I was
so grateful to have this place where scared women all over the world could come
and get help and support.
With the help of many women here at HysterSisters, we could come here and ask
questions, get a hug, and cry with those who have been right where we were that
day. Everyone on here is a very big help to all of us on here.
HysterSisters: You were at a difficult place at that time. What happened
next in your life?
Jane: My last two children all grew up, graduated, and left home. They are
all successful in their chosen careers with one getting married this year. That
was great to be around for her wedding and feeling good. It gave my hysterectomy
and cancer challenges a new perspective.
I asked myself, “Where do we go from here?” I returned to school to get my
Associate Degree in Nursing. It is my dream to work with cancer patients. One
step at a time, though, like we would tell new members in the Cancer concerns
forum as they were starting out on their cancer journeys. Only now, it’s one
semester at a time.
I have now completed two semesters of school and have a B average. Let's see,
I was discouraged from going to nursing school back in high school due to my
math and science grades. At one point in my life, I thought if I were ever near
a school that I would do it. Things like money and fear of failure were factors
in putting it off. This last year, the only thing holding be back was fear of
failure. The first two classes I took were the ones I feared the most and I
passed both of them with solid B grades.
I was also struggling with my depression and the loneliness and isolation
that goes along with being the wife of a pastor in a very rural community.
Taking my focus off of the negatives and going to school has really helped with
my depressive episodes. My husband has been very supportive of me returning to
Having cancer and my hysterectomy helped me develop some new perspectives and
lose some of my fear. And now I’m taking a direction that will allow me to
continue to help others who experience cancer as I did.
HysterSisters: What encouragement would you like to offer other women who
find themselves at a crossroad?
Jane: Since having my cancer, I have done many things that I never would have
imagined doing, but the cancer is a very real reminder that life is short. Do
those things that you always wanted to do.
I want to let you know that cancer can turn out well. One of my new hobbies is
geo-caching and I have had the pleasure of visiting two of the Bloch Cancer
parks. I took a picture of myself, taken by a stone that says, "There are
10,000,000 living Americans who have been diagnosed with cancer; 5,000,000 are
considered cured." That stone in the park was very meaningful for me.
From the HysterSisters Forums
AUGUST 1, 2010
During the month of August, HysterSisters will be celebrating 12 years online! This year's contest happens right here on this thread and its simple to enter! You are eligible to play (and win) if you are a member of HysterSisters.com! Reply to this thread and tell us what you LOVE about HysterSisters.com. By participating in the thread, you will be automatically entered in this years Birthday Contest!
Join the Discussion!
More Discussions to join:
Write a Birthday Greeting to HysterSisters.com
Tell us how you are doing in our Beyond forum.
Tell your story in the Story Forum
More Information and Links
AUGUST 1, 2010
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Order a free booklet: What 100,000 Women Know About Hysterectomy
Find off-topic Chatter with Friends in our forums
Visit the Hystersisters Store