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Laparoscopic Hysterectomy - TLH/BSO - Max's Story

From the Princess Stories Articles List

Princess Max's Story

Totally Laproscopic Hysterectomy (TLH/BSO)

I was fortunate to be able to have my hysterectomy done totally laproscopically. The reason for my surgery was fibroids, which I'd had for many years with minimal problems. However, recently they began to grow more quickly, and started to cause problems (particularly with bladder pressure).

Initially, I believed that the surgery would have to be done abdominally due to the size of my uterus. My doctor recommended taking Lupron shots for three months prior to the surgery in the hopes of shrinking the (large!) fibroids primarily to minimize bleeding in the surgery. He also mentioned that there would be a possibility that the surgery could be done laproscopically if the Lupron was successful. Although the Lupron sounded awful, I decided to try it after talking to several women who had used it with a wide range of symptoms. I was fairly lucky and my symptoms were tolerable. The Lupron puts you in chemical menopause (including all potential symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings).

In my last appointment with my doctor prior to surgery her reviewed sonogram results that indicated that the fibroids had shrunk enough to allow them to try the minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. However, I needed to give permission for abdominal surgery in case they needed to do that, and knew that I wouldn't know for sure until I woke up! I am fortunate that my regular gynecologist does this kind of surgery and another surgeon who is an expert in this field assisted him.

I actually had a slight scare at my pre-testing appointment at the hospital. They found some irregularities in my EKG (which they do routinely for people over 45). They required me to see my regular medical doctor who repeated the EKG and then required me to have an Echocardiogram before he would clear me for surgery. Although this was quite stressful, psychologically it helped me as it helped me clarify how much I wanted (and was ready for) the surgery!! I felt elated when the echocardiogram came back clear and I got my doctor's note clearing me for surgery. At that time I was so anxious about possible NOT being able to have surgery that all my pre-surgery anxiety disappeared!

The day before surgery I had to do what my doctor called "the BIG bowel prep". This started at 6 am the day before surgery. My doctor says this was also an important factor in the success of my surgery (Nasty though it was!!).

I arrived at the hospital at 10 am for noon surgery. (My entire stay was in the short-term section of a local hospital, as it was expected that with the laparoscopic surgery I would be out the next day). I put on a hospital gown and they put in an IV. I believe I was actually somewhat dehydrated from the prep, but felt better shortly after they started the IV. I had not eaten since Saturday night (surgery on a Monday) and had had no liquids past midnight. Then there were a couple of hours waiting first in my room and then in the holding area just hanging around talking to my husband. I saw the doctors briefly and the anesthesiologist too. I don't remember much about the operating room other than noticing that I was there!

The next thing I remember is somebody saying that my surgery was over and that it had been laparoscopic. I felt that it was a dream and it took a while to realize that it was real. (In fact the surgery took three hours.) I know that my husband was there and people were asking me if I wanted to eat, although I had no appetite at all! I was in a little pain and they gave me some pain pills that night (at one point I requested additional medication). I was able to get up and go to the bathroom with the IV.

Apparently the surgery itself took over three hours. It was done using a tool called a morcelator, which cuts up the uterus, etc. and allows them to remove it through the tiny incisions. There are three incisions, one on either side about an inch each and another in my belly button. The incisions were closed with surgical glue, so there were no stitches or staples.

The next morning my doctor came to see me and said everything had gone perfectly! He said that I would be discharged later in the morning. At the time he said that it felt overly optimistic and unrealistic to think about leaving that soon. I then was escorted down the hall for my required walk. I never had any time to get out my bathrobe because all of my clothes were tied up in their property bags so my walk was taken with another gown backwards over my original gown (an attractive look - NOT!). When I got back from walking down the hall they told me to get dressed as my husband was on the way! By the time he got there, 9:30 am Tuesday, I was more than ready to leave!!

Less than 24 hours after leaving my house I was home again! My husband escorted me up to the bedroom on the second floor, and I slept most of the day. By the next day I was up more and walking a little. I did need to ask my doctor for additional pain medication, as he sent me home with just Motrin and I needed a little more than that for two days. By Friday I was taking no pain medication, and on Sunday I was able to drive myself to the mall to see a movie!!

Now it has been two weeks. I have three tiny scars. One of them opened a little, but my doctor just re-glued it! The pathology reports came back negative, although there was evidence of some other kind of benign tumor called a teratoma. I don't know much about that - I am pleased that it is something that is no longer in me, so I don't have to worry.

I feel great, and I cannot believe that my major surgery was so recent. I will be returning to work next week (exactly three weeks after surgery). I really have no current symptoms at all (other than a sensitive stomach). I have started on HRT, although having had the Lupron I already have some tolerance for menopausal symptoms. I look forward to conquering the Hormone jungle.

Finally, I would encourage anyone who can to investigate having this kind of surgery, as the recovery and trauma is so minimal. I will be back to work three weeks after surgery. I feel so very blessed to have had this chance!!

04-12-2003 - 11:28 AM


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