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Abdominal Hysterectomy - TAH/BSO - Marilyn's Story

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Marilyn's TAH/BSO

After a year of trying to make a decision regarding a TAH/BSO due to a genetic predisposition for cancer, I decided that it truly was in my best interest to have this surgery. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but as I look back it was probably the best decision I ever made.

My surgery was scheduled for Jan. 7, 2000 and since I scheduled it in October, I had to wait 3 months. In a way it went really fast since I had the holidays to get through, and I was busy with work, kids, shopping, etc. I did donate blood to myself for the procedure and it was reassuring to know it was in the OR if I needed it.

The day of surgery arrived and I was scared but under control. I got to the hospital 1 1/2 hours prior to surgery. I was led to a recliner and told to change into my hospital gown and slippers. They attempted to start an IV and blew my vein so decided to wait until I was in the O.R. and let the anesthesiologist do it.

My husband and I talked and waited. They finally brought me the consent form to sign and as I went to sign my name I glanced at the surgery scheduled and realized it was WRONG!!! They had me down for a supra-cervical hysterectomy NOT a TAH/BSO. Words of advise to all sisters-READ THE CONSENT FORM BEFORE YOU SIGN IT. I wouldn't sign and was told that I'd see my Dr. in the O.R. and I would get it settled there.

They didn't give me anything to settle my nerves since I didn't have an IV in yet but they also told me it was NOT standard policy to give a relaxant prior to surgery unless the patient was extremely aggravated. They like patients to go under anesthesia without any other sedation in their system. I was fine with that.

A nurse came with a stretcher, and I hopped up on it. I said good-bye to hubby and was wheeled to the hallway outside the O.R. At that point I had 2 nurses, a nurse anesthetist, the anesthesiologist, my doctor and the assisting surgeon all gathered around me discussing what exact surgery I would have. When we determined it was to be a TAH/BSO I signed the form and in the O.R. we went. I chatted with my doctor while my IV was started and remember feeling slightly dizzy. Next thing I knew I woke up in recovery.

I remember feeling pain and saying the word "pain" and was told I would feel better in moments. They put the "push button" Morphine medication in my hand told me how to use it, and I did use it. Soon I drifted off and felt no pain at all. I ended up staying in the Recovery Room overnight because the hospital was full of patients with the flu. That was not a good experience being in recovery for 24 hours, but the next day I got a room in the afternoon.

My catheter was taken out the morning after surgery but 8 hours later I wasn't voiding on my own so in it went again. This happened TWICE more. I was unable to void so I was re-catheterized 3 times in the hospital. Finally, as I sat in the bathroom trying to go the night before I was to be discharged, a nurse came in and told me she had a trick up her sleeve. She reached into her pocket and pulled out an ammonia vial, broke it and threw it into the liner used to measure your urine. Immediately I began to urinate. I guess the fumes from the ammonia caused the bladder to contract; I'm not sure, but it worked! Bless her heart!

I was operated on Friday and went home Monday morning. Getting home was wonderful. I continued to have strange sensations in my bladder, but I was able to urinate. My doctor assured me the bladder was traumatized during surgery and would be fine, but it would take time. (It's now 8 weeks and it's much better but still feels like a weight in my abdomen). Moving my bowels was particularly painful, as was sneezing and coughing. But other than that, pain was minimal and I only took Advil -no prescription pain meds. I was amazed at how well I felt.

I am now 8 weeks post-op and have never felt better. I went back to work at 3 1/2 weeks post-op (part time) and at 6 weeks was back full time. My HRT is working beautifully, I feel balanced and exactly the same as I did prior to surgery. Quality of sex was a big concern for me but I can honestly say sex is wonderful, even better than ever.

Once I made my mind up to have this surgery, I refused to second-guess myself and I went into it was a positive attitude. I think that really helped. I am so glad I did this and recuperation was much smoother than I thought. The first 2 weeks are the hardest, but I found I had what I would describe as discomfort not pain. I was so pleasantly surprised at that. I was very lucky in that I had no major complications and such a smooth recovery and I thank God every day for that. Anticipation was definitely the worst part of this experience. I hope my story helps a lady in waiting as I read all these stories prior to my surgery. Good luck to all of you and I hope your experience is positive, too.

04-30-2003 - 05:18 PM


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