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Upcoming hysterectomy 10/1: Coping with anxiety pre op Upcoming hysterectomy 10/1: Coping with anxiety pre op

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  #1  
Unread 09-25-2021, 12:38 AM
Upcoming hysterectomy 10/1: Coping with anxiety pre op

Hello, I am 49 years old and was diagnosed with a 7x7 cm intramural fibroid in June this year after intermittent bleeding for a year. The next 3 months I had very heavy bleeds including dizziness, sickness etc. and after nearly passing out in July was taken into hospital for 2 days. The Hospital gynaecologist and my local gynaecologist both immediately recommended a hysterectomy although I am otherwise very healthy and I was so desperate to resolve the issue that I thought this was great. However since then I have been very panicky, sleeping badly and am really scared that I am making the wrong choice. I checked with the surgeon and gynae again why they did not suggest other options and they both said given the size and position of the fibroid a myectomy is too risky and other options unlikely to be successful or lead to potentially worse complications in the future. I am now booked for the operation in a week‘s time and am worried I haven’t given myself enough time. But I am also aware that I am a super anxious person and that I am also scared of having more periods while I put off the surgery. I would really appreciate any tips or help from other women who struggle with anxiety and can empathise on what I am going through, a lot of the time I just feel really frightened about the whole situation and whether the operation will leave me more mentally fragile. I have heard loads of positive stories about hysterectomy but am still not certain it’s right for me. Thanks so much, sending love to all women whose fibroids are making life difficult!
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  #2  
Unread 09-25-2021, 02:56 AM
Re: Coping with anxiety pre op

I had a hysterectomy 5 weeks ago to remove a 13cm fibroid. My first reaction to the suggestion was shock and denial. And before the surgery, it was a countdown of nerves and worry despite me being pretty confident it was the right answer. I had three months to wait and I’m not sure it made it any better.

You are in control here. If you’re not sure that it’s right or want another independent opinion (on myomectomy or UFE) then you can pause the process and seek one out.

It sounds like you’ve already had two doctors tell you that this is the best option and explain why. If you trust their expertise, then keep having faith despite the fears. Surgery is scary. I’d never been cut open before. What helped me was remembering that I’d have a team of people whose only focus was getting me through it as best as possible and bless them, they did.

Some people find that planning for better things afterwards can help so that you know there is a future and it’s brighter. Others find that affirmations can help them regain control.
  #3  
Unread 09-25-2021, 03:10 AM
Re: Upcoming hysterectomy 10/1: Coping with anxiety pre op

Thanks! That’s really helpful. I had 21/2 months to prepare but am beating myself up that I also spent so much time in denial rather than getting more help. Glad to know it’s not just me and wishing you tons of luck for the recovery!!
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  #4  
Unread 09-25-2021, 03:19 AM
Re: Upcoming hysterectomy 10/1: Coping with anxiety pre op

Oh don’t beat yourself up. You’ll want all that energy for healing afterwards. Thanks for the recovery wishes. It seems to be textbook so far with minimal pain so fingers crossed it continues.

One really practical thing you can do is walk around your home and clear surfaces of stuff you won’t use and replace it with stuff that’s in low down cupboards or drawers that you might need. Stick a cushion up your top so that bending is harder if you need to. Don’t forget things like where your toiletries are in the shower. You want as much as possible between hip and shoulder height.

Turn your mattress, your sofa cushions etc etc.
  #5  
Unread 09-25-2021, 03:45 AM
Upcoming hysterectomy 10/1: Coping with anxiety pre op


I had a large intramural fibroid pressing on my bladder, so my main issues were urinary frequency, urgency, and leakage if I didn't make it to the bathroom in time. When my surgeon told me that he was recommending a hysterectomy, I was in shock from his examination - I have sensory issues tied to an autistic spectrum disorder, and the way he'd examined me had caused my brain to shut down like an overloaded computer, so I couldn't really comprehend what he was saying after that. When I came to my senses, I asked my family doctor why alternatives weren't recommended, and he told me that because of the fibroid's size and location, a hysterectomy was my only alternative; if I could go back in time, I would have sought an additional opinion from an interventional radiologist, who would have the specialized training to determine if UFE would be a viable alternative for me. As it stood, I was having a hysterectomy, and my anxiety was way off the charts. I calmed myself by reminding myself that these people were professionals who would do everything to ensure a positive outcome. I also spent a lot of time on this site, to get some "been there, done that" advice from my fellow sisters on what to expect and how to prepare for it; plus I kept up my exercise program, which included swimming 3 times a week, and yoga twice a week, which has always helped me to manage my anxiety. When thoughts of my surgery did creep into my mind, i redirected these thoughts to how much better I'd feel to no longer be chained to the bathroom, as I suggest for you to think of how much better you'll feel after you're done with the heavy bleeding and the anemia. Wishing you all the best for whatever you decide!
  #6  
Unread 09-25-2021, 04:08 PM
Re: Upcoming hysterectomy 10/1: Coping with anxiety pre op

HI Jean271 -

Having a hysterectomy is such an overwhelming experience. Suffering from anxiety makes it that much harder.

If you are uncertain, and it will not endanger your health, you can cancel the surgery and get alternate opinions on your condition. Different surgeons will have different takes, and have different skills. You can cancel and then reschedule if it the same recommendation. Here are articles:
5 Reasons to Seek a Second Opinion
Do I Need a Second Opinion for My Hysterectomy?


Do research, talk to your doctors, get alternate opinions if you wish, and make the best decision for you.

  #7  
Unread 09-26-2021, 08:32 AM
Re: Upcoming hysterectomy 10/1: Coping with anxiety pre op

I had a myomectomy 10 years ago. Over 3 years ago, the next fibroid started to bother me and it took me 2.5 years of trying tablets to shrink it, homeopathy and acupuncture, research into embolisation and then almost passing out one day due to a large cyst to finally realise hysterectomy was my best option. It had been suggested as an option a few times but I thought it seemed too drastic.

I felt that if I didn’t do it, I would keep spending time dealing with the issues it was causing me rather than one major operation, healing time, then getting on with my life without all of the constant worry about fibroids coming back. I am 48 so also went through the ‘well I’m close to menopause so maybe they will stop coming back’ conundrum.

I was given other options and I would have thought you could still push for those if you wanted.

I am now at 10.5 weeks post op and it hasn’t been easy but I feel such relief.
  #8  
Unread 09-26-2021, 04:56 PM
Re: Upcoming hysterectomy 10/1: Coping with anxiety pre op

Hello Jean271,

Another fibroid sufferer here, in solidarity with you. I thought you might like to hear from someone just on the other side of surgery…I had a total abdominal hysterectomy on Wednesday 9/22 (4 days ago). I am 40 and have suffered for years from pain, fatigue, and bleeding caused by many fibroids (largest was 13 cm), hoping that I could get to menopause so they would shrink and I wouldn’t have to go through surgery. Alas the choice was made for me, because the tumors grew so big they were compressing my veins in dangerous ways and had to come out. Like you, my doctors advised me a myomectomy wasn’t an option and that hysterectomy was the only way to go. 4 days after surgery, I already feel so much better. This is not to say that recovery is easy… it is challenging, but for me, it helps to think about the pain and soreness from surgery as healing pain, very different from the hurting pain of the fibroids.

To echo what others have already said about doing what is best for you and your health and your story: pressing pause on the surgery (if it’s safe to do so), doing more research, and getting a second or third opinion are all good things.

Re: anxiety, when I was anxious and afraid, I focused on the incredible hope the surgery was bringing—hope of freedom and more space, literally in my body and also in my life when I would no longer be living with the pain and other symptoms of the tumors. And, already, I feel so much better.

I also did activities that bring me peace and joy—I went for a lot of walks in outdoor places that I love. And ate dark chocolate.

I tried to also be very gentle with myself, physically and emotionally, and accept help, love, and care from others (this continues in recovery, and is difficult, as I tend to want to do everything and am hard on myself).

Last (another sister mentioned this in a recent thread I think), having a favorite word, phrase, verse or short prayer (if you are spiritual/religious) or song to focus on and repeat can help also with anxiety… I did this in the days leading up to surgery and on the day of surgery itself.

Wishing you all the best, and peace with whatever you decide!
  #9  
Unread 09-26-2021, 06:55 PM
Re: Upcoming hysterectomy 10/1: Coping with anxiety pre op

if you're uncertain about whether you should have surgery or not, I'd suggest getting another opinion or postponing it until you're sure. a hysterectomy is major surgery. do lots of research about the kind of hysterectomy your dr. is planning on doing. if your ovaries and cervix are healthy, is your dr. planning on removing them?
  #10  
Unread 09-26-2021, 09:41 PM
Re: Upcoming hysterectomy 10/1: Coping with anxiety pre op

Jean271,

As someone whose fibroid almost killed them from all the bleeding, and also very anxious about this surgery and if it was the right choice, I can commiserate a great deal. I know this probably won’t help, but I’m hoping my later statements will: I woke up telling my husband that this surgery wasn’t the right choice. My worries were based in many things, I won’t name them so they don’t become yours, but they were everything negative you can think of. What got me to surgery, mentally, was the thoughts of what I would gain from this surgery. Not scaring my family again was a big one. I ended up in the emergency room with a blood count so low I had to have a blood transfusion of two units, and three rounds of outpatient iron infusions. My family was so afraid I wouldn’t come home from the hospital that time. My next favorite thing is the idea of wearing pretty panties. I’ve never been able to keep any type of underwear for a long time because of blood, and the damage pads can cause from removing them so often. It may sound small and insignificant, but anything that can get you to surgery (if that’s your final decision) should be utilized. This is major surgery, it is scary, and you are venturing into the unknown. Right now, you know what you’re going to be dealing with for the most part, day to day. You know what you’re going to have to do to deal with it, but this surgery is the unknown. You have to find those things that are going to get you to your goal. My goal was to be the me I miss. The only way to do that is to get rid of the pain and bleeding. Write down your goal, and decide what’s going to get you there. If it’s an uninterrupted night of sleep, write that down. If it’s never having a period again, write it down. Anything that will get you there.

Now. For the disclaimer: get a second opinion if your body permits. If you don’t trust your surgeon find one you trust.

I went under with resistance to surgery, came out regretting it, and now 9 days out, I actually feel like this may have been the best choice. It wasn’t a bad one, I haven’t bled since surgery. There’s no reason for regret right now. I have no residual issues. I feel pretty darn good considering I’ve had major surgery. I was so worried I had trouble sleeping, I could do nothing but bleed and worry. Now I’m not bleeding. My worry is minimal, and my family isn’t scared or stressed anymore. I can’t tell you to get the hysterectomy, but I can say make your list of pros and cons. They have to be facts to make it to the list. Also, try writing down your true worries and commit to “putting them on the shelf” to only worry about if they happen. Maybe talk to a trusted family member. Anxiety is hard to deal with. I hope some of my suggestions work. We’re here to listen, give advice (not medical), commiserate and empathize. We’re your sisters in menstrual disfunction, and we want what’s best for you.
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