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take my uterus...please...and other things that are not funny about hysterectomy take my uterus...please...and other things that are not funny about hysterectomy

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Unread 05-09-2002, 10:13 AM
take my uterus...please...and other things that are not funny about hysterectomy

my coping mechanism has always been humor, and i'm out of luck here...i can't find the jokes. my hysterectomy will be june 4th. i am 43. married 6 years. no kids (not of choice). just found this website today, and hoping it will provide--if not comfort--a safe place to vent.

am still in the Poor Me phase (not sure what the phases are). because of other health problems and obesity, i have been told this is a high-risk surgery, yet still, they have said i should have it done.

am comfortable with the surgeon, and do trust him to do what is medically necessary. bizarre not to know if i will wake up with a part of my ovary or not (besides a ton o' fibroids, a large uterus, fluid in the cervical canal, etc., i have a good sized ovarian cyst), so i don't really want to spend a lot of time NOW worrying about whether i should entertain hormone replacement therapy or not...i am overwhelmed by dealing with the Known, never mind the Unknown.

not my first surgery--and not my first abdominal surgery. when i was 26 i had a dermoid tumor, some cysts, and my left ovary removed...

i guess, other than venting, i am asking for advice--is there anyway to put a "spin" on this? is there any humor?

i went through similar feelings when i had the surgery in my 20s, but i think as an adult, i am actually Fearing The Surgery itself...am worried about making it through surgery. i know there is no way anyone can say--hey--piece of cake, don't sweat it.

i am compounding my anxiety by having anticipatory grief over the loss of my organs...the loss of my ability (if it still was there) to procreate...the loss of whatever "I Am Still A Girl" feelings i had.

i am not used to feeling so profoundly lost and sad...might these feelings pass prior to surgery?

oh well.
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Unread 05-09-2002, 10:39 AM
take my uterus...please...and other things that are not funny about hysterectomy

Welcome aboard. I'm sorry you're in this situation, but you have indeed found a wonderfully supportive and safe place to hang out.

Who told you your surgery would be "high risk"? Your doctor, or the cashier at the mall? Unless it was your doctor, don't believe a word of it. Unless you have some special circumstances about your health (clotting disorder, blood pressure issues, etc.), a plain ol' hyst is very low risk, compared to other surgeries. Yes, it's "major", but it's not very risky.

I actually wouldn't worry at all about "making it through the surgery" (again, unless you have some condition you didn't mention). I'd be more concerned about driving to work, crossing the street, catching the flu, and all the other risky things we do. Like you said, it's not a "piece of cake", but it's pretty routine surgery (for surgeons - not for us).

Women feel so differently about losing (or ditching) their reproductive organs. However you feel is, of course, perfectly fine and normal. I was in the "take it out now, and good riddance" bunch, but I know there are plenty of sisters here who can help you better with dealing with grief and sadness.

As for humor... You will find limitless possibilities for humor, don't worry. Use the Search button, and search for words like "funny" "laughed", etc. Try "brain fog" for all the tales of women getting into the wrong car in the grocery store parking lot, or throwing away the bags holding their entire winter wardrobe, while keeping the trash. Look for posts about the stupid things other people say (bosses, co-workers, friends...) - you could write a whole book of those! Tales of what women have written on their bellies... You'll find all kinds of stuff to laugh at. (Be warned - keep your tummy pillow handy post-op, if you plan on laughing much.)

Maybe you could be the first to put out a video of Hyst Humor. (Wouldn't that make a cool gift for a Lady In Waiting?)

Hang in there. You *will* be fine.
Unread 05-09-2002, 11:19 AM
thanks, horsewoman

unfortunately, it was the surgeon who told me this will be high risk. i do have a litany of health problems (IBS, asthma, chronic myofascial pain, fibromyalgia (i feel as if i invented brain fog), tmj, gerd--the list is long but you get the gist) and, of course, the weight.

but i like your take on it better--that, essentially, it is what it is. been done a zillion times...

thank you for taking the time to respond--i'm not doing the boogie-woogie, but i do feel less anxious, knowing that i've found the right place to seek that odd combination of comfort and truth.
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Unread 05-09-2002, 11:26 AM
take my uterus...please...and other things that are not funny about hysterectomy

Hi, Oh well,

I must respectfully disagree with Horsewoman. Hysterectomy is major surgery, and like any other major surgery, the surgery holds risks, which must be considered. Some women suffer complications, and it would be foolish, in my opinion, to ignore that fact.

Yes, many of us heal well after a hysterectomy. But the surgery is not without risks.

I've ready many posts here, and I've noticed that most women seem to feel a sense of loss when then contemplate a hysterectomy. Even if our female organs are causing us trouble, most of us have placed great value on those organs, since we were young girls. The surgical removal of those organs is a great loss. It doesn't seem to matter whether we have children or not. Hysterectomy closes the door to childbearing forever, and that causes sorrow for most of us.

Most of us choose hysterectomy because our lifestyles have been restricted, by pain and/or heavy bleeding. After we recover, we often find that our lifestyles are dramatically improved. That's the good news.

Where's the humor? I found that some of my experiences were funny, but I found them to be humorous only after the fact. I hope you'll be able to look back on your own experiences, in a few months, and laugh. If it's not funny right now, I can sympathize.

You have many Hystersisters, now, and we can probably understand many of your feelings. If you need us, the Aching Hearts forum offers a safe place to vent and share your feelings, among caring and supportive women. Your Hystersisters care about you, and we're always here for you.

Good luck with your surgery.

Sending healing hugs,
Unread 05-09-2002, 12:12 PM
take my uterus...please...and other things that are not funny about hysterectomy

Hello oh well!

Humor will be found - I promise....give yourself some time. If you're too 'worked up' you might want to visit with your doctor about getting some happy pills. They can help.

This isn't necessarily funny funny - but you might get a good grin out of it. My friends think I'm nuts!!

I have recently found THE GYN in a large city 4 hours away from my home....(check out 'Found!') - we had to do the initial visit in one day which meant minimal shopping time (& I am a ~shopper~ ) AND....we pass by not one not two but FOUR malls on our way to and from Wichita. Iwill literally be able to seeeeeeee them from the highway. sigh......

My solace in missing out on all the shopping when going there for my initial appointment was...."ahhh, I'll have to come back for my pre-op. I can shop then."

Then I find out that my pre-op will be the same day as my surgery AND we'll have to leave home at 6 a.m. to get there on time.....I'm still trying to figure out if I'll be able to shop my way back home after my surgery? Hubster says he'll go into the mall with his cell phone, leave me in the van, call me on my cell phone & tell me all that he sees.....Old Navy.......Dillards......Sears..... ooh! ooh! the Kitchen Store in that outlet mall - oh yeah!

oh no.................

The funniest part? He'd do it! ha!

imagine that~~~~~~~~~

Unread 05-09-2002, 12:54 PM
take my uterus...please...and other things that are not funny about hysterectomy

Oh, thanks for pointing that out Helen. I didn't mean there are not risks associated with having a hyst - there are. I just meant that an ordinary hyst on an ordinary woman (without the complicating factors that OhWell mentioned) is not "a high risk surgery" - it's a pretty ordinary surgery.

Yes, complications are always a possibility, but be sure to weigh the risk of complications of *having* surgery against the risk of "complications" (if I can call them that) of *not having* surgery. *Not having* a hyst isn't always a risk-free decision either (anemia, digestive problems...) - we just have to choose the lesser of the two evils.

OhWell - I'm sorry you've got all the other health issues going on. Be especially careful with yourself, starting right now - eat as well as you can, get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, walk daily, if you're up to it - do everything you can to be as healthy as you can be going in. It couldn't hurt... Ask your doctor if there is anything else you could be doing (taking iron, vitamins, etc.) to make yourself stronger beforehand.

I'd be interested to hear, some months from now, if any of the other problems ease up after your hyst. I used to get flattened with every cold or flu to come along - every couple of months. Since my hyst I went just shy of a year before catching anything at all. I suspect that our gyn problems weaken our systems generally, and make us more prone to other things. You might search for posts here about "IBS", too - I've seen posts here from several sisters who had been diagnosed with it, but is mysteriously cleared up when their fibroid, cysts, endo, or what-have-you was taken care of.

Hang in there, and keep reading.

p.s. Look back a few pages (or search) for a thread titled "The funniest part of my TAH was..." Just a little diversion...
Unread 05-09-2002, 12:58 PM
take my uterus...please...and other things that are not funny about hysterectomy

I can relate to the "Fearing The Surgery" feelings...I have had many surgeries, but this one threw me for a major loop.

I was never able to have biological children, and had many years of problems with my organs, but even then I was sad to see them go. It's a loss, say what you will...but also a beginning...a positive new phase in my life. I think accepting all this is just part of the process we have to go through on this journey. And while nothing about it is "ha ha" funny, there are always those shining moments of surreal humor to be found...believe me, you'll find yours!

Once this anxiety is behind you, you will have no doubts about your femininity, and you will begin to feel BETTER physically, which pretty much puts all the fears and worries to bed. In the meantime, I agree that it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about your anxiety, and maybe get yourself some Xanax. I took 1/2 a pill a couple of times a day before my surgery, and it really took the edge off. Haven't touched it since, but it sure helped keep me from losing it.

Hang in there...you are in good company and your feelings are perfectly normal....we'll all be here to help you get through this.

Unread 05-09-2002, 01:14 PM
take my uterus...please...and other things that are not funny about hysterectomy

Any surgery can be high risk and no surgery is ordinary. I don't think it should ever be minimized.

I have asthma and while it is usually under control it could at anytime prove to be a very serious condition and cause complications with other areas of my health. Weight issues can complicate surgery. So can many other health issues.

Occasionally the full extent of the surgery and the work that needs to be done is not known until the surgeeon gets into the body.

I think it is prudent to be aware of any and all potenial risks with any surgery. While I am glad I had my hyeterectomy I also knew there could be risks involved. Thankfully, my recovery has had minimal complications.

Hope your surgery goes well. Keep us informed on how you are doing.

Unread 05-09-2002, 01:53 PM

I don't think I can add too much to what many of the women have already said so well.
This is definitely a major life event along with major surgery. I think it is a good time to reflect on our life and health up to this point. Perhaps a time to celebrate and mourn the passing of who we have been while trying to look ahead to who we will become.
It is not easy to say good-bye to the possibility of birthing a child. Even for women who were not considering biological motherhood the finality can be hard to come to terms with. If you haven't already done so you might want to visit the Aching Hearts Forum.
I do believe it is important to be with your feelings honestly, whatever they are. That is an important part of the emotionally healing that will happen for you too.
Yes, some humor will come along eventually. Probably when you are well on the road to recovery.
I can tell you there is much to celebrate and look forward to on the otherside. I know physically I am stronger and healthier than I have been in years. And mentally and emotionally well something has shifted too. It is hard to describe but, I like it. I just feel incredibly strong and courageous but in a new and expanded way.
I wish you all the best for a smooth surgery and wonderful recovery.
Unread 05-09-2002, 02:33 PM
take my uterus...please...and other things that are not funny about hysterectomy

Well, OK, there are a lot of ways of defining levels of risk, and "ordinary-ness". Like one's own kids/pets are always special, amazing, and unique - but at the same time they are usually perfectly ordinary kids/pets.

Here's a really thorough literature review that includes lots of data on morbiity and mortality associated with hysts:

The study says hysts are the second most common major surgery for women. Several other articles say that about 600,00 women have hysts annually in the U.S.

I know that everyone's individual experience will be different, and OhWell has some complicating health issues, but on the whole hysterectomies are fairly low-risk surgeries:

"Low Risk, Not No Risk
Fortunately, hysterectomy is a relatively safe procedure--mortality for operations related to noncancerous conditions has been approximately one per 1,000 for more than a decade--and, time lost from work notwithstanding, patients are generally satisfied with the result. But low risk does not mean no risk, especially for women who are older, pregnant, or have chronic disease. "

"Is this a dangerous operation? No. With modern day surgical techniques and equipment, a hysterectomy is considered a very low risk operation. As with any surgery, the amount of risk depends mainly upon the patient’s health. "

"A hysterectomy is not dangerous. While all surgery is serious and should be undertaken only when necessary, a hysterectomy is considered a very low risk operation. Modern day surgery techniques and equipment assure this."

"High risk" surgeries would generally include things like cardiovascular surgery, major cancer resections, and organ transplantation. I in now way want to make light of the risks of a hyst, I just didn't want to leave any LIWs with the impression that an uncomplicated hyst would fall into that category.

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