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Making surgery public - Making surgery public -

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Unread 05-16-2002, 07:37 PM
Making surgery public -

I had a party tonight (I do home parties for a direct sales company). This was the first time I had to be picky with my open schedule. I told all the guests that I was having surgery in June, so all parties would have to be held before the 12th or catalog shows in July. Surprisingly I booked 2 parties for the 7th and the 12th - and 1 catalog party for July. They were all concerned with my health and even offered to carry my kit to the car. (not necessary, but thanks!)

I was afraid taking 6-8 weeks off was going to hurt my business, but if tonight was any indication, I'll still have plenty of business when I'm feeling better!

I wasn't sure how or what to tell people. I'm not ashamed of it, I just didn't think it was something you just go around and tell everyone.

How much is too much info? When do you start telling people that you are having this done?
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Unread 05-16-2002, 07:45 PM
Making surgery public -

Hi, cyndiHGP,

I found that when I told people about my upcoming hysterectomy, everybody had an opinion. Was I sure I needed it? Had I seen a doctor? I would no longer be a woman. I would be sorry. I would get old, wrinkled, grow facial hair... Nobody has a hysterectomy anymore! Was I sure?

Most of those opinions were uninformed, uneducated, and unwanted.

I quickly decided that most people did not need to know about my hysterectomy.

If I needed to tell someone that I was going to have surgery, I started saying "abdominal surgery." Most people were satisfied with that. And I didn't have to listen to their opinions that way.

I agree that most of the people you meet don't need to know the details. Really, it's none of their business. You'll save yourself a lot of time, and possible some aggravation, if you keep your surgery on a "need to know" basis.

Just my humble opinion.

Best wishes,
Unread 05-16-2002, 07:55 PM
What to tell people...

I've started telling people I don't know (especially men) or people that I know won't understand or be supportive that I am having abdominal surgery. Most of the time, that is enough and they don't ask for further details.

If they do, then I just tell them that I have abdominal adhesions which must be corrected. (Partial truth, anyway!)
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Unread 05-16-2002, 07:58 PM
Making surgery public -

Hi, Cyndi -

This is a pretty "up to you" thing. Some women have, as Helen said, been given a hard time about it. It will depend on your level of comfort with politely but assertively telling people that you've already made up your mind, and don't want their opinion.

I had my hyst because of possible cancer, so NO one questioned it. But I did get a lot of "oh it's no big deal" from people about recovery that were rather annoying (they weren't people who'd had one, and they meant well, of course..trying to make me not worry, but it only had the effect of feeling as though they were brushing it off) I had no problem dealing with it, and preferred to be totally up front about it. In fact, I'd tell strangers (we talk to everyone out here in Seattle :-) ), and ended up chatting with a number of women who'd had one, and someone who knew of and had heard great things about my doc, so it was a good experience for me).

The way some women have chosen to deal with it to avoid hassling from others is to simply say "I'm having surgery", and if asked what type, "abdominal". And you can always just tell them, with a smile, that you really don't want to talk about it.

Unread 05-16-2002, 10:03 PM
Making surgery public -

I tell anybody who comes close to asking. If I bring it up, sometimes I'm vague, and mention something about "back when I had surgery...", but if they ask, they get as much detail as they want. Heck, I had some benign tumors (fibroids) growing on an organ I didn't need (or want!) - there's no shame in having that problem taken care of, any more than there is in having one's appendix out.

What I've found is that there are so many people out there who are either having gyn troubles, or know someone who is, and it's all so hush-hush nobody thinks anyone else is going through the same thing. Somehow I got into a discussion in the return line at Wal-Mart just before my attempt at an ablation (hyst came later) - I was talking with two older ladies about assorted female woes, and about what I was having done. This very shy woman a bit younger than me overheard us and asked if I could tell her more, since she was having problems and didn't know a thing about her options, or who to ask. You could see it was such a relief to her just to find other women *talking* about these things - right there in the store, too.

I figure if we don't mind talking about it, we can be good ambassadors, dispelling myths and misunderstandings, showing by our willingness to talk that it's nothing to be ashamed of, and proving by how we are that women can be happy and healthy after a hyst.

By the way, I'm not saying everyone *should* discuss all their private details with just anyone. I know some women are upset by needing a hyst, unhappy about not being able to have children, etc. And truly it is "none of anyone's business" - nobody should be poking around *expecting* you to tell them anything they want to know. If you don't feel comfortable discussing it, then by all means do not. Shut them up with "I can't see how that information could possibly concern you." But if you *are* comfortable talking about it, and are assertive enough to respond thoughtfully and informatively to people's misconceptions, I think good can come from it.
Unread 05-16-2002, 11:17 PM

I wasn't going to tell anyone about my surgery at first. I have canceled this surgery two times in the past 10 years. I found that when I started telling my family and friends, it has made me more committed to actually going through with it this time. It has made me think about really doing it.

Also, I'm alone and need help. I just didn't want anyone to worry about me and I still don't want any fuss but I'm glad I've let it out. I feel like I will have the support I need. It was a bit uncomfortable at first talking about it but it has gotten easier. Most of my friends know that I've suffered with various symptoms for years and they are very supportive and encouraging me to go through with it this time.
Unread 05-16-2002, 11:38 PM
Making surgery public -

I went the "abdominal surgery" route too, explaining that it was elective and to fix a chronic problem, not an emergency. I only told close friends about the hyst, or others if they asked.

Talking about a hyst sorta feels like talking about your sex life. It has to do with them private parts, which might be a tad too much information for some folks. I try to be respectful of others' comfort levels, and also of my own. I can be pretty private.

Unread 05-17-2002, 04:03 AM
I agree with Linda

Even though you may encounter some ignorant people, you may also be helping another sister or a family member of a sister who is also keeping silent. I don't announce with a megaphone that I am having a hyst but to people who know me and know how my schedule will be disrupted an explanation is needed. I went through this with a breast biopsy and in discussing it openly, I was able to calm a very nice woman <real time> who had no clue what to expect. Those of you who are irritated by stupid questions, I understand. But I have only found women who have legitimate questions and concerns or even share their experiences with me. If I had "skirted" around the issue, I would have missed an opportunity to help another.
Unread 05-17-2002, 04:17 AM
Making surgery public -

I told only a few people--those who knew of all the problems I was having and were as happy as me that I would finally be having the surgery. Some people, like my elderly neighbors, still don't know six weeks afterwards! I based my decision whether to tell people or not on how they've reacted to me in the past about pregnancies. I have no problem talking about it with with other women, or even men if they want to listen, but I just didn't want to subject myself to those I knew would make ignorant comments. Everyone has their own comfort level. Do what is right for your own circumstances.
Unread 05-17-2002, 05:01 AM
Thank you all!

It's funny - I had never thought about it before - but this not only affects you, but a lot of people around you!

I think I'll go the abdominal surgery route first, so as not to be too personal - but that at least helps to explain the time off (and the required help after!).

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