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Cervical Cancer/Radical Hysterectomy Cervical Cancer/Radical Hysterectomy

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Unread 02-04-2003, 12:29 AM
Cervical Cancer/Radical Hysterectomy

This is my first post. I'm so glad to have found this site, just reading the experiences of others has helped ease my mind a bit.

A couple weeks ago I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, which has become invasive (gyn says it's microscopic).

Incidentally, each biopsy result came back within 4-6 days, which I found a bit unusual. I thought they took weeks.

I was referred to a gyn/onc at a large university medical center. They called, scheduled me for a pre-op meeting and exam with her on March 3rd, and I'm to check into the hospital the next day for a radical hysterectomy!

I'm scared of the surgery itself and I'm worried about it's after effects. Has anyone who's been through this have some words of wisdom for me? Is the recovery the same as a TAH?
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Unread 02-04-2003, 05:44 AM
Cervical Cancer/Radical Hysterectomy

Hi Jones,

I had a radical hyst Nov. 2001 . Talk about scared!! Wow I couldn't sleep or eat etc,
Well to my surprise it was over as fast as they got started .
You will be sleeping and when ya wake up you'll be in your room.
The recovery , for me, anyway was 4 weeks and I was back to work. No lifting at all, no cleaning, just alot of rest. Uoy will be fine, please don't upset yourself so. s

P.S. you shpuld be home on a few days, I was home in 2 days.
Unread 02-04-2003, 07:12 AM
Cervical Cancer/Radical Hysterectomy

Hi Jones, I didn'thave a radical, but almost. I am posting basically because I live in the same state, in Puyallup. I am also an RN so if I can help you out at all please feel free to email me. I work on a post op floor and take care of these types of surgery. So are you in Seattle or Eastern Washington?

I would highly recommend getting the Land of Hyster book and read that before surgery, also go to every resource here that is offered. Wish I had known about this place preop but being a nurse helped alot with that part.

I had a TAH, BSO for precancerous cells and a few probably cancerous cells in the endometrium, plus fibroids. The frozen section done at time of surgery (they look at the tissue right at the time of surgery but it isn't as indepth as the final pathology report) showed stage 1 cancer nothing further to have to do). The final path showed stage 2 which turned out to really be stage 1, grade 2 (faster growing cells but hadn't spread anywhere in the samples they had). So I got sent to a gyn onc. He is taking me back to surgery 2/28 to check the lymph nodes in the pelvic area. If they had been more certain before of just what type of cancer it was, they would have done the lymph nodes at the same time. But it caught them off guard. My surgeon had even called the gyn onc and reviewed my biopsy with him. The good thing about going back is that it is the only way to be 100% sure that nothing has really spread or not. Bad thing is going through anesthesia again so soon and the gyn onc is going to make a longer incision (Iwas surprised at how short mine was for my size - compared to what I am used to seeing at work). But things went so well first time around I hope it will again.

I am pretty sure that the radical hyst involves checking out the lymph nodes...in fact that is what makes it "radical". So that is really a good thing.

Please feel free to ask any questions at all. Also the preop forum might be a helpful site to go to for regular surgery concerns.
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Unread 02-04-2003, 08:14 AM
Cervical Cancer/Radical Hysterectomy

Hi, Jones! I am 7 mos. post op for my radical hyster. I had stage 1b cervical cancer. I was diagnosed in May and had my surgery less than two weeks later. It was like a whirlwind! I have had a good recovery with the exception of a few bladder issues, that are now nearly back to normal. I am so thankful that my recovery has been so good, much better that I thought going in! I had alot of help from DH and my mom when I got home, as I have two little ones at home. I hope you will also have lots of help, for at least the first few days at home. I was in the hospital for 5 days, on day 3 my path report came back that my lymph nodes were clear and that the cancer was confined to the cervix, no further treatment at this time. It was the best news I could have hoped for! My checkups are scheduled every 3 mos with my oncologist for 3 yrs., then every 6 mos. for 2 years.
I pray that you have a good gyn/oncologist and that your surgery and recovery go great!! I am glad you found this site pre-op, I did not find it until a few weeks after mine. Feel free to pm me or post any questions here. Good luck to you!
Unread 02-04-2003, 09:00 AM
Cervical Cancer/Radical Hysterectomy

Dear Jones,

I had my radical hysterectomy 13 months ago. They say that the recovery takes a bit longer than with a TAH -- I don't know for sure about that, but I can say that I got along so much better than I had anticipated. I was scared to death -- never had surgery before and didn't know what to expect. I had my surgery on Friday morning and came home on Monday morning. Of course, I took good care of myself -- no lifting, housework, cooking, etc. I just took it easy and walked as much as I could tolerate -- starting with short walks and building up. Stairs were uncomfortable. Enlist help from DH, children, church family -- whoever you can find to do the cooking and other tasks so you can devote yourself totally to healing.

Like RhondaS, I also had some bladder issues, but all was well within a few weeks -- if you are going to have a suprapubic catheter and have questions, please let me know!

My cancer was Stage 1B, and I did have followup radiation and chemo. Although my lymph nodes were clear, this treatment was recommended because of the size of the cancer ( a bit on the large size for 1B stage and also with vascular involvement).

In addition to what someone else said about it being a "radical" hysterectomy because they remove lymph nodes, it is also different because they remove some of the supporting ligaments and also take a wide margin of tissue around all the organs -- this way they can check everything out to be sure it hasn't spread.

I truly feel like I am totally recovered from the surgery and was amazed at how well my body healed! Take good care of yourself between now and the surgery and use the time you have to get prepared! Keep us posted on how you are doing and let us know if more questions come up.

Unread 02-04-2003, 09:40 AM
Thank you

Thank you all for your words of support. I've had abdominal surgery in the past to remove an ovarian cyst, but I was in my late 20's then, I'm 42 now.

cogaha, I was told that the "radical" meant they would take lymph nodes and surrounding tissues, and that's really what scares me. I was told I may lose bladder function and will have to learn to cath myself.

StampinCat, I'm in Kitsap County, but will have the surgery at UW. I checked out my dr. at their website and I feel pretty confident in her. She's got lots of honors, etc.

I also have tons of support, fortunately. My husband will take time off to be with me, and my friends are offering to help with everything. I feel extremely fortunate about all that.

Are any of you taking HRT? How soon afterward were you able to begin it?
Unread 02-04-2003, 01:06 PM
Cervical Cancer/Radical Hysterectomy


Yes, the "radical" part is the removal of surrounding tissue, ligaments, and lymph nodes (actually, I think there is a separate name for the lymph node removal, but is escapes me now). Bladder damage is a possibility -- from what I understand, they actually move the bladder out of its normal position to get at the parts they need to remove/examine. The bladder is a very sensitive organ, and it can take quite a while for it to recover -- in some instances, it never does fully recover, but I don't think that is the norm. I came home with a suprapubic catheter which I wore for 42 days until my bladder was completely emptying, but most of the girls on this site that I have read about get back their bladder function much quicker than that. I know there is one sister who got back partial function and self-caths part of the time as well. I noticed that you are seeing a gyn/onc at a major hospital, and I truly believe that that gives you the best chance for a good recovery -- they are experienced at doing the surgery -- it's not a procedure that you want to undergo with a doctor who is not totally experienced!

It's good to know up front what to expect -- I wasn't expecting my bladder to have such a difficult time, and I was absolutely freaking out after about 10 days when nothing was happening -- a couple of sisters here were my angels who helped calm me down and support me until things were better!

Are they for sure taking your ovaries? I had a choice and kept mine, although the radiation fried them, and so I am on HRT --Premarin, and it is working great for me. I started on it when I realized that my ovaries were indeed not working anymore, and within 2 weeks, things were fine. I have heard of sisters starting HRT while they are in the hospital after surgery -- I'm sure someone with that experience will be along!

Unread 02-04-2003, 04:46 PM
Cervical Cancer/Radical Hysterectomy

Hi Jones,

I had my radical a little over four months ago and doing well. I had to have a catheter in for a week post-op, a little annoying but not horrible. The only thing that I wasn't prepared for was the pain I had having a bowel movement. That lasted for about two weeks and then everything went back to normal. Just make sure you take the stool softener they give you!

As far as whether or not to keep your ovaries, I was told that with adenocarcinoma of the cervix (which is what I had) there is a higher risk of it spreading to the ovaries than with squamous cell carcinoma. When I heard that, I said take 'um out!! I started taking Premarin at one month post op. Started on .3 mg but had to up it to .625 mg to feel "normal" again.

Good luck with your surgery. I know it all seems scary now, but I'm sure you will do fine. I am the biggest baby in the world and if I can get through it, I'm sure you can too!!

Unread 02-04-2003, 05:58 PM
Cervical Cancer/Radical Hysterectomy

I didn't have a radical hysterectomy but I did have my ovaries removed. Even though my dr didn't do the radical, she did move all my insides around and take a thorough look at all the organs inside. I had hormone patches on my belly when I woke up in the recovery room. I stayed the patch for one week, then she put me on a combo of synthetic and natural estrogen and then to Premarin. Had to supplement with Celexa then Wellbutrin. Now it's just the Premarin and I haven't had any HRT problems for a long time now. It can take awhile to get your HRT right for you, so if you do HRT, don't be afraid to tell your DR if it's not working right. The hormone jungle forum on here is GREAT too. Good luck with your surgery & recovery!
Unread 02-05-2003, 06:40 AM
Cervical Cancer/Radical Hysterectomy

Hi. I'm sorry to hear of your diagnosis and that you have to go through surgery.

I was diagnosed with invasive cervical carcinoma and it was staged at 1b. I am now ten months status-post my radical hysterectomy which involved lymph node removal and surrounding tissue dissected from the bladder ureters (tubes). Because of all the careful dissection (removal) of tissue from the ureters and bladder area, I had a Foley catheter in place for three weeks. I had no problems at all after it was removed.

I was 43 years old at the time of surgery and recovered very quickly. I made sure I was a very good !!

My surgery was in April and by August my sister and I were at the local gym working out with a trainer (sharing the high expense of a trainer!). I was very concerned about making sure I was doing exercises properly so I did not do damage to those abs!! When I first started with the trainer, I could only do sets of 3 each on the abs. Now I can do three different ab exercises in sets of three and 12 per set.

I was also concerned about osteoporosis now that I was in surgical menopause, so that was another plus for going to the gym. I am also on Premarin 0.625 mg and have been since Day 4 post-op. I began getting hot flashes on Day 4 prior to beginning the Premarin, and since taking the medication I have not had any more hot flashes or other symptoms.

I still feel some pulling at the very bottom of my incision, and if I sit for a long time (rather than in my recliner chair), sometimes I can feel uncomfortable. I can feel very tired in the evening sometimes, but who knows, maybe it is just my really busy life with children and their activities! I feel like a million bucks when I get up each morning!!

You'll do great with your surgery and post-op...think positive, it helps!!

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