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Doing great! 4 months post TAH – Nadine’s story

After three years of rapid fibroid growth, my Doctor finally decided it was time for me to have a TAH. It wasn’t that I was in unbearable pain as a number of women experience or that my periods were long and drawn out that led me to decide that this was the correct path even though I am only 37 years old. Instead, it was the large number of fibroids that caused me to appear four months pregnant even though the Doctor said it was most likely I would never be able to become so, and certainly not safely because there was already extremely limited room for my internal organs. My OBGYN said, “eventually your lungs will be so crowded you won’t be able to breathe.”

I had ample time to prepare myself for surgery, for which I am grateful. We review my Abdominal US results in October of 2014 and the Doctor said we would set a date at my March appointment. This might be a horrible period of waiting for some people but I am a planner, I made lists of things I needed to do for work, for my home, husband and pets. I prayed a lot and made peace with the fact that I would not have children of my own. (It was a little easier knowing I literally couldn’t and that I work in a school, surrounded by 600 4-8 year olds) My surgery date was set for May and by the time it arrived I had a sub in place for work, meals prepared for my husband and I was as physically, mentally and emotionally ready to go as possible. I confidently went to the hospital.

The OR staff was amazing – so kind and patient and willing to explain everything to me. The surgery went well -the only trouble I had was the catheter would drain properly and I felt pressure and discomfort. I had to ask the nurses to check it three times that first day after my surgery- it took those three times for them to finally get it right – maybe there was a kink in the tube? I still don’t know what the trouble was there. I felt pretty good but did not have an appetite which was good as I could only have ice water. No nausea and after the first night I didn’t need any of the narcotics, just the over the counter pain killers, which surprised and pleased me because I was cut from hip to hip. (Not that I looked)

My troubles came the morning after in the hospital when I tried to get up and walk to the bathroom. I never made it up from the bed. I sat up and passed out. I woke up a couple minutes later surrounded by staff and the crash cart. That was scary! I am not a fan of needles and here they were checking my cbc’s, my blood sugar and of course the IV that I cant even look at without becoming distressed is still in my arm. My Doctor insisted I stay another night and said I could have solid food – the jello and broth were two things I was glad to see behind me. I really wanted to go home and just be with my husband the my cats and dog but I slept a lot and didn’t dwell on it too much. The anesthesia was making me a bit weepy though and even if I couldn’t do anything at home I wanted to be with my family. I toughed it out and texted my husband, when he wasn’t there with me and Mom, brother and friends for hours. The hospital staff kept pushing water to help keep my blood pressure up and my temperature down. I kept running a mild fever on and off.

My surgery had been at 11a.m. on the 28th and by 3 pm on the 29th I was finally able to sit up, stand and so very slowly walk? if you can call it that, to the bathroom. That was the most nerve wracking walk to the bathroom as I prayed I could get there without incident and I worried what if I couldn’t relieve myself when I got there? I made it there and back! Proud of myself! The Doctor released me after more CBC testing on the 30th at noon. I was so excited to go home.

I spent the first week day and night in the reclining armchair with a huge teddy bear on my belly to keep the cats off. My husband brought the narcotics from the pharmacy but I never hurt enough to need them. The OTC was still enough and I started taking a stool softener, drinking cranberry juice to keep any UTI’s at bay and had a gas relief medication at the ready, that was only needed for a couple days but I was glad to have it. There was a lot of sleeping and a small amount of walking in the tiny house. One of my cats spent nearly every minute sleeping on the pillow beside my head. It was comforting to have him there. The other cat kept kicking my pill bottles and juice glass onto the floor but it was still wonderful to be home.

Week two at home did not go as smoothly. I was stronger and able to move around a little more. I even walked out to the car and sat in it while my husband worked outside. We talked while he put up our new fence but the bleeding that had been going on since my surgery and had slowed started up again out of nowhere. I hadn’t done anything that I shouldn’t have. The medicine helped my first Bowel movement to be decent but the slight pressure might have been the trigger. I was going through sanitary napkins at a disturbing pace and called the Doctor. She was a bit worried about it but said wait it out overnight. If it gets worse call. I fought back tears – it hurt too much to cry and kept saying I didn’t want to go back to the hospital. My husband was so supportive, he kept telling me it would be okay even if I had to go back. The next morning it hadn’t stopped but it didn’t get worse either so the Dr said come in Friday for an evaluation.

Good news – I also was able to sleep in bed again the second week. I knew getting up and down was going to be hard but I learned that if I gradually kept stuffing pillows under my head and right shoulder, the angle would get better and I had the strength to get up without help. I had one passing out episode on my way back from the bathroom that week. I felt it coming when I was in the hall and turned to brace myself on the cabinet. I was calling for my husband but I couldn’t speak very loudly – I hadn’t been able to since leaving the hospital- it was awkward to take large breaths of air. He didn’t hear me calling and I lost consciousness, fell backward and thankfully landed my backside on the radiator first – not turned on! and then tumble to the floor on the side. I woke up trying to figure out why the carpet was brushburing my face and why was there a weird mooing sound like a cow in my house. The cow noise was me, the woke up everyone in my house – the dog, my husband and a cat came running. I was okay, my belly was not disturbed but I was shaken and scared.

I checked out okay at the Doctor, she determined it was blood from the surgery that was working its way out., not any broken stitches or anything to worry about although she said it was a bit unusual. She was not pleased with how much weight I had lost. 20 lbs total – five of which where the fibroids and uterus. It was concerning as I am a small person to start and now I was down to 100lbs. My appetite had returned but my muscle tone was gone from the inactivity. I still walked hunched over and lived in fear of sneezing but my strength and endurance were growing in leaps and bounds.

I was cleared to drive after week two but held out until the end of the third to make sure I wasn’t going to pass out again. I am still not sure why my BP dropped that night in the hall.

I returned to work after six weeks. The student were still on summer break so it was a smooth transition back. My energy levels had returned and the weight I had lost was coming back.

Now four months later- its like the surgery never happened. I feel amazing! I don’t look pregnant anymore. My tummy is still swollen at the incision sight but the Doctor said that could take up to six months or so to go away. I feel no pain from the surgery although I have to be mindful of were my tummy is. From my belly button to the incision line there is a numb area. I do not feel hot or cold or anything touching my skin there. Some pants rub and make me a bit uncomfortable. My belly is a bit more swollen at night after working and doing things all day but i am back to all my regular activities. I am taking Zumba, I lift tires and the heavy garage door with my husband with ease. I am glad I had the surgery and hope everyone could have such a great experience. Minus the passing out spells! I can breathe easily again – literally!

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in my own words book coverNow available on our online store and all other online book store’s. In My Own Words: Women’s Experience of Hysterectomy is full of many other real-life stories from women the world over.

Other people’s stories help women feel less isolated. They show that they aren’t going mad, missing the point or stupid.

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