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My total hysterectomy for fibroids – Maxine’s Story

Although I am 54 I had exactly the same. I am 9 weeks post op & don’t feel any different a person for having all my bits removed! I am rid of pain & bleeding which is wonderful & so nice to walk through the women’s needs aisle in the shops as I have no need for any of it anymore. I feel liberated.

After the op, I too had very bad trapped wind & was told by most people (family & friends) to take mint tea, mints, fruit amongst other things. I had a night where the wind pain was moving around & through my chest & shoulder, I actually thought I was having a heart attack. Next day I went the Dr’s & was told not to eat or drink anything minty or eat fruit. Eat lots of natural yogurt, rice, potatoes, porridge, which I did religiously for a week & everything started to move & go naturally. I now eat fruit & am fine with it but not to eat it was such good advice at the beginning as it was just bloating me out even more. I drank mainly water but no alcohol or fizzy drinks for 2 weeks. Walked around which helped a lot too.

I had my total hysterectomy early Friday morning & on Sunday the Dr on duty that day said I looked too well for someone who only had it done couple of days ago would I like to go home. I went home & slept 24/7 for first week, I really can’t remember anything but considering I was being told its a major,major op, I cannot see what all the fuss was about. I was very nervous going in to have my op but I had had a few small day surgery ops & a particular nurse who had the same problems as me and had a hysterectomy herself at age 38 was so understanding, gave me lots of advice and helped to calm any fears I had. When I woke up after the big op I just kept waiting for the pain to kick in (it didn’t) and the bleeding to start (it didn’t), got up to walk the next day & was told I was doing so well because I wasn’t bent over or holding my tummy which most people do after this op. I was more bent over & holding my tummy with pain before the op!

The only problem I had after the op was instead of blood draining through the tube into the bottle I was loosing blood from the actual drain site which was more annoying than anything but the nurses got it sorted by taking the drain out & putting a stoma bag over the incision.

I am 9 weeks post op and feel really good. I can do everything I could before & Only when I stand too long I get a dragging feeling low in my stomach. I wander if my internal organs are having a moving party now there is more room inside my abdomen!

I was never able to have children due to severe endometriosis and poly-cystic ovaries, so my periods were very painful every month & some months was all I could do just lay on the bed. I started to be peri menopausal when I was in my early 40’s, I started HRT but periods were still very heavy & caused clots, 2 years ago I developed fibroids & polyps, a year ago the fibroids were so big and growing in a position that distorted my womb into a banana shape & also grew on the top of my cervix making it impossible for my surgeon to get in to do any biopsy. My surgeon felt things could not be left as it was & we both agreed hysterectomy was the only answer. It has been the best decision ever & last week I got my lab results which showed it was all benign which is another great relief & made me even happier that I had made the right decision.

I have hot flushes but they don’t last so long and not as many, I am waiting to see what oestrogen my surgeon recommends at the end of this month but this is mainly for my bones as I have severe juvenile chronic rheumatoid arthritis.

For anyone out there contemplating a total hysterectomy there is a good life after it.

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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.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. I had my subtotal hysterectomy on 21 Dec 2015 – NHS treatment in a private hospital. It was superb beginning to end. I suffered with a large fibroid, anaemia, and declining health and the scan results were pretty clear in so far as a hysterectomy was necessary to improve my well-being. My consultant initially suggested a total hysterectomy and, knowing little difference, I did not question it at the time. However, using this website for the basis of my research, I questioned against having my cervix removed on the morning of my op. It was agreed that this reduces the risk of the op itself, simplifies the procedure, but does not remove the need for future smears. We also agreed that if my cervix looked healthy to leave it intact. It did and so I still have it. Pre-op, I also expressed concern about the postoperative scar, adhesions, and the importance to me of regaining a flat stomach, where possible. No-one made me feel silly but instead took every care to address my concerns. Post-op; my stitches were removed today and the scar is barely visible. Also, the consultant informed me that he had taken extra precautions against the risk of adhesions, and I believe he has done a really great job. This is still early days for me but from the moment I came round from the anaesthetic, I felt better than I had for a very long time. Yes, it is a major op and, yes, the first few days are not comfortable but these are manageable with pain relief. So far, so good, and everyday feels better. Finally, 3 practical tips – buy the support knickers from this site (could live in them permanently), buy a heat pad (miniature electric blanket – so,so wonderful in the first week), keep away from anyone with a cold before and after the op – sneezing and exhaustion is the pits!

  2. Hi Maxine, good to hear a positive story 9 weeks on. I am just 2 weeks post hysterectomy and the only major pain is wind. Interesting to hear about the natural yogurt, rice, potatoes, porridge etc I’m also taking a probiotic supplement and agree that drinking lots of water helps enormously.

  3. I too had a TAH, BSO just over 3 months ago now & have been one of the fortunate ones in having a recovery free of complications, despite a long delay (~3yrs) in diagnosis, & the mass nearly being missed on ultrasound scan as the GP having palpated an abdominal lump had requested my abdomen be scanned not my pelvis.
    The highlights in my medical treatment have come from those practitioners who allowed their compassion to influence their knowledgeable care & the sonographer was the first example of that. Thankfully she was sensible & obliging & did not send me back to the GP to get the correct form filled out before agreeing to look at my pelvis too, because she found a large mass which did not look like the average fibroid.

    Due to the delayed diagnosis, the prospect of a long delay before being seen by the surgeons at my local DGH & the worrying ultrasound result, & being in the fortunate position of having private medical insurance I elected to go private.

    The first gynae consultant I saw repeated the ultrasound & without alarming me but also without fully informing me of the extent of his concerns regarding a potential malignancy, referred me to the multi disciplinary team at the referral hospital for the area, stating only that the mass was large & in such circumstances it was common practice to get the MDT’s opinion.
    However I had realised that there was reason for concern & Jacqui, the medical secretary for the new gynae consultant was so kind & re-assuring & so efficient that she made all the difference in my being able to cope with being referred to an oncology surgeon.
    In less than a week following referral she had organised a MRI scan for me & it was reviewed by the MDT, & I had received a call from the surgeon who without mentioning his concerns that the mass might be malignant gently but firmly told me it needed to be removed, & he gave me the option of returning to the NHS for my subsequent care or continuing to be treated privately by him. Because I had already paid the insurance excess & in order to ensure consultant level treatment & anaesthetic, & to expedite removal of the mass I again elected the private route.

    When I met the surgeon he discussed the possibility of malignancy based on the boggy fatty appearance of the fibroid & that I would need a full laparotomy because of its size (20cm), he reassured me that it appeared to be contained in the uterus with no spread to my bowels & he was very open & patient with regard to answering all of my questions but with all that going on we never discussed whether the ovaries were to be spared or not.
    It wasn’t until my pre op visit that I realised I was to have a BSO as well & I was so anxious to get rid of this intruder in my body that I agreed to the proposed surgery without even considering how radical removing my ovaries was, far less researching my options. I simply wanted rid of anything that might put me at risk but as it is an irreversible decision which I subsequently questioned I would definitely advise ladies to at least ask why it is advisable in their unique situation for their ovaries to come out when they discuss their surgery with their consultant.
    Instead I concentrated on getting as fit as possible & on loosing a few kg’s in the few weeks before my surgery was scheduled to try & limit my increased anaesthetic risk due to my obesity.
    Work were surprisingly supportive of my need for unplanned annual leave to get my head around the enormity of what was happening to me followed by my extended sick leave & this gave me motivation to get back for my phased return at 8 weeks post op instead of the 3 months the surgeon had cautioned me to expect.
    In the hospital professional & friendly staff treated me but 2 lovely nurses in particular made the experience a positive one. The admitting nurse saw how very scared I was & somehow made the time to stay with me after handing me over to the theatre staff to chat while the rather taciturn anaesthetist jabbed me several times placing his arterial line, drips & epidural & only left as they were about to put me to sleep. Her colleague on the afternoon shift sternly gaurded me against my anxious rellies wearing me out & the night nurse was superb! Kind, re-assuring, efficient, experienced, including me in my care decisions – I felt like I was safe to sleep with her watching out for me & was very glad she was around for my first 3 nights post op.
    At my pre op visit I was dissapointed when I was told I was to have an epidural as I wanted to be up & walking asap post op but it turned out to be wonderful! I was so comfortable despite chronic back pain because of it, apart from the 15 minutes in recovery immediately post op while they titrated the dose to my pain, & on day 3 post op when they stopped it I moved across to oral painkillers with no problems. They wanted to remove my catheter on the evening of D2 but I asked the nurse to do it the following morning instead so I could sleep without worrying about having to use a bedpan, the mere thought of which had me in (hormone induced) tears! With the epidural out I could mobilise on day 3 & despite discomfort toilet myself. I could also start the pelvic floor exercises the physio had discussed with me & the following day after a welcome shower do some walking. Surgical expertise, the support of friends & family & walking has been my route to a good recovery. I have modified my diet to counter the early gumming up effect of the opioid meds by ensuring regular bowel actions, cut down on excessive fat intake, ensured sufficient protein & vitamin intake for wound healing & have lost 15 kg as a result. Thankfully, despite the scary appearance of my fibroid it was benign !!! The path report also showed undiagnosed adenomyosis & also some endometriosis attached to the L ovary with that Fallopian tube stretched to double the length of the right one so I am now at peace with loosing it. With research showing ovarian cancer to be silent & thus difficult to diagnose, frequent failure of ovaries within 5 yrs post hysterectomy & my age of 47 I have come to the conclusion that although effects of menopause are scary the surgeons decision to remove both ovaries was reasonable in my case.
    This site & others like it have been invaluable in reducing worry & guiding me through the discomforts of recovery such as bladder tug, swellybelly & ongoing abdominal discomfort which apparently can continue for as long as 6 months post op so thank you Linda & all the ladies who post. Writing about my own experience has been cathartic too.

    1. Maxine, so glad to read your encouraging blog. I am awaiting surgery for tah and rectocele repair on the 22nd March. I am a 57 year old lady so having my ovaries removed is not too important hormone wise. I am also an ex nurse and it was so lovely to hear that you felt safe and protected by your lovely night nurse.
      So glad to hear that your fibroids were benign, had a similar experience ,except my doctors felt I may have had endometrial cancer, luckily biopsies shoed a healthy lining.
      Continue to get healthy and enjoy a happy life, lovely informative story.

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