Tag Archives: hysterectomy
Today marks the one year anniversary of my hysterectomy. I am not sure how I feel about it really. It was just a day that I lost pieces of me. They may have been organs that were becoming dead tissue but they were still part of me. I am lucky that my “girlie bit” organs were the only organs I lost that day. The endometriosis had started to more to my kidneys and was all the way down covering my entire pelvic floor.
Besides the organs and other tissues they have removed from me in the last 1-1/2 years, I have realized that I have lost other pieces of me along the way.
I have lost the ability to really concentrate on knitting and have only completed a handful or projects.
I have lost my desire to get lost in a book, mainly because I am so tired by the time I pick one up that I fall asleep.
I have lost the ability to visit my parents, only 3 hours away, because I can not sit in a car that long.
I have lost the time going and doing and seeing with my husband because the pain was too intense.
I have most certainly lost friends because I can not go and “hang out” like I used to and they stopped calling to see how I was.
And sadly, I have lost real pieces of me – my personality – myself.
I am finally beginning to realize that I may not ever be without pain. It is hard to understand, accept and move on with life but that is what I am doing.
I have been through two (not so fun & expensive) caudal epidurals. They seem to help knock the pain down. I will take what I can get.
I just finished a knitting project – the first in months! I have also signed up for a knitting class that starts this weekend. I am really excited and looking forward to it.
I got a bike that I have gone on short bike rides with my husband. It is nice to be outside pedalling around like kids in the graveyard near our house.
I have not yet been to see my parents – but I am hoping to for the holidays *fingers crossed*
I have found the friends that are truly caring. They have been the ones that have checked and visited and called – and that is worth so much to me.
I am beginning to learn more about the person I am becoming from all of this. I have certainly been changed by all of this.
I may have lost so many pieces of me but I thinking I am starting to take some of the pieces back – and put together and beginning to see my puzzle of me.
Call the fire department because I am scorching the sheets!
In all my rush to get ready for my epidural in four days, I forgot to get one of my prescriptions – an important one. The one that keeps the “mean, hot times “anyway”.
At one point I was so hot and sweaty, I took my temperature – I just knew I was going to blow the end of the thermometer. It was 97.2.
It can’t last forever, right?
So the the day has been mainly wonderful! I have been able to do much more than I have been in such a long time. I actually got to go to my favorite yarn shop and SIT and knit for hours. I honestly have no memory of the last time I was able to do this. Granted there is still pain – but there seems to be a muzzle on the rabid beast.
I am trying not to get too excited, because I do not want to be crushed if it comes back. So, for the time being we are at status Cautiously and Hopefully Optimistic. (with all fingers and toes crossed; turning at sunrise 3 times west then 4 times east finishing by hopping backwards on one foot).
It was a big day. I am proud of myself, I am proud of my husband for still loving me, I am proud of my doctors (except for the part when they left me fanny naked up for way too long) – HELL I am proud of my furry babies for being so cute and cuddly.
I came home after my big day and napped. I didn’t want to push it. I will do what have done for the last year and half and take it easy tonight, This entails dinner at home. laying horizontal, maybe paint my nails and watching other people living their lives through the social media(s).
So – I was commenting on a friend/co-workers photo of his cat. The comments went something like this:
Me: “That is a happy cat”
Friend: “She is getting her tummy scratched”
Me: “Some ladies really like that”
AND this is where is gets ridiculous… And this also shows how brave the ignorant, immature and hateful can become behind a computer …
Errant Asshole: “Some Ladies aren’t even ladies because they had all their reproductive parts taken out”
Me: “Wow, that’s mature. At least I have more balls then you”
I mean – what are you to say about that? It is an obviously disgruntled formal employee dismissed from his position by another manager. He just happens to have a wide aim on his hatred gun. Usually my friends who are still in touch with him remove these kind of posts quickly. I know I should have let this one go – but I had to FIGHT LIKE A GIRL on this one for all my hyster sisters.
It is funny that people – but not surprising men – do not get that we are more then walking tits with reproductive organs tucked inside. There. It’s said.
And come ON – I was commenting on a freaking CAT PICTURE! Let me know if you want to step in the ring 😉
So, from my earliest recollection of hearing the word menopause it seemed to always be associated with “hot flash”. Well, I now know that menopause is one HELL of a lot more then that, but we will cover that at another time. Back the hot flashes.
So I knew that having a complete hysterectomy would be result in surgical menopause – so I immediately started preparing for the resulting hot flash catastrophe that would ensue immediately after my girlie bits were removed. I can not be positive since I was fairly mediated at the beginning, but I believe that I did not have my first hot flash until about 5 weeks into my recovery – and it was SO not what I was expecting.
It was shortly after my Four Little Words (when are you due) incident and I was out shopping at the Mall. It had been a great morning. I was out and feeling pretty good though still obviously healing. I had a coffee and a long over due visit to one my favorite stores (Yankee Candle – one of my little addictions). I shouldn’t push it – it was time to get out of the mall and back to being horizontal.
I had planned my parking to be the closet to the stores I wanted to visit and my escape route was directly through a large department store. I had just entered the store and realized they were getting their Christmas merchandise out (keep in mind this is early October). Let me warn you now, I really LOVE Christmas – it just instills visions of baked goods, joy and happiness into my little Grinch heart. So, I obviously need to find the strength to wander through what they have out for 5 minutes.
I quickly found this sweet little goat stuffed animal that sings “The Lonely Goatherd”… and it was 25% off. I had to have him. This stuffed animal was making me smile and laugh – two things I had not done in a very long time. I made my selection of the absolute best little goat and made my was through the holiday glitter to the check out stand. As the kind, older lady was ringing up my new little fella, I had the weirdest, most uncomfortable sensation start to swept through me. All of the sudden, I was freezing cold and had goose bumps all over – but – at the same time there was a smoldering inferno inside my chest and brain that burned so completely it make me cold.
I didn’t know what to do!
My internal monologue = Am I having heart attack or a stroke? Did I get some kind of Merca like infection I picked up at the hospital that is raging through my body? Did all my organs just suddenly flip out and change places?
As you can imagine, this entire internal monologue was running across my face. I realized that the kind, older lady was asking if I was ok – and I hadn’t answered. Finally I found some words and got out that I had just had a hysterectomy the month before and I thought something was wrong because I was freezing cold (I showed her my goose bumps) but I had this fire in my chest. By this point, she has walked around the stand and was slowly steering me to a little bench to sit down. Once she had me settled, she knelt in front of mewithher hand on my knee and said “You are just going through the change – and that is a hot flash”. Of course I knew she was wrong – I was supposed to be just really, really hot and sweating, right? Right? I voiced as much and she just calmly said:
“Your hormones don’t know what to do and now you just can’t regulate our temperature. Sometimes you are hot – sometimes you are cold. You had the cold one just now.”
Me internally = HOLY SHIT THIS SUCKS! Me out loud to the kind older lady = “Thank you, that wasn’t in any of my research”
She smiled and shook her head witha half laugh. She was on her way back to the cash register. I silently followed her and we finished up my silly goat purchase. Instead of the “Thank you and come back” – she said “It gets better honey”.
This was the beginning of realizing that there are a lot of things They don’t tell you.
Over the course of the last 11 months since my hysterectomy I have noticed changes almost daily – in my body and in my psyche. Every morning I wake up and take a deep breathe wondering what the day will bring. It is almost like waiting to see what the new features are going to be at the amusement park’s side show. Most noticeable to those around me are my extra 30 lbs (they all swear looks good on me) and my new found ability to cry at the drop of a hat.
It is hard to admit but I have always worn my heart on my sleeve. But since my hysterectomy it feels like I am wearing a “Susan’s on the edge” dress for all to see. This was never more evident to me then when I took an aptitude test before an interview for a new position at my office. I went through all the “pick a word” – this is that – map this graph – to figure out “what I was”. I really wasn’t thinking much about it as I went through it all as I had taken this test a few years ago and I was a something like “perfectionist with a side of analytical thinker”. As I continued to decipher the hidden meaning from the words I had chosen, it started to become clear things had changed. At one point I had to reveal a word that described me next to a number that correlated with some of the findings. This word was “emotional” – so – I immediately got upset and said out loud “No I Am NOT”. Of course this is the just one of several words, but obviously, things had changed.
This is just one of the many changes that have made me different. The shear experience makes me look at life differently. The things that upset people around me just seem so trivial. They just don’t seem to get it – there is so much for them to be thankful for and they seem to ignore it. I had always taken my health for granted. I had kidney stones and broken bones – I figured that would be the worst of it. I currently long for those days. I have had things done to my body in a doctor’s office that I would have thought would have to be done in an operating room. My body has become someone else’s at this point.
Menopause – I have said enough.
Every day seems to bring something new for me to notice; my hair is breaking, my skin has dry patches, I forget words when I am speaking, I have WAY more grey then I did a year ago and I have a HUGE wrinkle between my eyebrows. The one think that never changes – the pain, the pain is always there. I am thankful that the endometriosis is no longer strangling my large intestines and was pulled for me kidneys. I was just hoping for relief, just some. Maybe my personal side show would be easier to take then.
It doesn’t matter the day – I wake up and just lay and bed and wait – what new thing would come to light at my (un)amusement park today?
Having major surgery is scary. I tried to put on a “happy face” but I was scared, worried and maybe a smidge panicky by the time I was ready to go to my pre-op appointment at my surgeon’s office. I had a long list of questions for him and I was just ready to pounce the second he finished his due diligence discussion (or more aptly – just sign this in case I kill you). SO, I had my chance and I took it. I rattled off 3 weeks of research off in a flowing stream of questions that lasted about 5 full minutes. I am also pretty sure I did not take a breath.
After all my questions concerning what exactly would be taken out of me (and if I could keep it), bone loss, hormone therapy, endo resurgence, length of surgery, length of incision, length of hospital stays, pre-op meds, post op meds, tummy support, lifting restrictions and basic living restrictions were all taken care of I was told something I hadn’t ever crossed my mind:
“You may have some vaginal bleeding for up to 6 months but after that – you will no longer have a period”
Two words ran through my mind but did not pass my lips because I was sitting in the middle of a doctor’s office – HOT DAMN! This is the best news ever! I will not have to suffer every month like clock work.
I was so excited! Why hadn’t I ripped this stuff out of me sooner???? This is going to be the life – no cramps, cravings, headaches, bloating, backaches or the icky part we shall not discuss in mixed company. I could wear light colored pants/skirts without fear! Now I had something really great to look forward to after all this crap. No more monthly visits from Mother Nature!!! HOT DAMN!
Cut to almost a year later…. Next month I will be having my one year anniversary of my hysterectomy (currently, I do not have a party planned – yet). I may not have my period as I remember it – but what I have now is only cramps, cravings, headaches, bloating, backaches PLUS hot flashes. That is right – I GOT SCREWED! You’re right – I don’t have a period anymore – I have a faux period.
The doctor promises this will get better over time, and because of my younger age, and hormone balances and BLAH, BLAH, BLAH… I should eventually get throughwithall of this.
Screw you Mother Nature – you may have the last laugh now – but I am not spending any money on your expensive feminine products! TAKE THAT!
This week I will share with your three of my contastant companions that got me through my hysterectomy recovery. Let me just say that of course my wonderful husband was my knight in yada yada – but he had some helpers that made me smile. In order of age we have:
#1 – Echo, Physician’s Assistant. He not only had luminescent, x-ray eyes, but he was with me constantly Pictured here during a late night bed check.
#2 – Peanut Puppy, Nurse Maid and alerter to danger, both real and imagined. Nurse maiding is hard work per the pix.
#3 – Lucky No. 13, heating pad heater. They can’t take care of themselves.
I know that people may make fun of me and others that have such love for their animals – but they are part of my family. Not only has their companionship gotten me through my surgical recoveries – but also the knowledge that I will not birth my own children. These are my furry kids, I love them for everything they are and everything they can not be. They make me smile, laugh and love things that are beyond themselves.
They are my Three for Thursday this week and everyday!
I learned shortly after my first laparoscopy that I would need to have a hysterectomy. To be honest – I kind had the feeling that may be the case while in the recovery room after hearing the surgeon speaking with my husband
“…we are going to have to go back in and remove part of her large intestine too… With it this advanced it would have been painful for years – hasn’t she complained?” (I Told you it Hurt )
The bad news, I wouldn’t be able to move forward with that major surgery until my body had some time to heal from this surgery. The good news, I had lots and lots of time to think and worry about – every – minute – little – detail. It was great!
First TONS of research:
- Getting things I will not be able to live without for the hospital stay (which I don’t really remember – thank you dilaudid)
- Make sure that you “plan your space” to suit you best (I don’t really remember the first two week in “my space” – thank you dilaudid)
- Belts and packs to deal with pain and swelling (THIS I remember clear as a bell ringing across the frozen morning on the edge of Lake Michigan– dilaudid, you failed me here)
- Small basket on the bed with everything I could ever need (I just remember wanting the remote, iPhone and eating animal crackers – thanks again dilaudid)
Ok, I had done my research and recovery was going to be 6 weeks of catching up on knitting and novels. Needless to say – this was not at all the case. It turned out to be lots of pain and sleeping in 3 hour increments. There were many times I would just lay on my back and play solitaire on my phone until the images of the cards went blurry and the phone would drop out of my hands – thank you again dilaudid – you were my truest friend during the first 2 weeks of recovery.
Slowly, days started seeming more like days and not fuzzy blocks of time sandwiched between pain and sleep. I started watching and really paying attention to TV. By this time we were in to October. Martha Stewart starting making “Autumn Sprays withTwigs and Berries”, it was easy viewing, and easy viewing to fall asleep to.
There was a lot of sleeping during this recovery. The TV turned into the noise in which I used to make sure that I was not lonely during the day. It was at this stage I was startled from a sound afternoon’s nap by the most disturbing sounds and images a fuzzy mind could take…. Freddy VS Jason. It scared the crap out of me! I honestly jumped awake by something my stirring conscience freaked out about. Needless to say, the last thing a knifed abdomen wants to do is jump. Obviously, I had picked to have recovery at the wrong time of the year not to be scared to death from every nappy time.
I soon started surfing for a channel I could just leave the tv tuned to. I will not go through all the channels that failed – but instead share with you the one that worked – NFL Channel. The NFL Channel is golden for the person who does not want to be startled awake by Halloween programming, shock daytime talk shows, shopping networks, early morning paid programming, news with loud clips/and sad stories, soap operas and clapping Oprah audiences. Granted, you have to actually like pro football (which I do) and be able to ignore whistles. Other then that it is PERFECT!
I always know what I am going to get on the NFL Channel – and I will take it. There are no sad news stories, no paid programming, no one screaming at me – just sweet and easy football. It is truly the best reality tv – and I have never once seen Freddy or Jason!
I remember it well, the day last fall. It was getting cooler outside. It was like one day I had surgery in the Indian summer heat – and then I blinked – it was fall day and there were Halloween decorations everywhere. I had been “house bound” for just a little over a month and I was ready to get out. My big plans that beautiful fall day? I was going to surprise my husband with a treat and coffee from the Starbucks in the local Barnes & Nobles store. It was a HUGE thing for me! This was the first time I had left my house ALONE since the day before my surgery weeks and weeks ago.
It is not a long drive to the Barnes & Nobles from our house – maybe only 7 minutes if I got stuck at the lights. I was secretly hoping to get stuck at those lights so I could listen to my music, enjoy the breeze through the open windows and hear the birds chirping. Once I made it to the store I did some browsing since I felt that I had the strength. After about 10 minutes I decided not to push it… it was time to get the treats and then off to see my husband to surprise him.
I continue to look at books and doo-dads on my way to the dessert case. It was just after 11 am but there was quite a few people starting to order luncheon items and gather in the general area– I had made it just before the rush – I was so proud of myself! I was soon captivated by the dessert case – so shiny and bright and filled with delicious nummy good “bad for me” things! It was just so pretty! And then there was someone talking near me.
“When are you due?”
Oh – there must be a pregnant lady next to me. I have been so engrossed in the goody case I hadn’t noticed her come up. Good thing they don’t put these cases in my office while I am working! I would never get anything done for sure!
Then again, “When are you due?” This was then followed by a soft touch to my shoulder to get my attention.
Next came my internal monologue:
HOLY CRAPPERS! That question was for me!!! What the hell is going on? I am not pregnant! I just had a hysterectomy! I can’t have children! I will never have children! Who is this woman staring at me? Do I know her and I am too drugged to recognize her? No – I didn’t take anything this morning so I can make this trip. Why is she looking at me that way – so hopeful and smiling? Why is she now all bleary – OH CRAPPERS – I am tearing!! Quick – think quickly! Quick, quick, quick! And BE NICE!
Next came my external monologue (with a bright smile plastered on my face):
“Oh, sorry, I am not pregnant. I had a hysterectomy a month ago – what you see is the extensive swelling from my surgery. I can’t have children”. And I finished with that same smile on my face.
And then, something as unexpected as being asked when I was expecting happened. This woman started to cry – and apologize – profusely and continuously. It was at this exact moment 2 things happened at once:
- It was my turn to order
- The intake of air from the crowd around us sucked all the oxygen out of Barnes & Nobles
I felt bad I made her feel so badly. I feel even worse that she asked a question to a complete stranger, that she shouldn’t have (and that it was me). Maybe, jut maybe that whole ordeal would save another woman who had a bulbous belly region who would not have dealt as well. I just totally took one for the Hyster-Sister’s team! Go me!
I paid, waited for my order with a smile and made small talk about the beautiful weather, collected my items when they were prepared, walked out of the store with my head held high and with a smile on my face. I got to my car, placed the items on the floorboard of the back seat so they would not spill, sat down, put the keys in the ignition and then sat there, in the middle of the local Barnes & Nobles parking lot, crying.
All from four little words.