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I’m about to lose it…

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…my uterus, I mean.

Yep. My girly bits are getting the old heave-ho.

And, to be honest, I’m not going into this as gung-ho as I thought I would be.

I’m 42. I have four kids, the youngest of whom is 14. It’s not like losing my uterus means I can no longer have children, because my tubes were tied, cut, burned, and braided into a belt long ago. So, it’s not like I’m grieving the lost opportunity to have children, because that’s not the issue.

"Uterus Plush Toy"

I Heart Guts

So, for all intents and purposes, I don’t need my uterus, no matter how cute it might be. Not for further childbearing, anyway. But still, there’s something nagging at me, like a feeling of loss.

About a year ago, I started experiencing pelvic pain. And there seemed to be no rhyme nor reason to the pain, which has been debilitating and overwhelming my life. After biopsies and tests and ultrasounds and MRIs and a hysteroscopy (which was a real treat), there was still no answer — and no relief.

I was given two “options” by two different doctors: either start taking Lupron, which would put my body in a false menopause (no thank you), which may or may not resolve the issue, or a hysterectomy. I was not too keen on the idea of taking Lupron, which is actually a medication used to treat advanced prostate cancer, for the purpose of reducing estrogen production.

When I got my third opinion (yes, third), the doctor thought that the hysterectomy was the way to go. Which brings us to the present. About 36 hours away from the snip and snatch. The goal — which I consider optimistic, given what a medical anomaly I tend to be — is that only my uterus will be removed and it will be done vaginally with likely laparoscopic assistance. That’s considered a “partial hysterectomy,” like so…

"Hysterectomy Type"

credit

So this means that I’ll be in the hospital for at least one night…and will be recovering at home for at least a few weeks. Of course, I just read on Medline that “it will take at least 3 to 6 weeks to feel better.” What? The doctor said I’d be back to normal (whatever the hell normal is) in two weeks!

Of course, sometimes a hysterectomy turns into an abdominal hysterectomy, which entails a 5- to 7-inch scar in your abdomen so that your uterus (and possibly other parts of your reproductive system) can be removed. Hopefully that won’t happen.

I shouldn’t be freaking out, right? Hysterectomies are the second most common surgical procedure performed in the United States. One in 3 women have a hysterectomy by age 60. And more than half of all hysterectomies are performed on women between 35 and 49. I’m in the majority here. That’s a good thing!

So why don’t I feel so good?

Well, according to one source, up to 75% of hysterectomies wind up being performed as abdominal hysterectomies. Oh. My. God. Believe it or not, a number of sources claim that this is the most common form of hysterectomy because it costs less and requires less surgical skill. Sweet fancy Moses. I’ve never had a C-section, so I don’t know what this entails. Nor do I want to. There are also risks, like any surgery…blood clots, internal bleeding, infection, damage to other organs (like the bladder and bowel), and death. Death.

Death. Approximately 1 in 1,000 women die following a hysterectomy.

"Female Reproductive Organs Diagram"

medicinenet.com

OK, stop hyperventilating. I’m not gonna die. I’m only having a hysterectomy. The doctor is only removing that little, itty bitty organ — and when you look at it in relation to the rest of my body, it doesn’t seem like much of a big deal. Plus, everybody keeps telling me that it’s not a big deal.

Except, it feels like a big deal. My doctor was very encouraging, pointing out all the benefits of this procedure — how I’d never get my period again (admittedly, that’s a perk) and that I’d never need a Pap smear again (which means he’s taking my cervix as well). Pap smears don’t really bother me, but not being able to get cervical cancer is a nice plus.

These perks don’t do much in the way of making me feel good about this whole experience. Of course, there’s the pain and the recovery period, neither of which will be a walk in the park. Hell, I don’t even walk in the park on a good day already, so you can understand why I’m a tad on the Nervous Nelly side.

And yet, there’s something else that keeps nagging at me. I keep coming back to that sense of loss, of not just a body part, naturally, but of a part of me.

7 comments to I’m about to lose it…

  • Crystal Wonitoy

    Sorry you’re going through this. I had a total hysterectomy about a year ago due to cancerous cells on my cervix and a positive test for HPV, which made me high risk for cervical cancer to progress.

    The surgery wasn’t so bad, but make sure you take advantage of the pain meds – don’t try to tough it out and only take them when it hurts – take them the every four hours to stay on top of the pain.

    I don’t know where you read that so many laparascopic surgeries turn into abdominal, from what I understand that is a small risk, but if it helps any, my hysterectomy hurt just as much as my c-section recoveries, so it’s really all the same to you!

    Best of luck! I’m sure everything will go great!

  • Kathy Robertson

    Hey, Kristin! I had my uterus removed about 5 years ago due to fibroids. It went sooo smoothly, and it was the best thing I’d ever done. Mine was an abdominal surgery, and yes I have the big grin under my belly. It healed up quickly. I know how you feel about wondering what it will be like to have something taken out of your body. This was the 1st surgery I’d ever had and had never been in the hospital…I was 53 at the time. I was afraid of everything going wrong, too. But then I decided to relax, realize that so many people have undergone this surgery with no problems, so why was I going to be the only one who had terrible complications?? I stayed in the hospital for 2 days, had some discomfort/pain for 2 nights where I couldn’t sleep (for which they gave me pain meds that worked great), and only took Advil the 1st night I came home…no more pain med after that. The worst part was the nausea the next morning after the surgery where I couldn’t eat the nice breakfast they brought me! But that went away that day. The point I’m trying to make is that I didn’t feel in any way like a different person with my uterus gone…not at all. I was really just amazed that I didn’t have that much pain for having something cut out of my body!! LOL! I guess our bodies are pretty good at healing quickly. Do you know about the site HysterSisters? They are really great there in answering questions and being supportive…I highly recommend you take a look over there. My best to you, my dear, and I’m sure all will go well for ya!!

    • Thanks so much for sharing this, Kathy!! I’m trying to relax…and hope for the best. I’m kind of an old pro at surgeries, so I don’t know why this one is bothering me. I guess that’s why it’s bothering me…the fact that it’s bothering me.

      I know I’ll manage (I’ve had three surgeries in May and June), so I’m not anxious over the thought of surgery itself…I don’t know, I just can’t put my finger on it.

      Hopefully a few months from now, I’ll be laughing at all this. Hopefully.

  • Well I don’t know what its like to have a hysterectomy, but I do know what it is like to have 2 c-sections. I’ll tell you, its not fun getting up and down. Those muscles in your abdomen that no one thinks about do hurt after abdominal surgery. Sometimes even sneezing, laughing or coughing hurts. It did with me. I kept telling my husband not to make me laugh because it hurt too much. Anyway. I wish you the best of luck, but totally have a plan to have someone help you out for a few weeks!
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  • Donna George

    Haven’t done it, sweetie, but I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  • jerinafrz

    Always keep in mind you are what you eat and if you feed your body the right fuel you can improve your general and sexual health. The above natural herbs have been used for thousands of years to improve sexual health and in addition, they also improve overall levels of wellness at the same time.

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