i had a hysterectomy 8 weeks ago. i'm 23... but i do have 2 beautiful kids... but what i was wondering, is if anyone had odd feelings after.. i've never really had a problem with myself image wise, but after this surgery it's like i can;t stand to look at myself anymore... it's out of character for me because i've always been "fat and happy"... now it's a completely different story. also,i don't feel desired by my husband, i don't feel like a woman anymore if that makes sense to anyone. i can't even change in front of my husband anymore... its like they took my self esteem with my uterus... can someone give me any insight?
I could copy and paste your reply in my journal ... word for word. I am almost 4 weeks post op, and I have had the exact same feelings. Prior to the surgery I was saddened that my reproductive days were over, but like you I also have 2 beautiful children. Immediately after the surgery I was just happy that I'd gotten through it all. The day that I left the hospital, all the feelings that you describe hit me too. I've spoken to a number of other women who have had the same procedure, and the general thought amoung them is that your hormones are completely out of whack (if you still have your ovaries and are producing them) and that this is a normal stage of the process, like grieving a loss, that will lessen over time.
I was telling my cousin how I was feeling ... and she e-mailed me this:
After reading your email it gave me the urge to send you some information that can help you understand the process of loss, and what you are currently experiencing. These are some of the things I have learned in my counseling classes.
Coping with Grief, and Loss
What is Grief?
Grief occurs in response to the loss of someone or something. It can be sudden or expected; however, individuals are unique in how they experience this event. Grief, itself, is a normal and natural response to loss. There are a variety of ways that individuals respond to loss. Some are healthy coping mechanisms and some may hinder the grieving process. It is important to realize that acknowledging the grief promotes the healing process. Time and support facilitate the grieving process, allowing an opportunity to appropriately mourn this loss.
Common Reactions to Loss:
Individuals experiencing grief from a loss may choose a variety of ways of expressing it. No two people will respond to the same loss in the same way. It is important to note that phases of grief exist; however, they do not depict a specific way to respond to loss. Rather, stages of grief reflect a variety of reactions that may surface as an individual makes sense of how this loss affects them. Experiencing and accepting all feelings remains an important part of the healing process.
· Denial, numbness, and shock
· This serves to protect the individual from experiencing the intensity of the loss.
· Numbness is a normal reaction to an immediate loss and should not be confused with "lack of caring".
· Denial and disbelief will diminish as the individual slowly acknowledges the impact of this loss and accompanying feelings.
· At times, individuals may ruminate about what could have been done to prevent the loss.
· Individuals can become preoccupied about ways that things could have been better, imagining all the things that will never be.
· This reaction can provide insight into the impact of the loss; however, if not properly resolved, intense feelings of remorse or guilt may
hinder the healing process.
· After recognizing the true extent of the loss, some individuals may experience depressive symptoms.
· Sleep and appetite disturbance, lack of energy and concentration, and crying spells are some typical symptoms.
· Feelings of loneliness, emptiness, isolation, and self-pity can also surface during this phase, contributing to this reactive depression.
· For many, this phase must be experienced in order to begin reorganizing one’s life.
· This reaction usually occurs when an individual feels helpless and powerless.
· Feelings of resentment may occur toward one’s higher power or toward life in general for the injustice of this loss.
· After an individual acknowledges anger, guilt may surface due to expressing these negative feelings.
· Again, these feelings are natural and should be honored to resolve the grief.
· Time allows the individual an opportunity to resolve the range of feelings that surface.
· The grieving process supports the individual. That is, healing occurs when the loss becomes integrated into the individual’s set of life
· Individuals may return to some of the earlier feelings throughout one’s lifetime.
· There is no time limit to the grieving process. Each individual should define one’s own healing process.
· Factors that may hinder the healing process:
· Avoidance or minimization of one’s emotions.
· Use of alcohol or drugs to self-medicate.
· Use of work (overfunction at workplace) to avoid feelings.
· Guidelines that may help resolve grief
· Allow time to experience thoughts and feelings openly to self.
· Acknowledge and accept all feelings, both positive and negative.
· Use a journal to document the healing process.
· Confide in a trusted individual; tell the story of the loss.
· Express feelings openly. Crying offers a release.
· Identify any unfinished business and try to come to a resolution.
· Bereavement groups provide an opportunity to share grief with others who have experienced similar loss.
· If the healing process becomes too overwhelming, seek professional help.
I had a LAP hysterectomy 3 months ago. Everything gone but the Ovaries.
I have (still am) feeling strange, maybe even depressed. Once I started
reading about other woman feeling this way its was a big relief. I'm also
surprised at how long its taken me to feel normal again. (which hasn't
happened yet). Mostly bowel problems which is also common. So no,
you are not the only one feeling strange.. I'm also surprised because
since the ovaries are still in, I didn't think I'd feel any hormonal reactions,
but I think thats what it is!.So, as time goes on, I'm sure you'll be feeling
better and better..! At least we still have the ovaries and don't have to
worry about menapause at the moment!
The e-mail helped me in that I know that what I am going through has a process, that it IS normal. Talking to other women like you has been the biggest help though, because I know that I'm not the only one feeling like this. Although you have a few weeks over me in terms of physical recovery, it's still very early days I think for all the emotional feelings that come with this procedure. I'm almost 39, and still it hit me very hard. I felt very different somehow after I had my surgery, like I had lost something that made me essentially a woman. Does that make sense? When I was growing up, all the women that I knew that had had hysterectomies were women in their 50's (and forgive me, because I'm sure if I were 50 ... I would be experiencing the same feelings) so in my minds eye, this was a procedure that women didn't need to have at 'my time' in life - I felt like somehow my body had betrayed me, and I felt like I must stick out like a sore thumb. I've chastized myself for feeling like that, because I already know that I feel MUCH better for having the procedure, and that as time goes on - God willing, I'm going to feel even better. For many women - it has saved their lives! Having said that though, you cannot help how you feel. You definately aren't alone though *hug* How are you feeling today?
'Bit Worried' I also didn't know that I would still be affected by my hormones - I didn't even give it much thought. Actually, a woman I work with asked me about that befiore my surgery, and I did answer her that "yes" I suppose I still would have the same hormone surges that I would normally experience. It's quite a different story when you actually experience them though - I guess they're sort of on overload right now.
I'm starting to feel a little better about everything. i never thought about the horomones myself either, still having my ovaries. my doctor also said it was nothing to worry about. i had a number of issues going on before it all hit and i dont think i had a chance to go through all of it before i had the surgery. in may of last year, i had to have a biopsy done... a week later my husband and i found out i was pregnant.. i contacted my doctor immediatley and she flipped out, so that didn't help. she sent me for an ultra sound and one every week until they knew how the biopsy had effected it. the ultrasound showed that i was pregnant with twins. a day later i lost one.. they did another ultrasound and said that the remaining baby was a healthy 7 week old baby and that everything should be fine. boy, where they wrong. i bled every night for a week, and the doctor on call for my reg dr said it was normal. well, that saturday night it was all over. i went to the hospital because the bleeding was just horrible. and there it was.. i lost both twins. essentially, it seemed to my husband and i that they had been inadvertantly (sp?) aborted. i kept bleeding after the d&c. she put me on meds, gave me a month or two and we could try again. ( my husband and i have 4 boys between us, none of which together) well, it didn't happen. nothing helped. she finaly sent me to another doctor who found that when she did the d&c, she left part of the placenta. infection city. he did another d&c and said it should be fine. again, wrong. it kept happening and they did another surgery where they pretty much boiled out my uterus. that didn't work either. next surgery, they tied my tubes. still didn't work. i finally gave up. i told him if he didn't just take it out, i'd find someone else who would. he finally did and took everything but my ovaries. i feel relieved when i pass the feminine aisle in the store but at the same time i felt as if a big piece of my was/is missing. i think that was a lot of my problem. i never had time to grieve. other than that, it was about myself and image and all that... i've started taking a green tea pill and it has helped some. i'm not as down, but i'm still very moody at times (per my husband ) i'm so glad i can talk to people about it, it also has made me feel a lot better about it.
Oh my goodness I'm so sorry for all you've been through. I can't imagine what an emotional rollercoaster that must have been for you. I'm sorry for the loss of your twins, how devastating for both you and your husband. I am glad that you are starting to feel better, both physically and emotionally. I still feel down sometimes, but I keep reminding myself that it is normal to feel like this, and I don't suppress it. Take care.
Thank you! I still get down sometimes as well... its more of a self image thing for me at this point... my horomones have kind of started to even out i think. i hope anyway! theyve been up and down it seems like forever. i have found though that taking a green tea pill every day has seemed to help. not sure why, but it was recommended to me so i tried it. my husband says he can see a big difference. i hope you get to feeling better quickly!
Hi, I know exactly how you are feeling. I am 45 and had a complete hysterectomy 5 years ago. Since then I have been having a lot of different
feelings. Sometimes I feel empty inside. Kind of maybe a hollow feeling. Then
sometimes I have feelings of depression. But I would rather feel these things
than to be having all that pain from before. I can deal with the feelings of the
depression, but the pain was worst of all. I have to take medication for the
depression and it helps. I had fibrioid tumors. That's why I had to have the
surgery. But these feelings that you have will come and go they won't be
with you always. I have good days and bad, but since the surgery, mostly good. I also have hot flashes to this day, but that will go away too. I hope
you feel better soon.
Hi, ladies. I had a total hysterectomy ten years ago this August. I was 28 and had never given birth. Obviously, I never will. Because everything was taken, I had to begin HRT. This was a nightmare at first, but it didn't take too long to get worked out. My recovery was a nightmare in its own rite, as my incision (laparotomy) busted open. Emotionally, I was trying to deal with my tremendous loss, so needless to say, I really resented having to put up with an operation gone awry. The incision finally closed up but not without trapping some fluid that became an infected mess. I had to go back to the hospital to be re-cut, cleaned, then stapled up again. Finally, all healed -- physically, that is. Throughout this process of trying to get healed, I found myself thinking that I wasn't worth all this post-op effort. Then, once all was repaired, I realized I was profoundly grateful to the doctor for making it all better. Wait a minute. While it was simply a mistake, I'm sure, he's the one who had done something incorrect in the first place. I realized sometime later that, in that first bit of time, I saw myself as a "less than" because I was "no longer a woman". Of course, neither of these things is true, but you couldn't make me believe that at the time. I think I understand now that what I thought then -- and for some time following -- is that everyone knew. Everyone knew that my body was incapable of producing life. This was also not true. The facts of the matter are: very few know of my inability to have a child; those who do know were and are very supportive; I have two beautiful children via adoption; I don't have to plan vacations around my periods. All of this is to say that we give our uterus (plural, "uteri"? ) way too much power. Nobody ever saw your uterus, anyway. What they can see is the way you choose to handle the challenge before you. Lean on those closest to you, and let them help you. I promise: they won't be spending every minute in disbelief that you don't have a uterus. For a while, you'll be spending every minute thinking that way, but just remind yourself that it's you seeing the "old you" as a walking uterus. The person on whom your leaning still sees the beautiful you he/she has always seen.
Hi ladies, yes you are lucky (i know that seems a strange word to use probably) but I mean that in the nicest of ways, i had a full abdominal hysterectomy in January this year (2006) at 41 due to a large mass on my right ovary, which they thought could be cancerous, so i had everything removed. After a week in hospital i felt about 60! (no offence to 60 year olds!) but i felt all out of sorts, but relieved more than anything as i too have a gorgeous 14yr old daughter and wonderful husband. I have recovered really well and am very fit now and have changed my whole lifestyle, i have a multi gym, i weight train, i run and swim and am now working on my abs (may take a while though apparenytly) but no labido though hehehe but hot flushes etc are still present, but found that concentrating on something positive like getting fit, made me less likely to dwell on the 'what could have been' if i had kept my other ovary etc. Apparently it is a slow process mentally for a lot of ladies, and physically for many too, but if we can find something positive to focus on i feel, and chat to like like in here, then hopefully we can all get better and feel better sooner and even sort out the hormone imbalance too. I am on Natural Progesterone now thanks to research I had to do, and then told my Drs thats what i wanted instead of the darned HRT he put me on, with awful side effects and things are getting better by the day. can't wait to get rid of all water retention and extra weight i still have around my middle, so slowly and surely we'll all get there, and i wish you all the best of luck and keep smiling ladies. Fi, UK.