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Hysterectomy scheduled...nervous, with questions

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Old 08-21-2008, 12:47 PM   #1
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nannie8 HB User
Hysterectomy scheduled...nervous, with questions

I have a hysterectomy scheduled for September 17th. I have no qualms about getting one; in fact I'll be happy to be rid of my problems.

I have, according to my gynecologist, an EXTREMELY enlarged uterus. She said she has never seen one so large on a woman who has never had children. (I am 42 years old and don't want children).

I have fibroids and a very thickened endometrium. She said my uterus was full of tissue. She did an ultrasound, a hysteroscopy and a biopsy and it was benign, so no cancer.

My symptoms (over many years) have been the following:
Unbearably painful, debilitating periods. The pain is so bad that I miss work, 800 mg Motrins barely take the edge off and I even had to ask for painkillers last time (and I hate painkillers). They didn't even help. The pain interrupts my sleep and sometimes I can't do anything but lay there and cry. I also get weak and tired feel terrible every month.

I get cramps several days before and after my period as well.

My periods are extremely irregular; I skip months sometimes and sometimes my periods last 10 or 11 days. I have a large amount of clotting during every period and heavy bleeding.

My lower abdomen is swollen all the time and I look a few month's pregnant.

I am happy to be getting rid of all this misery, but I'm nervous about the surgery and not sure what to expect. She has to do the abdominal surgery because it is too large to do vaginally or with a scope. I'm 42, in pretty good health, fairly active (I ride my bike, hike, etc.). My diet is pretty good. I'm about 10 pounds overweight. I do smoke, but I want to try to quit a few weeks before surgery as recommended. I have a VERY slight pulmonary CO2 and O2 exchange could be better (from scar tissue) and I worry about anesthesia because I know it diminishes lung capacity. I'm a scaredy cat!! That's my biggest fear, the anesthesia! I need to calm down about that. Also, how is the pain, how long will I not be able to be up and around, etc. What is the incision like? The scarring? How long until you can be sexually active again? My doctor can tell me all of these things, but I'd also like to hear from women who have gone through it.

I would appreciate any information I can get. I want to be prepared for all of this when it happens and I don't want to be so nervous anymore.

I've been reading so many horror post-op stories on here that I am a nervous freaked out that my stomach hurts.

Thanks so much.

Last edited by nannie8; 08-21-2008 at 02:35 PM. Reason: More information

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Old 08-21-2008, 04:25 PM   #2
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Re: Hysterectomy scheduled...nervous, with questions

Hi Nannie! I'm sorry to hear about your history with your periods. That sounds miserable.

Did your doctor tell you how large your uterus is?

I had an LAVH (laparoscopically assited vaginal hyst) in June. Healing time is 4-6 weeks, but personally I think there are so many stages to healing that it is strange to put time limits on it. I am returning back to work at 8 weeks, but could have done it at 5. I'm a teacher, so I was fortunate to have my hyst early enough to give me lots of recovery time.

I stayed in the hospital for 2 nights. They got me out of bed the day after surgery. I didn't drive until 2 weeks postop. It took 3 weeks or so before I could sit up for more than an hour. At 8 weeks postop I still get sore and tired from sitting or standing too long.

I've read that recovery for abdominal hyst is about 2 weeks longer than for LAVH.

I hope that helps!

Old 08-26-2008, 05:33 PM   #3
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Re: Hysterectomy scheduled...nervous, with questions

Nannie please don't be so nervous.

Everyone's experience is different, and the best way for this to go smoothly, is for you to be positive. Stress is horrible on the body, not to mention, your recovery.

I had a total hysterectomy, abdominally, in January, 2008 and am doing fine. I'm 40, with no kids, overweight, and have acute rheumatoid arthritis so getting around isn't the easiest for me anyway.

We planned on keeping one of my ovaries so my hormone levels could still be regulated naturally, but once inside, doc said it had to go.

The hardest things for me were getting in and out of bed. Yes, they will make you get out of bed and walk around. Yes, it will hurt, but surprisingly it didn't hurt to walk around as much as I thought it would. Maybe 5 on a scale of 10. Getting in an out of bed hurt worse, because you tend to use your stomach muscles to do this. Have someone assist you in moving your legs up to the bed from the floor. My husband helped me with this for about a week or so after I got home, but I had a bad hip at the time as well.

I had bad stomach pains in the hospital and for hours we couldn't figure out what it was. Pain level 9. Turned out to be gas. Once I started farting, I felt ALOT better. Hint, hint, stool softener should be your best friend. Trying to get things out with stomach muscles that have been cut isn't easy.

Other than that, there isn't much to fear. Don't worry about the anesthesia. I have issues with anesthesia and tend to throw up after surgery. Yeah, I did that too. Throwing up is HORRIBLE when your stomach has been cut. Zofran is a good drug for that. If you tend to get neausous from pain killers, discuss this with your anesthesiologist at your pre-op appt. They can help you with that during and after surgery.

At my follow up visit after surgery, we discussed hormones because I was having bad hot flashes, and I started taking the lowest dose of Premarin. It worked. But I had to stop taking it due to the fact that my mom had breast cancer when she was 44, and that puts me (40) in a very high risk category. I still get hot flashes, but they aren't as severe. I've done some research on line and made some changes in my diet. I also keep a small battery operated fan I bought at Walmart nearby at work when one starts.

Just so you know, I'm laying in bed recovering from my secon major surgery this year. The first was the hysterectomy, now I'm two weeks into the recovery of my total hip replacement surgery.

Oh, wear loose fitting clothes for a few weeks after your surgery, have some frozen meals on hand in the freezer so you don't have to cook, and plenty of fluids.

This will be the beginning of a life without surprise periods, pain, and better nights of sleep. You'll have to wait a couple of weeks before you can sleep on your side. I kept a small pillow under my belly to help support it.

good luck,

Old 08-31-2008, 08:29 AM   #4
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Loryj17 HB User
Re: Hysterectomy scheduled...nervous, with questions

I can relate to that! I also have fibroids, one of them is 12 cm now. they say I need a hyst but I 'm scared about anaesthesia too. they put me in class ASA III (for the very high risk of embolism- I'm thrombofilic and had 3 trombosis and 1 heart attack)... I still havent decided what to do yet.

Old 09-03-2008, 12:07 PM   #5
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Re: Hysterectomy scheduled...nervous, with questions

Hi nannie8
I found the first few hours after surgery were the worst. Having said that I had access to morphine, had a drip up and was fitted with a catheter. Still being doped up on the anaesthetic at this stage and having a catheter meant that I didn’t have to move about much.
I first got out of bed about 19 hours after surgery after being assisted to have a bed bath. I sat out for a short while whilst my bed was changed.
My mobility was limited until my catheter and drip were taken out at 6am the following morning.
A physiotherapist came and showed me how to get out of bed and off the toilet correctly. She also gave me some exercises for my stomach. After that I had regular walks around the hospital grounds. I was told that I would be in for 5 days but left after 4 because the consultant was pleased with my progress. I went in on the 5th day to have the exposed stitches removed. The others stitches are internal and have dissolved over the weeks. I have had a discharge which has been said to be because of the stitches dissolving, left over fluids from the op and the healing process.

I had terrible pain from trapped wind and constipation – the staff eased this by giving me peppermint tea, peppermint cordial, painkillers and lactalose. My bowels have still not settled down 8 weeks on..

The only other significant pain for me was the anticoagulant injections each day – ouch!

I would say that recovery is different for every one – I am a social worker and do not feel anywhere ready to go back to work.

Whilst I am doing things around the house I am not doing any heavy lifting. My physiotherapist (at 6 weeks) advised that I begin walking quickly on varied terrain for up to 40 mins everyday.
I am weary most of the time and whilst I no longer have an afternoon nap I often lie on the bed for an hour before tea. I’m currently building up my ability to lie on my stomach.
My stomach is still distended sore on the inside and numb on the outside. My scar is almost flat and clean I was advised to use Bio oil as soon as it had scabbed over.
Despite all the above I am so glad that I am no longer having those horrendous periods.

Take care and good luck

Last edited by judyth; 09-03-2008 at 12:15 PM. Reason: spelling

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