At the end of July 2015 I had a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo oophorectomy. I was forty eight years old and this is my story.
I was in my mid to late twenties, a mum, wife and total rock concert fan, life was great. Then my periods became “different” at one stage actually stopped for around nine to ten months. My GP told me I had no eggs! However, two years on we got our longed for special delivery, a son. After his birth my periods were normal just a bit heavier.
The years flew by and I found myself aged thirty eight, how the heck did that happen? My periods again became “different” much heavier, longer and very painful. My GP told me this was normal and not to worry so I carried on as you do. Then one night, I remember it like it was yesterday, I flooded in work, it actually terrified me and from that horrible day on things went from bad to worse. Our lives seemed to stop. We could not make plans to go out, book a holiday, do a big shop, infact have a life due to my excessive bleeding.
I had to leave my job for one with less hours but in the end I had to give up work altogether as I was so weak I could hardly stand, probably due to all the flooding. I ended up on iron and tranexamic acid which I have to say did nothing for me. I then agreed to the mirena coil, this was a mistake as it made things worse, so from it being inserted in 2010 to 2015 I bled constantly every day and was passing clots the size of a fist, it was so painful, off the scale.
My GP was reluctant to remove the coil so I was stuck with it. Having GPs, five in total telling me this was normal for a woman my age infuriated me as it was at every visit. My husband and I actually took a menopause book in and explained that I had none of the symptoms! By now I was on eight tranexamic acid pills, iron and three mefanamic acid pills per day every day. The pain was like childbirth, I was using forty pads plus tampons per day, I was housebound and becoming really ill. My body hair stopped growing, I could not for the life of me concentrate and I believe I was a complete bitch to my husband and son, always nagging on about nothing. I could not sleep as blood would seep everywhere, I was trying to sleep on waterproof sheeting and bath towels, the same on my sofa. I was telling my GP there were no pads or tampons large enough to take the flow, I needed pillows! By this time I was using incontinence pads. I was getting through loads of sanitary products, my son would even buy big pads if he saw them on offer when he was shopping, the same went for my husband. My spare bedroom was like a Sanitary Dungeon! I explained to my GP that taking a shower was quite an experience; I would get ready by using the biggest absorbency tampons I could buy, get in the shower but in minutes blood would be washing down my legs and I would be pushing clots down the plug hole with my foot! Getting out was horrendous too always an old towel ready to shove between my legs so I could dry myself. All normal menopause symptoms I kept being told by the “professionals” Anyway I am sure you get the picture.
By February 2015 I was so poorly but still being told it was menopause. Then in March 2015 I started with a new symptom a sort of nipping, scratching, tearing pain in my right side. By now my GP realised something was wrong HURAH!! Things were really bad by now. I was actually examined, the coil removed and I was booked in pronto for a scan. I got my scan quick and a huge fibroid was found it was so big the probe for an internal examination could not be used. So, this was the awful pressure I was experiencing and this was why my tummy was huge. Menopause my botty!
Moving on I got in to see a consultant gynaecologist end of May 2015 and after years of hell within minutes I was told I needed a hysterectomy. I cried out with not fear but relief. I had a biopsy done there and then, all clear thankfully. We could not believe someone had listened. By this time I was having recurrent nightmares of actually drowning in lakes of blood and being, wait for it, a giant tampon….yikes!
I got in for my op July 31st 2015 I had a few dates cancelled due to ladies being diagnosed with cancers so of course these ladies took priority. The run up to the op was difficult and frightening, I felt like i wanted to push when I stood up, like in childbirth and the pain was unbearable. I could not sit for long as it hurt my noo noo. I could not walk, it was really frightening but I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel and kept upbeat and smiley, like you do.
July 31st came WAHOOOO! Off we went to the hospital. I saw my surgeons people etc was given my lovely surgical stockings and put on my delightful hospital gown hahaha! My poor husband looked worried to death but I gave him a huge cuddle, told him I loved him and gave him one of my crazy grins. I almost danced to theatre. I did lose my nerve once I saw the scrubs but only for a couple of minutes I then climbed on the bed and was put to sleep beautifully.
I woke up as calm as I had gone to sleep, I was positive and smiley as usual. I was however violently sick with the morphine but once off it I was totally OK. This was not anywhere near as bad as we thought it would be. I had a catheter for twenty four hours as soon as this was removed I showered and washed my hair, I was pretty weak mind. The only pain relief I needed was paracetamol. My back felt numb on day two but soon recovered. I left on day four. I was really out of it for a few days when I got home and lost three days hahaha it was a struggle for maybe a week, the bed, the sofa, the shower and you really cannot even make a cuppa (my son bought me a camping kettle at week six) Please listen to your body, it will so let you know when you are doing too much.
I am now eight months on, happy as Larry, life is great!
I will not lie it has been a tough eight months and my tummy is still sore, not the incision site, the tummy above, muscle I guess and the swelly belly has just stopped in last month or so. I did have insomnia for six months which was horrible but I just kept positive. I went into menopause immediately but that is not that bad either the hot flashes only last minutes (for me anyway) and are not everyday and are improving as is the old tummy, by the way the scar is almost invisible already, a beautiful job. I refused HRT and asked for fluoxitine (after research) I take only one per day and they work. I have also had severe joint pain and aches and pains along with extreme tiredness BUT ALL are now improving. Life is tremendous, I had actually forgotten how tremendous it is! My family say I am a changed woman. My husband says he has his NORMAL wife back hahaha It really is madness, I am so relaxed now, that has taken some getting used to as my life was just pain, blood and pads! My husband says I did not know which way to turn, I was an emotional wreck. I sometimes wonder how my husband is still here as we have had no sex life in years. He is one in a million a proper diamond ( I am a little scared about sex and still he waits )
So, ladies I have my life back. Life is marvellous, I am so happy I cannot tell you. I can even visit my family.
I did put weight on after my op but in the last couple of months I have lost a stone and I am not on any kind of a diet, obviously this is sorting itself out too and my waist is back, yabba dabba doodle doo!
If any lady is reading this and having doubts I would just like to say go for it girl, what have you got to lose. My life was horrendous and now it is totally fabulous, I feel it getting better everyday. It is the best thing I could have done for myself and my family.
One last thing I would recommend a belly band and then later on soft support panties to support your beautiful tummy.
Good luck girls. I am proud to be a Hystersister!
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; get your copy today and share the stories that help you feel less alone.