I am currently 8 1/2 weeks post-hysterectomy with BSO (both ovaries and tubes removed). I wanted to share some of my experience.
A few years ago I went on a six-month treatment of Lupron, which causes
temporary menopause, as a treatment for endometriosis. After one month
of Lupron with no estrogen replacement I was having several 10-minute
long hot flashes every hour, woke up often in the night with hot flashes,
became suddenly angry for no apparent reason, alternately wanted to
laugh, cry, cuddle or kill my cat, etc. Two days after taking Estrace I
felt better emotionally than I'd ever felt before! As a result of this
experience I went on estrogen replacement immediately out of surgery. (I have no history of breast cancer in my family, so this was not a worry for me.)
Probably as a result of the estrogen, I have not had many of the annoying
symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, anger, etc. (There is a list of the most
common menopause symptoms). The only ones that plague me a bit are what I call "word losses" (I forget words, mostly nouns) and I'm more insecure and sensitive than I used to be. I don't consider the problems to be severe, but I don't know if or when they will get better, either. Mostly, I would call this a positive experience because some of these types of changes
are to be expected with the change in estrogen level, the loss of the
reproductive organs, etc. I haven't gone through the mourning [of the
ability to bear children] as some do, possibly because I have been
expecting to have this surgery and not to be able to bear children for
several years. I scheduled my surgery 4 months in advance and
used the time to prepare myself for the loss.
Five weeks after surgery, I started a very simple strength training program
put together by Dr. Miriam Nelson, discussed in her book "Strong Women
Stay Young." I began with no weights and have been adding 2 lbs. every
week. I have been surprised by how quickly my strength has returned. I
found myself able to lift and carry 10-15 lbs without really thinking about
it, where a week before I couldn't lift 10 lbs.
Six and a half weeks after surgery I went hiking in Utah and, other than
having to stop and catch my breath more often than the others on the
hike, I kept up with them quite well. A year ago I went on a much easier
hike and had a great deal of trouble; I tired at least as easily, although I
wasn't recovering from surgery, and I had pain in my abdomen and
diaphragm very early in the hike. I think the surgery and the exercise
made the difference.
I attribute some of the success here to the support of my husband and
family and to the women I have corresponded with via email and
listservs who have had this surgery and were willing to share their
experiences with me. Knowing that what I was going through was
normal helped me to be patient and give myself time to heal. When
I had pain I didn't understand or thought I was too tired or not healing
fast enough it helped a great deal to know that I could turn to someone
who had been there and could tell me from her own experience that
my experience was not abnormal.
I have more healing to do and am wondering if I will have any changes
in my emotional state, but I am very pleased at my progress so far.
I can finally make plans and fully expect to carry them out! I haven't
been able to do that in 5 years! I no longer have to check the calendar
before making an appointment (to be sure it isn't *that* week!) I can
expect to continue getting stronger and healthier as my body becomes
accustom to itself again and I expect to be able to be more active.
I am already as active as I was before surgery (not that I was very active!)
I find myself already more outgoing and more interested in people.
I am able to consider committing myself to my friends and my church
because I feel I will be able to meet those commitments.
I encourage any woman contemplating surgery, or looking for
alternatives to surgery to research her problem as thoroughly
as possible, to contact other women who have had the same
problems and have tried different remedies, and to do what
she feels in her heart to be best. When we have the information
we need, we truly are the only ones who can make the decision
that is right for us. Just because a doctor says it doesn't make
it true! And just because it worked for one woman, or for
most women, doesn't mean it will work for you!
You can send comments to the author, Kathy Davies,
or visit her web page
Submitted by Susan Fenster
At Beth's request, I am posting my very positive hysterectomy experience. Some
of you may have read this before. In a word, it was a Miracle!
I was 49 with 3 children. I had been been bleeding continuously for 3 months, with only a couple of dry days. I have, over the past 4 years, had several severe and uncontrollable hemorrhages, which had been increasing in frequency and duration. I started making the rounds of doctors in late December. I was diagnosed with a huge fibroid and uterus the size of a 20-week pregnancy (and I looked it). My hemorrhages lasted 2 - 2.5 hours,
during which I literally could NOT get off the toilet, stuff was pouring
out of me like a volcano. I was terrified that this would happen at
work, in the car, out somewhere. I had a couple of times of bleeding through
all my clothing (with tampon and napkin in place). One time, I flooded
through the tampon and napkin by the time I left the bathroom (10 seconds). I carried a change of clothes in my car, just in case. I was severely anemic. I was afraid to leave the house. I was starting to have some severe pain.
My hysterectomy was scheduled for Feb. 11 (TAH, BSO). I was thrilled, counting
the days. My greatest fear was that I would have another hemorrhage before
the surgery. I could not go to work the week before the surgery, I
was bleeding so much. All I wanted in the world was for the bleeding
to stop. (Funny how narrow our goals can become).
And it has stopped. That was one miracle. The second is that I no
longer look 5 months pregnant. The third miracle was the feeling of
peace and well-being that came over me immediately after the
surgery. I was weak and tired, of course, but I felt so GOOD.
I had no pain from the incision. The morphine drip worked great.
Never took anything afterwards for pain. I had the surgery on Tuesday. Left the hospital Thursday. I would have thought that was impossible, but I was getting no nursing care and knew I would be more comfortable and taken better care of at home. The 6 weeks recovery were a very stress-free and pleasant interval in what had been a very frantic paced life.
Now, almost 6 months post-op, I feel very well and am so glad to be
done with all that. I would do it again in a minute. There were no
negatives for me at all.
You can send comments to the author,
January 21, 1998
I had a wonderful experience with my hysterectomy and I hope you will be willing to publish it to calm women's fears.
Six weeks today I underwent a total hysterectomy. Mine was one of those
cases no doctor recommended the operation. Why? Because they know a lot
less than they pretend to! I listened to my body and I decided that though
the only symptom was pelvic pain, low back pain and terrible
gas/bloating/constipation, it had to be because the uterus was pressing the
rectum, the large intestine and against my backbone.
Three ultrasounds only showed a very big fibroid and it was deemed not
important enough to cause much pain or discomfort. Lack of heavy bleeding or
inter-period bleeding obscured the diagnosis even more. Since I also have
fibromyalgia, every specialist who saw me sort of thought the entire
problem was either caused by FMS or aggravated by my own perception of pain.
I had the procedure on December 10 and I saw the pathology report on January 5: adenomyosis all over the uterus causing it to be the size of a 5-month
pregnancy, 5 fibroids in the posterior wall and atypical cells at the end
of the cervix that had been undetected before despite a colposcopy, scar
tissue in one ovary probably caused by a cyst that had burst.
I was given a HRT shot 24 hrs after the surgery and seeing that I only had
skin rashes and some headaches I decided to repeat it a few days ago. I
feel completely normal, lost 4 pounds, got my waistline back and now my
problem is that I have to reduce the fiber in my diet because otherwise, I
get diarrhea. To think of the amount of fiber I've eaten in the last 15
12 hours after surgery I was already doing 'wind-relieving' yoga exercises
in my bed. I spent 3 nights at hospital and begged to be sent home 'cause I
couldn't stand the food anymore (No Fiber there!). Though living in a city
with severe weather (Toronto), December wasn't that bad so I could start
walking outside the house the day after I was sent home. The stairs were
never a problem. Yes, I was very tired, or tired one minute and energetic
immediately after and then go back to being tired for quite a while, but
made a point of walking a few more blocks everyday. Eleven days after
surgery I walked about 30 blocks at 'window-shopping' speed. I think it
was on day 12 that I had a set back with high temperature and a stinky
discharge but it lasted only 2 or 3 days. I did stretching exercises easy
enough for my legs and back, even in bed. 2 weeks after surgery (Xmas day) I
went out on the subway and stayed up all day for the socializing. Got home
really tired, I tell you! 18 days after surgery I went to the gym and did
Stretch-yoga for one hour and muscle conditioning with light weights for
another. After that, it was just a matter of adding little things to my
exercise routine: 10 minutes of biking, heavier hand weights, more
demanding yoga postures, abdominal crunches (still can't do the demanding
ones with legs to the ceiling!). I went back to work to my part-time job
26 days after surgery. That very day the snow turned into ice and I fell
down which brought back some bleeding so I postponed returning to my full
time job for another week. Since January 12 I've been back to my previous
schedule: 2 jobs and gym everyday! Yes, I'm very tired some times. Yes, I
had to go home early one day last week. Yes I came 2 hrs late another day
but I think Fibromyalgia had a lot to do with it (every time my exercise
program is interrupted, FM flares up and it takes it while to control it
Oh, I forgot to say that I hosted a New Year's Eve dinner party, went salsa
dancing on January 2nd and started taking flamenco dance classes on
January 5. I do hope that sexual intercourse can happen soon - doctor says
I have to wait another 2 weeks to be on the safe side. Oh.... and he
apologized to me for not having recommended the surgery and praised my
understanding of my own body. To finalize, I wish I had had this surgery
10 years ago! A lot of tears and pain and shame (remember I had stinky
gas) would have been avoided. I'm sorry for the women who had such
terrible experiences, I really do ... but I almost cancelled my surgery
because I was terrified after reading what was being published on Internet
... and it'd have been a great mistake. Please publish my letter - it
could mean a lot to a woman who is having second thoughts because she is
not a 'clear cut case' like mine.
Wish your health improves in due time and that the Aquarius Era we are
entering now brings The Light of Understanding to all our lives. Thank you
for providing the forum and corresponding with all of us.
Lia Fernandez, Assistant
National Patient Services & Public Education
Canadian Cancer Society
10 Alcorn Avenue, #200
Toronto, ON M4V 3B1
(416) 961-7223, X 323
Submitted by Madeleine
July 6, 1999
I fought against severe bleeding for one year by having two blood transfusions, 4 months of Lupron and various alternative healers. I changed
my diet and exercised religiously. When the MRI showed in early June that I did indeed have Adenomyosis I was stunned. I thought sure it had been
fibroids and I would be able to hang on a few years until menopause. Surgery was contrary to everything I believed in.
Fortunately, I finally found a sympathetic gynecologist ( after fleeing from two others in Berkeley who insisted I have a hysterectomy and nothing
else could be done) and we discussed the different types of hysterectomy. On June 21, the first day of summer, I had my uterus removed through a small
(well, three inches) incision at the top of my pubic hairs. I spent two days in the hospital. Tomorrow will have been a week and I feel so happy to be
alive and I am looking forward to leaving the nightmare of the past year behind. I wish everyone good mental and physical health. Resistant to surgery to the very end, but relieved it is over.
You can send comments to the author, Madeleine
If you have a positive story you would like to contribute,
please email Sans-Uteri
Also see Suney's Happy Hysterectomy Page