I was debating on posting this…it’s deeply personal. It’s deeply private, yet no one really talks about it if they have it done.
I’m a huge fan of talking to solve issues and work through to resolve many things, but on this, I felt no one really spoke about it. There is Hyster Sisters, an online support site that talks woman to woman about hysterectomy. While a good place to start, it just wasn’t my thing. That’s very odd given how much I spend on forums for nail polish and video games, but this was different.
In vain, I ended up chatting with my friend Claudia from college…and she opened my eyes. She had a hysterectomy done as well – only I didn’t know that until I broached her on the subject. Her advice? “Get that shit done.” She and I have the same issues prior to our hysterectomies – heavy, unexpected, prolonged bleeding, and painful menstrual cycles.
Hm. Ok. That got me to thinking…it can’t really be that bad, could it? Let me step back a few and explain how this came about.
For the past few years, I’ve been having horrible periods. Some where I bled for months, then had a somewhat normal period for one or two months, then back to non-stop bleeding for five to six months. I’ve never had children.
I found a gynecologist earlier this year thanks to my friend, Aliye. What a gem Dr Lynn Gretowski is. She suggested a hysteroscopy and D&C. Ok! That was done at the end of July…and the results were a bit unexpected.
She, Dr Gretowski, recommended that I go see a specialist – a gynecological oncologist, Dr Dwight Chen. I was a bit alarmed because anytime I hear the word oncologist, it doesn’t bode well in my head. She assured me that I do not have cancer.
Dr Chen was awesome, but the news he had for me wasn’t so awesome. It seems that all the cells I have in my reproductive system were multiplying at an alarming rate – hence the constant periods, the heavy bleeding, etc. and he strongly recommended me having a hysterectomy with complete removal of fallopian tubes, ovaries and some lymph nodes if need be.
Did you know there are stages of pre-cancer? I sure didn’t! It seems that there are three stages of pre-cancer, with Stage I carrying the least amount of risk. However, I was at Stage III, ready to become cancerous at any given point and time.
Of course I froze. Of course I balked. Who wouldn’t? While I’m grateful that this was caught early enough for it to be preventative, it still irritated me that I had to have everything removed. I really didn’t want to go for another surgery when I had one a couple of weeks before. I wasn’t too bothered about having it all removed. For some, the female reproductive system defines them as a woman.
Having children was something my husband and I wanted to do…yet never conceived. This is where my whole reproductive system came into play…I just never got pregnant. It wasn’t for lack of trying!
I asked Dr Chen if I time to harvest eggs for a surrogate. He was rather blunt, but still friendly, “I’m concerned you will be going through chemo instead of us doing the hysterectomy.”
Oh. Ok. Not quite what I was expecting!
We spoke and reviewed a few more things, then off we went. We decided we were hungry and went to a restaurant…big mistake. I was a veritable fount of water works. Our poor server – so not expecting any of it. LOL I can laugh now, but if you ever see a woman crying while trying to eat her burger or eat a salad…not pretty. Never let it be said that even while crying fat girls don’t eat. :p
I thought it over and decided to go through with it, but hadn’t accepted in my heart and in my mind. However, I knew I’d rather have a surgery than go through chemo. I watched my aunt go through it and saw the pain she was always in, despite her perpetual smile that was often tinged with pain.
Back to what my friend Claudia said, “Get that shit done!” Then she laid it on the line…”No more planning vacations around your period. No more worrying about going out when on your period in case of an awful floody, bloody mess. Sexy time with your husband whenever you want…you will experience a freedom that you once had and now have again.”
Spoke it over with my friend Kristen and she had me laughing at some stuff, too, while we discussed. That was also a good and reassuring conversation we had. I also spoke it over with another girlfriend, Cynthia. She is truly one of my friends with a lot of strength – she’s a breast cancer survivor and she said, “I’d never wish cancer or chemo on anyone. Get the surgery done. Don’t even question it.”
Ok. Put it like that…
Surgery day came, which was Wednesday, August 28, 2013. Surgery was at 7:30am with a 5:00am check-in time. O.M.G.
Oh, and in final irony…the night before surgery, I got my period. It was as if my body was trying to say, “This is what you’ll be missing!!!!!1” No, the lower back pain was unbearable…I almost couldn’t walk, but I wanted this over and done with.
Now it’s over and done with and I don’t regret the hysterectomy…my aunt who lives near Carmel sent me the sweetest message and told me she’s also a fellow hyster sister!
I’m glad I did this and honestly, what they do tell you about hysterectomy and what they don’t is something women need to know.
While the post op pain is a tiny bit of a bitch, the fact I no longer have to worry about incessant back pain, cramping, bloating, messy menstrual cycles and PMS, I’m most excited that I can finally wear light colored pants and skirts. WOO HOO!
Thanks for reading!