My Hysterectomy Journey

I have always had very painful “Aunt Flo’s” since I can remember.  It was only until within the past few years I really started having major issues with my time of the month.  The pain was unbearable, the mood swings were embarrassing…..so much so I could hear myself being such a bitch to everyone…..and thinking “why are you so mean??” But it was something that I just couldn’t control…..SERIOUSLY!!  I heard myself, but just couldn’t stop it…….THEN I would go in another room like the bathroom or somewhere and cry.  Cry so hard because I do not treat people so mean.  My heart would break each and every month.  I would think to myself…..my God!  My husband is certainly going to get fed up with this and leave me!  He must think I am a complete psycho!!

My iron levels were so low that my doctor didn’t know how I functioned on a daily basis.  She was always sending me to get my blood checked.  She had sent me to every specialist imaginable……and I had every test done……but nothing could be found as to why my iron levels were so low.  It was a constant struggle to get up and get through my day every day.  It took everything I had to get through just a morning shift at work.  If I felt like I was starting to get sleepy or fall asleep at work, I would just get up and take a walk around the office.  It had become such a routine that I almost got used to being so tired.

Many years down the road, I was still having issues with low iron.  I think my doctor had pretty much given up on trying to figure out what was wrong.  I felt like she was almost blaming me for having this issue.  She had stopped sending me for blood work for awhile, so I just learned to live with the sleeplessness.  Dragged myself on a daily basis to function….lots of coffee….and tea.  In my late 40’s I was pretty much getting pretty sick of feeling this way.  I made an appointment with my doctor, but she was on sabbatical, so I met with the doctor that was replacing her while she was on leave.  WELL…..what a difference a fresh pair of eyes makes! She sent me for blood work and right away was concerned.  I had explained to her about what was happening and that I have been dealing with this for most of my life.  |She couldn’t understand why my doctor had never done anything about it.  I was sent for a blood transfusion almost immediately…..and felt so much better afterwards.  But it was short lived.  Within 2 weeks my iron levels were back down to what the doctor says was pretty much “non-existent”.  She referred me to a specialist who ran a bunch of tests such as blood work, ultrasounds, etc.  The results came back as needing a hysterectomy basically NOW!  But before that, I needed a few blood transfusions first to bring my levels up high enough to survive surgery.  My oxygen levels were too low yet for surgery.  The specialist had told me she was scared that I may have uterine cancer.  She gave me a couple of options:  1 – have both ovaries removed, which would put me into instant menopause……2 – leave one ovary in but if it does come back as cancer, I would have to have another surgery to remove the remaining ovary.  She told me to decide on surgery day as to what I wanted to do.

Cancer. What a horrible and terrifying word.  One word can cripple you like no other word can.  I cried and cried when I heard the “C” word….I was all by myself at the specialist’s office and it took about 10 minutes for what the doctor had said to me.  And she sat there……looking at me….waiting for me to respond.  She looked confused for a bit, as if she were thinking “Why is this woman not crying or angry?”  Once the words that she had spoken to me hit me……the tears started flowing…..and the doctor’s face was like “There we go….this is what I was waiting for”.  I went out to my car and cried. I must have stayed there for a half hour and just cried.  I didn’t go back to work that afternoon.  I went home and cuddled up in my husband’s big lazy boy chair in the living room, surrounded by my dogs…..giving me comfort…..licking my tears away.  The thought of having surgery scared me.  The thought of possibly having Cancer terrified me.  When they say your life flashes right in front of your face…..it truly does.  I thought about my kids, my husband…..my grandbabies.  I was not ready to leave any of them yet.

I had found out about needing a hysterectomy on December 20th.  I received a call and was told my surgery was scheduled for January 23rd. I had to go for more blood work a week before and my levels were too low for surgery, so I had to be admitted into the hospital the night before my surgery to have a blood transfusion.  I remember feeling that I was feeling so crappy, head pounding, light headed, winded breathing and just plain tired out.  Well no wonder.  My blood count was so low that I needed 3 bags of blood instead of just the one in order for me to have the surgery…..otherwise my doctor said, I would not survive the surgery.  I had a nurse with me at all times during my transfusions which basically took all night long.  I kept slipping in and out of sleepiness and every time I woke up, my nurse was there.  She was so sweet…..all the nurses I had were awesome….so nice and caring and comforting.

The morning of my surgery came.  My husband and daughter showed up to be with me.  My son came later on so I didn’t see him before my surgery.  I was a nervous wreck, but I tried as hard as I could to not show it.  I didn’t want any negativity or anything heavy weighing on me or anyone else before going under the knife.  I remember my doctor coming over to me and asking me if I made up my mind whether or not I wanted both ovaries removed or just the one……..and I told her to just take everything….get it over and done with.  I didn’t want to chance another surgery.  It was time for the orderly to come and take me to the operating room.  I said my good-byes to my husband and daughter and was wheeled away.  “To theater #1” the orderly said……I said that it was not exactly the type of theater I was excited to go to….lol.  He stopped outside the operating room doors and asked me to get up and walk in.  I got up……pushed open the door…..and walked in.  There were doctors and nurses….to me it felt like 15 people, although there were probably alot less than that.  It was so bright and white…..and cold.  I instantly became overwhelmed with everything that the tears just started flowing down my face. One of the nurses said to me “it’s a bit overwhelming isn’t it?”  Just writing this makes me tear up…..and it is almost 10 months after my surgery.  It was a very traumatic thing for me to go through……and I don’t think anyone fully understands this.

I woke up from my surgery and felt absolutely horrible!  I could see my husband, my daughter and my son all there in the room with me.  They had moved my room and I was so confused as to where I was……I could not understand why they switched me…lol.  I was not awake for long though….I dozed off again pretty quickly.  I remember feeling so puffy and swollen.  All the medications and such that they give you does not a happy feeling make!  I had to stay 1 day in the hospital just to make sure I didn’t run a fever or have any sort of reaction.  They make you get up shortly after surgery to walk…..WALK!  I could barely lift my hands or my head and they want me to walk.  So, I managed to sit up on the side of the bed and warn them that I was feeling dizzy and lightheaded and that I needed help going to the bathroom.  They had someone help me but I told them that I felt like I was going to throw up.  They didn’t believe me…..WELL I showed them! Yes, that’s right.  I threw up all over the place.  Nurses…..next time a patient tells you that they feel nauseated and think they may vomit….believe them!!

It was time for me to go home.  I still felt like crap.  BUT, I was recovering from major surgery.  I was going to be off work for 7 weeks.  To me that is huge!  I cannot stay home that long…..I will go stir crazy!  I will admit the first couple of weeks were tough.  All I did was sleep basically and just moved slow.  I did do the odd sweeping of the floors or the odd bit of laundry, which I was NOT supposed to do….but I was going nuts!  My husband had gone back to school and was busy with schoolwork and taking care of the house, me, the dogs, etc.  I felt like I had to contribute a bit.  But when I did sweep the floors, I ended up in bed for 2 days due to complete exhaustion.  Surgery is a bitch!

It has been almost 11 months now and I am not the same person.  I have anxiety which is something I am not liking one bit.  The smallest things can trigger it.  Meeting new people stresses me out, which I used to love to meet new people.  Going out of the house stresses me out.  I have started to do things to force myself to leave the house, to meet new people.  Some days are better than others.  Some are completely overwhelming to me.  This is not me.  This is not the person I want to be. This surgery has changed me in ways that I cannot explain….because I don’t understand it myself.  I want to get back to the outgoing, fun, friendly person I once was.  I am hoping to get there one day.  Just taking it one step at a time.

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