Saturday, October 03, 2009


I debated with myself about writing about this, but since this blog is ostensibly about my mid-life victories and trials, it seems appropriate.

A few days ago, I had a Total Abdominal Hysterectomy/Bilateral Salpingo Oopherectomy (TAH/BSO), which basically means that entire diagram/illustration you saw in your high school biology book is gone. (Well, not that diagram/illustration; just my stuff.) Apparently this sends me into surgical menopause. I have a handy-dandy little bag of patches I can use should this start to give me any trouble.

This did not come as a total surprise. (Somewhat) less invasive means of dealing with my issues had been tried. I don't want to go into big details right now, but mostly I agreed with this to make sure I did not have ovarian cancer (I did not, for which I am so thankful.) If you don't know, ovarian cancer remains a difficult cancer to diagnose in its early stages, so even though the possible markers were slight and subtle, I did not want to wait on this. There were other issues (the ones we tried to deal with before) that were increasingly interfering with my life as well, although they never got to the point they have with some other women, who are made quite miserable with these problems.

I feel very positive about having done this. I am aware of the statistics surrounding this surgery...a very high number of American women have this surgery and some people feel too often. However, every woman I talked to felt positive about having done this (some to the point of glee, I think.)

It helps that I'm almost 50, so this was not traumatic in a way it might be for some younger women. When I found out I would be having this surgery, I Googled and found a wonderful Web site called HysterSisters. It gives information and offers an online support group. It is enlightening to see the varieties of hysterectomy and the reasons women have them.

My surgery had to be the old-fashioned kind, with a vertical incision. (I already have a "bikini" scar [yeah, right] from my Cesarean section when my son was born.) However, nowadays there are a lot more options for hysterectomy surgery if you are able to use them.

It was not as bad as I thought it would be. I was kept as pain-free as possible, and my nurses and docs were very attentive. (Everyone appeared to be about 12 years old, though,
especially the med student who had been at my surgery and came in to talk to me.) I had a semi-private room which was a tad claustrophobic, but I liked my roomie. She had surgery the day before me, but she was having some issues. The biggest discomfort, then and now, was trying to get in a comfortable position, both because of the surgery and because there are staples in me.

I got to stay in the hospital for two nights, which is just about right. After that, it becomes intolerably noisy and depressing. I got to order my meals from a "room service" menu. My roommate, who was having trouble with food, was always asking me to tell her what I had enjoyed. (Bad: Scrambled eggs; Good: Grilled cheese and tomato soup. The apple spice muffin was not too bad. The salad was mediocre.)

Now my husband is taking amazing care of me, and I am getting very spoiled. I get meals in bed, propped pillows, and pretty much anything I ask for. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to being comfortable (without the aid of medicine) again.

1 comment:

Mary said...

I do have to correct one thing. EVERY woman I talked to wasn't totally positive. There was at least one who grieved the loss of her uterus, which is not unusual at all, even if one is not planning to have more children. I feel sort of insensitive having written as I did.
It is true, though, that I was reassured by the positive experiences of most of the women I talked to.