If You Give A Girl A Hysterectomy…

She’s going to want a nap to go with it!

Or at least that’s what I’ve been wanting most of all lately!

(Side note: I wrote this right after surgery, which was June 13. It’s now September 12, which should tell you how crazy my summer was. Yikes. But I wanted to get this out there because I liked reading other people’s hysterectomy and recovery experiences.)

I had surgery on Tuesday the 13th, and 9 days later, I’m feeling really quite well. My procedure was done laparoscopically by robot, and I have 4 incisions – one just above my belly button, one each about a hands-width away from the center incision, and a final one further around on my right side. I’m told they have stitches on the inside, but all I see is the surgical glue holding the surface together.  My surgery lasted about two hours and went as expected, with the surgeon telling Tahd there were no surprises and no oops, for which I was very glad.

  1. Bladder spasms are a thing. I guess this wasn’t surprising to me, but what was surprising to me was that after I used the restroom, they did some sort of random ultrasound to see if my bladder had completely emptied. It had not, and from the sounds of things, had that not settled down, I would have had to stay in the hospital longer. A savvy nurse told me that I should pee as much as possible, stand up, sit down, and pee again. I did this over and over again, but it worked. I’m convinced this trick is the only reason I was able to go home the first day.
  2. Everything felt weird afterward. I actually went back to get checked because it felt like things were falling out, which, thankfully, they weren’t. Apparently that can be a medical emergency. The nurse said that sometimes things feel strange because nerve pathways are rerouting, and I think post-surgery constipation might affect sensation, too. Fun times. Also, the pelvic floor can also spasm as everything starts waking up from surgery, too, and that can feel weird.  That sensation had subsided after about 5 days.
  3. The worst pain during the first two days was the gas pain in my abdomen and shoulder.   Also, my belly felt HARD and immobile for several days afterward. It has gradually gotten softer and less swollen, but evenings are always swellier than mornings and some days are swellier than others.  A hot rice pack helped some with the gas pain, but it was, thankfully shorter-lived than the same pain I had after my c-section.
  4. Post-surgery nausea sucked even though they’d given me loads of anti-nausea medications. I was glad I had taken my essential oils and some mint tea along with me. On the flip side, all the nausea meds made me loopy and gave me a very dry mouth. So I was also glad I’d purchased gum and hard candies beforehand.
  5. I needed very little pain medication–several of the prescription pain pills the doctor prescribed and then some ibuprofen.  I’ve actually been surprised at how little pain medication was needed in the first few days! As my activity increases, I’m finding myself getting more sore now than I was earlier, which I wasn’t expecting. But it’s nothing a little Advil wouldn’t handle if I’d remember to take it.
  6. The top right incision feels worse than the other three. The doctor told me to expect one to be more bothersome, and he was right. I’m glad he told me because I would have thought something was wrong with it otherwise.
  7. It feels like I’m pregnant. All of my pregnancies have been very crampy in the early weeks, and this feels exactly the same. It’s a bit of a head trip, actually.  I forget I had surgery, feel the cramps, think, Oh my gosh…am I pregnant? And then remember that no, in fact, I am for sure not pregnant.
  8. In spite of the fact that we weren’t planning to have anymore children, it still feels sad to know that phase of life is over. The doctor explained, however, that the people who struggle most with recovery are the people who weren’t prepared for the emotional side of things, so I worked hard to prepare myself in advance.
  9. I could do stairs right away, and I could gingerly get things off the floor after a few days. I can lay on my stomach in bed. It’s still uncomfortable to do any sort of forward bend or to twist. I’ve driven, but the position of the car seat and the twisting to look over my shoulders make it less comfortable. I don’t lift much and I tire easily, so I’ve been napping most every day.

I’ve felt so well that we even went out on a little date last night! Pictures or it didn’t happen, right? 😉

I’m sure I’ll have more to share later on, but so far, so good. I’m really glad I took the plunge.  We’ll see if that holds up!

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