My Body, the Jerk

A few weeks ago I made the decision to have a hysterectomy.

My uterus is full of fibroids, benign tumors made of uterine muscle tissue that can grow inside the wall of the uterus, outside the uterus entirely, or inside the uterine cavity.  I have all three kinds – lucky me! They are fed by estrogen and a healthy blood supply, which apparently, I have in spades. Fibroids are very common in women (present in about 80 percent of women in their forties), but some (like me – (sarcastic) yay!) have the ones that get out of control, trying to conquer the abdominal cavity kingdom and proclaim total dominance over your body and your life. Go big or go home, I suppose.

I’ve been dealing with this for a long time, but it has gotten so bad I can’t try to ignore it anymore.  My uterus and the tumors have more than tripled in size from the time they were measured on ultrasound a few years ago.  Tripled is a conservative estimate.  Basically my uterus has grown so large that it’s taking up all the room that my other organs are supposed to get to occupy.  It is uncomfortable at best, and excruciatingly painful at worst, and other fun-filled female symptoms that are a bit too TMI for my taste. You can google all that if you are dying to know.  Or just ask me.

If I continued the “watch and wait” approach, my uterus isn’t going to shrink or settle down until after I hit menopause, and even then it’s not likely to shrink enough. It is likely to keep expanding like an undead alien baby until then.  I’m tired of dealing with all this, so surgery it is.

Part of me is angry. I’m angry at my body for hijacking things.  I’m sad that I didn’t have the opportunity to have children in the days before my body decided to go wild. It isn’t that I don’t already know that I likely wasn’t going to be able to have children at my age, but this surgery carries with it a finality that kicks you when you are down.

I’m frustrated and a bit nervous to have to do a major abdominal surgery in order to get some relief. I had an emergency appendectomy at age 27, and while it was much easier than it could have been, it was still tough. This one will be way worse. I’m worried about the surgery. I’m worried about the recovery. And unlike all those women who have emergency hysterectomies, I get to worry about all this until the morning of December 23, until they actually wheel me into the operating room. Joy.

I also am looking forward to feeling better. Once that recovery is over, I will hopefully have a lot less pain and discomfort. I’ll be able to do things that are problematic now. I’ll have some freedom back.  I have a fantastic doctor who came recommended and really takes the time to answer all my questions and make me feel comfortable.  I’m trying to focus on that.

Meanwhile – here are a few pictures of me in my happy places.


25 thoughts on “My Body, the Jerk

  1. I’m sorry you are going through this. I had a hysterectomy because of terrible endometriosis when I was 33. It’s a little scary and kind of sad and recovery is long, especially if you have open abdominal surgery (I hear laproscopic surgery is a breaze by comparison, but alas, not always an option), but you will feel so much better on the other side of that. Also, something my aunt (who also went through it) told me ahead of surgery that I didn’t know I needed to hear was that this organ is not the essential magical thing that makes you you, or a woman. And not having one will not make you less you or less of a woman. Though it might make you happier 😊. Just in case you needed to hear that, too. Good luck!

    • Given that the largest fibroid by itself is the size of a newborn head, I’m getting the open abdominal surgery. I’m not sad about not having a uterus or not feeling like a woman, thankfully; but is is sad knowing that I was never able to have children. That part sucks, now that I finally have someone that I would have loved to have had that with.

      Here’s to better things on the other side.

  2. I had the uterine surgery you are describing a year and a half ago (end of April). Fibroids 5+ cm, and everywhere. They wanted to do the radical cut, stem to stern on me, so I get it. Managed to convince my Dr. to just do a large C-Section type cut. I tell you this because I do understand, and you will be fine. It takes awhile to heal, but Everything is easier now. No TMI situations to deal with, no birth control, no pain pressing up against my spine. Something I did learn though, if possible based on your particular situation, ask your Dr. about keeping your ovaries. Apparently they help with heart disease, which runs in our family. In the meantime, do things you love and try to take your mind off of it. Your dad, and Grandma, will be watching over you, and it will be Fine. Much Love & (((HUGS)))!!!

    • I’m so glad you shared this – thank you! Thankfully, she says it can be accomplished with the horizontal bikini line incision (the largest fibroid is about the size of a newborn head she said). Unless the ovaries are stuck from scar tissue from my appendectomy (which she said is only a marginal risk for the right one, and probably not a risk for the left one), they will be leaving those in as they are normal on ultrasound. I’m looking forward to feeling better, less exhausted, and more comfortable!

  3. Thinking about you. What a bummer that you have to have it so close to Christmas 😦 I’m glad that you’re doing it, because once you recover, you’re going to feel so much better. Oh, and hello, no more periods. Fingers crossed for you!

    • I actually chose to have it at Christmas. Work is quiet then; and I can maximize my pay with the holiday pay, since I don’t have much sick leave and vacation built up yet. And hell yes, no more awful periods!

  4. I know it sucks but you will feel so much better. Just really listen to the dr on activity restrictions. I will probably be having this same surgery in the next few years so I will definitely be following how yours goes.

    • That will be the hardest part – the lifting and driving restrictions! I will keep you posted – the feedback I have gotten from others who had to have it done all say that they feel much much better. That part I’m looking forward to!

  5. I’m sorry to hear all this…I hope the surgery goes smoothly and that you will have a speedy recovery. I constantly have to be tested because of fibroids in my ovaries and a family history of ovarian cancer. Others in my family have made the same decision as you…it was time.

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