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.