Tag Archive | hysterectomy


You guys!  I did a thing!  I did two things!

I reached some milestones this week.  It has now been a month since my surgery, and on Wednesday for the first time since before surgery, I was back up to my daily walking goal – 11,000 steps!  Since then I have hit my 11,000 steps for three days in a row!

It feels good to be getting my stamina back.  I’m able to walk longer distances without feeling a lot of discomfort later.  Pretty soon I’ll be ready to tackle some hills!

I also reached another milestone on Wednesday…  I wore pants!  Like actual real jeans with buttons; not yoga pants or leggings!  I only wore them for a couple of hours, and they were kinda stretchy, but I’m still calling that progress.  My incision is healing, and while my belly still feels pretty numb, I can definitely feel an improvement.

Pants and 11,000 steps – I’m rocking my week!  How about you?  What were your accomplishments this week?


Puzzle Thoughts

Last weekend at the cabin, I spent a lot of time working on a puzzle.  I was able to finish it that weekend with help from Lelani and Laura.  It got me thinking about perspective.  When you are working on a puzzle, sometimes you just need to step away from it for a bit, or look at it from a different angle.  Move around to the other side.  Don’t give up; just keep trying, but take a break before getting back to it.  It lets you see something you couldn’t see before.

I think my puzzle perspective is applicable in career and life too.  I have a few things going on in my life that require patience, and not knowing, and having faith that things will work out for the best.  I’ll have to take my own advice, sit back and get a new perspective.

It’s been four weeks since my surgery, and thankfully last week’s snow is gone so I can get out of the house!  I’m not ordinarily bothered by walking if there is snow, but snow, ice and my big hill combined were a bit more than I could manage while I’m still healing.  Good thing I was able to work from home!  I did head out for some short excursions to the bottom of the hill, and definitely felt it on the way back up!

I still get tired if I exert myself too much, so I’m working on stamina.  Besides that, it just bothers me when my clothes rub on my incision.  Which is pretty much constant, but mostly just an annoyance.  I’m still not supposed to lift more than 15 pounds…  I can’t carry tubs of yard debris, so I have to make a lot of little trips.  No pushing wheelbarrows…  No vacuuming or raking…  No lifting bags of horse feed…  No core exercises…  Healing seems to be a lot of don’ts…  I can’t wait until I get cleared to do my regular routine!

Healing clearly gives me a lot of time to think!


Two Weeks of Healing

It’s been 15 days today since my surgery…  I’m healing…

I have definitely lost the brain fog of the anesthesia, but I’m still uncomfortable enough that I don’t sleep great.  I don’t sleep terribly, but it isn’t generally that “dead to the world” deep sleep that leaves us feeling so refreshed.  I’m hoping to get more of that.  Of course, days of high winds don’t help.  I never sleep well in the wind…

Most of the time I just feel a fairly low level discomfort in my belly.  Having my clothes rubbing on my skin is irritating.  Sneezing hurts.  Coughing hurts…  I really don’t want to catch a cold…  Sunday I felt some pretty severe nerve pain.  It was inside my tissues, not outside on my skin, but I can only describe it as a really bad sunburn inside, and then having someone rub it with sandpaper.  Ouch…  I took one of the good drugs that night.

And let’s talk drugs for a minute.  I mean, I am not dismissing the opioid epidemic and all that, but it has made it so nice, average, non-addicted people like me can’t even get a painkiller now and again without being made to feel like we are drug-seeking.  I was prescribed 15 pills of the lowest dose oxycodone when I was discharged from the hospital.  The dosing is 1-2 pills every 4-6 hours for pain.  If I actually took them as prescribed, but at the high end of the dosage, I would have been done with the pills in slightly over 1 day.  1 day.  That’s all you get of the heavy-duty painkillers for a major abdominal surgery.

At my one-week check with my doctor she asked me how the pain was and I mentioned that I had been taking one pill to get to sleep at night.  She made a comment about how I really ought to be moving away from taking them.  I had literally taken 7 pills…  I know I have a really high pain tolerance.  What about some poor soul who doesn’t?  The system is broken when this is what it comes down to.

I’m back working from home now too; it’s nice to have a job that can accommodate that when I need it.  It allows me to work a bit and then rest, move around and maybe take a nap.  It is definitely easier than having to be back in the office, especially since I can’t wear pants with buttons…

I’m getting there!  And I’d rather be here…

Rainier in View

On the Mend in the New Year!

I’m about ten days after surgery and I’m finally starting to feel more normal again!

I think I’m one of those people who is sensitive to anesthesia.  I’ve been feeling super lethargic and sleepy ever since I woke up (oh the irony!) and am just finally feeling like I don’t automatically need a long mid-afternoon nap even after I sleep 10-11 hours at night.  I get it, my body is healing, but wow.  My recovery nurse John summed it up perfectly when I overheard him on a phone call to the folks that assign hospital rooms after surgery.  “She likes to sleep when you aren’t interacting with her.”  Oh boy, do I ever!  He explained that he needed to qualify his statement, because if I were just sleeping all the time, then they would have left me down in recovery until I woke up and interacted more appropriately.  Everything is always a test…

As it were, it felt like I was in recovery for a long time…  I was wheeled into surgery shortly after 8 am, the first time I remember being awake and looking at the clock it was about 12:40 pm, and I finally got my own room sometime after 2 pm.  I didn’t really care though, because I just slept when John wasn’t interacting with me.  When he was interacting with me, it mostly consisted of him poking my hips, legs and feet with a sharp metal object to gauge how numb my body parts were and how quickly the spinal anesthetic was wearing off.  It didn’t hurt though, because I was still numb.

My night in the hospital was fine but not very restful.  I’m one of those people who apparently has a very low resting heart rate after anesthesia, so every time I fell asleep the monitor would alarm and wake me back up because my heart rate was only 49-50 beats per minute.  I got a lot more sleep after the nurses responded several times and decided that I wasn’t going to die if they set the monitor to only beep if it fell below 48.  Problem solved.  Talk about wanting you to stop interacting with me so I could sleep!  Of course they still came in every 2 hours to check my blood pressure and temperature, so there’s that.

I was released from the hospital the following afternoon after I had passed all my milestones.  Getting out of bed, walking, talking, peeing…  They even let me walk down the hall and out of the building to the car.  No wheelchair for me!  I will admit it was a very slow walk and that hallway did seem pretty long, but nothing a half-marathoner can’t handle.

My Christmas was quiet; I’m sure that Jeff and my family will tell you that I was semi-catatonic.  But that just means surprise gifts!  You open it on Christmas, and a few days later it is like getting the gift all over again because you didn’t remember it the first time!  Mom and I watched Miracle on 34th Street, and Jeff and I watched a cute movie about a woman whose husband leaves her, and who decides to spend Christmas in Africa caring for orphaned elephants (spoiler: she falls in love with the bush pilot/tour guide and lives happily ever after).

I still have a bit of bruising on my belly around my 7 inch incision, and on my hand where they did a blood draw, but I can finally roll over in bed more easily and sleep without too much discomfort.  My skin is numb both above and below the incision, which is normal, but annoying.  That should go away in a couple of months.  I have one spot on the left side of my abdomen that hurts more than anyplace else; my doctor thinks I am feeling the knot where the line of internal stitches starts, so that should go away when they dissolve.  I passed my first post-op check with flying colors, and have one more in early February so I can be cleared to do strenuous exercise and things like yard work and heavy lifting.

The really good news is that even though I still feel a bit like I was kicked multiple times in the abdomen by a boxing kangaroo, I do feel so much relief from the symptoms I was having.  I’m on the mend, and just need to get through this recovery phase!

I went out for a longer walk yesterday and enjoyed an unseasonably sunny day in the Pacific Northwest.  It was flat, and I’m still not moving all that quickly, but I did get 5,000 steps in!

Happy New Year!

Surgery Success!

Just a brief check in to let you all know things went great.

My doctor removed my uterus and all its fibroids for an immediate weight loss of just over 5 pounds! They have fed me (I can eat without feeling uncomfortable!)  and I have graduated up to only having a vitals check every four hours! I even went for a walk around the hallway,  very slowly.

Thank you for all your well wishes. I’m on the mend and starting my new life!!

Clocking Time

One week from today I’ll be in the hospital, with a lovely new incision in my belly, on my way to recovery.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a little bit anxious.  I have to finish a lot this week to be ready.  One more week of work and things to wrap up before my leave of absence.  Presents to finish getting (almost done!) and wrapping (barely started!).  A bit more decorating, but only the minimum.  I need to finish the laundry (because I won’t be able to lift a basket), clean the house (I won’t be able to scrub or vacuum), and finish whatever other miscellaneous chores come with Christmas.

So a week from today I’ll be lying in my hospital bed, at the mercy of those wonderful nurses who will undoubtedly want to poke and prod me, and make me go walk around, when all I will probably really want to do is sleep.  I’ll be hungry and groggy from the anesthesia and having caffeine withdrawals and my skin will be itchy and dry because I couldn’t put on moisturizers after my shower the night before.  Not long after though, I will start feeling better, glad to not have the huge, dense masses in my belly, taking up all the space.

I know I will have to take it easy for a while, but that is just so hard for me!  I like being active, I like feeling productive!  I like being outside, even in the winter.  Hiking!  Snowshoeing!  Working in the yard!  But I’ll have to relax and chill out, so I don’t compromise my healing.  I’ll have more time to write, once I feel up to it.  And read!  And watch some movies!  Perhaps contemplate which tattoo to get on my scar when it heals…  I will have to focus on the quieter activities and make time for those.

And suddenly you just know… It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.  Meister Eckhart

Long House, Mesa Verde National Park, October 2018

I can do this!  Onward…

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.