A hysterectomy isn’t something you ever think you’ll be dealing with – especially not when you’ve just turned 30. Almost 5 years on from mine, I have a number of regrets over having the operation. I tend to try live life without regrets but this is the one area of my life that I wish had never happened.
I’ve mentioned the fact that I suffer from Endometriosis many times before and I’ve even discussed the hysterectomy, but I’ve never gone into any detail as to why it was such a bad decision. Now this post isn’t to say that anyone suffering from Endo shouldn’t consider a hysterectomy, this is just my experience.
Instead of boring you all with the Endo story, I’ll leave the link to a video here. To cut a long story short, after I was finally diagnosed, my surgeon asked what step I wanted to take next. I’ll admit it, I had no clue what my options were other than to have the surgery. By this point I’d had enough of being in so much pain so I said I wanted a hysterectomy. Part of me had expected him to say no, there were other options … before I knew it, the surgery was booked in.
Before I had the operation, I went for an acupuncture session. As we filled in the health questionnaire, I mentioned that I was due to have surgery. The therapist tried so hard to talk me out of it, but I didn’t want to know. I was convinced that it would solve all my problems … after all, the surgeon didn’t say otherwise.
Mick was really supportive and basically said he would stand by my decision. Even though me having the operation would mean that he’d never have kids either, he just wanted me to feel better. Endo had taken over our lives and we wanted things to go back to how they were. Having him by my side made it all so much easier for me to deal with.
I’d already resigned myself to the fact that I’d never be a Mum, but I don’t think it ever sank in that I was about to make that a definite. Ever since I was a kid and played with my dolls, I’d always imagined that I would have children. Having the hysterectomy would take that dream away from me, but I was desperate. The pain had gotten too much and I wanted my life back.
On the morning of the surgery, I was absolutely terrified. I’d had a few ops by then, but nothing major. It suddenly dawned on me that I was about to go and have organs removed from my body and I was scared. They’d told Mick that I would be in theatre for around an hour or so, but in reality it was about 5 hours before I came out. To this day we don’t know why I was in there so long. I was very groggy and off my face on morphine and that day is all a bit blurry. The only real memory is Mick staying with me all day, even though I was asleep for a lot of it.
The recovery was tough – really tough. You feel like you’ve aged by about 50 years and the simplest tasks exhaust you. On top of that, you’re plunged headfirst into menopause. I’d been on a medical menopause for a couple of months before, but that was a walk in the park compared to this. Hot flushes, aching bones, dry skin, hair falling out … suddenly you don’t feel 30 anymore. Five years on, the menopause continues to kick my arse on a daily basis. My memory is shocking, I hurt myself easily, my hair is so thin, the hot flushes destroy me daily … it’s not fun. I can’t have HRT so I just have to deal with it until the time when my body would have naturally reached menopause.
The really shitty part of it all is that it didn’t cure anything. The Endo came back straight away, so it had all been for nothing. During a subsequent surgery, they found something suspicious that had been left behind during the hysterectomy. I had that removed during my next op, but it got destroyed so I never found out if it was something to be concerned about. To know that I put my body through all that for it not to have made me better makes me angry.
It’s not helpful to look back on decisions with ‘what if’, but I do. If the surgeon had told me that there was a chance the Endo would come back, I might have made a different decision. Had someone taken the time to really explain to me the side effects, then I would have thought harder about what I was doing. Knowing what I do now, I really don’t think I’d have gone through with it.
Physically, there’s been many many negatives to having the hysterectomy. I’ll spare you a lot of the details as I don’t want to put you off your Roast Beef. My bladder appears to have been damaged and the Endo has spread to my bowel … that’s not fun. Exhaustion is a constant and I feel like I’m about 90 most days. Energy is hard to come by and if I could sleep for a week it still wouldn’t be enough. This is not how I imagined spending my 30s.
The children issue rears it’s head a lot. Recently there appears to have been a spate of pregnancies in the blogging community. Don’t get me wrong, I’m genuinely happy for each and every one of these girls. However, it does still make my heart hurt a little. There’s nothing I wanted more than for Mick and I to start a family, and there’s a great sense of loss. I feel like I’m constantly grieving for the children we’ll never have. That can mess with your head after a while.
It worries me that a lot of surgeons still push hysterectomies as a cure. There is no cure. Ok, you might be lucky and it might reduce or even remove your symptoms, but there’s every chance that they’ll come back. Obviously there are some circumstances where a hysterectomy is without a doubt your best option, such as Cancer, but for Endo … avoid it if possible ladies.
In January it will be 5 years since the surgery. 5 years of constant pain on top of all these other side effects … it has been Hell. Surgeons have given up on me – no matter what they do it comes back. Turning back the clock isn’t possible, but if it was you can be damn sure I’d do things differently.