To me, a hysterectomy is an operation to fix a problem. Yes, it inevitably causes other problems that need careful management, but it’s a decisive step and most women who have this kind of surgery claim it was life-changing. Unfortunately, however, many of my friends viewed my news as a catastrophic tragedy. You’d think I’d told them I only had weeks to live! People didn’t seem to believe me, but I really didn’t have any emotional attachment to my reproductive organs, so the pending surgery became known as the ‘major service.’ It was a necessary process that must be endured to get better. Simples…
Due to my business, family, children, health, and job at the time with Regenerus Laboratories, I was stretched and only had one month to prepare for surgery. I was determined to take time off to rest and recover, so operation hysterectomy was rolled into action. The freezer was filled with homemade ‘ready meals, I’d booked time off work, and my business was on lockdown until well into the new year. Autoresponders were set up, out of office activated, and my au pair had more checklists, charts, and schedules than you could have shaken a stick at.
Christmas was also planned to the last detail.
The presents were wrapped; lunch was ordered via M&S, and the decorations were in place. I’d also organised my smallest’s birthday presents, pizza night, cinema party and goody bags. So, I was rocking life as an uber organised working Surrey Mummy. I was so busy organising everyone and everything I didn’t have time to think about what was about to happen. So, it didn’t hit me until I was at the Guildford Nuffield in my surgical gown signing the consent forms, that I thought, “Holy f%@k, my insides are about to be carved!” I’m usually annoyingly curious about medical procedures; however, this time, I really didn’t want the gory details of how my surgeon, Mr Kent, was going to pull my ovaries, uterus, and cervix through three tiny laparoscopic incisions in my abdomen. It’s a bit like childbirth; how the devil does a melon-sized baby’s head fit through such a small hole? Of course, there are ways and means, but it’s best not to think too hard about it.
After watching a few episodes of Vikings (nothing like some sexy, bloodthirsty eye candy to get you in the mood for surgery) and trying my hardest not to crack under the infuriation of nil by mouth, I was eventually whisked down to theatre.
I thoroughly enjoyed the anaesthetic countdown drugs (I mean, who doesn’t?), and before I knew it, I was back in my room with a bum full of anti-inflammatories, whacked out on morphine and talking utter nonsense to the poor nurse caring for me. Oh, and don’t get me started on the random phone calls and selfies to friends…
We agreed never to talk about it again… Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, needed to see a close-up of my catheter!
I’d love to give you a dramatic and graphic tale of horrors and undignified violations; however, it all went perfectly well. I won’t lie, the catheter was bloody annoying, to say the least, and the hospital sheets were rough enough to chafe my elbows, but my pain was what I’d call ‘moderate’ and believe me, I know what acute and chronic pain feel like.
The worst part and I was warned about this, was the post-surgical bloating, trapped wind, and gas. My poor tummy resembled an inner tube with three puncture repairs. I had some issues with bleeding and oozing from the ‘incision’ in my belly button, and I was pretty bruised, but it was all very textbook; after two nights, I was sent home with a bag of painkillers, anti-emetics, antihistamines and laxatives.
Weirdly straight after surgery, my bowels were rocking and rolling, but normally codeine, tramadol and morphine can really slow down normal digestive function and make me sick as a dog, parrot, or another animal of your choice. I slept day and night for the next seven days, and I started to realise how much of a big deal the operation was.
Yes, I know… I know, it’s major surgery, so what on earth did I expect?
But during the preceding weeks, I really didn’t have time to process what was about to happen. During the days that followed, I knew I’d made the right decision. As soon as I woke from surgery because although I was tender and swollen, I no longer had that all too familiar relentless, central pain through the core of my body. What a revelation!
At that moment, I suddenly realised how unwell I’d been, and if I hadn’t followed the advice of my gynaecologist Miss Whitcroft and surgeon Mr Kent, things would have undoubtedly gone from bad to worse.
That was quite an upsetting realisation; however, I’m far too stubborn to accept my friends might have been onto something with their sympathy and compassion. Anyway, onwards, and upwards.
Hello Menopause, prepare for battle!