Friday, September 2, 2022

My hysterectomy


Hi Friends....as I felt inspired and ready to share...I just started writing....nothing formal...more to help share my story for anyone looking for answers and support and for me to look back on....so hope this info helps just one person....thank you for reading (and I apologize in advance for the graphic details and grossness but again sharing to benefit others and remind myself what I went through)

In late April, during April vacation, I took the girls to see my college and we met up with Lea and her son...after giving them a tour of our campus, we went to a great seafood restaurant for lunch-my fave.

I wish I could've enjoyed.  I started feeling so sick...Lea and I started chatting about our pre-menopausal symptoms and how everything was getting worse..traded war stories...supported each other...what besties do.  Later on that day, when I got home, I felt much better and forgot about it.


In May, nothing significant happened (now looking back, we identified this being "the other ovary").


Once the end of June hit, and my period was due, it came on with a vengeance.  It really shocked me.  I was at a family birthday party and was prepared or so I thought...I had a tampon secured and a pad as a backup and when I stood up to leave, I had bled through my dress.  I wrapped Diana's pool towel around me and made my exit...kinda freaked out but later on I felt better again and the flow had subsided.

That was Saturday...my period continued lightly the next few days and then we had our town fireworks night on Wednesday and the same thing happened to me...I had been lamenting to my besties and they supported me as they always do.  Cass even took me to the porta potty to change.  Then things lightened up again.

Flash forward to 4th of July Weekend and my period had continued for over a week with no signs of letting up...it started getting concerning.  It was worse the Sunday of that weekend.  I woke up and thought I was hemorrhaging.  I felt like I was going to pass out.  My besties took care of me and made me a hydrating drink and snack.  As the day went on, I felt a little better.

They did convince me, though, to call my doctor right after the holiday weekend.  Everyone was concerned at this point.

I bled for 14 days.  I called my doctor's office and they tried to put me off.  I can't stress this enough.  BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE.  Healthcare professionals are so slammed and straight out right now because of the pandemic BUT something told me not to wait and I scheduled a visit immediately.  So glad I did.

My doctor ordered blood work and both a pelvic and vaginal ultrasound.

The results that came back were that the complex cyst on one of my ovaries had tripled in size in less than a year.  I also had another cyst starting on the other ovary and the fibroid was still there on my uterus.

The cyst that had grown was the most concerning to my doctor.  It really surprised her.

It was then time to do a specific blood test for Ovarian Cancer called Ova 1.  That was my darkest day during this entire experience.  I was told to pick up my blood test kit and was so surprised that they couldn't email me a lab slip as usual.  When I picked up the kit, it had hit me.  My doctor suspected or wanted to rule out ovarian cancer.

I completely broke down.  I have been watched for years due to my family history- my dad's mom passed from ovarian cancer.  It is a silent killer and people I know battling this awful disease have lived 3-5 years.  All I could think about was how I wanted to live longer than that to see my girls grow up and reach different milestones.  I went to a very dark place.

In addition to this blood test, they ordered an MRI which made me panicky but thank God I was able to have an open MRI in Boston.  Rob stayed with me and I could look at him the whole time and that really helped me.

During this time, my doctor went on vacation for two weeks.  That made me more nervous of course.  I just wanted to know what was wrong with me and fix it if we could.

The good news was that she sent me a message through the healthcare portal, while she was on vacation and said the blood test came back with a "low risk"result...that was somewhat of a relief.

When she got back, I learned that the MRI showed that whatever that cyst was, had not spread.  My lymph nodes were normal and no surrounding areas were affected.  Another good sign.

My doctor determined that the cyst needed to come out.  She still didn't know what it was.  It was originally diagnosed as an endometrial cyst but these tests proved it was not and she didn't know what it was.


I then did my own research and the more I read and the worse I felt throughout the summer, I made the decision to do a full hysterectomy.


I was doubting myself because I really didn't get much guidance from my OBGYN/Surgeon.  I felt much better, though, when I visited with my Primary Care Physician.  He suggested it and asked me, "do you want to have another surgery in a year?  Are you ok living with the risk of ovarian cancer given your family history?"  He asked me, "what are you thinking?" and I told him "I feel so much better after talking to you because this is exactly how I was feeling and I was looking for some guidance."


Sure there are side effects as there are with everything....I will immediately go into menopause...I will most likely need hormone replacement therapy...I need to watch my heart health and keep up with cancer screenings and I am willing to do it all.


When I visited my OB right before my surgery I told her what I discussed with my Primary and she agreed that we would do the whole shebang.   

She was hoping to do it laparoscopicly but I needed to sign a release in case she couldn't and had to go in.

On Thursday, August 25, 2022, I headed to Winchester Hospital for the surgery.  My husband was truly my rock and took such great care of me.  My surgery was scheduled for 11:10am and we needed to get there at 9am to get registered.

I guess my actual surgery did not start until 12:30pm but I didn't even know as I was knocked out.  I don't remember even being wheeled into the OR.  I remember waking up and feeling really drowsy and having to pee.  The nurses at Winchester were WONDERFUL...can't say enough great things about them.

They helped me get up and go to the bathroom-  I went but it really burned from all of the trauma.

The great news was that she could indeed do the surgery laparoscopically!

What is a laparoscopic hysterectomy? 

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the uterus. You lose the ability to become pregnant and no longer menstruate. Reasons for this surgery include abnormal bleeding, uterine prolapse, fibroids and cancer. Recovery usually takes four to six weeks, depending on the type of surgery you have.


A small incision is made in the belly button and a tiny camera is inserted. The surgeon watches the image from this camera on a TV screen and performs the operative procedure. Two or three other tiny incisions are made in the lower abdomen. Specialized instruments are inserted and used for the removal process.  

They actually took the organs out vaginally.  So yes...lot of trauma.

So I ate some crackers and drank some water and ginger ale and then they called Rob to pick me up but I asked if I could take one more nap...I was so drowsy...the poor guy had to wait another half hour.

We were still both pleasantly surprised that they were letting me go home that night...when all was said and done I was home by 7:30/8pm and went right to bed.

It was a rough first night as I was uncomfortable and had to get up several times to pee- my champion was right there taking me to the bathroom.

The next day was all about resting and getting TLC with some special visits and we got in my first walk.  That night, I slept so much better.

The next morning (Saturday) we started the day with another walk and then I took the best nap I ever had!  I slept so deeply and felt much better.  I also stopped the heavy pain medication the doctor game me and switched to Tylenol.  It just makes me feel much better, less loopy and more "regular." ha!

The past week has been resting in between working from home and a little walking and enjoying visits from family and friends with meals and treats and flowers and notes and just so much love I will be forever grateful....It really takes a village and sometimes a major life event to see and feel the people around you...for this I am so grateful...

My doctor called me on Wednesday night with my pathology results and I got the all clear- I was SO RELIEVED!  Truth be told, I had checked the results in the health portal and thought I had the clear when I saw "No Malignancy Detected" in the report but it felt good that she called to put my mind at ease and give me the great news.

The next step in my journey will be my follow up appointments with the doctors and learning about and potentially starting HRT.  I have alot to think about.  For now I am grateful...I am one week post-op...I am healing...and I am ready to live again...Praise God

Four days post-op, I started working from home again...grateful I have a job where I can sit or even lay down to work and it felt good to talk to candidates and clients again- I am not pushing it but I am keeping the train on the tracks and making things happen...because it is just what I do :)

Lastly, I need to thank YOU again my blogging friends for your wonderful and prayers and support..they have meant so much and have truly carried me through...I appreciate all of your stories and advice and personal notes...they have helped immensely.

God Bless XO


Andrea Nine said...

You know how much I’ve been praying for you. Happy to hear your story too. So glad it went well. Part of me wishes I’d started HRT but the other half Is happy I’m not worrying about that cancer risk increase. It’s so hard to know but you will make the right decision for you and estrogen and testosterone creams do help some, I’m grateful for them. Much love to you!

Tanya said...

Thank you for sharing this. I know it will help someone out there. I had similar symptoms to yours and was able to have a uterine ablation 11 years ago. It was a good decision and I'm so happy I had it done. Keep resting and letting everyone take care of you!

Michele R said...

I’m so happy to hear you have the all clear. I had a radical hysterectomy this spring and they also removed my cervix. I spent 3 days in the hospital and had a catheter so I couldn’t get up. But the funny thing is on day 2 they removed the “packing down there” and 2 nurses came in and told me to push my pain med button and then they held my knees up to my chest like I was giving birth and the dr started pulling out the packing and my eyes I’m sure were very wide as I announced “ is my vag a clown car?!?” There must have been 30 feet of packing up in there….lol. I still laugh about this all the time. Have a great holiday weekend!

Joanne said...

Ugh; what an ordeal you went through! I was lucky that my doctor told me right off that while they were going to do an in- office biopsy before surgery he really was not thinking any cancer of any kind so I never had the worry that you had to go through. You poor thing!! All my "stuff" was much closer to the cervix so was more reachable (if you want to think of it that way). I did have immense bleeding and nearly passed out at time or two though and that's what triggered my call to my doctor as well. I bet it feels like such a relief to have all that behind you; I know I felt so much better almost immediately. I do have some night sweats and hot flashes and my doctor and I talk about HRT each trip but since I still have my ovaries we keep pushing that off until "later" if/when my symptoms worsen and I can't just suck it up. LOL. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. I know reading other people's stories helped me make my surgery decision and I have never regretted it since.

Jodi Walters said...

Oh Holly I’m so sorry to hear about all you have been through but so happy for the good news. I know firsthand how scary that can be. I went through that with my thyroid cancer and total thyroidectomy and Thank God that all worked out too. I also was just in the hospital for anemia and just discharged yesterday. Get your iron levels checked since you lost so much blood. That can keep you feeling sick. I’ve been so out of touch with everything and everybody but hopefully can reconnect soon. I know God has so many plans for you and your beautiful family ❤️
Be Blessed……..

Ruth said...

I have been praying for you and am so happy to hear that you are on the mend. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to have that scare hanging over you as you waited for results etc. I think you are amazing and it’s so great that you shared your story to help anyone who might be going through this. Have a wonderful weekend with your lovely family Holly xxx

Anonymous said...

So glad your pathology is clear! Best wishes for a smooth recovery!

Alexandra EyeLoveKnots said...

Glad the results are clear, and that you're feeling better! Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.

Jaclyn Coffee, Pancakes & Dreams said...

Wow I am so sorry you had to go through all of this. Thank you for the informative post! It is tough being a women and dealing with all of the premenopausal symptoms. Glad you were on top of things and figured out you needed to get care. I hope you recovery is smooth!

Tracy said...

I know I read this when you posted but wanted to come back to reply. Thank you so much for sharing, I am experiencing a different but kind of similar situation and after reading your post about being your own advocate I talked with my dr and requested an updated ultrasound because I knew something wasn't right from just 3 years ago. I went last Thursday and did 2 ultrasounds, blood work, urine sample and uterine biopsy so I can schedule a laparoscopic hysterectomy ASAP. I will keep my ovaries but am so thankful to have a course of action and I felt a lot better re-reading your post because I know what recovery will look like. Thank you again, I'm glad you are doing better!

Holly said...

@Tracy so glad this helped, even a bit :)

Sambhavi Arya said...

This article is such a valuable resource for women's health. It's so important that we prioritize our well-being, and this piece provides excellent insights and tips. I especially appreciated the section on self-care practices; sometimes, we forget how crucial it is to take time for ourselves in our busy lives. Keep up the great work, and please continue sharing more informative content like this!

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy Surgery

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