Having a Hysterectomy – What to Expect
Now that it’s been a month since I have had my hysterectomy I figured I should write this before I forget to much.
This is my experience. I am not a medical doctor nor am I giving anyone medical advice.
I made the mistake of doing my pre-op with my primary doctor rather than my surgeon’s office because he is a 2 hour drive away. My primary doctor is wonderful, but she’s not my surgeon and there were things I just didn’t know to expect. I would definitely take the 4 hour round trip if I had it to over. He does this all the time; he is the expert.
As far as prep there’s not a lot. I did include a list below of some of the things I was really glad I had. I made sure I had everything before the surgery and that I had my room set up for after surgery.
As far as the day of surgery I was a nervous wreck. I’m not sure why, but I was. They were wonderful and had aromatherapy and nice music playing. They also let my husband come in the room.
They have you in a paper type gown and they plug a hose in it. It’s weird, but cool. It blows air through out the gown and you can make it colder or warmer. I get really cold when I’m nervous so it was nice to have the heat. They also put compression type stocking on each of my legs. They squeezed and massaged my legs below my knees. It was definitely a strange feeling, but was really easy to get used to. It was to prevent blood clots. They also hooked up my IV.
They talk to you and have you fill out final paperwork. The hardest for me was signing the paper that this was not reversible and that I would be sterile. I want kids and while I understand I can adopt or foster I’ve always dreamed of being pregnant and being a mom. This surgery was medically necessary though and I’ve made my peace. Just be prepared, because if you want children like I do it can sting a bit.
The anesthesiologist came in and injected the “I don’t care” meds (their description) and it really took the nerves away. I remember saying good bye to my husband and I remember them wheeling me down to the hall and into the OR. The next thing I remember is waking up in recovery.
When I woke up it hurt a lot. I wanted to just go back to sleep and they kept asking me to stay away. I was actually able to walk to the bathroom with assistance and go within one to two hours after the surgery was done which was really good.
We headed home after they released us. If you are able to stay a night – do it. I wish I had taken that opportunity. The two hour car ride home was really uncomfortable. I felt every bump and jostle which made me extremely sore the next day.
I stayed in bed the first few days and took my pain meds as directed. It wasn’t until about day 3 or 4 that I started to wean off it. Due to the anesthesia and the pain killers make sure you take stool softeners and drink A LOT of water. It’s crucial to have your first bowel movement. It burned when I urinated (due to the removal of my cervix from down there) so I didn’t drink as much as I should have. I ended up having to take Miralax. I was really scared. I did not have my first BM until day 4 then again day 8. After that I was fine.
When everyone tells you to rest – do it. I had no idea how much this took out of me. On day 11 I went to a wedding. I literally walked from the car to the church, watched the ceremony, and went home. I was wiped out and slept the entire next day.
It took me until about day 17 to actually feel normal. I didn’t drive until day 18. I tried before and who knew there were muscles in your tummy that you used when you hit the fuel! Even though I feel normal and I can drive I am not at 100%. I am taking things slowly and starting to go back to work only a few half days a week. I’ll work up to 40 hours slowly.
Here’s what I recommend having for the surgery:
- Wedge Pillow – We have recliner, but I sank deep into it and wasn’t able to pull myself up. The pillow helped me sleep on an incline the first few days.
- Abdominal Binder – Some hospitals will give you one. I purchased mine. You are going to be really swollen. Like 6 month pregnant looking swollen. This helps with the swelling and when you move around.
- Heating Pad – It you don’t have one this will come in so handy after. It helps when you get gas pains from the anesthesia.
- Colace – This is a stool softener and does just that.
- Miralax – If you get too backed up then this will help you go within about 24 hours.
- Reading Pillow – Once I could sleep flat then my wedge pillow wasn’t as comfortable. This allowed me to sit up in bed. I linked it to the one I have. We purchased it last year. Here is a cheaper option.
- Kindle – I read a lot in bed when I wasn’t sleeping. That and watch TV so while you don’t necessarily need this it was really nice.
- HysterSisters – This is a site that has been super helpful. There’s a forum where you can sure so much information. It’s free to use.
I wish you all the best!
I’m happy to have discovered your blog today. I’m at day 26 and it has been quite a journey. I wish I had done the research before so that I could know what to expect but I was afraid to find negative things before the surgery that would make me even more anxious. Hystersisters was a great discovery for me too. I know I’m going to be nervous the first time the bf and I are intimate as you mentioned. This fear of ripping the incisions inside is a real thing. I have the postop panty but it feels like it gets too tight after a few hours. I was on Lupron for 3 months before the surgery so hot flashes are still torturing me. I also had reflux from hell the first couple weeks, so now I watch what I eat and try not to lay down too soon. Getting tired quickly is definitely real. I drove a bit the other day and I think I was more nervous about all the twisting looking around in parking lots etc. I can’t wait for the day to not be nervous about the internal healing. Okay this was a novel, please forgive me.
I’m so glad you found my post too! It will get better. I pray your recovery is quick and painless!
Jane Sterner says
I have cancer endometrial so I got a hysterectomy robotic laposcopic went home same d as y as surgery. This is one week later my belly is bloated have been eating driving well I am in my mid 60 now I need radiation 5 weeks 5 day a week for 5 weeks any feed back about radiation and what to expect
I’m so sorry about your cancer. I didn’t have cancer so I never had radiation. I wish I could give you feedback, but I don’t have any. I’ll keep you in my prayers though! I wish you all the best.
Linda Manns Linneman says
This is great information for those women who need a hysterectomy. I have been fortunate and have not needed one of these. Thank you so much for this great informative article.