Did you know that the medication regimen for a hysterectomy actually starts the day before the procedure? Or maybe that’s just my doctor.
Either way, that’s where I’m at today. Sitting at home on the day before my surgery, taking my first prescribed medication.
And, because COVID, continuing to stay quarantined at home.
That part isn’t hard. I’ve been doing it pretty much since March. We have this social distancing thing down.
But, after my COVID test on Sunday (OUCH!), that is a pre-requisite for any operation at the hospital, I’m required to isolate at home.
Today I begin the regimen by taking prescription-strength Tylenol every 8 hours.
Tomorrow, on my way to the hospital two hours prior to my hysterectomy, I’ll drink 16 oz of Gatorade, take two more Tylenol, and two other prescription tablets.
Then, it’s surgery time.
After the hysterectomy, it’s strong pain meds for seven days, followed by a little less potent pain medication for the weeks following.
Then, if all goes well, I’ll be on my way to better physical and mental health. It’s been a long journey to finally get here, and I’m so ready to be past it.
How did we get here?
Just two months after my mom passed away, I had some abnormal bleeding that landed me in an urgent care center.
The on-call doctor (if that’s what she was?) there took one look at my cervix and basically handed me a death sentence. She said it looked very bad and told me to call my Gynecologist right away.
I had to have a biopsy and then wait over two weeks for the results!
Colby and I had made plans to go to Mexico with some friends, who felt I needed the time away, and we almost canceled because of my health.
We ended up going, but I was incredibly worried about the results the entire trip. I was sure I had cervical cancer.
After all, in 2001, I had an abnormal Pap smear that eventually led to a LEEP procedure where most of the opening of my cervix was removed.
That was probably a more accurate account of when it all began for me, honestly.
I was told I may have trouble getting pregnant again, but that didn’t end up being so far from reality. In fact, I got pregnant 5 times after that.
The problem was actually worse: I seemed to have trouble staying pregnant. Two miscarriages and a rainbow baby later, here we are.
SIDE NOTE: Today would have been our baby’s 12th birthday. The irony of her birthday and the date of my hysterectomy, defining the end of my child-birthing years, is not lost on me.
Emotions aside, this is really for the best.
After the bleeding began that October, it only accelerated over the next year.
By August 2018, I was plagued with numerous ovarian cysts which only exaggerated the pain and bleeding.
By early November, I was diagnosed with endometrial hyperplasia.
As Thanksgiving rolled around, the endometrial hyperplasia collided with my ovarian cysts which caused an abundance of blood to leave my body over a span of twelve days.
I was left pale, weak, and incredibly anemic.
Fast forward to today, I currently still have a cyst on each ovary, a fibroid on a muscle in my uterus, an enlarged uterus, and a thick endometrium lining.
It’s not improving.
It’s been three years.
I’ve tried so many non-invasive treatments. I’m not eligible for an IUD because of the structural abnormalities.
So, not a good option. My doctor (and I) aren’t confident it will work and I’ll be coming back for a hysterectomy later anyways.
Might as well cut to the chase and have it done now.
Speaking of my doctor, I’m halfway grateful my old gynecologist retired this past December. I had been with him since before my LEEP. 20 years!
I adored and trusted him.
I was forced to find a new doctor, but am grateful I had to make the move.
My new doctor believes in patient autonomy and — being fresher out of college —knows about more modern treatment options.
By the way, did I mention I’ll have a robotic hysterectomy? My doctor will be seated at a computer station controlling robotic arms inside my stomach.
Colby was quite intrigued by this concept, so my doctor showed us a video of how it works and… yeah.
All I know is that by having the hysterectomy, I’m hopeful that I can get a piece of my life back.
No more bleeding for weeks on end. For no real reason.
No more anemia. No more ice cravings or monthly B12 shots.
More energy. Less pain. And, perhaps most importantly, less stress over the health of that part of my body.
75% of my anxiety stems from my reproductive system and the problems I have with it.
I told Colby I’m taking the Marie Kondo approach with my uterus.
It no longer sparks joy. It’s time to thank it for serving its purpose in my life by giving me five amazing children, and let it go.