Menopause

Hysterectomy: Leslie’s Story Part Three–After the Surgery

When blog reader Leslie Lockwood told me she was scheduled for a hysterectomy, I asked her to record her experience for Friend for the Ride.  She’s presenting her story in three parts.  This final post is a report twelve weeks post op. Thanks Leslie, for sharing your story!

Although I felt like writing it’s been a “wild and crazy” ride since my surgery 3 months ago, it’s really been more like “mild and phasey!”

Mild-Healing strictly from the surgery itself has been a breeze. I took the doctor’s advice and did nothing for two weeks.  I took my pain meds for about a week or so, then ibuprofen, and then nothing.  I went back to work after four weeks and was not exhausted at all (which is what my doctor had predicted).  And even now, except for the scars, I really couldn’t tell you I even feel like I had surgery at all.  I have no physical pain at all at the site of the surgery, I have good energy, am back to walking and Zumba, and feel pretty good most of the time.

*Phasey-Here are some new phases (at least I think/hope they are phases) that I am going through.  I am pretty sure that many are typical menopause symptoms.

 Sleeplessness-I feel like I am up all night.  I doubt that this is true, but from the time I turn out my light until the first time I wake up is usually 2-3 hours.  I then proceed to wake up several times a night and am almost always up before my alarm goes off.  In the past, I have had trouble falling asleep, not staying asleep, so this is really different for me.

 Furnace-I feel like I have an internal furnace on at all times now.  This has been especially difficult to deal with because we had a pretty warm end of summer/start of fall here in Oregon.  For the first time ever I was ready for it to cool off.  Even now, it has hit the low 40’s and I am not thrilled to have the heat on or ready for the flannel sheets my husband keeps requesting.

Weight Gain-This one is tough to really know if it’s a result of my hysterectomy, because I have struggled with my weight for years, always wishing I was 10 or 20 lbs lighter.  When my cyst ruptured in June, I immediately gained 10 lbs.  I was confused that it didn’t budge, and decided just to enjoy my summer (picnics, desserts, wine,…) and worry about losing the weight after my surgery.  Well, this weight (in my middle for the most part) is stubborn!  I am currently trying a low carb approach and have dropped maybe 3 lbs but would seriously love to lose about 15 more at this point.

Pain-I had the hysterectomy because of the pain and spotting I was experiencing from endometriosis.  The spotting is gone (obviously with no uterus) and I love that.  I am also happy to report that the pain is mostly gone.  I say mostly because I still feel it now and then.  What I had was nerve pain on my left side and I have been told that nerves take a long time to forget.  I definitely feel better and am so glad I have gone from taking up to three ibuprofen for about two weeks of every month to rarely taking it at all.

So there you have it, my hysterectomy story.  Hopefully it is helpful to any of you contemplating having this type of surgery.  I know also that I can learn from many of you so if you have any advice regarding my “phases” please let me know.

*I went from the patch (seriously could not get the sticky residue off of my skin) to a 1 mg tablet of Estrodial each day.

Photo Above: Leslie laughing on a Disneyland ride, Mickey’s Carousel, during a trip they won in a radio contest.

Photo Below: Leslie and her daughter, hugging in the dorm!


Leslie Lockwood has been married for twenty-four years and is the mother of two teenage daughters. She’s a southern California girl who’s been in Oregon for the past eighteen years.  Leslie teaches music to preschoolers. She loves her book club, girls’ night out, and trips to the beach.

Menopause

Hysterectomy: Leslie’s Story Part One– Before the Surgery

When blog reader Leslie Lockwood told me she was scheduled for a hysterectomy, I asked her to record her experience for Friend for the Ride.  She’s presenting her story in three parts.  This post recounts the symptoms and medical advice that led to the surgery.  Thanks, Leslie!

As I look ahead to a few days from now, I’m really not sure how I feel.  You see, I am about to part with my uterus.  I guess I’m ok with that.  No more bleeding or spotting 15 days a month….  No more pain (endometriosis)…

Until recently I thought I would never have a hysterectomy.  They were for people of my mom’s generation, or people with health issues.  Not me, I was pretty sure I’d be hanging on to it forever.  But here I am today, about to have surgery soon, and  I am pretty sure that  I am in denial about this whole experience.

Here what lead me to make the decision:  Until the last few years, I was a pretty healthy person, with rarely even a cramp each month.  Then one day I had this pain that I thought surely must be appendicitis; it turned out to be a ruptured ovarian cyst (talk to anyone who has had one, the most excruciating pain ever).  I had it happen twice before the doctor scheduled a laparoscopic procedure and took out my ovary.

When they took my ovary, they discovered that I had lots and lots of endometriosis.  Interestingly, right before I had my ovary removed, I had this pain in my side and shooting down my leg– this has continued every month for 1-2 weeks.  I often have bleeding or spotting accompanying this.  But I did not want a hysterectomy, so I decided to try and deal with it.

When it wasn’t getting any better ,they put me on The Pill.  I continued to have bad pain and yet another ruptured ovarian cyst (on my remaining ovary).  I have figured out that constant pain is exhausting!  I was tired all. the. time.  (Me, the diagnosed insomniac since age 10, has to take a nap each and every day.)  So after my last trip to the ER for the ruptured cyst, I went to my doctor.  He basically said to me, “It’s time.”

Now that the time has come, I have tons of questions:  *Will they take my ovary?  *Will they put me on estrogen?  What will I feel like?  *What will the recovery be like?  Is this really going to happen?  So much is unanswered at this point.

And still, I wonder if this is really what I should do?  I have actually felt ok in the last month and a half since that cyst ruptured. So now what do I do? Do I discount the 2.5 years of pain, bleeding, etc. because the last month has been ok?  Or is it sort of like when you can’t stand your hair, schedule an appointment, and then get tons of compliments (before you even have your hair cut)?

I’m not sure.  Time will tell.

I am hoping and praying that I made the right decision.

*This part really is an uncertainty because the doctor will not know what he has to do until he get in there with the scope and sees how much damage the endometriosis has done.

Photo Above:  Leslie as a baby!

Photo below:  Our guest blogger now.

Leslie Lockwood has been married for twenty-four years and is the mother of two teenage daughters. She’s a southern California girl who’s been in Oregon for the past eighteen years.  Leslie teaches music to preschoolers. She loves her book club, girls’ night out, and trips to the beach.