I will start at the beginning as some of you may relate to symptoms I have experienced. 2 years ago, my periods were starting to get heavier and longer. This was very unusual for me, I was always like clockwork. It started to effect me emotionally and physically. I had the usual referral to the gynaecology dept and it was confirmed that I had fibroids.
I didn’t really know much about these and no one really offered any comforting information, other than they should shrink over time. I wasn’t really convinced by the “should”. I was offered the Mirena Coil to stop my bleeding because that was the primary problem. I didn’t need the Mirena for contraceptive as I was already sterile. I chose to be sterilised in 2000 following the birth of my son and having complications with a DVT, I felt this was the best option for me. I have two children a girl now age 22 and a boy now age 14.
So I was lucky. Okay back to the coil, well in my mind I was annoyed that this was only going to mask my problem which was the fibroids. This is what was causing my periods to be so erratic so why weren’t they removing them? Apparently not, it’s too invasive I was told! So I accepted the coil and was told to come back for a follow up. The hospital I had chosen to go to was not my local hospital, I chose this one as it had the shortest waiting time but had a good report, so why wait I thought.
The Mirena gives off a hormone, and this hormone made me feel strange. I was crying all the time, over thinking things, I was like a woman possessed. I wasn’t me anymore. The coil actually made no difference to me whatsoever period wise. I still continuously bled day after day, heavier than before, and I was not only bleeding for a week like a usual cycle, I would bleed for 3 weeks. I felt this situation was never going to end. I decided after giving it a good 6 months of perseverance, climbing the walls emotionally, I was quite within my rights to say I’ve had enough. So I chose another Gynaecologist local to me (all NHS of course) and saw someone new. This doctor gave me hope. She was astounded at the decision taken to insert a Mirena Coil. So far impressed. As I was already sterile, I was offered an Endometrial Ablation where the lining of my womb is basically burnt out destroying all the bad cells. This was carried out quite quickly, under General Anaesthetic and recovery was around a week. I did my research, and even a relative who had horrendous periods recently had this procedure and it worked for them, so I was really hopeful. Sadly, I gave this a good 6 months to see whether it could work and it just didn’t. How deflated was I! My Gynaecologist was sad this was unsuccessful but she was convinced that the fibroids must be getting worse. At the time of the Ablation there were only a few fibroids that they could see and relatively small in size. The area they were positioned were not considered to be troublesome either.
The final decision of the Hysterectomy was a complete no brainer for me. I needed this, I was fed up of trying to exercise which I could only do when i wasn’t bleeding, I had already stopped my regular swimming. No amount of diet or exercise was going to take away the feeling I had. My stomach was rounded and felt heavy. I was constantly needing to wee and when I did, I needed to go again because I hadn’t been properly the first time. I was constipated. I had continuous pelvic pain, and as for sex, well whilst this could only happen sporadically, that caused me a great deal of pain to. I missed the intimacy with my fiancé. My wardrobe was governed by wearing black trousers because I never knew when I might bleed. I was constantly having to wear panty liners which are uncomfortable daily. I felt trapped and now I was being given a new lease of life. I am only 41 after all. In my head I knew I am better placed to deal with this major surgery because I am otherwise fit and healthy. Had I waited any longer, who knows what is around the corner health wise.
So 7 days ago, I had a vaginal hysterectomy. My gynaecologist said she was close to cutting me open because as suspected, my fibroids had grown to the rough size of an orange and there were around 10 of them some at the top of my Uterus (so much for shrinking). They have left my ovaries so I will not have a surgical menopause (my request) although I’d given full permission to remove them if they did not look healthy. My uterus and my cervix have now gone to, bye bye Smear Tests! Apparently my Uterus was so enlarged in size and weight, it was similar to a woman 12 weeks pregnant that tilted into my bladder. No wonder I felt the way I did! The next day after my operation, to my surprise, I was able to get myself up and have a quick shower on my own, and was walking tall.
Yes, I was aware that someone had been tugging around inside me, and it was (still is) uncomfortable to sit and get up again. I was only in hospital for 2 days. Now, I am walking well at home, I can shower freely. I am feeling stronger by the day. I was very surprised that a Hysterectomy could be done Vaginally, and not having an outside wound to think about and heal, I am convinced the Vaginal Hysterectomy is a great option if you are offered it . Remember I couldn’t wee without having to go back for another one, well now I can empty my bladder easily. My bowel is open regularly and I feel thin on the inside. I am looking forward to building up my strength, getting back into the pool, wearing bright summery clothes especially white, and it goes without saying I am looking forward to having a long, loving and happy relationship as I had intended.
I hope the above helps, if you can relate to any of my symptoms. Fibroids are awful to live with, so my advice would be don’t put up something if it’s effecting your life. Whilst you believe in your professional’s advice and what they are saying, It’s not unreasonable to want to live a normal healthy life without pain. If I could do Cartwheels right now, I would because 7 days post op, I am feeling positive, free and extremely happy :0)
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Other people’s stories help women feel less isolated. They show that they aren’t going mad, missing the point or stupid.