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Women's health

Hysterectomy next Weds - shitting myself!

66 replies

Cheddarcheeseandsodabread · 26/03/2019 13:05

What the title says, really.

Glad to be getting rid of my fibroids, polyps, bloating etc but I know I am going to scared shitless when I get to the hospital.

I am 52 but lost both parents in their 40's due to a blood clot on lung and stroke (both drinkers and smokers - whilst I do neither), so I think this is freaking me out a bit.

Any do's or don'ts welcome plus any hints or tips to keep calm. I am already on an anti-depressant and have beta blockers to take the day before. Can't help thinking that I may only have a week left to live

Will be laparoscopy - so any views on recovery time would also be welcome.


OP posts:
Babdoc · 26/03/2019 13:15

OP, the staff certainly don’t want you to die of an embolus either- the paperwork would be horrendous....! Grin
Joking apart, it’s all very routine and you’ll wonder why you were so worried afterwards.
If you are anxious on the day, you can ask for an oral premed on the ward before you go to theatre - the anaesthetist or ward doc can write one up for you.
You’ll be given pain relief before you wake up, so it’s already on board, and if you need more the recovery staff will give you it. They don’t send you back to the ward until your pain score is very low and your obs are stable.
Focus on how chuffed you’ll be to get rid of your fibroids etc, and don’t worry about the op. The staff do them every day, they’ve had lots of practice!

Foo2 · 26/03/2019 13:29

You'll be fine.

I had an abdominal hysterectomy two weeks ago (they tried laparoscopic first). I know it's scary - my blood pressure was pretty high when they checked me before the op. Maybe try either Headspace or Calm apps for mindfulness, deep breathing etc. It might be worth telling them how anxious you are when you get there, in case they can reassure and reduce your wait.

In terms of recovery, it's not as bad as you'd imagine. It's sore yes, very tiring yes..and the first poo can be grim! But I've felt a little better every day and feel like myself again. If you can, enlist some help for the first week or two, to look after you.

Here are some things I've found really helpful - mainly from this other thread :

Lots of loose/baggy/comfy cotton pj's
A couple of nighties for catherter
Massive big pants, so they don't sit on your wounds
Lactulose for constipation
Sucky sweets for dry mouth
Arnica tablets to heal internal bruising
Mints/mint tea etc for wind
Lip balm, hand cream, body lotion (my skin felt very dry)
Slippers you can stuff your feet into (rather than pull-on ones)
I bought a litter picker (about £7 from game changer if you drop anything)
Kindle - lighter to use than books, though I was very tired and barely used it
Travel toiletries for hospital (so you're not manoeuvring heavy shampoo bottles etc).

I know it's daunting, but the waiting is the worst and once you're on the other side, you can focus on your recovery. Just take it very easy and listen to your body. If you're in a position to do it, a cleaner for an hour or two a week would help keep the house sorted while you recover.

Very best of luck! Flowers

Cheddarcheeseandsodabread · 27/03/2019 12:42

Thank you Babdoc and Foo2

I know deep down that I will probably be okay - I'm normally quite level headed and sensible!

Foo2 thank you also for the checklist - that will give me something to focus on :)

OP posts:
ajandjjmum · 27/03/2019 12:46

My 84 year old Aunt had an hysterecomy last year - she recovered so quickly it was amazing. Literally walking around the house after a couple of days - the only thing that dragged on were her desire to be waited on! Grin

Cheddarcheeseandsodabread · 27/03/2019 13:32

Thank you ajandjjmum that made me laugh. Good for her. I must admit, I was disappointed to hear I may only be in hospital for a day or two - was looking forward to the rest!

OP posts:
theworldistoosmall · 27/03/2019 13:43

Sorry that made me laugh about the rest in the hospital. At the moment I'm a frequent visitor. Always takes me a couple of days at home to catch up on sleep.

You will be fine. Surgery is daunting but it's all routine to them.

Take ear plugs. They will really be needed. And take in some dry prunes etc that will help you go. Also a couple of snacks, hospital food is hit and miss in terms of it being nice even at the same place.

Check about pants, mine prefer nothing worn with the catheter and they use bedmats.

Cheddarcheeseandsodabread · 27/03/2019 14:54

Haha! Thank you theworldistoosmall that reminded me of when I had my babies - each time, couldn't wait to get home for some kip!

Already have some snacks planned just in case!

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GBroGal · 27/03/2019 15:39

I had a total hysterectomy last Thursday because I noticed post-menopausal bleeding and upon investigation, endometrial cancer was found. Fortunately it was caught at grade 2/stage 1A (so very early and very unlikely to have spread). I was home again by Friday afternoon. Mine was laparoscopic too. I have 3 little keyholes in my tummy (belly button, left and right) and there's the extraction incision at the top of the vagina.
My assigned oncology nurse said "Don't Google" - so that's the first thing I did Wink because for me, just knowing what's going on is important - I did stick to reputable websites (NHS was my main one - good for what to expect re pain, recovery tips, etc) and I ignored the doom and gloom merchants.
Recovery wise - Thursday: sore and bloated - gas is pumped into your tummy to separate out the organs so they are easier to snip around - this gas has to make its way out, but I found I didn't burp much and was too sore at first to try to fart (I'm getting good at it now though). Friday: stayed in bed most of the day and caught up on sleep - but it's less than a week now and I've been out for a couple of walks. I think I'm doing well. I was given a 'goody bag' with dulcolax, senna tablets, codeine and blood thinning injections to self-administer - which I've had no trouble with at all. You will need to have your own sanitary pads - there will be a little bleeding which can last a few weeks as your vagina heals.
Re keeping calm ... knowing what's going to happen, telling myself this is routine (there were 6 women in the same day as me - so quite the gynae conveyor belt) and knowing who can answer questions (I searched Mumsnet for hysterectomy and found all sorts of help on the old threads).
All the best.

Macaroonmayhem · 27/03/2019 15:52

Cheddar as Foo has said, head over to the dedicated hysterectomy thread as it is so helpful and full of useful info. I am 5 weeks on from an abdominal version and that thread has helped keep me sane as it is full of women who have been where you are at every step of the way and have lived to tell the tale!

I can’t really add anything that hasn’t already been said other than to say it’s not been anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be. I didn’t realise just how much my huge fibroid was impacting on my life til it was gone so you’ve got all that to look forward to!

Babdoc · 27/03/2019 17:11

GBroGal, I had to chuckle at the thought of trying to burp out laparoscopy gas - it’s physically impossible as it’s not in your stomach or anywhere in your GI tract - it’s in your peritoneal cavity! Grin
It’s carbon dioxide, so you have to wait for it to be absorbed and excreted via your lungs or buffered in your blood.
The surgeon should decompress the gas through the scope at the end of the op, before pulling the scope out, but not all of them are meticulous about it.
You may incidentally have wind in your stomach or bowel too, but that’s due to opiate pain killers making your gut sluggish and constipated.

ScreamingValenta · 27/03/2019 17:17

Nothing to add to the advice already given, but wishing you the best. Being pain free and period-free is wonderful once you have recovered from the op.

Bringbackthestripes · 27/03/2019 17:37

I had mine a week ago. Laparoscopic, vaginal assisted.

The pain really is minimal whilst you are in as they keep you topped up. I was more bothered by the fact I was told I would be helped to sit in a chair within 5 hours, in reality I was trapped in bed with a drip one side and catheter bag the other with the bed sides up that I couldn’t get down. Once they finally removed the drip late night of op I still couldn’t get out. By morning I had given up waiting for someone to help me so shuffled down to the bottom of the bed where I made my escape. They then, finally, removed the catheter so I could walk about and have a shower and change into my own nightshirt. I was devastated to find out I had to stay in a second night because I had so little sleep. Hospitals are such noisy places. Once home I was just taking paracetamol for a few days but the pain really does pass amazingly quickly. I have actually picked loads of things up that I shouldn’t simply because I forgot I’m not supposed to lift! I am already doing 2 quite brisk 10 min walks each day (started at 5 ) and pottering about and have been to the shops a couple of times (DH holding basket & I go and sit in the car while he waits to pay) I Have done some baking today and laundry.

I cannot stress enough to take earplugs. And get a stool softener for when you come home. Morphine causes constipation, as does codeine. You will be fine, I know it’s a worry but it really is all pretty routine for the medical team and the anaesthetist will be monitoring you closely. Just keep thinking how great your life will be once it’s all gone.

Beanfield · 27/03/2019 17:43

I had mine last November and it is distill the best thing i have ever done.
I’m a raving hypochondriac and not even I managed to die under anaesthetic.
They were all very nice, kind and professional and there were lots of good drugs. The only bit that really hurt was the trapped gas and shoulder pain but that went after a couple of days.
I was in only 1 night and recovery at home was very quick and easy. Pain was surprisingly minimal but I was extremely tired for a few weeks afterwards so ask for help. I got The Rage with my family for not offering to help or make me cups of tea but how were they to know seeing how I didn’t ask?

Cheddarcheeseandsodabread · 27/03/2019 17:49

Thank you all for your help and understanding - this time next week it will all be done!

OP posts:
Nat6999 · 27/03/2019 17:56

I had mine done early evening, was back in bed in time to watch the soaps, catheter out early morning & was home in time to have a cooked brunch. Hardly any pain relief needed, mine was done Friday evening & I was well enough to go to the pub by Monday afternoon & drove home. Take it easy, just do what you feel like, enjoy being looked after when you get home.

Cocolepew · 27/03/2019 17:59

Good luck, it will be fine . The thought is always worse than the actual thing. They give you nice drugs Grin.
I had mine 5 years ago and it was the best thing I could have done

theworldistoosmall · 28/03/2019 08:43

Haha yes the drugs they give you are nice.
And agree go to the dedicated thread. The support given by the ladies on there is amazing. And reading what they have gone through and on the other side of recovery helps to calm nerves. Although saying that I will probably be a wreck in a few weeks!!

Prequelle · 28/03/2019 08:44

I'm one of the nurses who takes care of women post hysterectomy so feel free to ask any questions.

Cheddarcheeseandsodabread · 28/03/2019 10:17

Thank you Prequelle

I don't think I am worried about the actual procedure - more afterwards. This being due to both my parents having died from pulmonary embolism and stroke. I just worry that the same will happen to me...

OP posts:
ajandjjmum · 28/03/2019 12:32

These type of thoughts always try to intrude Cheddar, but remember how much medicine has come on - you will be continually monitored throughout surgery and afterwards, and you won't be home until they are well satisfied with you.

Look forward to you coming back on this thread post-surgery, and saying 'what the devil was I worried about?!!' Flowers

Prequelle · 28/03/2019 14:07

Cheddar I'm so sorry to hear that.

You will have pressure stockings on, you'll be given injections to prevent clots, and we get you up and about moving right away there's no bed rest etc like there used to be which raised the risk of clots and immobility.

I know it's easier said than done but try not to worry cx

Cheddarcheeseandsodabread · 28/03/2019 17:57

Thank you Prequelle and ajandjj - doing my best Smile

I've been out today to buy some big girl pants and a couple of nightshirts as I sleep in the nude but didn't want to shock the other patients with my svelte physique! Wink

OP posts:

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FabulouslyFab · 28/03/2019 18:05

Thank you @Babdoc for that information about the gas. I had my ovaries removed a couple of weeks ago laparoscopicly and it did puzzle me how the gas was expected to be farted out 😂 - and I didn’t suffer with wind at all!
You post makes it all so clear 👍

FaithInfinity · 28/03/2019 18:07

Hi, I worked in theatres for a few years. If they’re able to do it laparoscopically your discomfort should be minimal really. I can understand your worry with the blood clots but as pp said, you’ll get stockings and injections as you recover. The onus is on you to get up and moving after your surgery, that’s a great way to help prevent them. Do tell the anaesthetic team about your fears, they should be able to reassure you.

I would take a nice dressing gown (to go to theatre in and for your post-zip walking!), ear plugs, a variety of entertainment, some cash but not loads. Get some peppermint tea in as well, it’ll help to disperse the gas. I’d also suggest taking trousers/dress with you that has plenty of room round the waist - I had a laparoscopy last year, I wore my skinny jeans and couldn’t do them up to come home! Blush Good luck, hope it goes well.

Cheddarcheeseandsodabread · 29/03/2019 10:35

Thankyou FaithInfinity I will definitely mention my fears on the day.

Ooh, you have reminded me to get some peppermint tea too Smile

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