As I am now 3 weeks post RH (ovaries not removed) I thought it might be helpful for some people if I wrote down my experience and hopefully give some hope and optimism to those facing RH themselves. I myself wanted to hear as many people’s experiences as possible before I went for surgery so here it goes…
I was really terrified about having a general anaesthetic as I had never had one before. I did get really wound up about it and didn’t believe i would be properly asleep (silly i know!) but its true what people say its just like a really deep sleep (no dreaming) and before you go under you feel a bit drunk and relaxed, so one minute i was talking about holidays and then the next i was waking up. The drs knew i was nervous and they were so quick at getting me ready and talking about nice things all the time, I was hardly on the bed more than 5 minutes before I was out.
I was in hospital 3 nights, I had my own room so was lucky it was very restful. The worst thing about the early days is the pain from the trapped gas (they pump in for keyhole surgery to make room inside you to do the procedure) inside your abdomen. I found peppermint water helped. It was unnerving because it bubbled under my rib cage and made my breathing and shoulders painful. Once i realised what it was it was fine and it passes in 2-3 days. I had 5 incision holes including 1 in my belly button and they have healed well.
Once at home i felt a little more vulnerable and emotional for the first couple of days but that passed as i felt myself getting stronger everyday. The good thing was I has taken time to prepare for being a bit immobile e.g. loads of pillows, memory foam topper on the bed, electric heat pad, loose clothes easy to reach etc so i felt comfy at home ( there are posts on here with lists of thing to prepare for home and hospital and on a hysterectomy website i found but happy to do another list of things i found useful is anyone wants it). The pain really wasn’t too bad at home and i only took codeine tabs the first 2 nights and then just paracetamol and ibuprofen for a couple of weeks. End of Week 3 and this is my first day on no pain killers - I’m amazed! I’m not pain free but want to feel it a little bit to stop myself over doing things. You are very swollen so loose clothes and big knickers are a must, but now at week 3 im almost back to normal and can wear my stretchy jeans if i put something to pad the waist band around my belly button.
I had a catheter for 10 days as my organs were quite stuck together apparently so they had to do a lot of manoeuvring of my bowel and bladder so they thought i may have bladder control problems. It was annoying but slowed me down so stopped me overdoing things. When it came out i had 1 day of being a bit leaky shall we say! but after that it was fine. I took laxatives from day 1 and i’m still taking a low dose of latulose just to avoid constipation. The pressure stockings were worn for 2 weeks and blood thinning injections go on for 1 month. My partner does them for me and they can be a little painful but we just get on with it!
Overall I’m amazed at how quickly i’m recovering. It really was a daily improvement that I could feel. I was so depressed and angry before the op that i was going to have an operation that would leave me incapable of looking after myself when I felt so well before but it really isnt long before you can potter about - its just the lifting and car driving I will definitely take my time with. I get pain down my legs if i stand/walk for too long so you have to listen to your body. I told my work it would be 6-8 weeks before i would back so i dont feel any pressure to go back too soon.
Physical healing is much quicker than emotional healing and I have found that people have been so lovely offering help and support around the operation but already the messages asking how I am are reducing and I know that its the emotional healing I will have to face now. But to help I have told myself these 6-8 weeks are about positivity, time with the people I love and physical nurturing. The emotional stuff can wait for a few weeks. Needless to say I have still had my weepy days and a good cry helps i think.
I realise that everyone will be different with their recovery so dont worry (and allow for) if you take a bit longer than this - its not a competition! I just want people to have hope that they will be back to their old selves soon enough.
Good luck with your journeys x
Thank you for sharing your story Amy, I hope you will continue to recover as smoothly and your positiveness will get you through the rest
Thanks so much for sharing this Amy, it's just what I needed to read! I am currently waiting on a date for my SH and my head is a mess with the 'what if's'!
I had a pre-assessment last week and the nurse explained the recovery should be a lot quicker after keyhole surgery than I had thought, which was great to hear, especially as I have a toddler who is very much a Mummy's girl.
Like you say the emotional healing part could be the tough bit, have you been offered any councilling? All the best, hopefully in time the positives will outshine the bad parts and you'll end up even stronger xx
Just to let people know, I'm going to talk about children in this comment.
I understand how you are feeling Noodlet, its horrible waiting for treatment when you dont know how its going to effect you. I have a 1 yr old and it was very hard for the first 2 weeks as i couldnt do anything with her at all and she didnt understand. As much as i wanted to spend time with her I really didnt have the energy and was so scared of her bumping into me so my partner and friends/family were good at taking her out and she goes to nursery. So give yourself a 2-3 of weeks of knowing you wont be mummy in quite the same way but it will pass soon enough and they wont remember. Now i can do everything except lift her, that still leaves a lot to my other half to do but we can play and have cuddles so thats good. I actually think it has been a really good bonding experience for my partner and daughter. I dont think i will try and lift her till week 5 or 6 but im trying heavier stuff every few days from now on - washing baskets etc.
I wish you a great recovery and hope that you will come out of this feeling like a strong, brave woman, be proud of yourself! xxx
Hi Amy, I hope you're feeling even stronger today in every way :)
I have my op date now (4 weeks from today) so in a way it's made me feel a little better in that I can start planning and preparing us all for things being a bit different for a while. I think my partner is quite looking forward to being the main carer for our little one because generally I do most things for and with her so she normally only wants Mummy... i think i'll struggle to not stick my beak in tho! :) Sitting still/resting is not my strong point!
The thing i'm scared about is that like you i've generally felt 'healthy' despite all of the stress this has bought, so an op is going to make it feel very real. Then there's the getting my head around how life changing this is, but I am determind to focus on the positives and on how fortunate I am.
Big hugs xx
You are so right about 'sticking your beak in' ha ha. It gets worse as you get better. My other half coped fine when I was in hospital and when i first got home, now I'm following him around the house giving him instructions - he tries his best to not to snap at me and we have talked about how i need to feel I'm doing stuff for our little girl even though i cant physically hold her so he understands and I try to hold my tongue! The biggest argument we had was over what colour legings he had put her in - so silly :-)
Planing is good, once i had everything ready at home and for the hospital I felt better and prepared. After the op I just had to accept that I was now 'ill' in a way but from then on its all about recovery so that feels positve. I also realised that this was the most amount of time I had to myself since my daughter was born so make the most of it and make a list of things you can do at home that you dont normally get to do. If you like reading, get some good books in, they make you sit still and you never get that chance to immerse yourself in a book normally with a todler around! I have found writing on this forum really theraputic too. Just dont try to do too much physically too soon, I have heard lots of stories about complications from over doing it.
hope all goes smoothly with your SH - let me know how you get on if you want to. I have post op oncology follow up today - nervous about results.
Good luck for the results! I'll have everything crossed for you.
I'm absolutely terrible at sitting still so it is going to be a challenge to 'rest' after the op, not only do I have busy 2 year old but we also have two large dogs and I rode (horses) 3 times a week up until this all started. I will definitely need to stock up on books and movies! I think my other half is hoping that things like ironing and cooking will get done when I'm housebound for a while! hee hee!
I did sort of learn to listen to my body after my C-section... I was so happy to get home (we were kept in hospital for 2 weeks) that I was up and down the stairs and walking the dogs until my body suddenly said no! I remember the fear of knowing that I'd overdone it so I'll try to not do that again.
All the best for today xx
Got the all clear on friday - so relieved! instant relief now giving way to 'what if it comes back'? but thats just human nature I think. My job now to stay fit and healthy. Good luck with your journey xx
That's great news! I am so happy for you! :)
..a little reality check...week 5, totally over did it and had a dreadful 24 hrs with chills, joint pain, nausea (like the flu) and emotionally unstability! dont over do it ladies! its really hard to tell when you are 'over doing it' though as i felt fine at the time, probably we all have to have a day like this as a reality check :-)
Take it easy! So what did you do that was over-doing it?
I very much overdid it three weeks after my op by going on a clothes shopping trip to Oxford Street. Looking back on my recovery I pushed myself hard and overdid it quite a lot. I was frustrated by my lack of energy and also felt that I wouldn't know if I was getting better unless I pushed myself to try things. I don't think it slowed my recovery in any way though.
Hi AmyT good to hear you have the all clear. I have scans and final dicussion re treatment next week but RH looks likely. I was concerned about the afterwards but you sound like it's manageable. this doesnt make sense but I don't know how else to say it but I dont want to upset anyone either, but do you still feel the same? I know it's daft but i am just worried I won't feel like me again or will have to find a new me. Maybe that's just the big C and I am pinning it on the RH. As someone that's been through it hope you understand ?
Lizzy, it was all only a few months ago for me and I do remembering wondering the same as you, but I can safely say I now feel back to my old self in every way.