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May 11, 2015

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Carolyne

I'm glad I came across this tonight. I am scheduled for a hysterectomy in a few weeks and all I have been reading are horrible and depressing stories of how swelly belly (a term I have come to hate) and how it never goes away. I have had serious doubts about this surgery and I have been seriously considering cancelling the whole thing and just putting up with bleeding abnormally for 30 to 40 days at a time. I have always had normal periods and no problems at all....until the last 6 months. Which is why this whole idea of hysterectomy seems unreal to me. It's like going from being totally normal to having to have major surgery overnight! I am not one of those women who has had pain and problems for years. I know quite a few who have had nothing but problems their whole lives and are actually happy at the idea of being free of it all. I don't think I have ever really had menstrual cramps and, even now, I don't have pain at all. The only problem is this prolonged bleeding, which causes severe anemia if I don't take an iron supplement. It is difficult for me to wrap my head around the idea that I have to, all of a sudden, have my uterus removed. Me and my uterus have never been enemies.I have joined support forums these past weeks and instead of being an actual support, it has only made all of this worse for me. Swelly belly comes up a lot and there's never anything but horrible and depressing comments about it. I almost get the impression that this surgery will leave me completely deformed....for life! Me, who is a fitness person....Me, who has worked hard to achieve this level of fitness for myself. It's all very depressing to read. Of course, none of these women give any details about their level of fitness or anything else. They are just complaining about how swollen and fat they are no matter what they do!! And so, it has left me worried and wondering if I should go through with this surgery. I am going for an MRI next week to see if I could be a candidate for embolization. I have not been very hopeful about this, since my fibroid is 13cm. Basically the size of a grapefruit. It's hard to believe that a fibroid that was only 2cm three years ago and not much bigger two years ago, is now THAT large. I have doubts that I will be a candidate for this alternative to hysterectomy though, which leaves me with not many choices apart from living with this abnormal bleeding.
Of course, I am rambling. But I am glad I came across this while frantically searching on Google in the middle of the night. This is the first time I read about someone who doesn't have only negative and depressing things to say about swelly belly. And yes, I DO hate that term now. Of course it's normal to have swelling after surgery, but these women make it sound as though we will look deformed for the rest of our lives.I really don't know if those support forums are that helpful sometimes.
Thank you for writing this and putting it out there. I may just be able to sleep tonight.

chacha1

Hi Carolyne,

I'm so glad this was even somewhat helpful for you. Any major surgery is scary, and hysterectomy may be 'routine' but it is certainly major. I do think you can take Forum Voices with a fistful of salt. You know your own body.

I too had almost no trouble with cramps up to the point when the fibroids manifested. Then it was a couple of years of 'eh another thing to deal with, ick.' Eventually it was GET THIS THING OUT OF HERE.

I never had any conflicts about the surgery itself - I didn't need that uterus, ever - and for whatever reason I wasn't too concerned about the 'after.' I'd had minor surgeries before with no issues beyond sensitivity to anesthesia. That was the one thing I warned (hassled) my doctors about. I said, it will make me sick, and it won't take as much as you think it will, and pay some effing attention please. My whole team was fantastic.

Anyway, as you can tell I am 100% happy I went forward with the surgery. It was definitely life-changing. Even though my husband and I have not (for other reasons) been able to resume our dance life yet, my physical fitness is better than it was pre-surgery. I wear the same size, I weigh roughly the same, my yoga practice is stronger than ever. Everything that worked for me before still works for me now.

I will emphasize that being able to take a full eight weeks' leave undoubtedly made a huge difference to my recovery. Being able to REST, which is something a lot of working women do not get to do at any time. Being able to hydrate when I needed to, stretch when I needed to, sleep when I needed to, cuddle with a cat when I needed to.

As I'm sure you know, physical fitness is a continuum. Depending on the approach for your surgery, the amount of internal dissection required, the amount of time under anesthesia, and other factors, your recovery will be different from mine. My surgery took 90 minutes, my incision was roughly six inches long, and I had no associated endometriosis. I also had really good lower-body strength and stability, so I was able to get around in those first two weeks without putting undue strain on the abdomen.

Anyway, I hope you have good results. Thanks for your comment. I would love to hear from you again. Get some sleep!
Alexandra

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