(Warning, contains some graphic writing about post op recovery)
Before I left the hospital, I was given a list of instructions. No driving or working for 6 weeks, no lifting over 10 pounds, no baths, no exercising except for walking, nothing inserted in the vagina, not tampons (I really want to know who the heck did this for it to become a rule), not sex, not sex toys, nothing. And…take it easy, even if I felt like I could run a marathon, things inside were still healing.
The first week was relatively uneventful. I needed help getting off the couch for a few days, and if I accidentally snuggled down to the point that I was laying down, I would have to yell to be rescued. I took my pain meds around the clock as prescribed. I mostly slept though. I did get up every hour or so to walk around the house. Its important to walk to help prevent blood clots from forming.
Using the bathroom was quite the adventure, it took so much effort to get down there that I would stay for a while. I watched a lot of Netflix while peeing the first few weeks.
I stayed on the couch because it was easier for me to get up from it, and I had to sleep sitting up.
I did have an allergic reaction to the tape over the abdominal incisions. I wasn’t allowed to take it off, I had to wait for it to fall off itself, so I had to take Benadryl. The day all of them came off was a good day.
This week was a different story. On day 9 I started spotting. After talking to some other women who have had hysterectomys I decided to go to the ER. There was a possibility that a cuff stitch popped or something worse, like a blood vessel leaking.
The ER did an exam and consulted with my gynecologist. Things were okay, and I found out that even if it wasn’t a popped stitch, bleeding after surgery can happen and be a normal part of the healing process. I was also diagnosed with a UTI and put on antibiotics.
I was able to move around easier during week 2. The weakness in my abs was getting better, and I was able to get up myself.
At my 2 week post op visit I was told that I was healing well. My gynecologist wasn’t worried about the bleeding despite the fact that it had become heavier.
The flood gates opened! I started bleeding so bad that I had to wear an overnight maxi pad during the day, changing it every 1-2 hours, and I doubled up at night and put a towel down just in case. I also had a lot of huge clots. I’m talking about the size of my fist.
I moved to my bed during this week. I had to make sure I kept still though. I’m an active sleeper. I move, I thrash, have invisible fights, end up on the other side of my bed at the opposite end. I didn’t want to risk popping a stitch. I used a maternity pillow, three body pillows, a wedge pillow, and several other pillows to keep myself still. It semi worked.
During this week I also had my first appointment with the geneticist to see if I had EDS or not. That hospital is an hour away, so I packed a pillow to hold over my stomach, my belly band, pain meds, a handful of pads, and a stuffed animal just in case I needed a comfort buddy.
I thankfully tolerated the ride there and back quite well. I changed my pad every chance I got, and took my pain meds as often as I could.
I was still really tired. The bleeding stopped 2 weeks after it started. I watched every episode of The Golden Girls, the first 2 seasons of Jane the Virgin, and a lot of Friends and NCIS.
At my 6 week post op visit I was told that I was healing almost on time, which was a surprise! I still had a cuff stitch or two that weren’t dissolved, so I was told to wait a few more weeks before I could take a bath, but I could start lightly exercising and start going back to my normal routine. I was also given the pathology results. No tumors, no cancer, no cysts, no endometriosis, nothing was wrong with my uterus. My body just didn’t want it!
I went to urgent care one day because the UTI wasn’t gone, and I was given more antibiotics.
By this time, I was super lonely. Not being able to go out and not seeing my friends was starting to take a toll on me. I needed human interaction, and didn’t have enough of it. A friend and I watched Jane the Virgin at the same time, and we’d text about it, so that was nice. But that was pretty much the only interaction I got, besides when my mom was home from work.
I started adding some more light exercise to my routine and just overall started becoming more active. I added in chores as I was able to do them. I still had trouble with fatigue and needed naps often.
Overall, recovery went really well. I do wish there had been more information about the bleeding. I couldn’t even find much in the hysterectomy groups I’m part of on Facebook. Some women experience it, some don’t. Some have a bit of spotting, some have heavy bleeding and lots of large clots like I did. It needs to be talked about more. In general, everything revolving female reproductive health needs to be talked about more. …which is why I’m sharing my story.