20 April 2009

living in gratitude 54 : wanted - stories of women with hysterectomy

Today's posting is a wanted adverstisement.
I want to speak to women whom have been through a hysterectomy.

So, if you, reader know of someone who has had one, and whom would like to share their story : please pass on my email nat.latham(at)gmail.com

Mmmmmmm.... I can hear some minds humming.

Reason is that my greatest fear today is the surgery of the radical hysterectomy (which I will have mid-May).

At the moment, I am going towards the surgery full of stress + fear.
And I want to go to the surgery in peace, as it is the next part of my healing process. (The tumor has decreased. Now it needs to be removed. And my uterus + ovaries, which were fried during the radiation, go with the tumor. )

I know that the peace-towards-surgery I am searching for, will come to me in various manners (chi qong, drawing, general creativity, yoga, pujas, preparing-for-surgery book+cd, therapist, sleep, good food, walks in the park...) but I know another route will be that of knowledge.

The more I know/ understand, the more the fear will reduce. And I believe that sharing stories of the experience of having had a hysterectomy will help me learn + increase this knowledge.

text : from pain to empowerment

I was speaking to my friend Bill in Australia, who has journeyed through and cured of cancer ... Together we got the list of questions I need to ask the surgeon on Wednesday :

What should I expect on the first day after surgery, the first week + the first month?
How is pain relief going to be dealt with?
Who is responsible?
How is pain relief in recovery taken care of? (The better pain relief, the better healing)

How long does the surgery take?

How long will I be in hospital?

What are the secondary effects?

What are possible complications?

How do we lessen the possibilities of these complications?

... I expressed to Bill, my fear: "I would rather walk to the Artic on my knees than have to go through this surgery..."

Bill replied "you are doing this for the rest-of-your-life ... So the cancer won't be hanging over your head... you will be cured."

Then our conversation went onto : Work out exactly what the fear is.
And that is one I am still looking at, but to start with :

the answer for the moment is the text from this drawing:

I fear my body going into trauma AGAIN and SO SOON.
I feel like I am getting my body and mind STRONG AGAIN just to have it knocked down again by surgery.

I fear being cut open + having body parts extracted.

I fear complications.
I fear going under another aneasthetic (yes, another one... I already had 3 general aneasthetics in 3 weeks last month)

I fear the recovery period.
About feeling like I have been feeling AGAIN - having had the wind knocked out of me, feeling weak, depressed...
Concerned about post-operative pain.

One THING I do feel good about, is what Bill said, "this will be the beginning of the-rest-of-your-life...
And I know THAT is going to be so much better than my life so far... so THIS WILL BE MY CARROT dangling in front... the light at the end of the tunnel.

Photo of Sylvia creating petal-snow from my favourite cherry blossom tree in the park. She cooked ratatouille for me and we sat under the tree on Friday night and ate her family recipe of ratatouille. I am collecting the recipes of getting-nat-better.


claire altman said...

Nathalie -- just wanted to send you love and light and laughter -- Stef, stan and I (and Avalon) are fine - spent the weekend in Ithaca where Stef had a riding lesson with equestrian coach and more orientation-- good, but I think she's emotionally drained now -- we think of you daily and send joy -- wish we could be there to make you soup and give you a sound treatment -- are you getting to use sound machine? more later, love claire, stan, stef110648

Anonymous said...

I celebrated with a "Farewell my Ovaries" (with apologies to Wendy Harmer) party for my 50th birthday, so I had the mind set right to start with, it was a celebration. The worst part of the hospital stay was waking up to realise that I had 14 staples across my stomach. Wasn't pretty, and frightened me a little. I had kinesiology treatments to 'reconnect the meridians that had been cut' (my words) and felt much better after that. I really didn't expect to be 'sick' for 6 weeks after the surgery, but I was. During that time I got an infection in the wound, which didn't help, and then got measles (ask Louise Hay what that means). But now, 2 1/2 years on - I look back and thank god (and the surgeon) that I had the operation. Celebrate and enjoy!

Amazing Grace said...

Good news is no more PMS, periods, carrying protection 'just in case'. Make sure you allow yourself to grieve for your missing body parts. do the good things, take life really easy at first. Marshall your friends/family to do ALL the lifting, stretching UNTIL your body has healed. Find lots of love and laughter. you are allowed to cry. You are allowed to hurt. You are allowed to get well. find a good physiotherapist to help you retrain your abdominal muscles. Mine occurred in 1976, left me with huge floppy belly, but many medical advances since then. Be kind to yourself. Grace

Shan said...

Dear Nathalie,
I got both my uterus and ovaries removed two years back before I went on for chemotherapy. What helped me go through it? Love and support of my dear and near ones,excellent nurses and doctors..
I used to cry only in the bathroom, didn't want all those wonderful people to see their hard work go waste..
Please have your mother or some one close near you to help out. Get all the spiritual help you can and you know what you will come out of it one day...Don't worry,its not that bad.
Take nutritious and natural food,
God Bless,

bel said...

Dont be afraid,you wont be in much pain after,your stomach will be flat,it takes about four hours,ask the surgeon too do the smallest cut possible,when you go home dont do a thing,not even lifting the kettle..for at least two months .. give yourself time to heal properly that is the key to your recovery..i was petrified,the thought of somebody going into my body and taking things out made me cringe...you will get over all these fears in time,good luck to you and speak to your guardian angel when you are afraid.xxxx

Sue M said...

It is now 16 years since I had my hysterectomy and, at age 31, I was terrified! I saw 4 different Doctors for opinions - all came to the same conclusion. Even the night before the operation, I lay in hospital wondering if I was doing the right thing. I was in hospital for 3 days, and, as strong pain medication makes me physically sick, I managed the pain with Panadeine. I worried before hand of not being a complete "woman" anymore - but, I soon found out that being "complete" had nothing to do with body parts! Being "complete" came from being pain free, worry free and most of all a
happy woman. Listen to your friend - rather than thinking of it being the end of something - it is the beginning of a whole new life. I promise - you will not regret this.
Kindest regards, Sue

Anonymous said...

Dear Nat
I too went through a hysterectomy after they found a tumour which covered my ovaries, tubes, uterous, cervix and part of my vagina, I had the whole lot out. I was 39.
I am now 52 and I can tell you that it was one of the best things I ever did. All that soul searching and mourning that I did before the surgery...phah. No one can pretend that any surgery is fun, but this really isnt as bad as you are imagining, and the pain is only for a short time. The relief that you have from your present symptoms will be forever.
Just multiply the discomfort of surgery by the few days it will last and weigh it against continuing as you are for ever, obviously going ahead with the surgery is the better option.
For a long while I was worried that I would lose my "femininity" and that I would be less of a woman, NO NO NO, this is not the case. What you are gaining is the freedom to be the woman that the Goddess always intended that you would be, free and beautiful.
I wish you a peaceful recouperation, and joy in your new freedom

Anonymous said...

Stay focused. Nothing will be as bad as what you imagine it to be or what you have already survived.
I have not felt this healthy in 20 years. Go into this believing you are doing the right thing & you will come out fine. There are many more good reasons & good stories behind a hysterectomy than bad.
Your mind will control your outcomes. Be positive & trust the surgeons.

Anonymous said...

Hi, My experience was disappointing. The surgery went well I was told (through the vagina for me) but I was sent home with a temperature, and 6 weeks later had emergency surgery which removed my ovaries and appendix as well. It was 1995 and I was 42. Knowledge is power, so watch for temperature that does not go away. Menopause was then immediate, and the doctors tried various pills and patches for HRT, which only made me hyper-emotional, and I felt like there was a stranger in me and that I was going chemically insane - but HRT agrees with lots of other women. Alternate creams etc didn't help either, but I had a bad marriage, so there was some confusion in me as to what was causing what. What DID help was lemon balm, peppermint and sage tea, fresh from the garden - litres of it, and flaxseed and magnesium. I also learnt Reiki, and things improved. I credit Reiki with a lot of positive changes in my life, due to gaining clarity, and the inner strength to go forward again. You are gaining a lot of knowledge and that is important. Once things settle, life will improve greatly. Be kind to yourself. You will gain more being strong again, than you lose. I wish you lots of joy and happiness. Denise.

Anonymous said...

How interesting that I came to your blog to read this particular post, since I have just come from visiting with a friend who counseled me on the upcoming MRI of my brain and biopsy of my uterus (long story).

She counseled me to spend two or three days before visualizing the positive outcome, but also in prayer that the doctors will find what they need to, and do what they need to heal me.

I have had horrible access to care issues which brings up a whole host of fears about not getting the treatment I need for the rare nerve disease I was diagnosed with. My friend counseled me to see myself getting the care I need, the right care I need to heal.

Don't know if that helps but I wanted to share it if it can help. I was also reading with interest your post and comments because I was also diagnosed with a rare form of PMS, and a hysterectomy is recommend to give me relief. God knows I want that relief, I was just scared to take out my reproductive parts for all the reasons you and other articulated. The posts help me not be so fearful about that either.
Best of LUCK!

Anonymous said...

It is a celebration of a new life. Your life will change instantly! Please try to take the natural route to the hot flashes. I am in in second year and i have never felt better and looked better in my life. I changed the way i eat, sweets, caffeine, alcohol all contribute to hot flashes as well as when u are upset. get to know your body and love the life that u are in...by the way my sex life got better after my surgery! peace to u

Anonymous said...

Nathalie, I went through a total hysterectomy 3 years ago. The procedure was done by keyhole and was a long procedure. I was totally out of it for the whole night but was not in pain. The next morning I felt wonderful - my moods were lifted and I just felt happy. I suffered for so long with black moods, it was like a veil was lifted. I was able to walk to the bathroom and have a shower. I do not have any regrets. I was on HRT for about a year. I am now on Evista, an Selective Estrogen Receptor Medication. The pros of the op - no periods, no pain. Downsides - you may put on weight, your skin may sag more, and your boobs will get bigger (by about 2 sizes due to the HRT). But, if you exercise, you will be fine. I am on a tablet called Menothin, which is doing wonders for the water retention and weight around my belly. Also read the book "The New Natural Alternatives to HRT" by Marilyn Glenville PhD. It is a great book that tells you everything your doctor does not. Lastly, you have so much more of your life to live. This is just a part of your life. After the op, go out and live your life, laugh, sing, dance!