My hysterectomy experience

Hi guys! It’s been such a long time since I blogged; life has been hectic and I have had some health issues but I am so glad to be back!

So, I had hysterectomy done three months ago right here in Lagos, Nigeria. This was a procedure I wanted to do five years ago but doubt and fear held me back while I struggled with excessive blood loss and its attendant anemia caused by uterine fibroids. I have had fibroids for as long as I could remember – in fact, I found out that I had fibroids in my early twenties even before I got married. At that time, my doctor had told me that the fibroids would not interfere with my ability to have children so his advise then was that I hurried to have kids and then deal with the fibroids later. So I agreed. Just as expected, I was able to have kids – I now have three children and each time I got pregnant, the fibroids expanded in size. It was tough managing my pregnancies and I ended up having three caesarean sessions. After my third baby, I had my tubes tied so I would not get pregnant and that way I could focus on managing the heavy bleeding that I experienced during my periods. This heavy bleeding left me anemic my entire adult life. And when you are anemic, it means that you are dizzy or drowsy most of the time, your blood level is so low that it starts to affect your concentration so much that I started struggling to remember names or things that I had read. I was struggling to remember basic things! Because I was performing at very low capacity, it affected my productivity and everything else around me so I had to see my doctor last year.

Now, I will be candid – I do love my doctor! He is a very meticulous and cautious doctor so even though he gave me the option of hysterectomy, which is the removal of my uterus, tubes and cervix, he also wanted me to try other evasive procedures to see if we could control the excessive bleeding. So I had a hysteroscopy and mirena inserted to hopefully control the excessive bleeding. Unfortunately for me, a few months into having the mirena inserted, it fell out of me in the toilet. I must also say that the mirena did not help me at all as my bleeding became even more excessive. So with the mirena gone, I had to face the decision to go through a hysterectomy because my blood count had become so low even though I had been on hemoglobin (iron) supplements for years. With my dwindling health, I was losing my ability to concentrate and a few months into the covid 19 lockdown, I started having irregular heartbeats and suffering from palpitations so I had to see a cardiologist who advised that I went ahead with the hysteroscopy. After weeks on some medications to stabilize my heart beat, I was cleared for surgery.

My surgery started as a laparoscopic hysterectomy because my doctor wanted a procedure that would encourage quick recovery but he also informed me that he would do an open surgery if I started to bleed, which was exactly what happened. I had the hysterectomy three months ago and my recovery was quite speedy. I was back on my feet in no time. The beauty of hysterectomy is that one stops bleeding two days after surgery so you get that instant relief. However, it took my body nearly three months to normalize. To start with, I had a serious case of vaginal dryness that even when I was cleared for intercourse, I couldn’t do it because of the vaginal dryness. It was a very painful experience. I also lost my desire for sex for the first two and a half months after surgery. I was told that loss of libido was not associated with hysterectomy but that when that happens, one could seek sex therapy even though the majority of women had no issues at all with sex after the surgery. My ovaries were not removed during the surgery so I was not becoming menopausal, which meant that I needed to give my body some time, which I did. Gradually, the vaginal dryness disappeared and I no longer experienced loss of libido.

Life after hysterectomy has been great now that I am fully recovered. My sex life is now back to normal and so is my health. I am no longer on hemoglobin (iron) supplements because I was able to build my blood count by eating iron-rich foods and meticulously taking my iron supplements after surgery. I am now also active – I can now go on long walks and do simple exercises and trying to stay fit without being excessive. The beauty of it all is that I no longer have to spend a dime on sanitary pads or tampons! I feel so relieved to not have to worry about monthly periods and its accompanying heavy bleeding that always kept me absent from work and activities nor do I have to deal with the pains.

I know many women can be doubtful or fearful of hysterectomy but I will encourage you to do it if your life depends on it. My life depended on it because I had lost so much blood and with my heart now involved, I could not take my life for granted. If you need to go for a second or a third opinion, please do; if you need to change your doctor to someone more experienced in the field, do so. Clear all your doubts and do the procedure because you need to stay alive to take care of your kids.

Have you had a hysterectomy or any other procedure done? Do you need information on my hospital if you are in Nigeria and need a reference? Do you have fears? Please do share!

cheers!

Ene

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