I would like to tell you that I woke up in recovery from my hysterectomy feeling fantastic but that would be a lie. I was in pain It was rough the first day but by the second I was up and walking around. My hysterectomy was done abdominally so I had a incision much like you would have after a c-section. Thankfully my previous c-section “taught” be how to move without causing additional pain so I was more mobile than with the c-section.
At less than two weeks out I was able to sit and watch my daughter’s school play but that lone activity literally wore me out! The pain improved very gradually from then on as did the bleeding. I had one of the common complications after hysterectomy, bladder infection, and felt like a new woman once the antibiotics kicked in.
I am 7 weeks out now and have started working out again and find the only real issue is fatigue and some left over soreness. By the end of the day I am pretty much “done” and am only recently finding the reserve energy to participate in evening activities. This past week I made it to both Wednesday and Sunday evening church services with out falling asleep or whining about the pain. That was an accomplishment for me because even before surgery those chairs were very hard to sit in.
The pathology from my surgery showed a disease called adenomyosis along with endometriosis. Adenomyosis occurs when the endometrial tissue moves from inside the uterus into the muscular wall of the uterus. It can be found in patients with endometriosis as well as those with out it. The symptoms are quite similar and include: long or heavy menstrual periods, painful menstruation that gets increasingly worse and pain during intercourse. It can be treated with hormones and pain medication but permanent relief only comes with menopause or hysterectomy.
I also had adhesions in this surgery that had stuck my bladder to my c-section scar and my intestines to my uterus. Both of these issues were thought to be caused by the endometriosis. While adhesions can also be a side effect from multiple abdominal surgeries I am hopeful that because there is not a source for additional endometriosis that the adhesions will no longer be a huge issue. Trust me, they can be painful!
In all honestly this recovery had been harder than any of my other surgeries but the fact that I am almost no pain now makes it worth it. I know the residual soreness and fatigue will get better each day. Please tune in next time as I discuss the hardest part, the part no one asks you about… how you emotionally recover from a hysterectomy.
Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.