Life as Lou

Step Right Up And See The Amazing Hysterectomy Survivor! (And Get An Earful of TMI- Also, A Link To An Actual Photo Of My Actual Uterus!)

  • March 15, 2012 6:06 pm

Parts one and two should be read first, thanks.

The next day in the hospital my new nurse Sherri took over. I slept most of the day away, just as I had before, but I triumphantly got out of the bed and ate my breakfast in a chair because Sherri made me for my own good. I even combed the rat’s nest out of my hair and brushed my teeth.

I also discovered that despite my best efforts, I could quite literally not pee once I was in to the second half of my anti-inflammatory medication dosing period, because it wore off and left certain parts too swollen to function. I told Sherri that something was not right and a quick ultrasound that showed a very full bladder proved that right. More pressure equaled more pain, so I was pretty stoked to take the next dose of Ibuprofen and get things working again.

Once it kicked in, Sherri was very helpful, both running water in the sink and handing me a copy of the Ladies Home Journal for me to read while I tried really hard to do what used to come pretty naturally to me. This entire situation had me laughing my head off, which was painful, but oh so funny. Nursing! Not just sponge baths and shots; sometimes you get to cheer people on when they pee! As silly as it sounds, I really was grateful. It hurts to not pee!

That night, after sleeping all day, I woke up to another really great nurse, Marietta.  She helped me start walking around outside of the room and humored me when I decided to take a shower at 3am.  I really liked her; I think we would be friends if we knew each other outside of the hospital. I felt my strength and balance returning at that point, and I had finally kicked the vertigo that had been spinning things in circles every time I dared move.

The next day I got to go home, but not until after my friend, Melissa came to see me and bring me food from Ruby Tuesday. It was sad to see her because when I hugged her goodbye, it was probably the last time I’ll see her because she just moved down South.  The great thing about both Melissa and Tanya is that when their friend says, “so, you wanna see my uterus?” They both jump up and say, “YES!” Like of COURSE! How COOL is that? Those are some good friends.

I asked my doctor to put the uterus in a jar for me, but apparently, they needed to send it off to pathology where they would slice and dice and determine if it had any dangerous abnormalities.  Dr. Buehner took a picture of it for me instead, and if you would like to see the very womb that once manufactured a Jonas, a Maggie and a Gabriel – well, click here to my flickr page and prepare to understand the KFC comment my doctor made after surgery.

Chris picked me up and the drive home was horrible. I get very, very motion sick on a good day, so being driven home when I was already fighting serious nausea was not a good experience. I learned that I can manage pain or nausea, but I cannot cope with both without wishing I was dead. Obviously, being all cut up inside and feeling every bump made the thought of puking with those muscles sound like a nightmare. When I got home, I went straight to bed.

The next several days passed in a big blur of sleeping, eating just enough so I could take my pain medication, adjust my heating pad, and go back to bed. Somewhere in there, I checked Facebook on my phone a lot and read the Hunger Games books one day, which I didn’t think were all that great.  Not bad, just not great either.  That was about all I did.

My parents came to visit during this time and they took care of all those things I usually do and then some. It was nice to see them, but I wish I had been a little more conscious to enjoy it.  I was really only present for the last two days. My parents brought me the most beautiful silver, Norwegian solje necklace to commemorate my womb.  It has a beautiful design of three open spaces and three spoons, the first to represent my three losses, and the second to represent my three children. It is so beautiful, and so special and very, very me. I will have to share a photo sometime.

The very worst part of the entire recovery was dealing with the pain from the incision in the rectum. You do not EVER want to have stitches in there. Now, I was, of course, on three different types of laxatives and stool softeners, but there was still one, completely normal, average sized turd making its way through my body, and when it came time to come out- well- I will sum up roughly 12 hours of intense discomfort with: WORSE THAN NATURAL CHILDBIRTH. MUCH WORSE.  And, all you get for hours of sobbing on the toilet, clutching a pillow, and trying not to die is poop. When you push out something that painful, you’d think you’d at least get to name it and give it a christening, but no, I just flushed, took more painkillers and went to bed where I hoped to never poo again.

That complication cased me more pain through this whole ordeal than anything else. The hysterectomy was a piece of cake by comparison.

At about one week post surgical, I woke up and realized I wasn’t in pain.  This was great, because I had had timers going off all night to keep me on top of my meds, and I had hardly needed them because the pain usually woke me up before my alarms.  Feeling very encouraged, I slipped out of bed and headed to the bathroom when I felt a very bad sensation of warmth running down my legs.

There was blood everywhere.

Understandably, I panicked just a tish, and I started hollering, “Mom! Chris! Mom! Chris! Mom! Chris!”  It was six am, and no one was up yet, and there I was, blood dripping all over the bathroom tile, feeling frozen in place and freaked out. I silently assessed the situation, realizing that the blood wasn’t bright red, which is good. I wasn’t light headed, which was good. I also mentally reminded myself that a little blood looks like a lot of blood, and so even if that scene from Carrie at the prom was flashing in my brain, it was really nowhere near that bad.

My poor son was the first one to come running, and I am sure he is scarred for life after seeing his mother half naked with blood everywhere, but he was pretty cool about the whole situation and we had a long talk about it later that day about how sometimes that happens. Egads.  Jonas, when you read this in a few years- I am so sorry. Maybe you’ll grow up to be a doctor?

My husband and mother were there shortly and we figured things out, my mother being practical, “It was probably not more than a few tablespoons; it always looks like more than it is!” and my husband being. . .my husband and responding with a lovable and slightly funny over-protectiveness amounting to “we should go to the hospital right now!”  I called the Same Day Surgery Center and got to talk to my nurse Sherri, who confirmed with me that it was likely no big deal, and gave me details on what would be a big deal.  I spent the rest of the day as a borderline big deal, chatted with my doctor’s office and didn’t worry too much.

The next morning my doctor’s nurse called me back, after having pow wowed with Dr. Buehner and realizing that my surgery had been a bit more exciting than is standard, and that this bleeding could be more problematic than is typical, and I ended up being seen right away.

Dr. Buehner said the bleeding was all from places where that sort of thing is classified as “ok”, so that was really good. I gave him crap about the exam, since he was the one to specifically tell me both verbally and in writing “nothing in the vagina for eight weeks,” and here he was bringing up speculums and the like. We got to chat about how the surgery went and his take on things. I told him I thought he handled a bad situation very well, and I was glad he was capable enough to take on a body that was breaking the standard laws of anatomical correctness. He said I was very nice, and then I said, not really, and told him I would probably always refer to him as my pain in the ass. He then agreed with me that I wasn’t nice, and laughed. Yes, I do get punchy at the OB/GYN. Sorry, Dr. B.

Now I am at the two week mark after the surgery and I am feeling pretty well. I didn’t take any pain medication, narcotic or over the counter today, went out for lunch, bought shoes at Target and even walked around the whole block.  That sounds like a lot, until you consider that that was ALL I did ALL day long, not including a nap and several episodes of Friends and hours sitting here playing on the interwebs.  Doing almost nothing is completely draining, and it doesn’t take much physical strain for things to ache, so I am just living this slowed down life until I can continue on at my usual breakneck speed.

My parents went home, and my in-laws came and took my children, so it is very, very quiet here. I miss them a bit, but I am loving the quiet and grateful for some time to just heal and focus on myself.

I am getting better.





  1. Carol Seim says:

    So glad you are feeling better. Sometime I’ll tell you my story. . . :D

  2. Laurence says:

    So glad to read the last sentence !

  3. R. Fungus says:

    Soooo happy to hear you are getting better =o) =o)
    The part about the flushing instead of naming was funny XD

  4. Nina C says:

    How nice to have parents who are that involved on both sides! What great family! Glad to hear you are doing well! Enjoy the “vacation”.

    Oh, by the way, I went to the doctor to ask them if surgery was right for me and I found out that my problem can only be fixed by a total hysterectomy so I am very disappointed. I guess I will just have to find some pills that don’t make me over emotional that I can take for the next 30 years and deal with it. Oh well…

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