I received a query about the surgery I mentioned in my Twitter stream.
I’ve had fibroids for several decades. In 1993, the year after we moved to Colorado, I had exploratory surgery. I went to sleep expecting anything from the removal of an enlarged ovary to a complete hysterectomy. (I think my gynecologist expected to find something ugly: she asked a Denver cancer surgeon to assist in my surgery.) She said she was relieved to find that the enlarged ovary was a normal ovary with a fibroid wrapped around it. I woke up with both ovaries and a longish incision.
For several years afterward I had normal pelvic exams. More fibroids grew and I had to get an annual ultrasound after my annual checkup. Fortunately, aside from the way the fibroids interfered with a normal exam, I had few symptoms. After menopause, I assumed that the dropping levels of estrogen would cause the fibroids to start shrinking in size.
Unfortunately, this was not the case: the little suckers were growing larger. Several months ago my doctor recommended that I either get a hysterectomy, or get an ultrasound every four months. I was very tired of ultrasounds. Five weeks ago I had a hysterectomy and had my ovaries removed at the same time.
Lots of things had changed in nearly 20 years. The first time, I was scheduled to be in the hospital three nights, and stayed two nights. Now, it is considered out-patient surgery, though I did stay one night. I had the laparoscopic procedure, and ended up with three small incisions instead of one humongous incision. Aside from a little post-anesthesia queasiness, I actually felt pretty good the first night, aside from being bored by nothing to do and annoyed by the leg pumps they insisted I wear. (Every time I started to fall asleep, the leg pumps would do their thing, waking me up. I hated them.) When the nurses helped me out of bed the next morning, and I was able to keep down some water, going home seemed perfectly feasible. (I had my doubts until then.) Jack and I left the hospital about 2:00 pm, a little under 24 hours since I’d had the procedure.
The first surgery was much scarier than this surgery because of the chance of finding ovarian cancer. Having known I might need a hysterectomy for nearly twenty years took a lot of the excitement away. My main concern this time was making sure that we had adequate supplies of critter medications and food, and that Jack was properly trained to feed them. A friend fed the night I was at the hospital, since Jack was there late. She complimented me on the provided documentation. (Actually she said it was incredibly anal, but I decided to take that as a compliment.)
My recovery has been uneventful. I was limited to lifting 10 pounds the first two weeks and was told not to drive. I tired easily enough that I didn’t mind the restrictions. I had a little soreness, but not enough to make me want to take the prescribed Percocet. After the first two weeks, I was able to lift 20 pounds and resume driving. I still get tired easily, and even take the occasional nap. The iPad 2 was very helpful during my recovery, since it was light enough that I could sit in the easy chair and keep it on my lap.
This week I will be having my six week checkup, and I expect to be released to do all my normal activities. I hope to lose the habit of taking naps.