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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

What should I expect after my hysterectomy? (Probably nsfw)

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11063points) 4 weeks ago

It will be a laparoscopy robotic da Vinci hysterectomy (removed vaginally). They’re only removing the uterus and tubes so it’s a partial, not full. I’ve had 3 cesareans. Is the recovery comparable to that? My husband won’t have much time to take off of work to help out with the kids. After my C-sections I was feeling pretty good after a few days but the doctor is saying full recovery for a hysterectomy takes anywhere from 6–8 weeks. What should I expect?

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29 Answers

chyna's avatar

I had the same, they left my ovaries.
It took a good 4–6 weeks to get my strength back. I don’t remember being in any pain afterwards but I couldn’t lift anything over 5 lbs, couldn’t push the sweeper, things like that. I remember walking out to my mailbox and having to sit and rest for about 15 minutes because it wore me out. That was about a week after. I also thought I felt good enough to go to the store. I drove there and was so tired just from driving that I couldn’t even get out of the car. I laid in the car until I felt good enough to drive back home.
Just do what you are capable of and follow doctors orders. At 4 weeks I needed some forms signed by my doctors office. My then boyfriend drove me there on his motorcycle. I ran in, gave papers to the person at the desk and left. About an hour later the doctor called me telling me I had no business on a motorcycle that soon after surgery. Well it wasn’t in my discharge directions. She said it would be added from then on.
Good luck!

janbb's avatar

You are going to need help with the kids for a few weeks at least, I think. (And my, you have a lot on your plate right now!)

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@chyna Was it also done by the same method? They didn’t have to cut your abdomen open for it? Also, what age were you when you had your surgery? And have you ever had a C-section?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@janbb You’re telling me! The surgery is in October and that could potentially line up with when we need to move to a new place. It’s all quite stressful right now. Hopefully everything works out for the best. Unfortunately I can’t put it off anymore as it’s already been postponed once.

janbb's avatar

Perhaps and this is just a suggestion, you should not sell your house until you are recovered? This seems overwhelming.

chyna's avatar

It was done laparoscopically through the vagina but not robotic. There was just a tiny incision in my belly button.
I’ve not had any kids so I can’t compare. I did have a tubal ligation and that was much worse. I couldn’t stand up straight for 3 weeks afterwards. And I was in a lot of pain for a long time.
I was 42 when I had my hysterectomy.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@janbb I wish we had that option but unfortunately with our current circumstances we have to sell now.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@chyna Okay, thank you. I will definitely plan on having some help for a few weeks. My doctor implied that age might have a bearing on the surgery meaning the older a woman is, the longer the recovery. Being 30 I’m not sure what that would mean for me. I’ll plan for the worst and hope for the best.

flutherother's avatar

I would reschedule the operation until you are settled in your new home, if that is possible.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@flutherother Not possible. I’m already pushing it by waiting this long. It was supposed to have been done May of this year. The longer I’ve waited the more complications I’ve been facing.

Jeruba's avatar

From what I’ve learned, the shape you’re in afterward depends a lot on the shape you were in before. I worked with a woman who was back at her desk in three weeks. I was a wreck for at least twelve.

Shall I tell you what I mean by a wreck, or would that be TMI?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Jeruba Feel free. I don’t believe in TMI! This is about a hysterectomy after all.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I had similar but not a full hysterectomy.
Just a few months ago I was told I had ovarian cancer.
Bunches of tests were done, all pointing to cancer, maybe in my thyroid, and spread elsewhere.
I was scheduled for laparoscopic robotic biopsies. Five incisions were made across my abdomen. Everything came up clean except my one ovary. There had been an intestinal infection which scarred the nearby ovary, so they removed that. The other ovary has been detached for thirty five years, due to a tubal pregnancy.

Now, here are the similarities.
I had the same no weight lifting limits, no vacuuming, rest instructions you will be given. The outer scars from the incisions healed quite quickly, but under them I could feel itching, and sometimes burning. It has been a few months, and there are times I still feel where the ovary was removed.
There is nothing whatsoever to be gained from trying to rush recovery. It will last as long as it lasts, and that is final.
By the way, the age thing, my surgeon said, is actually better for older, than younger women. I am only guessing that it is because the hormones are already somewhat changed. That is the purpose for leaving ovaries, when they can, because even without tubes, they regulate hormones.
I saw pictures they took inside during the surgery. Wow! Was that weird. My uterus looked way different from what I expected. It should resemble heaven, or Trump tower, since it has the distinction of bringing life to the world. It looked more like a dodgeball, only smaller. Kind of humbling.

I agree with others that whatever help you can get, get.
Don’t freak out about feeling internal signs of still healing.
Mood swings don’t plague everyone, but don’t be surprised if it happens.
When I came out of anesthesia, man, it was whack. I barely remember, except I felt far from cognizant, and when they told me I would be going home in a couple of hours I panicked. No way could I handle it.
Oh! Ask them for a girdle. I wasn’t offered anything, but when the doctor asked how I felt, I told him I felt like I needed to hold my gut to keep everything from falling out. It feels real unstable, and there is a wrap they can give you so it is firm, and doesn’t let stuff shift around in there. It keeps you from feeling like a half empty bag.
Rest. Let anyone who offers to help, help.

JLeslie's avatar

I haven’t been through it. You have great answers above.

The only thing I would say is if you are unsure at all, get a second opinion. My mom was told she needed a hysterectomy for over 10 years (approx her late 30’s to 50) and she wouldn’t do it. Shes 75 now and still has her uterus, and her problem went away once she went through menopause. I know you’re very far from menopause, so that probably is not part of your equation whatever the reason is for your surgery.

Certainly, sometimes hysterectomies are warranted, so I’m not trying to say they never are.

I would definitely prepare to have help at home for 4–6 weeks after hearing what my friends have experienced, especially since you have young children. You can’t lift anything heavy, you shouldn’t be doing laundry, etc, and with kids in the house it’s very difficult not to. If you’re all better in 3–4 then you were over-prepared, which is fine.

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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@JLeslie Funny you say second opinion. This happens to be the fourth! I definitely did my research first. I even canceled the first surgery thinking I could handle the issues. Turns out that wasn’t smart. For years I’ve tried all the alternatives and unfortunately this is the last option. I’m very comfortable with the decision now and I’ve come to terms with it. I think my quality of life will greatly improve after I fully recover.

janbb's avatar

It definitely sounds like you need it – just get your ducks in a row for the help after. Your grandfather?

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JLeslie's avatar

Sounds like you did all the work. I wasn’t assuming you hadn’t. :)

This Q was great. So many informative answers.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@JLeslie Definitely. It was a big decision so I felt I needed to. I’m still learning things even now though. Like the fact that even just a partial can still mess with hormones a little. Who knew!

Jeruba's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217, so, what I mean by a wreck:

•  Immediately afterward, I lacked the strength even to raise my head from the hospital pillow. That was scary.

• While in the hospital, I learned how much energy it takes even to passively hear noise. The sound of my neighbor’s TV utterly exhausted me.

•  I came home incredibly weak. I could hardly stand up. Trying to take a shower, I had to pause after every minute or two and just hang onto the top of the shower stall and rest so I wouldn’t fall down.

•  My husband went away for the weekend three weeks after my surgery, and I was pretty helpless. My 8-year-old son made me scrambled eggs.

•  One day while he was gone, the cat got grossly sick in the hall. Cleaning it up took everything I had. I could hardly bend over, and I had no strength. I remember leaning against a wall and crying with a wad of paper towels in my hand.

•  About four weeks post-surgery, an expected shrinkage and tightening of abdominal tissue was so shockingly painful that I thought I was dying.

•  I was in bed for six weeks before I even had the energy to watch TV. I just lay there.

•  I’m a person who reads every day and has since childhood. I didn’t pick up a book for 12 weeks. It cost me too much energy, and I couldn’t focus my attention.

If I’d known what I was in for, would I have gone ahead with it? I don’t know. I was miserably uncomfortable before it. And never once since then, not for a second, have I ever wished I still had my period. Eventually I did get my strength back, and there have been no related problems since. But it was an ordeal that I had never anticipated.

I can’t imagine combining it with moving. Why, really, can’t you postpone it? Embarrassed is better than wiped out.

chyna's avatar

Agree with everything @Jeruba said, especially about trying to move at around the same time.
It wipes you out for a very long time and I was in the best shape of my life at that time.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Jeruba Did you have a partial or full? Were you experiencing hormonal changes as well as recovering from the surgery? Did you have the less invasive kind or the abdominal cut open? Were you possiblly anemic after the surgery?

Sorry for all the questions, I’m just trying to see how well this will compare to mine.

I’m also still wondering how comparable to a C-section it is but I don’t think anyone has said yet. I remember the first 2 babies I recovered quickly. By recovered I don’t mean I was doing situps within a week but I was moving around well within days and probably would have been okay on my own within a week or two. Not able to lift still but felt like I could have. My third was tough. I did have 2 days of active labor first so that might have had something to do with it. I was also very anemic afterwards from blood loss during the C-section. There was talk of a transfusion. I was extremely tired. For days I didn’t do much of anything but stay on a couch. I even called my doctor because I was that concerned about my extreme exhaustion. It was a lot different than the other surgeries. But eventually it started to lift.

I’m not sure what you mean by being embarrassed. By postponing the move?

Jeruba's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217, full. It triggered something like an early menopause; I was in my 40s. It was done vaginally—no abdominal incision. If I was anemic, no one said so. And I didn’t take any kind of hormone replacement meds.

I really don’t want to scare you at all, but a move, especially with a young family, is probably going to take everything you’ve got. If there is any possible way to separate those two events, separate them by as much as possible. It’s much easier to avoid a big problem from this than it would be to recover from it.

Think about what it would be like for your husband and family if in the middle of the move you became disabled and they not only had to accomplish it without you but had to try to take care of you at the same time. Not to mention how that would make you feel.

I meant embarrassed about postponing the surgery. Isn’t that what you meant, that you’ve already postponed it once? And isn’t it up to you?

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba I think she said she really needs to have the surgery now for health reasons. But I agree about the move.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Ah, hormones. Men think it is only women, but hormones rule us all.
Certainly some are more balance affected than others, but really, having a tooth pulled can makes hormones freak out.
Ovaries are an important part of keeping things balanced, but they are not an insurance policy.
No matter what we tell you, you are bound to find some one thing out for yourself.

What we tell you is kind of like a packing list for a camping trip.
You might not use a first aid on your campout, but everyone will urge you to take one.

One more thing. This procedure may be the very best thing for you, but, it is possible you could face a case of the blues.
No matter how modern, independent, strong a woman desires to be, this is a very basic, very personal thing for us, and parting ways can have an emotional effect. Keep the lines of communication open with those you know can help you best. And, do some one nice little thing for yourself, perhaps a secret small purchase.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I spent one night in the hospital, came home, the next day I gave my cat a bath and wash the window sills. I didn’t even take an aspirin. The worst part was itching from morphine the first day until they obeyed me and gave me nothing else for pain but did give me benedryl. There was a pain pump which I never touched. I was already taking estrogen because my ovaries had completely stopped working years before my surgery. Good luck…..many think it’s the best thing they ever did. I’m happy that my ovaries are out. I hope you consider having them removed. Cancer in women very very very often starts there.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Patty_Melt I can absolutely see how it can have an emotional impact. I suspect it will have an effect on me. I think I’ll be in mourning for the loss of an important part of me. As silly as it might sound, my uterus carried my 3 kids, it’s my womanhood. So when it’s gone, I’ll be sad.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@MollyMcGuire that makes me hopeful for my recovery. The morphine itch is the absolute worst, I agree. I’ll never forget it after my C-sections.

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