I’m continuing to share my experience having surgery to remove a large fibroid. You can read more about how I made the decision to have a partial hysterectomy in this post.
My surgery was scheduled for a Friday morning in late October. I had a pre-op appointment with both the hospital and my OB. I received information on what I needed to do in the days prior to surgery, what the surgery would entail, post-surgery pain medication and recovery.
Before scheduling surgery, I spoke to three different doctors about how to best remove the fibroid. The first two doctors did not believe they would able to perform the surgery laparoscopically, but would have to cut open my stomach/abdomen, similar to a c-section. The third doctor gave me the news I didn’t think was possible – she would be able to do is laparoscopically, which meant it would be less invasive and an easier recovery. Yay!
The partial hysterectomy would include removing my uterus, fallopian tubes and cervix while leaving my ovaries so I would not go into premature menopause. While it was a given my uterus, including the fibroid, would be removed, I wasn’t sure about the fallopian tubes or cervix.
The decision was reached pretty quickly for both – my OB explained the cervix had to be removed if the surgery was performed laparoscopically. She went on to say it used to be believed the cervix had some role in sexual intercourse and pleasure, but that was no longer the case.
As for the fallopian tubes, a friend of a friend had recently found out she had cancer in her tubes when they were removed during her hysterectomy. She had had no idea. My OB confirmed they typically removed the fallopian tubes for that exact reason. (Everything removed is tested for cancer or other abnormalities.)
For the month prior to surgery, I followed the Whole30 program. I had a lot of painful gas pain after my c-sections and I wanted to prevent that from happening again. I had done Whole30 in the past and knew it helped me feel my best.
One week prior to surgery, I stopped taking all vitamins and supplements with the exception of a daily probiotic and iron (I had been prescribed iron from my doctor). Two days prior, I increased my water intake to 96 oz a day and limited caffeine to one iced tea.
The day before my surgery, I was instructed not to drink alcohol and have my last meal in the evening. I could not eat solid food after 11pm. I had to shower the night before and morning of with a prescription soap.
The last thing I did before going to bed was kiss my kiddos one last goodnight. They knew I was having surgery the following day, but I didn’t want to take a chance of waking them up that morning.
The Morning of Surgery
My surgery was scheduled for 7am, which meant I had to be at the hospital at 6am. I couldn’t to drink any water after 4am.
Jim and I got to the hospital right on time. My son had been to one of my pre-op appointments with me and wanted to know which part of the lot we parked in. I made Jim take note so he could tell him later. It seems a little silly now, but it was important to me at the time.
I was assigned a room and changed into a hospital gown. I don’t remember a ton of the protocols – I had to reconfirm the surgery, have my vitals checked and speak to the anesthesiologist. At one point the nurse commented on how quiet we were. I was scared and anxious. I didn’t want to make small talk. I tried to take deep breaths and keep calm. Although a hysterectomy is common, it’s still surgery with risks.
True to my doctor and anesthesiologist’s word, I barely remember drifting off.
I woke up in recovery five hours later. Before I was able to talk, I remember feeling a lot of cramping just like I would get during my period. I panicked wondering if maybe they weren’t able to do the surgery. Why would I have cramping if they took out my uterus? Were they able to do it laparoscopically?
Once I was able to talk, I felt some comfort realizing the surgery did happen. Within an hour I was transferred to my room for the night where I was able to see Jim again.
Although my surgery was scheduled for four hours, it took longer due to the size of my fibroid. A normal uterus is approximately 60 grams. My uterus + fibroid was 680 grams, 9x the size of a normal uterus.
I stayed in the hospital for one night and went home around noon the following day. I’ll share more about my immediate recovery, as well as the first few months, in another post.
If you have any questions about my experience, feel free to leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.