A Year Later: Still So Happy About My Hysterectomy
It's been nearly a year since I went under the knife and finally decided to get rid of my uterus with my last endo excision surgery. And after nearly a year, I can sincerely say, I sigh with relief every time I realize that I will never have to endure the agony of another menstrual period again.
It still almost seems surreal to not have that aspect of my life anymore. Also, it sometimes really drives home how completely compromised my life was by my menstrual cycle--how everything I did, everywhere I went, what/how I worked, revolved around it as when it would come due it always d knock me totally out of commission. Seriously: I would be rendered useless for the days I was bleeding.
Endometriosis AND adenomyosis
In addition to endometriosis, I also had adenomyosis, which is a separate, though very similar, condition to endo. It is when endometrial-type tissue penetrates the womb. I had suspected I had endo since I was a young teenager and first learned about it, and knew since my early twenties when I finally had my first lap to confirm the diagnosis and remove much of it. However, I didn't know about the adeno until my mid-thirties (I have no idea how long I had it though, if I had it as long as the endo or if it was a more recent development in my body). It explained why a few years into my thirties my periods got much worse and resisted the management methods that helped the endo. The adeno was prominent enough to show up on a high resolution MRI and even after a couple of years, to become apparent on an ultrasound (technically, a biopsy is the only way to confirm adeno for sure--but high resolution MRIs can usually give a good, secure clue if it's suspected).
Getting rid of my uterus for good
Since adeno was literally inside and part of my uterus, the only way to get rid of the adeno, was really, to get rid of the uterus itself. Admittedly, I was ambivalent about this step. I know that hysterectomies are one of the most common surgeries in this country, and that in many cases, women or other non-cis-men may be pressured into having them. I also felt that the commonplace occurrence of hysterectomies for non-fatal conditions may have something to do with society's sexism--stigmatizing reproductive organs long associated with women, or treating a womb as completely unnecessary if someone doesn't want to have children or has already had them. So I was wary. Additionally, my mother had a hysterectomy--hers for cancer so it was not optional--and she had a horrible reaction to it (though hers also required removal of her ovaries, so she went into immediate menopause at 41). However, after a few years of just unimaginable pain and suffering, I decided enough was enough and planned to get rid of my uterus for good. I also then experienced a different kind of sexism--doctors not being open to even discussing a hysterectomy with me, because they thought I would change my mind and want kids even though I was almost 40 and for years was certain I didn't want biological children. It took me awhile to find a doctor who was willing to listen to my own needs and was willing to perform a hysterectomy along with a radical endo excision.
So, 11 months later: here I am. Though the first eight weeks or so were tough after the operation, I have had a fairly good recovery. And best of all: no periods, no cramps, no heavy bleeding, every month (sometimes multiple times a month). Even my PMS issues, which were also terrible and sometimes as painful as the period itself, have mostly gone away completely. I still have some sensitivity and tenderness in my pelvic region--partially I think from having so much work done, and from other issues (like IBS). I also have dealt with some occasional mild-to-moderate constipation since, which may or may not be related to the surgery or its after-effects. But otherwise, I haven't had any of the other side effects I stressed about (loss of libido, problems with sex and orgasms, urinary problems--my bladder issues and IC have actually seemingly improved), breakthrough bleeding, etc.
Not a cure all, but...
I still have other health issues and chronic pain unrelated directly to my endo/adeno, so again, my hysterectomy was not cure-all or blanket panacea. But it definitely helped eradicate one particular pain and health issue that was dominating my life, so it's one less thing to struggle with. Now I no longer have to live with my eyes on the calendar wondering if I can do X or Y on a certain day because my period is due then. I just wish the answer had come easier to me, and I didn't stress it so much at the time. But I did my homework and waited till the time was right for me and all my questions were answered, and am satisfied with my decision and the results.
Have you had a hysterectomy to deal with adeno? How did it work for you? Please feel free to share in the comments below.
How old were you when you were diagnosed with endometriosis?