Preparing for My Hysterectomy
The time has come: My hysterectomy and radical excision surgery is finally right around the corner. A few days out, I am preparing as best I can as I know the surgery will be a whammy and leave me exhausted and sore for at least a few weeks, if not even likely a few months. As such, I have been preparing and I thought I would share with my readers how I decided to do that…
Taking off of work
Fortunately, I only work part-time, as a freelance writer/blogger (including for this and another Health Union site) and teach a couple of classes at a local writing school. I also occasionally tutor and offer writing coaching and consulting. For my freelancing, I have decided for two months after my surgery to not take on any new assignments or pitch any articles, or look for or contract with any new clients (I’ve had a few inquire in recent weeks and I let them know I am on hiatus until after the new year).
I already told the fabulous team at Health Union I will not be blogging much (if at all) for a couple of months as I will be recovering from surgery; They were, of course, very understanding. As for teaching, my school mostly goes on hiatus from Thanksgiving week until a couple of weeks after new year anyway. So, I timed my surgery to be the week before Thanksgiving (I will be teaching up until the day before my surgery).
I know some people don’t have the privilege to take off of work; I am lucky I do. I have some savings I can lean on and am also now newly on a government housing subsidy program where they adjust the rent based on my monthly income; Since I have no monthly income for two months, I will be at $0 for my portion of the rent and it will go back up in January when I resume working. I am very fortunate to get on this program the month before my surgery. For those who are not so lucky, please consider looking into the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or short-term disability.
My partner lives right across the street from me and he is my formal medical proxy. He came with me to my pre-op appt and asked the surgeon a lot of questions and took notes. Though he lives across the street, he will be sleeping/staying over for at least the first few nights of my surgery (I am supposed to be going home the same day, unless there is a complication, and then it might just be overnight). He is taking off for the rest of that week (the surgery is on a Wednesday, so Wednesday through Friday). Then the following week, he will be working from my home from that Monday through Wednesday. Then it’s Thanksgiving, so he has that day and the next day off anyway for holidays (another reason I planned it this way). We are tentatively planning on having him return to the office the following Monday, but he already gave them a heads up that depending on how I am feeling, he may need to do more work-from-home some days to be around. I also have a good friend who lives locally who cleared her scheduled for the week starting the day of my surgery to be a back-up/offer supplement help and care. And a few others friends who will be helping out here and there (for things like grocery runs, or just offering me company). I am glad to have this support, which I will definitely need for at least the first few weeks.
Making sure I don’t have to do much
The weekend and few days before my surgery, I am doing a marathon of laundry so everything is washed and I don’t have to bother again for at least a couple of weeks. I also have been going to the grocery store and seriously stocking up. I usually like cooking, but know I will not be up to it much for awhile, so I bought a ton of ready-made meals that can be heated up quickly in the oven or microwave. I cooked all the perishable items in my refrigerator, making a vat of soup, so that it won’t go bad, and freezing extra stuff. My partner knows he may have to get me a fair amount of take-out in between if I am still feeling crummy. We may do this for Thanksgiving too, depending on how I am feeling.
I put out a call on social media for books worth reading and movies worth watching. I feel so touched that I have a bunch of friends and neighbors bringing me books and offering me suggestions for me to pick up now at the library the day before. I have a full list! My converter box broke in September and I hadn’t minded much because I am not a big watcher of television, but I also put a call out on an online forum and got a free one from a neighbor and now have basic channels back! I know while I am recovering, there will be times I am in too much pain or too medicated to read, or even invest much mental energy in some movies. In this case, I may just want to veg out and watch television, so now I can do that again!
I live up the top floor of a third-story apartment with no elevator. My partner will probably be carrying me up the stairs after surgery. I will probably then be completely home-bound for at least a few days or a week. However, it might hurt to even get around my apartment. Luckily, I have a rollator, I got from a free medical equipment lending program. I got it a couple of years ago after a spinal injury made walking very hard. I’ve since improved and haven’t needed it as often and thought of returning it or donating it. But I decided to hold onto it till at least a couple of months post-op, as I felt it could be helpful (and it turns out my spinal issues have been flaring again anyway). I also am borrowing a mobility scooter to get around outside.
Just wrapping up all the business that I can now. Paying bills, getting in touch with people, running outstanding errands, so this won’t be on my mind and causing anxiety. To be truthful, though I am a little anxious about the pain and a little wary of being so weak (I am very independent and don’t like my abilities being compromised more than they already are), part of me is looking forward to relaxing and chilling out while I adjust to my new uterus-free (and so, in the long-run, at least somewhat less pained) body.
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