Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Why I’m Choosing to Have a Hysterectomy

chester-and-katie

Reasons to Feel Better

Later this month, I’m having a hysterectomy (ovaries too). When I tell people, there are many reactions: but mostly, they want to know: How do you feel about this? Are you okay with it? I look at them and think: I’m 45. I’m not married. I have a beautiful child (and was a part of my stepson’s life for years), and my periods and hormones are through the roof.

Yes, I’m okay with it.

But to be honest, sometimes it freaks me out.

I guess most women have trouble saying: I am done having kids (or even: I don’t want to have any children of my own). Is it because of our maternal instincts? Is it because of the nosy people who say: Are you sure? or Is it the disapproving look from another woman, even if it’s brief and she didn’t mean to do it? I don’t know. I don’t know what it is. But even though I’m 45, not married, and done having children, if I think too much about this hysterectomy, it overwhelms me.

My uterus and ovaries do not make me a woman. A breast cancer survivor who has a double mastectomy is not less of a woman–she’s probably stronger than anyone knows or gives her credit for. It’s so psychological–removing the “female parts” for health reasons–and hard to explain.

But in my case, a hysterectomy is the way to go. I’m suffering from endometriosis (cysts) and adenomyosis. Neither one of these are controlled with birth control pills with high levels of estrogen I’m currently taking. I wound up in the hospital in late April from the pain of a ruptured cyst and had endometriosis and cysts removed. It’s all back. In August, I was in so much pain, I had to go to my GP to get pain medication and a pelvic ultrasound. This disease makes me exhausted and causes my hormones to go crazy. On a daily basis, I’m not sure of my feelings or even my real personality. I am a single mother with a full time job, elderly parents, and a part time writing/editing/teaching job, plus friends and family to pay attention to. I don’t want to feel how I feel any longer.

So I’m choosing to have a hysterectomy and go through hormone replacement therapy because that is the only choice I feel I have at this time and what is best for everyone in my life, including me.

If you landed on this page because you suffer from endometriosis, please know you are not alone. Because I was so tired (also had anemia due to heavy bleeding several days a month) and felt like I was losing my mind some days, I decided to Google: “How endometriosis affects your emotions.” You wouldn’t believe the amount of information there is on this. That’s why I’m writing this post: whether you are in child bearing years and going through infertility worries or older and having pain with your endometriosis, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Go find a doctor you trust, tell your friends and family what is going on, and figure out how to get some help.

You deserve it.

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27 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing, Margo. The symptoms of endometriosis sound similar to what I’m going through with my fibroids. I was considering getting a hysterectomy (I’m getting a myomectomy) and went through those same feelings about “womanhood,” but ultimately it’s about feeling better. Have you checked out HysterSisters.com? Great community over there with a lot of answers from women who’ve been through it.

    I sent you an email last night and shared that a friend of mine, who is also a single mom, just got a hysterectomy and is so happy she has her life back. Her symptoms were so bad that she was getting blood transfusions. She’s now able to spend the quality time with her son that she couldn’t before.

    Wishing you the best for a safe and successful surgery. Love you, Ang

    • Thanks, Ang! I saw your email but didn’t have a chance to read it yet. Thank you also for sharing HysterSisters.com. I will have to check that out and add it to my RESOURCES page when I create that! (LOL) Blood transfusions–WOW! She must have really had it bad. I love the idea that I will get my life back. Mostly, I want to be in control of my emotions. I really appreciate you stopping by and reading my work.

  2. Margo, this is exactly why I had a hysterectomy a year after I had my youngest. I call it “My favorite surgery every”. The best decision I ever made. The ONLY downfall that I have encountered (and this is minor) is that my boys never experienced any kind of “introduction to periods”. Well, their girlfriends will have to handle that. Otherwise, I have not missed the cramps, monthly supplies and hormone overload. It did shoot me straight into pre-menopause but now the worst of that is over.

    Good luck and enjoy the results (after you recover).

    • I like that: my favorite surgery ever. I’m sure your guys will figure it all out. A lot of men have to deal with women’s periods all the time–just like child birth and changing diapers. LOL

  3. Will keep you in my prayers for strength and swift healing. You’re taking charge of your own health and that’s a good thing.

  4. Angela Struckhoff

    September 12, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Hi Margo- thanks for sharing your story. I too had a hysterectomy by choice but I was only 38. I never had a good pap report, 3 leaps, 4 surgeries, removed tumors, removed one ovary. Enough was enough. My life was a little different because I chose to just let nature run its course. There were so many contradictory reports on what HRT could do to you I just wanted to be done. So I did go into menopause and it was not horrible, a little uncomfortable sometimes, but after using some OTC natural stuff, I am happy with my choice. I also never felt less of a woman, if anything I felt better and more able to be secure as a women!! Pain free and period free!! I wish you the best of luck with your journey and please know you are not alone!! – Angie

    • Angie: if I have any trouble with the HRT, I will be picking your brain. Thanks for sharing your story. I am really looking forward to being pain free and feeling more secure as a woman and as myself.

  5. Margo, I took HRT for a couple of years after the surgery. Eight years after the hysterectomy, I had breast cancer and a partial left mastectomy. I have no idea if the breast cancer was from the HRT or not, probably will never know. After the breast surgery, I took Tamoxifen for 2-1/2 years, but quit due to the side effects. I regret NONE of it. The hysterectomy was freeing both physically and emotionally. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Easiest surgery I ever had as far as recovery, too. You are going to feel so much better. Take care of yourself and know that many are thinking of you. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you for the heads up about the HRT side effects. I trust my doctor completely and I get annual mammograms, so for now, this is the route I’m going. To be pain free will be amazing. πŸ™‚

  6. Having my hysterectomy was the best thing I ever did. I wish I had done it at 45 instead of suffering until age 50.

  7. Margo…I had one after fibroids grew in a way that I was in danger of severe damage to my ureters. Plus, the extreme monthly bleeding made me anemic… The dr was originally supposed to leave my ovaries so I wouldn’t be thrust into instant menopause but, as it turned out, surging the surgery he discovered one of them was hemauraging and appeared precancerous. Since ovarian cancer is a silent killer, that surgery saved my life. Just be careful with the ERT dosage after your surgery as it can raise your risk for estrogen dependent breast cancer.

    • Hi Gail: I am also anemic–recently I found this out. I will keep a close monitor on the HRT and as I mentioned above, I do get an annual breast exam. Maybe I should write a blog post about how important this is. . .

  8. I had a hysterectomy when I was 32 for similar reasons. My first cyst burst right after I gave birth to my youngest son and put me in the hospital. I was off and on miserable for the next three years and then when we were about to make a cross country move, I was in tremendous pain and so my doctor was going to excise a cyst. When she began the procedure she found that my uterus was “frozen” with endometriosis. She and my husband made the decision to wake me up and give me the choice about whether or not to take it out. I had a week to recover and fret. I wondered if I would still be a woman and if I would still feel like me. And you know, I am and I do. Except now I have more control over my emotions and I feel so much better. I haven’t ever regretted doing it. It’s a big deal, but in my experience, it’s a very good thing. Good luck!

    • It is so weird how this physical disease–endometriosis–also affects emotions. Yesterday, I had terrible cramps, and I was so exhausted and emotional. It really all goes together, and I think people don’t realize that. Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

  9. Margo, I had one when I was 28. I’m glad I did. I had 2 chikdren and that’s all I had planned to have. They left one ovary that stopped functioning when I was in my 30’s. But I couldn’t take hormone replacement because of cancer scares. I’m doing great. I’m 63 now and have never missed any of it. Just take ut easy afterwards. Cher’ley

    • luvboxerdogs

      September 14, 2016 at 8:28 am

      Thanks for sharing your story, Cherley. I am really glad I wrote this post because it turns out many of us have more in common than we realized, and no one really talks much about this.

  10. Margo, I had a hysterectomy a little over a year ago after several bad paps and a diagnosis of early stage cervical cancer (YIKES!). Best decision ever! Sweet, sweet freedom from all the monthly awfulness! I feel SO much better and am so much less crabby. Everyone in my house appreciates that! I was also done having kids, even with just the one, so it was a no-brainer! The loss of those girly parts don’t make you less a girl. My nurse practitioner said “You are done with those parts, you don’t need them anymore, and they are hurting you, so get rid of them!” Just get yourself a good pair of tweezers to keep your goatee in check! Good Luck!!

    • LOL πŸ™‚ I have some tweezers! (and a mirror, Marilyn). I am looking forward to being less crabby, but I’m sure everyone who has daily/weekly contact with me will also be happy to hear that. It is amazing how it really affects at least 2 weeks every month if not more, depending on how long my period is ON THE BIRTH CONTROL PILLS–they don’t work for me at all.

  11. A good pair of tweezers and a BIG lighted magnifying mirror in my case. πŸ™‚

  12. Prayers that you can get back to your old self again, Margo.

  13. I was diagnosed with ovarian and endometrial cancer two years ago and had a total hysterectomy and debulking surgery. I am glad to hear that you are having your ovaries removed. There are still times I miss my girly parts and while I never wanted children, now I find myself wishing I had had children when I still could. At least I am alive. If you ever need someone to talk to, it sounds like you have a whole community of women who have been there, done that available to you.

    • luvboxerdogs

      September 25, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      Roberta:
      Thank you for sharing. That sounds like it was a very hard journey for you. I am so glad that you are alive. Life is sometimes so hard and the decisions we make are also not always understood by all. But obviously, you had to make the decision for what was best for your health.

  14. I had a hysterectomy when I was 29; I was able to keep my ovaries. I had very heavy, very painful periods. I think that was one reason I didn’t mind being pregnant. I had four children and one miscarriage. After my fourth child, everything went south. I told a friend I thought I had cramps thirty-one days in February. I’d be all right for about fifteen minutes after I got up. (Everything had a chance to go back where it belonged while I slept.) After that fifteen minutes I started cramping. I kept pushing on until one day I picked up the diaper pail. (This was the days of cloth diapers.) I had to set it back down. That was the last straw. I needed to be able to take care of my husband, my family, and my home. I went to the ob/gyn. He did what tests he thought necessary. His question was “Do you want more children? My answer was “No, I think four is enough.” My husband and I had planned on four. I had surgery four days later. My hysterectomy gave me my life back. When I think of what some people go through, I feel very blessed in having an understanding ob/gyn who asked what was usually unasked in that day. I have never regretted my decision. And just think of the beau coup bucks I saved on pads, tampons, and pain medication that didn’t help that much.

    • luvboxerdogs

      September 27, 2016 at 9:12 am

      Judy: You just expressed exactly how I felt for probably 18 months–it wasn’t as bad as what you are describing. But I think I was just a basket case, almost all the time, either in pain, or hormonal, or tired of bleeding. I’ve now had the hysterectomy and am at home recovering, and that is also going well. Certainly, no regrets!

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