I have struggled with painful gynecological problems on and off for decades. During that time, I have tried every imaginable treatment, from medical to spiritual, with varying levels of success. The Pill kept most of the obvious symptoms at bay for several years, but as I entered perimenopause last year, it became less and less effective, until one bright afternoon this spring, my uterus decided to eject an endometrial cast the size of a hamster through my undilated cervix.
After roughly 30 years of highly unpleasant symptoms, I have the pain threshold of a rhinoceros on heroin — especially where my reproductive system is concerned — but on a standard pain scale of 1 to 10, passing an endometrial cast ranks somewhere around a 37, which is obnoxious even by my standards.
About five weeks later, I managed to get an appointment with a gynecologist in Clovis, who promptly scheduled me for a June 6 hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the uterus, tubes, and ovaries).
The surgery went very smoothly, as has my recovery thus far. I had some post-op pain for several days immediately following the procedure, but nothing severe — the worst of it felt about like moderate cramps, which lasted for two or three days, and within a week, I could sit at my desk for a few hours or walk several blocks with minimal pain. Not bad, considering I can’t take opioids and had to tough it out on Advil and ice packs.
When I had my stitches taken out last week, my doctor gave me a copy of the pathology report. No wonder I felt like crap; I had a uterus full of fibroids (10 of ’em), cysts all over both ovaries, and endometriosis gluing my right ovary to my uterus.
At this point — 19 days removed from surgery — I feel almost normal again. I tire easily, which is annoying. I’m not allowed to lift anything heavy or walk any dogs for several more weeks. It’ll be a while before I’m really comfortable with the idea of jogging on soft trails, much less asphalt streets (though I’m considering buying a cheap elliptical to use in the meantime). And in the absence of ovaries, I’ve had some spectacular hot flashes (which I’m already having fairly good luck controlling with diet; more on that in a future post). But those are small prices to pay for a surgery that has eliminated several health problems that compromised my quality of life for many years.