When you’re faced with the prospect of having a hysterectomy, you typically will start researching exactly what that means on the internet.  Your doctor likely will have mentioned different types of procedures and what is suggested for your condition. I found that an internet search really didn’t get me very far. I was left with a ton of questions and just really wanted some practical advice. So, in the hopes that this helps someone out there to better prepare and take care of themselves afterwards, here is some information to add to your research.

Beforehand

  • Find out exactly what will be removed. I know this sounds like an odd thing to have to clarify. However, there are multiple different approaches to what is to be removed, and doctors tend to assume that you will simply be fine with whatever choices they make or whatever they say is typical to remove. As a patient, you only go through this once, so nothing is typical or expected about it. Be sure to do your research. Find out what is removed with the different surgical approaches and what the repercussions are for the removal of any part. You may not be comfortable with your doctor’s approach or choices, so be sure to ask your doctor specifically what he or she plans on removing.

TESTIMONY.  ”I found out the day of my pre-op that not only would my uterus be removed, but also my cervix and my Fallopian tubes. That was a shock. I had to sign papers giving approval without being able to look up exactly what that meant and to find time to be comfortable with it.” The doctor said it’d common to remove the cervix and Fallopian tubes to avoid the possibility of cancer. It’s a preemptive strike you may or may not be comfortable with. That should be a call you are part of.

  • Pre-op. You may be asked to do some embarrassing things during your pre-op appointment. Be prepared to ask someone to leave the room for a moment.
  • Check in with medical coverage to make sure all is running smoothly at least a week before your pre-op.
  • If you tend to have back alignment problems, be sure to schedule a chiropractic adjustment ahead of your surgery.
  • Lose weight. Pressure on your incision will be lessened.
  • Exercise. You need to be in the best shape possible to recover at a better pace.
  • Get a blood test. If you’re anemic or have some other deficiency, it could delay surgery or cause you to be in a situation where you’ll need a blood transfusion. While that may seem acceptable, there is always an additional risk. It’s better to avoid that situation if you can.
  • Stock up on all heavy items. You will not be to move them for weeks after surgery.
  • Anticipate any heavy items that will need to be moved and find someone to help.
  • Notify friends and family to the level you’re comfortable.
  • Take pictures to compare after (if applicable).
  • Check on other medications you’re taking. Find out ahead of time the will they cause problems either before, during or after surgery.
  • Check on any infections you may have and be vigilant in addressing them well ahead of surgery, e.g., dental infection.

 

After Surgery

Have someone stop by to check on you. If you don’t have family or friends who will be there until visiting hours are over, plan on having someone check on you. You may need something simple, e.g., help eating the awkwardly situated food they give you (e.g., try eating soup in a laying down position), or just some company to share the experience with.

Items you may want handy:

  • Lip balm.
  • Ear plugs.
  • Water bottle you can drink from in a laying down position. (Why is this so complicated?)
  • Fresh set of loose clothes.
  • Phone (fully charged). Maybe have entertainment loaded in case the hospital does not provide something interesting.
  • Glasses, if you wear them.

Recovery

Guard your heath. The hospital and doctors may provide all kinds of information and then contradict it. When you have a health-conscious person with you, they’ll help you stay on track so that you don’t get supplements or drugs you don’t need.

TESTIMONY. “My doctor advised against using iron supplements to aid in my anemia. However, when I was checking out, the hospital had iron and stool softener (due to iron supplement side effects) on the list of items to pick up at the pharmacy. Thankfully, my family member remembered that the doctor warned that this was not the best path.”

Get off the painkillers as soon as possible. Drink a ton of water and walk, walk, walk. Get up and go as soon as possible.

Don’t jump the gun too soon on getting back to work. If you go back to work too soon, your body will likely tell you when you need to dial things back a notch. You may think you’re back to normal, but your body is still doing a lot of work to heal. You need to avoid stress, keep up your exercise, and rest as much as possible. Don’t leave any of those three out.

Scar treatment. You may be left with a gnarly scar, no matter how skilled your doctor may be. While you’re in recovery, you’ll have some time to figure out what product may be best for your situation.

 

NOTE:  The content above or contained on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.