I was 36 years old when I had my hysterectomy.
It amazes me how many young women are getting this surgery and to be honest I wish I hadn’t been one of them! I have embraced my decision but quickly realized after my surgery the lack of resources and education we are given after major surgery. It reminded me of the lack of information I got after my c sections and it makes no sense to me whatsoever. Thankfully, I already had MUTU System in my back pocket after my hysterectomy because, without it, my journey to healing would have looked and felt much different.
Far too many women are suffering, and most of them are doing so in silence. I hope by sharing my story I can help change that and let women know that they are not in this alone.
When I was first told that my only answer was a hysterectomy I was determined to prove them wrong! My body was strong and I had so many tools in my tool belt, I would show them that I could do this without surgery. At this point, I had so much anxiety even thinking about going to see a doctor about my symptoms. I was sick of being treated like I was an inconvenience and honestly I just wanted someone to really listen to me. Someone to sit down with me and dig deep and get to the root of this problem. I wanted to feel validated, but instead, I would always leave feeling like such a nuisance with tears to follow those feelings.
I kept on fighting and I went to doctor after doctor searching for the answers I wanted to hear! I wanted a solid answer as to WHY!
Why do I need a hysterectomy?
Why won’t my body just work?
And why can’t I just feel good?
This is when I started to look back and wish I would have fought for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) for my second baby. Instead of having options, I was instilled with fear from my doctor who performed my second cesarean. I was told it was too dangerous, and told things like “you or your baby could die” and “it was too risky.” My doctor also said that since all of my medical records from my first surgery were in German he was not comfortable letting me try for a VBAC. He said he was unaware of how my uterus was cut and it was just too risky. Looking back I wish I would have asked more questions or maybe even gotten more opinions from other doctors.
Could I have fought harder?
I wish I had been empowered with education back then like I am today.
I wish I would have been surrounded by the women in my circle today, but then I guess I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this blog in hopes to change someone else’s path.
I wouldn’t be fighting so hard for this area of women’s health.
I know I’m not the only one going through what I’m going through.
My biggest fear was going through with the surgery and it not working or changing the way I felt. Then again looking back wishing I would have made a different decision.
Finding the right doctor
I want you to know that I fought so hard until I just couldn’t take it anymore. I asked myself “how is this affecting my life?” I could no longer run the pain had gotten so bad, sex was painful most of the time and my uterus continued to grow, and trying to get a biopsy was unsuccessful.
So once I found a doctor I trusted the decision seemed a little easier. It took me to three doctors to finally find “the one.” When he came into the room and sat on the counter and said to me “you have been through a lot in the past few years, can we talk about it.” I knew he was the one! He listened to me and he validated every single word that came out of my mouth and then talked to me about all of my options. It was the first time in a long time I went to a healthcare professional and didn’t leave in tears. That felt good!
I booked my surgery that day and I knew this was the right decision. Even though I knew this was the right decision, it didn’t take the fear of the unknown away. Months leading up to my surgery I had so much anxiety, I had fears of dying and of being judged. I feared that because of my work in women’s health that women would judge me. I educate mums on their bodies and preach that surgery should always be a last resort and here I am writing this blog post-op from my abdominal hysterectomy.
Opening old scars
I had a deep wound and scar reopened and I would be lying if I told you I was fine. I had been on a healing journey for years and something I worked so hard to heal was going to be reopened. I truly think that if the procedures I had could have been avoided, so could my hysterectomy. If I didn’t have my cesareans and that ablation, I would not be sitting here crying about my surgery now. This is my story and it’s is my journey and I’m trying to own it and embrace it. But it’s really hard knowing what I know today and knowing that things could have been avoided and my story and my path could have been different. This is why I chose to open up about my story as we celebrate women’s health month. I hope that by being vulnerable and sharing I can change someone else’s path. Or at least allow women to know that they are not alone!
My doctor told me that my hysterectomy was one of the most difficult procedures he had ever performed. He said that I had so much scar tissue and everything was stuck to each other. This explains a lot of my pain and my symptoms. I still have a long road to recovery ahead of me and thankful for the many tools in my tool belt that I have gathered over the last few years. If I didn’t have the education, resources, tools and support from my women’s health PT and team MUTU this journey to healing would have looked a lot different! I have never been more thankful for my knowledge in women’s health and being surrounded by an entire team of women who truly care as I am healing! I am excited to share more with you about my slow journey to healing post-op and how I have truly given my body and myself the grace it deserves while healing.
The day after my hysterectomy
I will never forget the day after my surgery. My core, the core I had been working on getting stronger for the past four years with MUTU was wrecked. It wouldn’t even work, I couldn’t feel it and it was a struggle to try and get up to go to the bathroom. Every day I would work on reconnecting my mind with my body. I would focus on breathing and try to get my muscles to respond. After time things did get better and week after week I got a little stronger. My doctor recommended that for the first 4 weeks I rest, but I wanted to slowly start adding some light breathing and engaging. My back pain was miserable and I knew that was due to my core not working properly.
I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror and I didn’t like it! Again being pregnant for 9 months you watch your body change throughout the months, but this time it was literally in an instance. I hope that doesn’t sound vain because I preach that it’s not the way it looks but how it works.
Not only did my body look different but at this time it wasn’t working either! I didn’t expect my appearance to change from this surgery. I also didn’t expect to leak every time I got up off the toilet, or when I picked my youngest girl up. Those were not things I was prepared to deal with! It was frustrating, to say the least, and fed my already depressed state!
Still to this day I am 100% happy with the doctor I choose to perform my surgery. He was “the one.” He was the doctor who was cut out to perform my surgery and I would recommend him over and over again. Sadly I was not given any resources after I was cleared from my six week post-op checkup. I was told that I could head back to the gym and have sex. Which by the way I was terrified to do! In my head, there was now an ending point in my vaginal canal and I just couldn’t wrap my head around that. I googled sex after hysterectomy and didn’t find anything that made me feel better! I hope that if you are reading this and you are scared too this will give you some comfort. Sex is still not back to normal but it is getting better post surgery. So, if you are experiencing any pain post surgery I would highly recommend seeing a women’s health physiotherapist.
I loved my doctor so much that I had really high hopes that he was going to give me the resources I already knew I was going to need after this surgery to heal properly. When I was cleared to go back to “normal activity” just six short weeks after what I consider a major surgery I felt almost defeated. I felt like I wasn’t even anywhere close to being ready to be back to me, let alone reintroduce what activity looked like before surgery. I wasn’t ready to have sex and being at the gym was the last place I wanted to be. I left that appointment with an overwhelming reminder that this area of women’s health is so ignored and we have so much work to do.
It left me reminded of how underserved women are after having babies, and it made me wonder how many women are suffering after having a hysterectomy. How many women are leaking and suffering from symptoms after this surgery?
How many women have been cleared to go back to normal activity after this surgery instead of told that they need to go see a women’s health PT and rehab these muscles after this surgery?
How many women are suffering in silence, or have asked for help and are not getting the answers that I believe they need? Having this surgery has simply added another layer to my story and has made me even more passionate about getting this information to women!
Doing it for the right reasons
Since I truly believed that this was my last resort so I could feel good I wanted to make sure I was doing it the “right” way. I had been seeing my physio for months before the surgery because I wanted to go into this surgery strong. I also scheduled my sessions for after my surgery.
My women’s health physio was a huge part of this journey and without her, I would not be where I am today in my healing journey! For me personally, I knew what I needed to do, but to have that focused hour once a week and that time with her where she was telling me what to do was healing in more than one way for me. To have a healthcare professional not only listen but to validate your feelings and symptoms then go the extra mile to come up with resources that will work. That’s what ALL women deserve!
Writing this blog and being so vulnerable was my last missing piece to healing. I have suffered from anxiety and depression for the greater part of my life.
I allowed my birth stories and my cesareans to affect me for far too long.
I didn’t know how to ask for help back then and I also didn’t have any of the resources I have today. This is why I share so much. I know I am not the only woman going through what I am going through. My hope is that someone can read these blogs and not only have hope but also know that they are not alone. It’s easy to isolate yourself and have no idea where to even start or who to ask for help.
Why I am sharing my story
So here it is, this is my story and my journey and I’m embracing it and owning it because it’s mine! Shelf and all I am thankful for my body. It is strong and most importantly it works right! Since I was one week post-op I have been working on my MUTU breath and proper engagements of my muscles. I have listened to my body every step of the way and started my full MUTU core workouts as soon as I felt ready about 4 weeks post-op. There were many times I would have to modify or scale back, and that was OK! Since I was leaking and my lower back hurt so bad I was eager to get my core working and strong again! I have missed running the most and one of my goals from having this surgery was to be able to run again. I promised my body six months of healing before I attempted to try running any races. I write this blog 18 weeks post-op and just last week ran my first ¼ mile uterus free run. It felt amazing! I still have a long road ahead of me and have given myself a full 12 months to heal from this surgery. That’s a far cry from the six weeks I was given and I hope if your reading this you will allow yourself more time to heal as well.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without MUTU and my women’s health physiotherapist. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!