My silent countdown towards a hysterectomy started in March 2012 when I had a laparoscopy for suspected endometriosis. The surgeon found plenty of that to burn off and in addition, almost as a side note, mentioned that I had a grade 2 prolapsed uterus. I knew things had not been quite the same after I had my son in December 2008 but I hadn’t expected things to be that bad. Uterine prolapse means that the uterus is falling from its normal position into the vagina and in severe cases can end up outside the body. I am not quite at that extreme yet, thankfully, but not far off. Just in case you were wondering (bet you wish you hadn’t eh?).
With the endometriosis there has always been some pain and it is hard for me to know if the prolapse itself causes any of the back pain or other symptoms I suffer from. I do feel that the back pain especially has been much worse since the birth of my son. There are a few ways to manage a prolapsed uterus from Kegel exercises to a surgical mesh. As for me, hysterectomy would be the best way to deal with it, according to the surgeon. I could have left it; the pain is manageable, I am not bleeding profusely and to other people there seems to be no obvious issues with my prolapse. I, however, don’t want to live like this. I have a uterus in my vagina. I can sometimes see it. I can SEE my UTERUS. (Do you need a sick bucket?) I don’t feel like seducing my husband or “getting it on” when I know what a mess I am harbouring inside me. You might say my hysterectomy is elective but to me it’s a no-brainer. I am done with my uterus and it seems to be done with me. So – thanks for the good times but it’s best we don’t see each other anymore.
I have two children, 13-year old and a 4-year old and have “completed my family” – I hate that phrase but it seems to be a favourite of the medical profession. I am lucky to have been able to safely carry both of my children to term inside my, now redundant, uterus and for them to be as wonderful, healthy and happy as they are. I don’t feel the need to do it again however. My surgeon was initially very hesitant about scheduling the operation due to my “young” age but he has come to respect my decision and the fact that I have thought this through. He did ask me if I would change my mind if my husband died (!? Why not just “left you”?) and Matt Damon came a-knocking, saying he wanted me to have his baby. I really should have been more upset about such a patronising, idiotic question but it was so ridiculous that I actually answered him. I told the doctor that if I were to have more children, it would be with my husband whom I love and who is a wonderful father. I personally am not a fan of Matt Damon but would say NO to even George Clooney (though would probably do anything else George asked me to – anything). My decision to not have more children is MY decision. It is not affected by who I am with or any other “external” factors. I should very much wonder about the need to procreate just because I met someone new anyway.
The issue of children is something that we have discussed at length with my husband. My daughter is from my first marriage so P and I only have our son together. He would be open to having more children but realises that the theory is more appealing than the reality. Neither of us is very good with sleep deprivation and to go back to the nappies, buggies and bogies just.doesn’t.do.it.for.me. I have even said that I understand if his desire to have more children is greater than his desire to be with me. But it would not be fair on anyone if I was to have a child just to make him happy. After all, it is the mother who does a lion’s share of the work – initially anyway. So I think we are good, for now anyway. I would not be surprised if this came up again in the future when he plunges into the inevitable existential midlife crisis. I’ll just buy him a car. Or a kitten.
I haven’t told anyone at work about the operation. I had two procedures done last year and I am hesitant to announce another. Maybe I am in denial but I am hoping that I can come back to work within a week from the operation – I work part-time and can pretty much dictate my hours. If coming to the office proves tough then I will just work from home. My operation is planned to be done by using the Da Vinci or, if the surgeon has any hesitation about the robot on the day, laparoscopically by him. I shouldn’t end up with a large abdominal scar in either case so recovery should be swift. I will be having a “total hysterectomy” which means that my uterus and cervix will be removed but the ovaries will be left in place. This should mean that I won’t be hitting menopause yet, though it might start up to a year earlier than it normally would. I’ll pass that bridge when I get to it.
7th of March. That’s the date. Some might say that I will wake up from the surgery less of a woman having lost my uterus. I believe I will be a new, better, woman who can finally get on with her life without worrying about coming back from a run to find a uterus in her knickers (I may exaggerate a little).