I am very aware that my hysterectomy related posts have been a few and far between since the actual operation and immediate recovery. I feel like I want to contribute more towards the the “need to know” of women contemplating this operation – and especially the return to running – but everything just went so incredibly smoothly for me that once I was (literally) up and running the operation itself was just a side note.
If you have read any of my previous hysterectomy posts (just choose “hysterectomy” from the Category drop-down menu to get to these), you will know that I had a total hysterectomy (removal of uterus and cervix) done laparoscopically using the Da Vinci robot. The operation was just over two years ago and there has not been one moment where I have regretted it.
Looking at the search terms how a lot of you find this site, what often pops up is “x months after hysterectomy” – “x” usually being 5 or 6 months. Obviously there are as many recovery stories and experiences as there are women undergoing this operation. Everybody is different. There are also so many different ways of having this operation from the single port entry to a large abdominal incision. Clearly the latter will take a lot longer to recover from. I only had four small incisions in my abdomen for the different tools (lights, camera, action!) to gain entry and the uterus was removed vaginally. I don’t know why but that actually came as a surprise to me! It makes perfect sense but I just had never really thought about it. In a weird way it was the last thing I would every give birth to.. Or is that too weird a mental image?? In one of my follow-up consultations my surgeon actually showed me a video of the procedure and it was about the most amazing thing I have ever seen. If you are not squeamish and you get the chance to do this I recommend it. It might not be highly rated by Rotten Tomatoes but it will be the most “in depth” movie you will ever see starring yourself.
Uups, I digress; I was talking about recovery after hysterectomy. I recommend you read these posts:
Hopefully they will give you some idea where I was back then. I had a very straight forward recovery and this is my simplified timeline:
- 2 night stay in hospital (though they were ready to release me after 1)
- When I got home I was pretty much pain free though still took Tramadol/Voltarol preventatively (and hey – why not!)
- 4 days after the operation I went to work for a few hours (easy office job)
- 5 days after the operation I was fully off pain meds
- 8 days after the operation I did a 10km walk (that might have been a bit stupid but I felt ok)
- 11 days after the operation I went back to work fully (but only work part-time anyway)
- at the 2 week post-op check-up, whatever remained of my dissolvable stitches were removed
- I was back to running 16 days after the operation starting with a 10km distance
- I was told to wait 12 weeks before having sex again to avoid tearing the internal stitches
There is a list of some of my post-op symptoms in this post.
I hope some of this helps. All I can say that over two years after the operation I barely even think about it. I have no issues due to the hysterectomy at all, no lingering pain or niggles. I am deliriously happy not to have to ever have another period again though! As I still have my ovaries, I do still get PMS symptoms like that aching pain in your ovaries, bloating and desire to eat the world. I kind of think it’s funny, a bit like the fact that we still have a tail bone or hairy arms – hangovers from what once was. I am expecting to enter menopause a few years earlier than I would have otherwise so every hot flush makes me think “here we go”, but who knows. It will happen when it will happen.
If you are about to have the operation – good luck! Relax and focus on the positive! If you are recovering – let people take care of you. Enjoy being pampered for a change. And if you are a runner nervous about being able to run again or desperately waiting for the go-ahead: you will be back out there sooner than you can imagine. And you will never again have to run worrying about bloody leaks or whether you have enough spare tampons on you. And the main thing is – you WILL be able to run again. But all of you – do listen to your doctor/surgeon!
Women – you all rock! With or without a uterus.