My hysterectomy surgery is tomorrow. As far back as I can remember I have always struggled with heavier periods. Growing up you don’t necessarily have a sense of just how heavy your periods are. Only then are you able to compare your cycle to other women. While comparing your cycle doesn’t help or hurt you, it’s definitely eye opening to see just how much your period is negatively impacting your life. I was witnessing women, who had a lighter periods, still fully living their lives completely uninterrupted. I wanted to know what that felt like. More on that later in the post.
Fast forward to adulthood and four children later. I’ve been dealing with low key hemorrhaging and anemia with every period I have had the pleasure of experiencing over the past decade. Having children most definitely did not help my heavy periods, and actually made them quite worse. Aside from my heavy periods, I was fortunate enough to not necessarily have the other symptoms that can often go hand in hand with a heavy period. I’ve never really suffered with cramps of any kind. I’ve had blood clots, but nothing that has been to difficult to manage on my own. My period was always regular, appearing on pretty much the same day, every single month like clock work.
Heavy periods however, have several downsides when it comes to fully living your life. This is what you could say made me ‘hit rock bottom’. I was not only physically suffering, but I was emotionally suffering too. It was an extremely defeating time in life.
Feeling quite optimistic for what the future could potentially hold, I went into that first visit on cloud 9. Unfortunately sometimes things don’t go as well as you’d like.
My doctor is such an amazing human who excels in her career. She is one of the greatest surgeons in our state and I 100% trusted her professional medical advice. I also am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, in the right timing. However, we we’re never going to see eye to eye on this particular subject. In my year long journey I was offered birth control, an ablation, and prescription medicine. Unfortunately alot of the time patients are told they’re too young, not done having children, and don’t want to live with regret.
I personally don’t believe in birth control. I’m very thankful to have had a mom that was an advocate for the same beliefs growing up.
After that first appointment with my OB nurse, I made a follow up appointment a few months later. I still knew that I wanted to move forward, but my nurse was still unfortunately not agreeing with me. From that appointment, which was still the same concerns listed above (too young, not done having children etc), I made an appointment with ultrasound to check out some ovarian pain I had been experiencing. During that ultrasound, the tech who confirmed the ovarian cysts, also confirmed that I had uterine fibroids.
For anyone not familiar with uterine fibroids, they are noncancerous growths that typically appear during childbearing years. While it’s unknown if they are considered genetic, my mom also suffered with uterine fibroids in her early/late 20’s. They are also another culprit of making your periods heavier.
I felt as though my ultrasounds would provide everything I needed to move forward with the surgery. This time I brought my mom with me to my next OB appointment in hopes of having an additional advocate present. Unfortunately the ultrasound wasn’t enough documentation. I was so frustrated that I wasn’t being heard, and physical proof still wasn’t enough to convince my nurse that I was emotionally ready to leave my debilitating period behind.
This ‘fight’ took an entire year. It took an entire year. Every single month I continued to sleep on two beach towels, two 10 hour over night pads, my tightest spandex shorts, sweatpants and a jacket around my waist just in case, and was still going through pads every single hour for seven days straight. Tampons weren’t even an option.
A couple weeks ago I had had enough. I wasn’t going to waste another copay trying to convince my nurse that I knew what my body and mind needed to live a full life. After spending thousands of dollars between the copays and ultrasound bills/tests, I called my OB office and instead of making an appointment with my nurse, I had them transfer me straight to triage to make an appointment for surgery.
It was then that I shared every detail of every appointment, ultrasound and endless copays that I had over the last year. While the nurse didn’t seem 100% behind my call, I was not budging and standing my ground this time. I was not going to take no or a ‘you’re too young’ as an answer again.
And that was that.
After that phone call, I had a consult with my amazing and phenomenal surgeon. That appointment was everything I had waited for for an entire year. As she went through all the medical protocols that could ‘help me’, she stopped and looked at me for a second and I emotionally lost it. Birth control wasn’t the best option, an ablation wasn’t the best option, a prescription medicine wasn’t the best option. My best option was to completely eliminate the root cause.
My hysterectomy surgery is tomorrow at 10:30 am. At 31 years old I will be having a full hysterectomy.
To say I’m excited is an understatement. No longer would I need to sleep with towels and multiple pads at night. I would finally be able to attend my children’s sporting and school events without having to worry about bleeding through my clothes. To be able to schedule a vacation and be fully present with my family making memories, not sitting in a bathroom all day. To be able to leave my house any day of the month without going to the bathroom every single hour of the day.
It has been an extremely long year. A wait that really impacted me emotionally. That seems very dramatic, but if you’ve never suffered with a heavy period, you’ll never be able to truly comprehend the severity of one.
I plan on doing a series of posts to document my entire experience with my full hysterectomy, including post op and recovery. Being able to help other women that may be struggling with the same situation, whether that’s simply dealing with a heavy period, or not being heard by a medical professional.
I have grown so much this past year. I‘ve learned how to be a vocal advocate for myself. Finally, I had learned how to stand my ground. And lastly, I will finally be able to experience a completely uninterrupted life, free of a heavy and debilitating period.
I cannot believe my hysterectomy surgery is tomorrow. Let’s do this. See you guys on the other side.