About 10 days after hormones …

Dear Medication, how are you? I'm feeling much better thanks to you?/ Finally she began responding to treatment.

About 10 days to hormonal turnaround … if you read my most recent post HORMONAL SADNESS then this post will make more sense.  In fact, if you read every single blog post I’ve written it will make the most sense of all.

But really, folks, I’m sure you have better things to do like get your “re-gift” closet ready for next year, get your tax stuff ready for 2016 (woo hoo!) … and on that thought, ignorant American here (AKA me) — you Europeans don’t have to pay annual taxes right ’cause you’re already taxed to death for your “free” healthcare and such, right?  … anyway, my digression (and global ignorance at it’s finest) … if you do want to read my entire blog, please, please be my guest.  I like comments too. 

Back to hormones … it has taken just about 10 days for my response to the  hormones to come around more or less. (Ironically I’m sweating as I write this. … and now I’m not sweating as I proofread this.)  I’m still having some hot flashies in the daytime, but the insomnia, drippy sweatiness and feeling super sad has been “fixed” by the low-dose synthetic progesterone-estrogen pill I’ve been taking.  This really is one of those times that there is better living through chemistry … at least for me!

What would you choose?

angry catIf I had a choice to feel sadness vs. anger, I would pick anger.  Grrrr!  Anger feels so much more energetic … although according to spiritual readings I’ve done in the past, anger is only a slighter false level of higher energy than sadness.  If it sounds like I’m some hippie dope smoker here I assure you I’m not … not that there’s anything wrong with hippie dope smokers except, well … that’s another soapbox for another day and probably NOT this blog.

Back to the energy thing … don’t worry this hysterectomy blog isn’t going to turn into some spiritual guru place where I take your money getting you to buy my books while we all practice shamanism in the heat of a New Mexican summer crowded into a seven-person tent with a fire pit blazing all while reading  The Law of Attraction or The Secret … definitely not going to happen.

A long time ago … I don’t know … about nine or ten years ago, I used to be more spiritual — whatever that means and during this exploration I came across a book called Power Vs. Force.  In this book, levels of emotions are rated as being higher or lower energy levels than others placed on a scale.  Through this book that I have no particular interest that you do or don’t read, I learned that different emotions have different consciousness levels of energy.  Ooooh!  Neato … or something.

Poor you, hysterectomy reader, you thought I was going to talk more about  hysterectomies or hormones … something female-related at least.  However, what I have come to feel is that the artificial hormones have helped moved me out of a sadness and now I can return to the regularly scheduled program of husband-wife anger Mars vs. Venus discussions in my house.  44b510b956725b8db23bfcd95342b16d

Please don’t mistake me, I don’t enjoy being angry or feeling angry or being around others who are angry … it’s just a bit better feeling than that of sadness.



P.S. Did I mention I’m getting back to yoga?  I think this helps a lot with hormones and moods and stuff …


The third chakra is called Manipura, which means “lustrous gem.” Located around the navel in the area of the solar plexus and up to the breastbone, it is a source of personal power and governs self-esteem, warrior energy, and the power of transformation.

namaste selena gomez gif


Everyone struggles

The physical side of recovery can be rough and it can be even more difficult when others in your life aren’t supportive or are simply downright nasty while lacking empathy.

While I was able to return to my job after a four-week recovery without ridicule, others may have a different experience. After a surgery, not limited to hysterectomy alone, there truly is only one time to heal properly. After surgery and in the recovery period at home, it is ESSENTIAL to surround yourself with others who are supportive and if at all possible, put those unsupportive people in your past.

Here is one woman’s account of personal struggle as she attempts to return to her life after hysterectomy.


rise of the phoenix

Having an abdominal hysterectomy at 33 was bad. Hell, it was terrible and the hardest thing I’ve faced. Which, considering what I’ve faced in my life, seems extreme. And it was. The surgery was extreme, the recovery has been extreme. Dealing with that without any other issues would be extreme. Dealing with a hysterectomy with depression and anxiety is impossible. I feel like that alone is too much.

Last week I started back at work. I’m using up the rest of my vacation days to work half days for two weeks because I can’t physically handle more than 4 hours at a desk. The pain and exhaustion is too much past that.

What’s worse is the attitudes of my coworkers. I understand being resentful because you just did all of my work for 13 weeks, and now I’m only working half days for 2 more. But believe me, if I could…

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Rest in peace Huey, Dewey and Louie. Good riddance!

While UTERINE FIBROIDS were not my personal reason for a hysterectomy, this woman’s description of why she had a hysterectomy is worth reading. Fibroids (and menorrhagia — heavy vaginal bleeding) are the most common reason why women seek hysterectomy … and I don’t blame them!


Eclectic Popcorn

Today I celebrate being fibroid-free for ten years. It seems like just yesterday that I had a limited life due to the horrible, daily pain.

The uterinefelt-uterus fibroids were discovered when I had a stomach pain so bad I ended up in the emergency department on New Years Eve. When the doctor ruled out an upset stomach from indulging in too much holiday fare, he thought that perhaps it was gallstones so arrangements were made for an ultrasound. I returned to the hospital the next day, New Year’s Day 2005, and during the ultrasound of my gall bladder there were no signs of anything that could be causing me discomfort. The ultrasound technician paused, held the wand up and asked, “Do you mind if I check lower just to cover our bases?”. I indicated that he was welcome to proceed. I unzipped my jeans and pulled the denim out of his…

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Goodbye old friend

so-long-uterus-1024x576One woman shares her thoughts about the loss of her uterus.

rise of the phoenix

Since my hysterectomy last month I’ve been having strange thoughts. I never wanted kids before, I think mostly because I was terrified I’d end up treating them like my mother treated me. Since then I’ve been thinking a lot about kids and feeling sad that I can never have any. I wouldn’t necessarily say I want kids, I’m just sad that is no longer on the table. Sure I have my ovaries and could get a surrogate, but
it’s not the same. I know I’m nearing the age anyway where kids are out of the question at 34, but I guess I just always had that option. To make matters worse I turned 34 eleven days after my hysterectomy. Happy birthday to me. Another thought I’ve been having is that I’ll never have a period again. I know what everyone is thinking, that I’m insane and I should be happy…

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Three months post-op … and the new normal

Dates have all kinds of meaning to people.  Sometimes some dates don’t mean anything.  September 27, 2014 was the three month anniversary of my hysterectomy — it was also the wedding date of a friend.  I didn’t tell the bride this on her wedding day … just thought mentioning that would be a little awkward and there was no appropriate segue into that conversational piece.  I couldn’t see myself saying, “I love the lace on your dress … your jewelry is so delicate and old-fashioned … guess, what?!  You’re wearing white and I could have worn white — I’ve had a hysterectomy!”  Nope.  This conversation did not happen.

Plus I’d have to go into the back story of why I got the hysterectomy in the first place and on her wedding day she’s closer to plotting children then thinking about baby house demolition!  What we both had in common is that we could each wear white that day … although, I’m not that tacky … I did not wear white to the wedding.  However, I will associate her wedding anniversary as the same year I got my hysterectomy … she will always be the hysterectomy wedding year bride (my hyst, her ceremony).

No more having to worry about starting my period, missing social events because I’m tired or in too much pain or having to leave an event because of my dysmenorrhea.  Those days are over.  I can simply leave because I’m spent, I’m done, I’m tired, I’m bored … whatever … not because I’m in pain and ___________________ (fill-in-the blank).  The blank is gone.  The dysmenorrhea and everything that went along with it is gone.

At three months post-hysterectomy how am I?

  • No more back pain.  Strangely enough the day after I wrote a post about having recurrent back pain post-hysterectomy I didn’t have any more.
  • A longer time to urinate.  I remember being able to pee with great force and speed.  It’s not like that now … I attribute the slower urination due to the lack of the muscular uterus helping push on my bladder.  This isn’t any big deal by any means — just a change I’ve noticed.  I’ll simply have to work on my time-management skills now.
  • Yellow vaginal discharge — sorry to bring that up again.  Well, it’s still there occasionally and only slightly.  I have an upcoming appointment to get it checked out.   In the meantime, I’ve discovered from Dr. Google that this discharge could mean:  A) a collapsed fallopian tube that has entered the vaginal cuff suture line, B) infected granuloma tissue at the vaginal cuff site that can be treated with cautery and / or silver nitrate in the office, or C) simply be my “new normal”.  What would they do with a collapsed or fallen fallopian tube?!? … sounds like more surgery.  I’m hoping for granuloma tissue if I can choose — I don’t want any “new normals”!  new normal
  • Hot flashes and night sweats after I drink alcohol.  I imagine my ovaries are shutting down.  I read about 50% of women who have undergone hysterectomy while keeping their ovaries and tubes went into menopause five years earlier then if left alone with no hysterectomy entering menopause naturally.  I’m OK with that stat because menopause is bound to happen soon and I’d rather have an earlier menopause than at least five more years of dysmenorrhea.  Without the ability to drink much alcohol though I’m going to fail at ever becoming a successful alcoholic!  No hot flashes vs. having a glass of wine … teetotaling wins. 😦 

According to the Q&A of 34 Menopause Symptoms regarding hot flashes with alcohol consumption:

Drinking alcohol, of any kind, will mean you are likely to experience hot flashes more regularly, they might last for a longer period of time, and you might suffer more severely with perspiration, flushing and rapid heartbeat.

Drinking alcohol before bed is also more likely to encourage night sweats, the nocturnal cousin of the daytime hot flashes.

Once alcohol is consumed, the amount of estrogen in the body significantly rises.  Although all researches agree that there is a correlation between alcohol and hot flashes … the common thought is that once alcohol is consumed the amount of estrogen in the body significantly rises. Then, once the body has digested the alcohol and it has left the system, the amount of estrogen severely drops. It is this sudden drop in estrogen that is believed to trigger a hot flash episode.

From Menopause Symptoms: Hot Flashes & Alcohol.

Here’s the 3 month post-op belly photo … view at your own risk!  Personally, I’d rather see a cat picture.


The MAGICAL SIX WEEK follow-up!

Everything seems to be based on six weeks for my hysterectomy.  No swimming until 6 weeks.  No hot tubs until 6 weeks.  No vacuuming or other labor intensive activities until 6 weeks.  No sex until 6 weeks.  Six weeks has come and gone! 🙂

I actually had my six week follow-up at just over seven weeks.  I was out-of-state on vacation … and that’s a whole other story.  Would you like some digression before the details of my six week follow-up?  Who doesn’t like a little distraction?

My husband and I recently got back from Seattle, Washington.  On the second day there I had raw oysters.  I was afraid and excited to try these little suckers.  There are loads of photos from restaurants and general pictures of Seattle with people eating fresh oysters all over the internet … so, I thought this was the thing to do.  The only raw oyster I ever had was over 20 years ago and was a big fat gulf oyster where I nearly vomiting after getting it down my throat.  I’m open to second chances and figured that these oysters, the Pacific Northwest, would be quite different.  We also watched a few YouTube videos on how to eat raw oysters.  Yes, I’m that nerdy.

We went to a happy hour at a well-known restaurant along the bay and ordered six oysters … baby steps, right?  The oysters were from Pickering Passage … this has no particular meaning to me.  They were DELICIOUS!  I ended up eating almost TWO DOZEN by myself … my husband ate fewer than me because he saw how much I enjoyed them.  They were light, sort of salty sweet and juicy.  The oysters didn’t have that liveresque taste that the fried ones or ones that come in soup do.  They were completely different and a far cry from that past gulf oyster!

TWELVE HOURS LATER I woke up, running to the bathroom (it gets graphic here) to have explosive diarrhea and vomiting.  Bleh to say the least. 🙂 The oysters were the only possible culprit.  The only.  This five day diarrhea marathon made my hysterectomy experience look silly.  The abdominal pain was worse than any, and I mean any surgery pain I had with the hyst.  I was cramping, bloated and sitting on the toilet with huge tears streaming down my face on a couple painful episodes.  It hurt so much it felt like a thousand little ninjas with daggers tearing into my insides while brown sewage soup poured almost endlessly from my raw bum into the toilet.  Yum yum.  I cried silently in our hotel bathroom a few nights around three or four a.m. so I wouldn’t wake my husband.

Despite the intermittent urgent episodic diarrhea, I was able to see quite a bit of Seattle.  What I can say about this experience is that Seattle’s Zoo has A LOT of bathrooms spread out over the entire zoo — a very good thing with urgent diarrhea … or Crohn’s or IBS-d (the diarrhea type) or ulcerative colitis or dysentery … I’ve never used so many bathrooms on any trip!  I lost about four pounds that I’m sure is all water weight.  I learned that I like raw oysters … at least the going down part, but I’m over any possible oyster addition; this illness was not worth the oyster experience.

I went to a doc-in-the-box clinic before I left Seattle because I had to get checked out; there was no way I wanted the explosive diarrhea on a four and a half hour flight!  Seriously, can you imagine climbing over another person in your tight seating area, leaking brown liquid in your pants while making it to one of two occupied bathroom boxes on a turbulent plane?!  There was no way I was going to chance doing that.

The doctor, who I might add was one of the nicest docs I’ve ever encountered, believed I probably had norovirus.  She asked if I’d been on a cruise ship recently and I told her no, that it was simply the raw oysters.  She examined my abdomen and saw the new scars asking about them.  I told her I recently had a laparoscopic da Vinci hysterectomy and she quizzed me about any complications from the surgery.  I told her none and that I was healing perfectly.  She then gave me a prescription for Imodium (loperamide) which I promptly took and haven’t had diarrhea since. 🙂  I felt kind of dumb because I could have bought the Imodium over-the-counter, but I got check out and had peace of mind … so, the trip to the doc while on vacation was worth it.

Norovirus in shellfish!

Personally, I think I had Vibrio poisoning:

Vibriosis contracted from South Puget (2014) 

How much have YOU learned about microbiology?  Microbiology is cool … except when you are the victim!

Vibrio parahemolyticus. This organism is not communicable from person to person. Cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus usually occur during the summer months, due to the fact that the organism can be found floating free in coastal waters and in fish and shellfish. During cooler months, the organism is commonly found in silt or mud on the bottom of marine environments.

LEARNING ABOUT MICROBES: Vibrio parahemolyticus. This organism is not communicable from person to person. Cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus usually occur during the summer months, due to the fact that the organism can be found floating free in coastal waters and in fish and shellfish. During cooler months, the organism is commonly found in silt or mud on the bottom of marine environments.

So, hysterectomy vs. shellfish poisoning?  I’d take a hysterectomy again … but it’s really only a one-time deal.  The raw oyster eating is now completely off my bucket list!  And now I understand why my father with probable Asperger’s said, Aurrrrgust with a rather pronounced letter R after I told him we were going to eat oysters on our trip.

Apparently, you’re not supposed to eat oysters in the months without the letter R in them  (May through August) because the coastal waters are warmer promoting bacteria.  My father didn’t expound upon this after saying the distorted August … I simply ignored his weirdness … not understanding he was trying to express his usual encyclopedic knowledge with his often cryptic way of relaying messages.  Now I realize why my mother was crazy.  Everything’s a puzzle with him.  However, I know that if I’d been forewarned about the cautions of avoiding oysters during these months I would have eaten them anyway … I’m like that sometimes.  OK, I’m like that a lot.  I didn’t reveal my shellfish poisoning episode to my dad when we returned … I didn’t want to hear him say Aurrrrgust again because I would have felt like telling him to put a lid on it.

Diarrhea awareness!

DIARRHEA AWARENESS. Diarrhea is most commonly caused by gastrointestinal infections which kill over 2 million people globally each year, mostly children in developing countries.

Sooooooooo … how did my six, but really seven week post-op check go?

Great. 🙂  My gyn doctor looked inside stating the vaginal cuff was healing nicely along with my incisions, said I could resume ALL regular activities just like before my hyst and gave me some sympathy in regard to my recent oyster experience in Seattle.  He also answered my question about having a bilateral salpingectomy (partial or complete fallopian tube removal) for ovarian cancer prophylaxis.  Apparently ovarian cancer originates in the fallopian tube … who knew?  He was up on the latest data and said that the jury is out whether or not performing a salpingectomy causes the ovaries to prematurely die, and stated NOT having a bilateral salpingectomy was right for me based on my current health and medical history.  Whew!  No worries about that “should have” issue in regard to having a salpingectomy with my hyst.  He’s such a great doc. 🙂

As far as how I’m recovering currently:

  • No vaginal discharge or spotting
  • Sex after week 7 (after the diarrhea abated, of course!) was fine, normal, no problems.  My husband said he couldn’t feel any difference. 🙂 … AND I enjoyed no more pokey-poke on my cervix!
  • No abdominal or pelvic pain of any sort, that left upper quadrant stitch pain is completely gone
  • Low back pain at the end of most days, especially after walking and prolonged sitting
  • Hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, hormonal headaches and teariness started after being on the EstroGel for two weeks, so I started back on the Lo Lo Estrin a couple days ago and shelved the EstroGel
  • Energy level almost back to normal

Here’s my latest POST-OP photo:



My FIRST WEEK back at work — WORK? What’s that?

I’ve been off for FOUR weeks recovering from my hyst.  This was exactly the right amount of time for me … three weeks wouldn’t have been enough and five weeks would have been too much.  I have started to have intermittent insomnia and last night was no exception.  The night before I had to go to work I only got four hours of sleep at best.  Maybe I was really excited to go back to work?! 😉

But it’s always been like that for me. I can’t sleep the night before big days like picture day when I was kid, my birthday when I was younger, the first day of school … so I guess returning to work was no exception. I also think my time schedule is off and I look forward to getting re-regulated again.

Day one back from work I walked in and so many people said, “Hey! You’re back! How are you?” 🙂  I got an extremely friendly welcoming return and in turn I told them I was glad to be back.  I’ve always said that you have to go away to be missed.  This is something more people should try.  I’ve actually got a few people in mind …

How can I miss you if you don’t go away?!?

It was so strange … I’m gone FOUR weeks after major surgery and I feel like I’ve been gone only a weekend.  I jumped right in like I hadn’t missed a day; of course, I have been at this same job for almost TEN YEARS!  In regard to surgery, you know what they say (that ubiquitous they) … surgery is only minor if it happens to someone else … any surgery on me IS major! 

I was concerned about returning to work since I am a desk jockey.  So many people have the misconception that a desk job is physically easy … a cake walk … a luxury unto itself … the pinnacle of middle American success.  BUT if you don’t already know this, desk jobs are bad for you.  Paul Ingram spells it out in this article from his blog.  If you sit for any length of time or have a desk job I highly recommend you read the following:

Just how bad sitting is for you: http://saveyourself.ca/articles/chair-trouble.php

The first week back at work went something like this:

  • MONDAY — Very tired in the morning, the afternoon and entire evening.  I had a GREAT attitude as was very glad to return.  Sitting was a challenge!  My low back pain started hurting early in the afternoon instead of in the evening.  I slept better than the last few sleeplessness nights, but not great.
  • TUESDAY — I was sooooo tired in the morning and felt like I’d been hit by a Mack Truck … OK, maybe an exaggeration.  Being hit by a Mack Truck would truly be incapacitating, but I really was very tired … maybe the “I have a sleepless newborn at home” kind of tired minus the crying and diaper changes. The back pain again crept up earlier in the afternoon.  Sleeping compared to the night before was much better.
  • WEDNESDAY — So tired again … like I partied without the party.  After lunch I was almost wiped out and the back pain came right before I was to go home for the day.  But sleeping that night was GREAT!
  • THURSDAY — For the first time I felt awake, alert, like my old self!  I was the most productive on this day back.  After lunch I felt like a sleepy zombie.  The frequent visitor of low back pain returned again before I was to leave for the day again.  Sleeping that night was phenomenal!
  • FRIDAY — The day started off with receiving our newly ordered KING size bed at 6:20 a.m. so this disrupted my intermittent sleep that night.  It was quite ironic that the bed we received to help improve our sleep actually caused problems with sleep by it getting delivered so EARLY in the morning!  (Yes, I looked up irony to make sure this was a valid example.)  And yes, this is also a prime example of a first world problem!  Wah!  My king size bed ruined my sleep!  I wanted to have a repeat of Thursday, the clear-headed and energetic me.  The low back pain came on at its usual afternoon time. However, Friday was simply an obstacle to overcome, get home and eat the grilled steak and mushrooms we had planned for dinner; a dinner that I nearly fell asleep through — another first world problem, falling asleep during a big steak dinner.  I’m sure you probably have huge crocodile tears for me at this point!  After surviving dinner and then begging my husband to put the dishes and leftovers away with the minimal amount of words I could push out of my mouth, I settled on the couch distracting myself with our usual Dateline NBC show until we stumbled onto the beautiful three-part PBS tiger documentary — all about a tiger mother and her four cubs in India over a two-year time period (see below for link). There is nothing like distraction to decrease pain or at least make it tolerable.

The actual documentary is entitled:

Tiger: Spy in the Jungle http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b009r259

This tiger stuff has nothing to do with hysterectomies … but definitely worth watching!  But maybe distraction IS part of my recovery.

I survived the first week, was welcomed back with open arms and hearty smiles, have a brand new big bed only to be out for TWO MORE WEEKS for a real vacation.  Yep, the husband and I are packing it up to go the Pacific Northwest (in US … Vancouver, Canada will be another trip, another time all on it’s own) — a place neither of us have been too.  Cooler weather, lots of walking, and loads of fresh seafood all to help with any extended healing. 🙂

bed cat

There are still some interesting posts around the corner … stay tuned for: the SIX WEEK FOLLOW-UP, first-time post-op sex and the cost of hysterectomy surgery (AKA a small fortune!) … to name a few!

ONE MONTH out or 30 days in …

ONE MONTH OUT (exactly 4 weeks post-op)

  • All incisions are healed — no more scabs
  • Sleeping is improved but hasn’t normalized yet —
    • Nightly sleep recipe:
    • Occasional cup of SleepyTime Tea Extra
    • Cup of warm milk made with Ovaltine
    • Occasional Melatonin 5 mG
    • Two capsules of Gaia herbal SleepThru with passionflower
    • Ambien is off the list!
  • Left upper quadrant stitch pain is infrequent
  • Low back pain present every day in the evenings 😦
  • Spotting bright red to orangish-colored blood requiring occasional to frequent pantyliner changes (Can I get another cracker for my jam? <said in an English accent>)
  • Prior-to-surgery-constipation nonexistent now (that’s the scoop on the poop!)
  • Still carrying four extra pounds since surgery
  • Able to wear my loosest pair of jeans now 🙂
  • Sitting for longer time periods has become much more tolerable
  • OTC pain med (Tylenol 650 mG & ibuprofen 600 mG) use infrequent (none to once daily)
  • Rx pain medication (hydrocodone 5 mG) use nightly (one tablet)
  • Only one hormonal headache since hyst
  • General tiredness that improves weekly
  • Constant thirst for water
  • Emotionally ready for sex
  • Still not lifting anything over 10 lbs. (except for my big fat black cat — he’s a 12 pounder — he’s irresistible!)
  • NO signs of infection
  • NO obvious sign of vaginal cuff dehiscence
  • NO abdominal pain with coughing, sneezing or laughing
  • NO incisional site pain whatsoever

Here is my belly today — my “one-pack” is coming back:



Tell me about post-op DAY TEN!


  • sleeping well
  • peeing great
  • appetite normal
  • pooping on schedule
  • no vaginal discharge since the surgery (TMI?!)
  • a little tired
  • sitting is a chore — especially any prolonged sitting
  • walking & standing are OK
  • no real pain other than some mild incisional area stinging
  • 4 small abdominal incision sites healing well — glue has peeled off
  • back on hormones to control HOT FLASHES!
  • still wearing loose pants (I want my jeans!)
  • feeling optimistic!

strong woman