Category: Women’s Problems


Hysterectomy

I read this quote in a book called ‘The Wisdom of Menopause’ by Dr. Christiane Northup & found it reassuring…”Yes, your ovaries & uterus are important, but always remember you are more than the sum of your organs. Your spiritual body, the field of electromagnetic energy that surrounds & nourishes your physical body, is always whole & intact. You cannot destroy this essential part of yourself, no matter what happens to your physical body.”I have been very fortunate to get operated on after only 2-3 months, I have had excellent care at the Hospital, & I am oh so happy to be home. As is my way, I have gathered information along the way which I am keen to pass on. If anyone else has ideas to add, feel free, I’m all for exchanging information. When I got the appointment about a month ago, I started taking a herbal iron supplement, in orange  juice (Vitamin C helps absorption) & I tried to walk for 30 mins a day, even though it wasn’t always comfortable. Initially when I got the diagnosis of fibroids I felt squeamish & didn’t want to think about it.

One evening when I was laying in the bath, I had one of those profound moments, when I had a shift of perspective. I felt gratitude & care for my uterus, it’s provided us with 3 beautiful children & has done it’s best for me. After that, each evening I laid my hands on my belly & thanked it. Surgery was last Friday, a week ago today, it’s been a bit of a scary ride, but then it would be really, after all I had no idea what to expect, &  like all of us I don’t like pain or discomfort. We were well informed what to expect, & the staff were warm & reassuring.

Day 1: I was out of surgery by late morning & waiting  in recovery, Geoff was waiting somewhere else, & waiting & waiting… at some stage I don’t know when as I was cruising on anaesthetic, I was taken back into surgery for a bleed & blood transfusion. Eventually I appeared on the ward at 8 pm, poor Geoff had been waiting since 8am! Luckily I was blissfully unaware of events except in a vague way.

Friday night & (Day 2) saturday were quite surreal, attached as I was to a number of devices, in & out, cast on the bed, & unable to open my eyes for more than a few seconds. Geoff had put some Homoepathic drops in my drinking water, 200c  mix of Arnica, Hypericum & Bellis perennis, these were my first  pro active  steps.Saturday night I was helped up to shower, how amazing I hadn’t imagined how I’d ever get vertical again! The Hellerwork sessions kicked in, in my brain & I adjusted my posture so I was straight & not stooped over my tum, it felt great. Then I remembered breathing, I’d been feeling a bit panicky as it seemed only the top half of my chest was working. I took some deep breaths, & tried to relax. Later I started doing some gentle yoga execises,using my arms like a windmill, hands on shoulders, & breathing in  on the stretch, this felt good.The sequence I did, was circle elbows towards center of chest, then reverse cicles, then elbows to touch at front, 7 then back as far as poss, inhaling on the back move, & finally up & down, hands still on shoulders, bring elbows up so hands touch behind head on inhale, & then down to touch sides on out breath. I did this 3 or 4 times a day for a few days, increasing number of each exercise from 3 to 10. Took the Homoepathic drops 3 or 4 times a day too.

Day 3: Sunday I felt a lot more with it, but only in short bursts. I realised I was acutely sensitive to smells & tastes, & mostly couldn’t handle them Homoepathic Nux vomica is a remedy that may help with this symptom, in my case exacerbated by a double dose of anaesthetic. I was interested to read that the remedy comes from the Poison Seed Plant, & if you eat the seeds, which contain strycnine,  it’s a powerful poison which acts on the central nervous system. In small doses it makes perception more vivid. I felt like a dog, when I came home I could smell a sheep in the orchard, the comfrey brew, lemon flowers, all sorts of things far off & subtle. I don’t mind now I have the garden & our own food to smell. Sunday was a lot better, I felt most independent being able to walk on my own to the shower, & pee on my own, the things we take for granted! I was still carting around the bottle attached to my drain, which made getting knickers off a challenge. The drain came out in the pm, which was not the best of sensations, but great to be free of the final attachments. Geoff bought in my own pillows, the door was shut on our room & we had a good sleep, bliss!

Day 4: I came home on Monday, craving cherries & broccoli, our own bed was so good, cups of tea just how I like them, lots to look at in the garden, a renewed appreciation for our home & environs. I do enjoy afternoon tea in bed, perhaps I could keep this up when I’m recuperated!When I got home I took a few doses of Nux vom, to ease my hypersensitive nose, help my liver clear out the anaesthetic etc & give my bowels a nudge.  I think that having abdominal surgery, rather than vaginal has made it easier for me to rest. I can see what’s going on , bruising etc, I think in the normal way even a big bruise would be pretty sore, so I’m amazed that I’m relatively comfortable, bar the coughing & getting the giggles!

Day 5: I had a lot of visitors today, all of whom I wanted to see, but I got overtired, & spent the next 2 days resting conscientiously.

Day 6: Finally my bowels are behaving themselves, we’ve put a box on the floor in front of the loo, so I can sit in a squat. This is a much easier position, esp when you’re not allowed to strain. It’s an old wooden nail box, about 20cm tall.  I have a prescription for iron pills, to take once my digestive system is all systems go, but I did get given iron pills in hospital, & since I ate hardly anything, I think they prob bunged me up a bit. I suggest if you need iron, if poss don’t take them until your bowels are OK.I got up for all my meals today. Still wearing my PJs to remind me not to do things!

Day 7: My bruises are sore today, & going yellow, so I am taking Homoepathic Ledum which is for deep bruises, & that seems to have helped, along with Comfrey & Calendula Ointment.

Day 8: a great day, first day with no panadol at all, went over to the workroom today & did a little paper work, a whiff of normality. I’m taking 2 short walks each day, today I went to the pond & back.

Day 10: A tired day, probably overdone it a little, so have spent most of the day resting. Managed to make the short walks. I think my days will wobble up & down a bit, & thats Ok just so long as I stop as soon as I feel weary. I was surprised to look in the mirror & see I had  a tummy button, haven’t had one for ages. I’d like to thank all the staff at HB Hospital for their care, including the cheerful cleaner & the patient lady who delivered teas & meals. Thanks especially to Dr. Harrison, who sorted me out, Dr. ‘Yogi’ who made my day with his visits, Jane, who came in like a breath of fresh air & got me moving, & Anna whose gentle awareness gave us a good nights sleep. Also Trish who was kind & efficient, & good humouredly found me sitting on the emergency button, by accident. Thank You.

Day 14: My first outing, we went to the new Cafe in Otane, McCauleys Store. It’s a great set up, in the old Library, (which was also the Plunket Rooms when Giles was a baby.) Lee, Sheryll & co have done a great job setting it up in 1930’s style, & there’s always new things to look at I successfully navigated getting in the car, our bumpy drive, & steps, a big day out! Of course I came home an hour later for a sleep!Nearly 6 weeks later: I can’t believe how the time has flown, of course having Xmas in the middle has helped. I am feeling so much better now, over the last 4 weeks I have gradually increased what I am able to do. I’ve paid close attention to my body, & when it has said ‘ouch’ I’ve stopped what I’m doing, & tried it again a week or so later. eg. walking up the hill from our creek, pulling out weeds. Once or twice I’ve automatically done something & then realised I shouldn’t be doing that, I pushed the couch with my leg to move it, as I normally would & felt instant protest from my tum. Cue to have a rest & re-think!

It was a good exercise in delegation over Xmas, & I think that it was good for me not to be Mother Hen, & allow other people to do the various jobs that need doing to feed & nurture a crowd of people. Hot flushes/flashes are a new development, some days these are quite a hassle, but mostly Ok, I have a fan by the bed, for when I’m resting, & I’ve taken to putting my head in the swimming pool! not sure how it’ll be when I’m out in the real world. The urge to get clothes off as fast as possible could be interesting. Apparently hot weather is a trigger, not much help at the moment, but I’m thinking in the Winter the Hot Flushes could be great for my cold feet. I found a good website, after much searching, which has good info on it… www.34-menopause-symptoms.com/hot-flashes-after-hysterectomy.htm

I also read a list of estrogenic foods, which includes soy, apples, alfalfa, cherries. spuds, yams, rice & wheat. Perhaps that’s why I wanted to eat cherries all the time, I’ve since moved on to apples, so perhaps my body is being very sensible!This week I’ve started back on my walks, I’m building back up to 30 mins a day, prob manage about 20 at the moment, that’s very encouraging. Exercise & deep breathing are supposed to help reduce the hot flushes too.My tum is still tender to the touch & a bit numb in places, one end of the scar feels like a bit of stitch is sticking out. & isn’t as healed as the rest. My daughter told me that she had the same thing after having a caesar, our theory is that the stitch there was the last one, & isn’t dissolving as easily, as it sticks out a bit. Not a major issue, I’ve found going ‘commando’ or wearing boxers makes it more comfortable, I’m still putting on Pukunui Rub or Comfrey Ointment each day.

I’ve started my Iron tabs today, it’s taken a while for my digestive system to find it’s routines, not helped by different eating patterns over Xmas. I think I’ll take iron alternate days for a bit & see how that goes. It’s been weird adjusting to having no more periods, a number of times I’ve caught myself wondering when I’m due, ahh the relief when I realise I’m not…ever again. I think this new me is going to be a lot steadier healthwise, it’ll be a while yet but already I feel clearer in myself & more reliable physically. I’m determined to take it slowly & not overdo it while I repair. Aren’t our bodies marvellous things? Excuse me, time to put my head in the pool again!

10 weeks or so, a good sign… I can’t remember how long ago it is now. I finally braved the sticky out stitch & cut it off, in a day or so it all healed up, bit scary tho. I’ve been making jugs of Sage tea, which I keep in the fridge & sip for the Hot Flushes, & at night I take a supplement which has Sage, Black Cohosh & Motherwort in it. I think this is helping, but also I’m getting more familiar with these new sensations. A cool flannel helps, I must remember to take one with me when I go into town. To make the tea I’ve been picking a big handful of Red Sage & one Clary Sage leaf, & a lemon & ginger tea bag, in to our glass coffee jug with boiling water. I leave it overnight, strain & add honey or ginger syrup & store in the fridge. I take about 1/4 cup every now & then, often having a hot flush reminds me. Sage is supposed to act in 2 ways, helping to reduce sweats through it’s phytooestrogenic action & also helping the body to adapt to hormonal changes. Perfect! & we have a big bush of Red Sage waiting to be picked. I think also I feel more in control, just making the tea & having it to sip.

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Women’s Problems

Since I last wrote in here, I’ve had a crash course in appreciation of good health, or my version of it. Last week I ended up in A&E with acute abdominal pain & swelling. After 10 hours & a wide & eye watering variety of tests, I’ve been diagnosed with a large ovarian cyst, & fibroids. I had to wait nearly a week for blood test results to say if the cyst was benign or not. It’s been a long week as you can imagine, & I went through various stages of processing, from ‘it’ll be fine” to “what if…”

By the time I went to see the specialist I was not feeling very brave at all! Luckily for me I have the all clear, & I’m on the waiting list for a hysterectomy, sometime in the next 2-6 months hopefully. Everywhere I looked there’s been stuff about Cancer with a capital ‘C’ & I know there will be a whole lot of other people who haven’t had good news from their test results. It’s a sobering & lonely thought, we shall be donating extra to the Daffodil Day Appeal, & I send a prayer out to all those facing that challenge. Since discovering all this I’ve talked to a number of friends, who have been through similar, or know someone who has. I’m amazed that mostly that information is kept quiet, until someone mentions it. It’s not a dirty secret to have problems with our reproductive gear, I want to be open about it, & talk to other women. There may be women out there who have heavy periods & haven’t been checked for fibroids, go get it checked, take care of yourself. Apparently between 20 & 40% of women over 35 have them. My friend & I, both on the waiting list for the op, are planning a PH (Post Hysterectomy) Celebration, when we emerge at the other end, to honour our generous wombs, & farewell them. I’m planning a uterine shaped pinniata full of tricks… could catch on? Whilst all this was going on, I was put on 2 courses of antibiotics, & got the flu. (See recipes for Horehound Candy & Elecampagne Syrup) All I knew was that I felt awful for days, but now the fog is clearing. Yesterday I felt hungry, what a lovely sensation! Today I made breakfast, exciting stuff! So I have a renewed sense of delight in the mundane, & a joy in anticipating Spring made all the sharper in contrast to some of the dark places I’ve visited recently. On the plus side I’m told that women with ME are quite likely to feel a whole lot better after the op, so I am feeling hopeful on that score. If any of you out there in the ether have any thoughts on the above, feel free to leave a comment.