Hysterectomy advice needed (possibly TMI)

*First, the standard disclaimer - I am NOT looking for medical advice. I am under the care of an OB/GYN. *

Second, a little (well, lot) of background.

I am 37 yrs old, and after 12 years of infertility, 3 pregnancies and miscarriages, multiple surgeries, and an abdominal myomectomy, my uterus has been rendered useless. It is pretty much scarred shut, resulting in PMS with a little spotting, and major pain.

My fertility doctor told me that I could endure multiple surgeries to try and resect the scarring, but even then there is no guarantee that I could ever have a baby with all of the damage, and who knows the condition of my tubes.

My husband and I made the decision that we are done and pretty much decided that a hysterectomy was in order.

My fertility doctor then referred my case to my OB/GYN.

So, my OB/GYN gave me three choices.

1 - Keep going like I am for the next however many years until menopause
2 - Go on Lupron shots for the next however many years until menopause
3 - Partial hysterectomy (leaving my ovaries)

She told me that since I’d never had a baby, that things weren’t as “stretchy” down there, and paired with the fact that I have a history of fibroids, it would be nearly impossible to do the surgery vaginally, and that she would go back over the scar that runs from my bellybutton to my pubic line and do the surgery that way.

This is where I started to question my decision.

I know what the recovery from this surgery is. 6-8 weeks of hell. After my myomectomy and some after surgery complications (namely the drainage tube snapping when being removed on release day, resulting in having to be opened up again) I was off for the full 8 weeks.

We’ve scheduled the surgery for June 7th, but I don’t know if I want to do this again.

I know logically I should just go ahead and have the surgery and enjoy being off work for most of June & part of July.

I just don’t want to go through that recovery again.

Anyone have any insight, kind words or even want to talk me out of it?

Thanks for reading…

Here’s your current situation:

Here’s what you may face if you have the hysterectomy:

How likely is it that you’ll reach natural menopause within 8 weeks of the likely surgery date? Not likely. So, even if you have to deal with a full 8 weeks of recovery, you’re still going to be in pain for a shorter period of time than if you don’t have the surgery and wait for nature to take its course. Have the surgery.

For what it’s worth, I’ve known several women who have had an abdominal hysterectomy. None has required a drain, and all have been pretty much fully recovered much sooner than 8 weeks.

I can’t speak from personal experience, but I’ve known quite a few women over the years with various “female troubles”.

1 - Keep going like I am for the next however many years until menopause
Apparently you’re not satisfied with this option, otherwise you wouldn’t be considering surgery. Doing this would, it seems, result in a monthly bout of pain for a number of years. Probably around 15 given you’re 37 and the average age of menopause in the US is 51

2 - Go on Lupron shots for the next however many years until menopause
Lupron has side effects. I’ve known a couple of women who did this for a number of years, then went ahead and had a hysterectomy. Of course, your mileage may vary and some women seem to be OK with this option, but remember, you’re likely looking at 15 years of regular shots.

3 - Partial hysterectomy (leaving my ovaries)
Yes, surgery sucks. The recovery is unpleasant at best. It’s two months of your life you won’t get back.

On the other hand, you have an organ that is non-functional and, it seems, a source of trouble in your life. Your uterus is not a benefit to you, and definitely a liability. If you get it removed then the source of the trouble is gone. It’s the last surgery you’ll need on that organ ever. No more fibroids. It is a permanent solution to the problem.

If it was me I’d opt for the hysterectomy and be done with it. That is my opinion, which I gather is what you asked for. As you mention, it’s not medical advice but it seems you are already speaking with a doctor you trust and it’s a matter of making up your own mind.

Of course, you could schedule your surgery for a time that’s optimal for you, and use Lupron in the meanwhile. Having control over the scheduling may help you arrange matters so there is as little disruption as possible in your life and you can arrange for someone to help you out post surgery if having someone besides your husbad around would help.

I had mine in October, mainly due to fibroids,excessive blood loss and plummeting iron stores.

It’s like being given your life back. I had a partial, so I still have my ovaries and I am not in menopause but god. No more spending 8-10 days a month planning how close the nearest facilites are and carrying around a backpack full of supplies. No more choking down iron pills 3x a day and planning meals around extra iron all in a vain attempt to not want to sleep 12 hrs a day. Also, no more iron side effects. Thank god.

The recovery wasn’t perfect. They tried laproscopy first and it failed so I’ve got an unattractive scar, had 6 weeks recovery and still have a serious wobble issue with my stomach. On the other hand I go out. I play with my dogs, visit my kids, cook meals and rarely feel like I need a nap to keep up with all of that. Once a month I get a pimple just to remind me that hormones are still doing their best to muck things up. I’ve stopped killing my liver with my monthly intake of tylenol and in general I just feel like myself again.

The funny thing is before the surgery I didn’t realize how much I’d changed. How much effort it was taking to just be myself and do the things I enjoy. You couldn’t pay me to go back to the presurgery state.

Sounds like ‘keeping on as things are’ is NOT even remotely a good option.

I’m not familiar with Lupron and its side effects so I don’t know how awful that would be… however given your history with rough surgical side effects, that would tend to make me think that Lupron might be an OK thing to try for a bit. If you hate it, then there’s always surgery. If you don’t mind it, then you can always change your mind later.

That said… sounds like one way or another a hysto is in your future at some point, and there’s a certain advantage to getting it done younger while you’re still able to bounce back from the surgery relatively “easily”.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

I guess I was just expecting a quickie vaginal hysterectomy to be booked in the fall, and to find out that it’s 8 weeks away and an abdominal surgery…it’s just not what I was expecting.

I just need to go ahead and do it.

I was on the Lupron shots before my myomectomy to decrease the bleeding and didn’t like it.

Noooooooo, you do not need to be gutted out again, you may be able to have a Da Vinci robotic procedure like I had … and believe me, I adore my hysterectomy. It is literally the first time I have been painfree and not medicated to stop the menses in 35 years. It has made an incredible difference in quality of life and I wish I could have had it done 25 years ago when I had my first tubal ligation!

Honestly- get the hysterectomy done. Being pain free is amazing. And join Hystersisters.com, they have great advice and sympathetic people over there.

I hated Lupron too. I’ve gone the other way. I still have my uterus, but I no longer have ovaries due to ovarian cysts. I fought the whole way because I don’t believe in removing body parts unnecessarily. But I gave up the battle after discussing the issue with two ovarian cancer survivors and one younger woman who’s ovarian had her on her deathbed. Due to the outrageous amount of estrogen my body was producing (a potential cancer flag) I agreed to the surgery.

One month into my sudden premature menopause brought on by ovary removal; I did a little internal survey and discovered the depression I had suffered for 12 years was gone. GONE. It was worth it just for that.

Do I regret not having children. Yes. But I have moved on from there and celebrate my depression-free life.

Good luck to you.

For what it’s worth, four years ago my mother had a hysterectomy and then began chemotherapy for uterine and breast cancer a week later, and her recovery from the surgery was no sweat. If she hadn’t been having chemo, she would have been her old self within a couple of weeks. So while some women take weeks and weeks to recover, a hysterectomy does not necessarily lead to 6-8 weeks of hell afterwards.