hysterectomy recovery time?

I am scheduled for a laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy on Feb. 15th. My doctor told me to expect 2 weeks home from work. Others have told me it took them as long as 6 weeks to recover enough to go back to typical daily activities. I’d like to hear others’ experiences.

Two women at work recently had this operation. One was 55 years old and took five weeks off (she also has ovarian cancer, so part of her time off was related to getting the diagnosis and getting her oncology treatments set up, plus her hysterectomy was obviously a radical one). The other is 40, and took 3 weeks off. She still has her ovaries. The doctor told her two weeks initially, but at the follow-up told her to take an additional week off. Both said they were surprised at how long the recovery process was.

Those were laparoscopic?

This thread was started not long ago (I remembered it because my wife’s having a hysterectomy next month). There’s a number of stories and links to go through.

I’ve been researching this (I’ll probably be getting one soon). My understanding is that the 6 weeks number is for the standard through the abdomen with a long incision surgery. The laparoscopic version takes less time, maybe 3-4 weeks.

The second was done with robotics. She has several small incisions, from what I understand. Not sure how the first one was done, she says she has one larger scar.

My co-worker had her hysterectomy done laparoscopically without complications and was off work for 3 months; however, I think this type of leave may be more generous in Canada than in the US (where she is).

Having had more than my share of surgeries, including a hysterectomy, I’d say that it takes a couple of weeks after ANY major surgery, laparoscopic or not, to start feeling somewhat normal. That is, not in pain, able to do normal things. Then you go through a phase where you start out feeling fine, but run out of energy really quickly. You have to build up your endurance gradually. The body is just too busy repairing the assault upon it to have a lot of resources available for anything but the basics. Becoming too active too soon and too quickly is a setup for bad stuff to happen.

IANAD. YMMV. The patient should of course listen to her doctor and her own body.

Just as an update, I have decided not to use the word “hysterectomy” anymore. After reading this:
[[“Hysterectomy” is the surgical removal of the uterus (womb). The word “Hysterectomy” (termed in 1879) comes from the root word “hyster” referring to the womb and “ectomy” meaning removal.
The reason the root word “hyster” refers to the womb is derivative of the word “hysteria” based on the sexist assumption that the womb itself caused uncontrollable, emotional behavior. Female Hysteria was thought to be a real, psychological disorder in women until the 20th century.]]

The term contributes to the stigma, shame and embarrassment that we are expected to feel about our various “female problems.” Conversations about our experiences with menstruation (cramps, PMS, etc.), hormones, menopause, etc. are often met with jokes, disgust or just ambivalence and lack of empathy. This doesn’t come from just men. I find that I don’t want to tell people that I am facing this surgery because of this stigma. When I go online to look for support, I find daisies, pink hearts, teddy bears, throbbing colorful HUGS! in italics and other infantilizing that I don’t identify with.

I had a biopsy done that found abnormal cells. The choices I had were to mess with strong hormonal medications and continued biopsies or to have the organ removed. So I’m having my uterus removed, which I expect to be a very good thing.

Had mine in 2008, it was laparoscopic. I took 6 weeks, but could have gone back in 5. The main thing for me was I was tired. In the second week I walked to the mailbox. I remember standing there holding the mailbox, looking back at the house, and thinking I HAVE to walk back, when all I wanted was to sit down because I felt so weak. I didn’t have pain after the first week, but I was weak. I got tired very easily. By the 5th week I could walk, slowly, for 2 miles and could stay focused for 12 – 15 hours without having to take a nap.

For me one of the big things was I had very little appetite and so was not eating much (not a bad thing overall). This may have been a contributor to my weakness, so my only suggestion is to make sure you have a good breakfast.

Thanks, Reep. That was very helpful.

JillGat pm me if you have any specific or tmi questions.

I had my uterus and ovaries removed through an abdominal incision. I was told not to lift anything heavier than a damp washcloth for at least 6 weeks, and that I might not feel like my old self for up to a year. It IS major abdominal surgery.

I was horrified to find that I’d been closed up with staples, but I have since changed my mind. Staples don’t itch nearly as much as stitches, they seem to heal up cleaner, and they seem to be easier to remove.

I’m very glad that I had my uterus and ovaries removed. Life is so much better without Aunt Flo coming to visit whenever she feels like it.

So! Any updates?

For my part: Mrs. Torque had her hysterectomy (total; they took out the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries) on 2/17. I have never seen her in as much pain as she was in right after the surgery; that was tough to endure. She’s still having a lot of pain, because apparently, they’ve entrapped a nerve in her internal sutures on the right side, which means every time she moves and the sutures get a tug, that nerve gets compressed, and YOW. So, she’s taking it easy at her mom’s house for a while, because our furniture’s too low for her to use comfortably, and because her mother’s a nurse. But apart from that pain on the right side, she’s actually doing great.

The doctor told us right after the surgery that after he got a look inside, any doubts he may have had about removing the ovaries as well evaporated, because she had varicose veins on her ovaries and fallopian tubes. I’ve never heard of such a thing. He says that that was likely a source of a lot of the pain she’d been feeling. To me, that sounds like the whole system was breaking down and about to fail, so it’s good to have it done and over with. Now, she just has to heal up.