Three weeks ago today I came home from the hospital after having a total hysterectomy via the Da Vinci Robotic System.
Thought I would write about this experience via my physical, mental and spiritual perspective thus far…and if anyone else that happens across this post is contemplating a hysterectomy via this method, I hope that my candor about my own experience will be helpful in your own research. So…warning…this post is pretty candid!
The surgery itself was a breeze. I had 4 holes punched in my stomach, measuring about 4 mm each. They inserted robotic arms in my lower abdomen and the surgeon controlled the arms from a computer station away from my body. Everyone that had anything to do with me during my hospital stay were tender, professional and very caring. They truly love what they do and it showed.
My surgery lasted about 2.5 hours…I was in recovery for a couple of hours, then I was wheeled up to my hospital room. I had a catheter and oxygen almost up until the time I was discharged the next day. Overall…the experience of surgery wasn’t nearly as bad as I had imagined. I was fairly comfortable (as comfortable as you can be with a catheter) and was able to ride home fairly well with a pillow around my abdomen for support.
As soon as I got home, I took a shower and went to bed. Getting up and out of bed has been the most challenging part of this whole experience. Shayne gave me his hiking pole and that helped a lot, but for the first 10 days or so, he had to put his arms around me and lift me up to a sitting position. No core strength at all!
I think the scariest hurdle I had to jump was using the bathroom for the first time after surgery. Since I have a vaginal cuff, there is the risk of popping the sutures if you get constipated. For some reason, that warning in my discharge papers really made me nervous, so as soon as I was home, I started sucking down some soluble fiber in pretty vast quantities to insure I didn’t get constipated. It took about 4 days before my intestines came online and worked again…but the ‘event’ turned out not to be as stressful as I had feared.
I think the best way to describe how my lower abdomen feels is ‘wonky’. Things were moved a bit and now, this week especially, they seem to be trying to find their final resting place. I still need a couple of naps per day. And I am taking pain meds on an as needed basis. I can usually motor through the day ok without any pain, but at night, it tends to get fairly rough. Sleeping with no pain meds happened once this week at night, and at 3am I was awakened with pain and a general feeling of being very uncomfortable.
My belly feels very different…from a physical standpoint. My uterus was about the size of someone 3 or 4 months pregnant. Now that its gone, even though I still have a swelly belly from the surgery, I can definitely ‘see’ the difference, as well as feel the difference. I really do feel lighter. People that have visited me say that I look lighter…I think that is more from an energetic perspective, though.
The decision to have the surgery was surprising. I initially went to my gynocologist because I was having post-menopausal bleeding and discharge. I have been post-menopausal for 7 years, and when you have something unusual happening down there, it’s good to get it checked out.
I knew I had fibroids, but during the ultrasound, I saw that they had actually grown from the last time I had that test done. They couldn’t see my left ovary, and one of the fibroids was pretty large. I was having some other issues too, that shouldn’t really be happening for at least 100 more years (haha)…and when my doctor suggested we discuss my options, I was surprised at how receptive I was to having them finally removed.
It had been suggested to me before, but I always said no. This time, my body said yes, because I immediately responded to the idea of doing it. My mind was like, “What the hell? You don’t believe in surgery unless its life-threatening!” but something clicked and I was not in any way apprehensive about doing it.
I only had two questions that gave me any pause about this decision,
- How do they take the uterus out? Through the holes? Or through my vagina?
- Am I grounded when they hook me up to the robot? Is there any way that it can do what it wants to instead of the surgeon directing it?
My doctor, a man about my age, was super cool about explaining how it worked, and I was amused that the only thing I would ever give birth to would be my own reproductive system.
I was initially worried about the size of those fibroids coming through my birth canal, but he assured me that a baby’s head was about 10 cm and my fibroid-riddled uterus would fit.
I tried to find as much humor in this experience as I could. That is my way of dealing with the unknown, generally.
And he assured me that he was in total control and that I would have a grounding pad on, so that was very reassuring. The idea of getting electrocuted did give me pause…
Mentally, I felt like the decision was right for me. And I still believe that it was the right decision after the fact.
This perspective is not as easy to articulate as the other two are.
I feel like this part of my life is a pivot point. Physically removing my womb has had an impact on me on that deep soul level. It doesn’t have anything to do with my lifelong decision to not be a mother to my own children. I was good with that decision long before I even went into menopause.
Our reproductive organs represent life force energy…the place in our bodies where we as women have enough energy to make and support a baby. Did I just remove a vital part of my own life force?
I don’t know yet.
Who am I without my reproductive system? And what value does, or did, my reproductive system have to me now, at this stage in my life?
I just don’t know yet. This is the part that will take time to understand and come to terms with.
I don’t think it is any coincidence that my creative output as it pertains to jewelry has been about the growth cycles found in nature.
It is all connected, I see that now. I also recognize that I have entered a new phase of my own growth cycle.
I wonder about what is ahead…and I wonder about what new insights I will uncover as I continue to process this.
Thank you for all your well wishes on Instagram and the nice emails…