Uterus Removal Surgery for Fibroids
In April 2023, I underwent abdominal Hysterectomy surgery to remove my uterus due to Uterine Fibroids. It has now been 5 months since the procedure, and I feel ready to share my experience with the world. Ideally, I should have waited one more month to share this health update, as my first ultrasound is scheduled at 6 months from the surgery date. However, I will share another update next month. In this post, I want to discuss how my life has changed both physically and mentally after the uterus removal surgery for fibroids.
I will share a detailed backstory in the upcoming posts. For now, let me share the background in short and move directly to the main topic. I had several big uterine fibroids, one of which was about 20 cm in size. These fibroids caused me a lot of discomfort & extreme pain and all that was affecting my daily life.
Moreover, whatever I was going through physically was also impacting me mentally. There came a point when I was so overwhelmed and disappointed in myself that I wanted to end my life.
Within a span of 5 months, one of the big fibroids had grown from 8 cm to 19 cm. I had continuous bleeding for 2 months, and the pain I endured on most days felt like a knife stabbing me in my lower abdomen. Additionally, I suffered from persistent sharp lower back pain. Some days, I couldn’t even get out of bed. In short, my life had turned into a living nightmare.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve not felt this good in the last 6-7 years since having my baby. The lower back pain, which we initially associated with sciatica, has mysteriously vanished. Where has the pain gone?
I have this question because no one, literally no one, told me that this pain could be due to fibroid or endometriosis.
I lost 8 Kgs weight just a month after my surgery. Does that mean my condition was making me gain weight rapidly?
Although I haven’t lost any additional weight beyond that, I haven’t gained any either. So, that’s a good sign, right?
Also, I no longer get periods!
However, I do get mild Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms (which were severe before the surgery) because one of my ovaries is still intact. The exact reason for PMS is not clear to researchers, but some believe that changes in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle may be responsible.
Initially, I felt sad because I was expecting a life free from anything related to periods. But when I thought about it, I felt a sense of relief. If my hormones were not functioning correctly, it would mean that my ovary was not working, possibly leading to early menopause, for which I am not prepared.
So, PMS still challenges me for about 9-10 days every month, with 5-6 of those days being particularly intense. By “intense”, I mean experiencing wild mood swings, itchy skin around my knees and elbows, food cravings and fluid retention (edema) in my abdomen and feet.
I am just guessing, may be the PMS symptoms might be milder or not present at all if both my ovaries were in good condition. But who knows?
Oh and yes, I have regained control over my bladder. The fibroid was putting so much pressure on my bladder that I was not able to hold urine for more than an hour or two. Yes, it was quite embarrassing, but not anymore!
Managing PMS after Uterus Removal Surgery
The only challenge I am facing in terms of my health after the surgery is PMS.
PMS, or Premenstrual Syndrome, is like your body’s way of giving you signals before your period starts. It can make you feel moody, tired, and sometimes achy. You might also get cravings for specific foods or have trouble sleeping. It’s like a little (for some, harsh) warning from your body that your period is on its way.
As mentioned earlier, I still get PMS, but it’s milder now, which allows me to manage these symptoms more effectively.
First, let’s talk about food cravings. During those 5-6 days, I crave for more salty, more sweet and more spicy foods. I no longer stop myself from indulging in these cravings because it helps me feel calmer in the moment. The good news is that I can now control the portion size of what I eat.
To balance this out, I make sure not to eat these foods and other junk foods for the rest of the month. Managing food cravings wasn’t this easy before my uterus removal surgery for fibroids. I used to get such cravings for about 2 weeks, and during the next 1 week, I would either be half-dead due to heavy bleeding and pain or depressed due to my periods not knocking on the door. Then, I would overeat not due to cravings but due to stress. I would get only 1 week in the entire month when I felt like eating healthy, home-cooked food.
Secondly, there are the mood swings. Around the same dates every month, I feel down and tired for no apparent reason. I take 1 or 2 days to confirm that this is associated with PMS. Once I’m sure, I just slow down.
I inform my husband about this, and he takes care that I am comfortable. My son is also supportive during this time, understanding that I need space. Now that I understand what I am going through, I keep assuring myself that everything will be okay, and this is just a matter of a few days. This positive mindset is helping me a lot in managing my emotions.
These mood swings peak for 5-6 days, during which I just shut down completely. I don’t interact with anyone as I know anything can trigger me during this time.
I have noticed that travelling and spending time in nature makes me feel better instantly.
Even before my surgery, travelling was something that would make me forget even the worst of pains. Despite bleeding heavily and enduring constant pain during our Lakshadweep trip, no one could tell the extent of my suffering. In the last 5 months, I travelled twice during my PMS, and I didn’t experience severe mood swings or food cravings during those times. However, I get rashes and fluid retention, for which I’m still searching for a permanent solution.
For the rashes, my gynecologist recommended consulting an endocrinologist and a dermatologist to find out the root cause. Now, I’ll have to wait for my next PMS cycle to show those rashes to the doctor and receive the right treatment.
As for fluid retention, I was advised to do physical activity when PMS symptoms occur. However, from my experience, exercise doesn’t help me much. While fluid retention means that I get chest cramps, I gain weight, and my shoes don’t fit, apart from this, it’s not a much bother.
Life After Uterus Removal Surgery for Fibroids
All in all, my quality of life has improved drastically after the surgery. Physically, I can now do things that were impossible for me before. If you follow our YouTube channel, ‘Growing with Nemit‘, then you may have seen a video where we visited a waterfall, and I was able to climb up and down the hill without any issues. This activity would have been unthinkable earlier due to my back pain, and I often struggled with balance. If you haven’t watched the video yet, then do check it out below.
Mentally, I feel much more at peace now. I have come to realize that physical pain directly affects my mood. Even now, I drown into deep sadness whenever I experience any type of pain. However, before the surgery, the pain was so extreme and constant that it had become impossible for me to come out of that sad phase. And, it had almost turned into depression.
Last year, when I started seeking therapy, I had accepted that I was suffering from some grave mental illness. I was waiting for my therapist to provide a name for my condition. Strangely, she never gave me a straightforward answer, perhaps because she understood that my emotions and feelings were rooted in my physical condition. I can’t say for sure, but this is what I feel.
Since my surgery, I am not taking therapy, and I consider it a huge win as now I am able to manage my emotions on my own. All those feelings of guilt, worthlessness, not doing enough, and not being good enough, are gone.
I had withdrawn from social interactions and ceased communicating with people. Now, after the surgery, I am gradually coming out of my cocoon.
Because now, I feel ALIVE! I want to LIVE Once Again!
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If you have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, or endometriosis and have any questions about the surgery or anything else, please feel free to reach out to me. You may write down your queries in the comments below or DM me on Instagram.