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If you couldn’t tell from the title, I’m about to talk ALL things hysterectomy/BSO. Ovaries, estrogen, and blood, it’s included below. So if female talk makes you uncomfortable, consider yourself warned. This probably isn’t your post. Check back later for some DIY & fewer hormones.
With that out of the way, here we go…
Starting with a huge pic of my nervous, makeup-free old lady face. I’m really putting myself out there and being vulnerable with this post. Oye. No these photos aren’t pretty, but you know what? Nothing about this experience is.
The last few years have been life-altering. After over a decade of being sick, my body just sort of shut down. I was bleeding well over 20 days a month. It got to the point where I couldn’t even leave my house for sometimes 5 days at a time. Estrogen dominance, fibroids in my breasts/cancer scares, adenomyosis, ovarian cysts, edema, weight gain, freezing all the time, headaches, mood swings, overwhelming emotions, and so much more. I was exhausted, in pain every single day, and had to work incredibly hard to be happy. I’ve struggled with different health issues most of my life, but this felt insurmountable. All the lights went out.
With my BRCA2 mutation, my doctor felt the best course of action would be a total laparoscopic hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Removing my uterus, cervix, both fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
In October of 2021, I went in for surgery.
I am so grateful for the awesome women who gave me tips and tricks to prepare before going under the knife, and for the many wonderful friends and family members who helped me recover after. I had a hell of a time. The doctor found things a lot worse in there than he had planned and my poor body didn’t handle it well. What would I have done without all that love and support prepping me beforehand and helping me through the healing after? A surgery like this can be painful, scary, and overwhelming when you’re in good health. It’s absolutely brutal when you aren’t.
With some of my girlfriends out there prepping for a hysterectomy & oophorectomy in the near future, I wanted to put together some of the advice my friends and nurses gave me that I found helpful or comforting. With my own experience behind me, talking to dozens of other women, and hearing their stories, I need you to keep in mind that this surgery is going to be unique to YOU. There isn’t a right way to prep, heal, or an exact date for when you’ll be out buying paint to redo the kitchen or taking kids to the zoo. Due to an undiagnosed autoimmune disease wreaking havoc inside me, I was down for nearly 2 1/2 months. And yet, my cute neighbor friend was up and back to normal life 6 weeks after hers. I tell you this so you understand that everybody is different.
And bodies are weird.
It just is what it is, and it’s ok.
I guess what I’m struggling to say is, this is going to be a very personal experience so go easy on yourself. No judgment here. You may love some of these suggestions and find them super helpful, or they might not be your thing and that’s alright. Do what makes you feel most comfortable and confident.
So without further ado, here are the tips, products, and tips that helped me cope.
Obviously, this isn’t the end-all beat-all list, but at least it can get your brain turning. I think the best advice is to seek out and talk to several women in your life who have been there and had a hysterectomy. If you know some nurses, ask them too! Though it isn’t talked about a lot, the more I asked the more women around me I found who had experiences and thoughts to share. I had no idea so many women I knew had gone through this! No clue. (Also, why are we so embarrassed to talk about this?) While every woman and recovery is different, hopefully after chatting with some females you trust, you’ll at least have a better idea of what to expect.
Hysterectomy/BSO is not easy and the decision isn’t made lightly. Things gotta be pretty darn bad to get to this point. Girlfriend, I am so sorry that you are facing this! Like Brene’ Brown says, “It is ok to be brave and afraid at the same time.” Feel your feelings and have a good cry. You are allowed to mourn what you are losing. And then, breathe deep, get up and move ahead. Yes, this absolutely sucks. But you will get through it.
You are strong, capable, brave, and beautiful with or without those broken reproductive organs. Healing will come. Repeat after me, I am woman. I am worthy. I am whole.
If you’ve stumbled on this post, had a hysterectomy/BSO, and think of something you found helpful, please share in the comments below!