When I started writing this story, there wasn't a Part Four. I began typing a couple weeks after my hysterectomy and then new symptoms appeared. I felt stupid. I thought, there is no end to this story. It had been four months since I had written a blog post. If I trash this one, what will I write?
symptoms six months after hysterectomy
The itching, sensitivity to clothing, and sharp cramping soon made it hard to sleep. I visited with my doctor and she sent me to do lab work. When the results were back, she told me every test came back negative. I slumped my shoulders.
However, my doctor didn't seem discouraged. She handed over a six page article and said, "I'd like you to read this over and let me know if this aligns with what you're experiencing." I nodded, left the appointment, and was unsure if I'd pick up the article. She was the seventh doctor I'd seen and in the beginning, I too quickly clung to the theory that I had Endometriosis. Who do I trust?
My symptoms remained consistent. I would wash down Tylenol, dig out my heating pad, and avoid tight pants at all costs. I did eventually read the article, but I didn't stop thinking, "Did the hysterectomy actually fix the problem?" I made another appointment and after a thorough exam, she was pretty convinced I had Vulvodynia. The name of the condition printed on top of the article.
'Vulvodynia is defined as chronic vulvar discomfort with a duration of at least three months." (Thomason, 1999). Three months, yeah. I smirked. My doctor continued, "It seems as if your nerves have risen to the surface of your skin, causing the pain and irritation. I'd like to try a hormone cream that will push them back down to a normal position."
I was ready to try anything. I thanked her and was eager to see the effects of this healing cream. She paused, took a breath, and replied, "Now, I'm guessing you've had this condition for quite some time now. It may take months to see a difference with this medication."
hysterectomy side effects
When I got home, I wanted to take a second look at the article. The causes of Vulvodynia caught my eye: hormonal changes, muscle spasms in the pelvis, and an injury to nerves from previous surgeries. My eyes glazed over. I could easily see two of those causes being the root of my problem. I relaxed my body. The hysterectomy was the right choice.
It's been over 60 days since my last appointment and I feel made new. With the hormone cream, my symptoms have subsided significantly. I can walk, do yoga, and hop on a plane again. Jesus delivers. I am so thankful I can move my body and continue to grow my family, even if it looks a little different now.
Please reach out to me if you're experiencing similar symptoms. I'd love to talk it through! I knew little about c-section complications, until it happened to me. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Trigger Warning: Infertility and Graphic Images of Blood
I woke up to a pinch in my upper right thigh. Flicking my hospital gown to the side, I glanced down to my leg. Bandages were fastened up to my hip bone. A nurse approached me, "You hemorrhaged during the procedure, so it took a while longer. The doctor said other than that, it went well."
Forcing a smile, I hoped this fix was all that it was cracked up to be. I grabbed my phone, remembering we were suppose to leave for my best friend's bachelorette party this morning. My throat became dry as I mulled over the thought that she's not getting married twice and there won't ever be a party like this again. What an awful bridesmaid.
From behind the curtain, Trey appeared with a coffee. The best dang thing in my life, that boy. He had the hospital essentials: laptop, charger, and clothes since the ones I arrived in were soaked in blood, stuffed in a biohazard bag somewhere. I was still bleeding some, so they suggested I stayed another night and could go home the following day.
Later on, Trey brought Trax by and he wasn't a fan of sitting on the hospital bed. He mostly stared, demanded snacks, and called out, "Mommy has owwies!" Elizabeth, my sister-in-law, came to visit too. She was headed out on a tanking trip. The last time I saw her she was letting me lay my head on her lap as we waited for the ambulance to arrive.
The next day, the bleeding had almost subsided and it was time to head home. Trey brought me to Aurora and I recovered mostly in his bed in his childhood room. I was suppose to start a new job in Omaha in a couple weeks and I wanted to rest up as much as possible.
For a few weeks, I was healing great. I no longer needed pain killers and I wasn't using that much ibuprofen. I began my new 8-5 job and loved every minute of it. My responsibilities were social media marketing, website design, and photography. My heart never felt more at home. About a month into the job, I woke up one morning from work to blood in my bed.
the bleeding came back
I carried on the next day or two, with ibuprofen. The bleeding was manageable and the doctor did say the embolization may not stop the bleeding forever. It was day three, when I started to feel dizzy and couldn't focus on simple tasks. The bleeding became heavier and I knew it was time to head to the doctor.
Thankfully, my doctor was able to see me the following day. We did another pelvic ultrasound and after, I sat across from him up on the exam table. "I do not see a cause for the bleeding. We knew the embolization wouldn't fix this for good. One option is we could try a birth control shot, which would slow the bleeding for a few months. However, you can only get this shot a few times a year, meaning there would be a period of time where you couldn't have it and the bleeding may return."
I knew the other option was taking my uterus out. Realizing there were no lasting solutions, I said, "Let's take my uterus out." There was no phone call to Trey or asking for a minute to consider my options. Him and I were ready to make this decision a month ago, when I hemorrhaged after my second surgery. I followed someone to a back room and sat in on the call to our insurance company. The hysterectomy would be in two days and we had to check if the surgery needed pre-approval.
Our insurance said we were good to go and I headed back out to the waiting room. I texted Trey and shared the news with my mom, who had patiently waited in the clinic for me. After spending hours at the doctor's office, we headed to the Panera drive thru and ordered a few salads. I knew it would eventually come to this.
humor is healing
At home, I called Trey who was still in our hometown with Trax, two hours away from my new job. He seem relieved that they could do the surgery so soon. That was one of the sweetest facts about this whole tragedy. Him and I were always on the same page. On the call he said, "I would hope you picked the hysterectomy." I laughed and said I did, thinking of how comical this story has become.
I began preparing for the day and for this next stage of life: A hysterectomy at 25. I did not feel hesitation, but more so guilt that I had not found a solution to this pelvic pain saga sooner. I prayed this hysterectomy would hopefully be a big step forward and kick this bleeding to the curb.
Surgery morning wasn't fun. It was early and I just had no idea if my third surgery this year would actually solve the problem or let my rib cage collapse to my hips for no reason at all. (This is what Google said my body would do after my uterus was removed, lol) Either way, I was doing it and had grazed over this idea 100 times by now.
My doctor removed my uterus and tubes, but left my ovaries. He mentioned this would be easier on my body, because I wouldn't need hormone replacement therapy. When I woke up after the surgery, my pain was a crazy 10. My pelvis burned violently, it felt as if someone was smoothing out a wrinkle on my hip line with a hot iron. I cried out to Trey and the nurses that I needed more meds. My primary nurse was skeptical. Apparently she had just given me some, but the scorching pain in my pelvis continued. Another nurse heard me and responded, "Maybe we should give her some more."
After they pushed more medication, I calmed down and the pain was numbed. I imagined my body was so used to pain killers at this point that a normal dose wouldn't do the trick. For the rest of my stay, I felt comforted. It seemed like I turned over a new leaf.
As I recovered the next couple of weeks, I was optimistic the surgery made a difference. However, like clockwork, I started to experience sharp cramping and burning in my ovaries. Later, there would be days where wearing shorts or pants would hurt the skin around my pelvis and everything became extremely itchy. I scheduled an appointment with my doctor and she requested I head to the lab for bloodwork.
To all my mamas struggling with pelvic pain - please fight for relief. No one else is living in your body and no one else can speak for the symptoms you're experiencing. You may have to visit five different doctors and retell your patient history countless times, but you deserve healing. You deserve days without clinging to ibuprofen bottles. You can find a doctor who believes you, even if you really really don't have the energy to do so. Part four will be out soon.
Want to read this later or send to a friend? Pin the post here.
Travel bucket list:
Countries visited: 5
states left: 11