Just a quick check-in…

Well, it’s now 4 months since my operation and, though I’m still signed off work, my recovery is progressing, albeit slowly. I’m getting there.

My ‘cuff’ (where my cervix was) is now healed and apparently looking healthy (though I’m still getting some pain there), and almost a fortnight ago, I got the okay to swim. The first time I swam, I didn’t take my goggles into the pool because I assumed I’d just fanny about in the shallow end (no pun intended). I swam 20 lengths (!) and felt fab afterwards. I took things really slowly and stuck to the side of the pool just in case, and stopped when I got pain.

I can now cough without holding my stomach, and although I still ‘feel’ it, it’s not so much pain as a pulling sensation now. It still hurts a bit when I sneeze but even that’s getting better. I still can’t pull myself up from lying down and am still rolling out of bed but things are getting noticeably easier. A couple of times, I’ve been able to get myself up off the sofa without pushing with my hands! I still can’t tick much off the ‘Hellelujah moments’ list, but I can at least foresee a time when I’ll be able to – I suppose 4 months is still early days. I’ve been told by several nurses and a couple of doctors that it’ll be 6 months before I start to feel really well again, and the surgery stops being the main thing I think about. I’m still getting pain, especially when I’m physically active, so it’s no surprise, I suppose, that it’s still on my mind almost constantly. I’m not taking painkillers regularly these days; I’m using the pain to tell me when I need to slow down and I want to be aware of what’s going on inside my body.

I know that even now, I need to take things easily and did overdo things on Monday past when I did the ironing, then mopped the kitchen floor and then wandered around town for a couple of hours. I ended up looking, and feeling, about 7 months pregnant and was in pain just walking back from town. A couple of co-codamol and a lie down improved things greatly though. I cleaned the oven out yesterday and again had some pulling pains, so I know my body is still healing itself. I fully intended to go for a swim yesterday but was too knackered so maybe today.

I think I’m now at the stage they warn you about – where I’m beginning to do more things physically and sometimes forget that my body is still healing itself. Consequently, I sometimes overdo things and my body reminds me that it needs time to heal. There’s also the frustration, of course, with it being such a bloody long process. I keep thinking, right – it’s been 4 months now. I should be doing this, this and this. I’m still comparing myself unfavourably with women in the Hysterectomy group on FB, who had their surgery after me and seem to be doing more than me, then reminding myself that many of them are 10-15 years younger than me and have had keyhole surgery rather than open. But still…

One thing I am finding, as well, is the menopause symptoms aren’t really abating, even with the cocktail of supplements I’m taking. I had a few days with hardly any flushes and thought they’d stopped but they’re back with a vengeance, my memory is still pretty rubbish and my energy levels are very hit and miss. I sometimes wake up keen to do loads (cue ironing/kitchen-floor-mopping/town-wandering) and then regret it afterwards and end up feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck. Other days, I still can’t get off the sofa.

Having said this, I’ve joined a closed group on FB of women who are at various stages of going through menopause and my symptoms aren’t as severe as many, so maybe the supplements are working. My legs aren’t aching as much now, either. I’ve also pretty much eliminated caffeine and alcohol (though had a sneaky glass of wine last night – the first in a couple of weeks at least) and am eating loads of fresh fruit and veg, and protein-rich food for healing. I’m seeing the doctor in November to discuss things again, so we’ll see. I had a migraine last week, though not a severe one, so I suspect she still won’t want me to have HRT but she might have some other ideas.

While scrolling through FB yesterday, I came across a post in the Menopause group about how the body produces oestrogen and explaining how declining levels of the hormone bring on the symptoms. There was a diagram of the womb/tubes/ovaries and I got a little jolt when I saw it because it really dawned on me then that that diagram no longer applies to me. I felt sad and excluded. I thought I’d come to terms with losing my female organs, but obviously the regret and sense of loss is still there. The whole thing still feels like a triple whammy: (i) the physical and emotional impact of major surgery; (ii) losing those parts of me that made me a woman and gave me my children; (iii) being plunged into sudden menopause and all that that entails. I suppose it’ll take some getting over.

Anyway, just thought I’d share some thoughts. The peaks are getting higher and the troughs shallower, so I’m getting there.

Bye for now x

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