This post is really for women who maybe have had the surgery and have had similar experiences, as well as to inform women awaiting the surgery about something that can happen, and finally for readers who know me – to explain why I’m being such a self-obsessed mardy cow at the moment. Sorry. Maybe also for anyone who is supporting a woman through this surgery.
So this might all be a bit negative because I’m getting a bit fed up with this whole recovery thing now. It’s now 4 1/2 months since my hysterectomy and it still feels like I’ve been hit by a truck. It’s been one thing after another: a wound infection lasting three weeks; the wound coming apart and taking nine weeks to fully close; granulation tissue on my vaginal cuff which apparently still isn’t fully healed and still has quite a deep hole in it. On top of this, despite the mountain of supplements I’m taking, I’m still struggling with some of the menopause symptoms. The hot flushes aren’t as frequent now, but I regularly go hot and cold, my joints are starting to ache, I rarely sleep through the night and the fatigue can be crippling. Even last week, I had a sofa day on the Thursday when I just could not get my lard arse up and about. The memory loss and brain fog aren’t much fun either. I’m hoping they’ll get better when I get back to work, which now won’t be next week, but hopefully in two weeks time.
Having said all that, up until yesterday, it’s been a good week. I swam 50 lengths quite comfortably on Monday, nice and slowly, and I had a session with my physio where she was pleased with my progress from last week and pushed me quite hard this time. All told, I was feeling quite pleased with myself.
This next paragraph might be TMI, especially if you’re a bit squeamish about bowel stuff, as I’m going to talk about a ‘Barry’. So I woke up yesterday and went to the loo as usual. My bowel is settling down now, even if it does sometimes want to do its job at some funny times (like in the middle of the night). As I went to flush to toilet this time, though, I noticed a lot of blood in the bowl and on my stools. It was like someone had painted my poo with bright red paint and the water was bloodstained as well. Now, I’ve never experienced this so my initial reaction was panic. However, consulting Dr Google, I read on the NHS site that if the blood is bright red and appears to be resting on the stool (lovely word!), it’s probably nothing serious. There was a lot of blood but absolutely no pain at all, so the two most likely culprits are haemorrhoids or diverticula. I did want to try to check what was happening though, so tried to have a look with a mirror. Not very elegant, I’m afraid and I’m only glad I thought to close the bedroom curtains as I looked – don’t think the neighbours would’ve recovered from seeing that one! Anyway, as I was attempting to examine my own bottom (remember, please, that I still can’t fully pull myself up from lying down), I also noticed that I had some vaginal bleeding. This puzzled me, and for a few seconds I actually tried to work out how blood could get from my bottom to my lady-hole. When I realised that it was actually coming from inside me, the bottom bleeding was forgotten. I have no womb, no fallopian tubes, no ovaries and no cervix. I should have no bleeding so I was more concerned about this blood than the other.
Before I noticed the second blood, I had decided to just ring the doctor and try to speak to someone, just to confirm my self-diagnosis. However, realising I was bleeding from both ends, as it were, I wanted to see a doctor. My first thought was that I’d overdone things with the physio the previous day and I was concerned I might have done some damage. So I rang and asked to see a female doctor. I ended up seeing the same GP who initially referred me to gynae in the first place, but who hasn’t seen me since. Anyway, she had a look and examined me front and back. Like me, she was more concerned with the vaginal bleeding and looked there first. The up-shot is, I still have granulation tissue on my cuff and apparently a small hole in it, which is quite deep, but she doesn’t think it goes “all the way through” – eek! I’m really fed up to hear this, because, having been told that my cuff looked healthy last time, I thought I was all healed up. It seems not quite and I’m being referred back to gynae, with a request that, while not urgent, they see me as soon as they can. This probably explains the low level pain I’ve been getting in that area, which I was just putting down to being more active. She took a swab, which I’ve to ring about tomorrow, Friday. She also said that the pain in my tummy might be caused by fluid in my abdomen. Anyway, the bleeding seemed to stop during the day yesterday (though I’ve noticed some spots today), and I just seem to be ‘leaking’ some clear stuff – again, sorry if TMI, but I don’t think this is uncommon and hopefully my rather lurid description will reassure any woman going through similar complications following hysterectomy surgery. It’s the kind of stuff that NO-ONE tells us. (I really hope that none of my pupils ever read this!)
(BTW – The bottom bleeding was from a haemorrhoid that I didn’t know I had that coincidentally decided to do its first ever bleed on the same day as my fanny! Serious point, though, if you ever do find a lot of blood when you empty your bowel, don’t panic. If it’s bright red and on the surface of the stool, it’s likely to have come from the anal area rather than the colon. It’s scary to see but painless and harmless. It’s not always a sign of bowel cancer. Apparently, dark red blood actually mixed in with the stool is more of a concern and should be checked – not sure how you’re meant to tell, though!)
I’ve had a phone call from my school today, asking me to go in to meet the new headteacher before half-term, prior to my return to work after half-term on a phased return. I have mixed feelings about this: I’m a bit nervous about meeting my new boss under these circumstances (way to make a good first impression!), and while I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things at work, I am concerned about how I’ll cope physically with the demands of the job. I do tend to put myself under pressure to keep on top of things, and I tend to do long hours and I know I won’t be able to do that to begin with. I do have an understanding head of department, but I’m concerned that once I’m back, it’ll soon be forgotten that I’ve had the surgery – schools are such busy places like that. I do want to get back to normal as soon as I realistically can – I SO want to not be a bloody patient anymore!!!
Anyway, well done if you’ve got to the end of this post without feeling icky. The next one will probably be about getting back to work.
That’s all, folks!