1.Get a Second Opinion
This is not advice strictly for just hysterectomies. If it’s not a do-or-die emergency then please, go see another doctor, especially if it’s going to be for something that is going to alter your body FOREVER. A hysterectomy means NO. MORE. BABIES. EVER. If you’re having an oophorectomy as well, it means you won’t even have eggs to harvest for a surrogate unless you freeze them ahead of time. And surrogates are expensive. Unless someone owes you big. And by big, I mean, you need to be Rumplestiltskin and they owe you a baby. Although that sounds like a terrible deal to make.
2. Do Your Own Research
Again, this is not advice strictly for just hysterectomies. Don’t ignore actual medical advice in favor of what one guy on one weird medical forum said back in 2004. Know what other options, if any, are actually available to you. Get that second opinion as well. And as cliché as this may sound, you know your body better than anyone. Listen to it. If your doctor is adamant about you having a hysterectomy with a six-inch incision across your belly, go see another one and find out if you’re a candidate for a robotic hysterectomy. There are actually several different ways a hysterectomy is performed that I didn’t even touch on in this article. Research is your friend.
3. Don’t Be Wonder Woman
There is a reason why depending on the type of hysterectomy performed, the recovery is anywhere from two to over six weeks. There is so much pressure on women to return to the full swing of things directly after having babies that many of the women that I’ve spoken to about hysterectomies say they feel the same way about their procedures. They expect to be down for a few days tops before they’re back to working, driving, and being the general badasses most of them are. DO. NOT. DO. THIS. Recover. My doctor and her fantastic nurse have warned me to not even attempt to do anything that requires lifting over 15lbs before six weeks is up, or lifting my arms over my head outside of washing my hair.
4. Prepare Ahead of Time
So we got “the don’t be wonder-woman” part down. Good, now prepare for that. Yes you need to be able to get up and move and walk around a bit to help facilitate the healing process (Yes, I know I just told you that you have to recover, but recovering does not mean refusing to move from in front of the TV for six weeks) but you need to prepared for the down time as well. Follow your doctor’s orders and listen to your body. Order some books that you’ve wanted to read. Catch up on a favorite series. Google map your neighborhood and walk it, if you’re able. Take up a new hobby but make sure its nothing strenuous like break dancing. Have friends or family or someone you can mostly tolerate for extended periods of time come by to the majority of the cooking, cleaning, and heavy lifting. More than likely, you’ll have pain meds, so even if you can’t tolerate certain people for extended periods of time….
Wait, no, The Havok Journal does not endorse recreational drug use or drug abuse.
5. Mourn/Be Emotional
If you need to. It’s a big decision to make, whether it was your own or out of medical necessity to have the part of you that carries and creates life cut out of your body. It’s okay to be sad over this. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to laugh hysterically and do a happy dance or recreate the scene from American Dad when Franny found out she wasn’t pregnant. It’s okay to run through the entire gamut of emotions in less than twenty minutes and then spend the next twenty minutes doing it all over again. You’re having parts of you removed from your body; parts that society has deemed to be what defines us as women. Well, it doesn’t, so give that the finger and do whatever it is you need to do to get to where you need to be emotionally.
6.Have a Sense of Humor
Okay, don’t ovary-act to this one. Throw yourself a “See-You Later, Ovulator” party before the surgery. Order a uterus cake (seriously, Google that). Make terrible jokes even if no one else gets them. Make a “pro” list and only a pro list to having a hysterectomy. Here’s a sample of mine:
- No more “monthly visits”
- Can wear white ALL month
- Save $$$ on feminine hygiene products
- Can spend saved $$$ on male strippers or kittens or something equally cute
- Theoretically, can have the “maritals” anytime
- Without uterus, bladder has room to expand, meaning less bathroom breaks! *I don’t really know about this one but I have a friend that swears it.*
- Can. Not. Get. Pregnant.
- Can take Beyonce’s Single Ladies and change the lyrics to reflect stuff about hysterectomies. Become YouTube sensation. Retire and live comfortably.
Actually, I now need back up dancers and someone with a YouTube channel to get in on this with me on the last one. Again, this is not an all-inclusive list, this is just some of the things that I’ve come up with.
Please remember, taking care of yourself is a constant year-round ordeal. This includes taking care of your lady-bits for the women out there. And for the few males that have read this article, be supportive and do your own research when it comes to the health of the women in your life.
This first appeared in The Havok Journal February 21, 2019.
Cora Kane is a horror/thriller writer who currently lives outside of Tampa, Florida with her husband and their children. Her first novel, Briar Lake, has been picked up for publication and was released in 2015. Originally hailing from one of the small towns that surround Ft. Bragg North Carolina, Cora wanted nothing to do with the military lifestyle until her husband swept her off her feet. At a very early age, Cora fell in love with reading and soon thereafter discovered her affinity for writing. This love helped her to excel in school, except when she would get caught reading in algebra. While she can’t count very high, Cora is proud of her role as a military spouse and everything that it encompasses, including its unique challenges. Cora balances her time chasing babies, creating monsters, being an awesome wife, drinking absurd amounts of coffee and writing for The Havok Journal. Cora can be reached at email@example.com