“Your body will wake up from surgery and in a sense, it will be 25 years older. It will be shocked.”
That was pretty much all the information the doctor gave me before I was wheeled back for a radical hysterectomy when I was 30. Oh, how I wish I would have done more research. Talked to more people who had been through it. Written down questions to ask the doctor. But, I did not. Hindsight is 20/20. I was utterly unprepared for what was coming.
The surgery was inevitable, but at least I would have been a little more educated as to what was fixing to happen to me. I was told at 15 this surgery would need to happen, sooner rather than later, and I had put it off for as long as the Doctors would allow.
Yes, I was one of those “lucky” women who has no idea what getting back normal results on her pap smear feels like. Trips to the Gynecologist every 2 to 3 months instead of once a year..
Before I go any further, let me mention this little disclaimer: This post contains my personal experiences and symptoms. Effects may differ from person to person. I am in no way a medical professional, please seek medical attention from a Doctor if you have questions. (I urge you to have questions for your doc as a matter of fact!)
Apparently, my reproductive organs were very angry. I heard the words cancer cells, pre-cancerous, rapid growth, and abnormal biopsy more than I care to remember. Typically 3, sometimes 4 times a year, the doctor would torture me in order to keep whatever this was from turning into malignant cancer. Praise the Lord, I never did get a cancer diagnosis, but the torture…Biopsy. Freeze the cells. Biopsy. Burn the cells. Biopsy. Scrape the cells. Biopsy. Repeat.
Not fun. But my doctor was trying hard to buy me time so that I could have children. I did, 5 children to be exact 🙂 Each pregnancy was high risk however, but my babies were born beautiful and healthy and pretty much all on time. That is a blessing I am forever grateful for. I have met a lot of women over the years who were dealing with the same issues or similar to what I was dealing with and many of them either could not conceive or could not carry full term.
It was after each pregnancy that was the roughest. Nine whole months of no freezing, scraping or burning to keep the cells at bay meant I could look forward to a lot of doctor visits just as soon as I reach that 6-week mark. At one point the doctors tried to convince me to take chemo tablets to see if it would control the problem. ( I didn’t even know there was such a thing)
Now remember, I never received a diagnosis of malignant cancer, only “pre-cancerous cells” that were taking over my uterus, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes, that the doctors said if left unchecked would definitely turn into cancer.
There is still so much I don’t know about what I was dealing with. I never asked questions, just did what the doctors told me.
I was (and apparently still am) a high risk for cancer due to family history and my own medical history, but that’s in Gods hands. So, with the help of my doctors I held onto my youth until the ripe old age of 30 :/ Then the day I had been dreading came, the doctor asked me if I planned on having any more children. “No, I think 5 is plenty.”, I said hesitantly because I knew what was coming next. “Then we need to discuss this hysterectomy.”, he said, “Do you have any questions?”, “Uhmm, no, I don’t think so.” Ugh! Man I wish I would’ve better prepared for this! I had known about it for 15 stinking years!
Anyhoo, what’s done is done. Now here we are almost 6 years post surgery and the menopause monster is in full hulk mode. I know I sound like a broken record here, but wow was I unprepared for what was happening to my body…and my mind!
Here I am, fixing to turn 36, and I’m dealing with things I have never had to deal with before but always heard my mom and grandma talk about. Insomnia, night sweats, clausterphobia, anxiety, some down right serious mood swings, and ohmagawd the hot flashes! And that’s just barely scratching the surface of the changes I’m going through.
What they don’t tell you before surgery is that everything about you is fixing to change. Sure, you can opt in for hormone replacement therapy, but that’s a road I chose not to go down due to possible side effects later on, and I like to keep things as natural as possible. The first year was so bad however, that I did cave and take the stupid pills for about 6 months. Just being honest.
They don’t tell you that with each passing year, you can almost literally stand in front of the mirror and watch your youthful glow diminish. It’s quite depressing actually.
They don’t tell you that you now need to adopt your grandparents diet of wheat bran and prune juice just so you can use the bathroom. Oh, and I hope you can swallow horse pills because your bones now need all the help they can get to prevent osteoporosis. They don’t tell you that either.
And to get even more embarrassingly personal, they don’t tell you that as a young woman of 30, your sex drive will almost all but disappear as time goes on.
I recently read an article somewhere ( because unfortunately, I didn’t start researching until after the fact) that surgically induced menopause is worse than natural menopause for the simple fact that with naturally occurring menopause you enter into it over a period of years, as where with surgically induced menopause you go to sleep “young” and wake up in full blown post menopause. I believe them, but then again, that’s comparing apples to apples. Both versions suck.
However, when I am having a mini emotional breakdown due to lack of hormones, or feeling like I will spontaneously combust at any moment thanks to these hot flashes, I have to constantly remind myself why this had to happen, and how good God is for having His hand on me, and how blessed I am despite how many wrinkles and gray hairs are prematurely popping up. And while I may not “feel” beautiful anymore, I know that I must be, because my husband tells me all the time <3
Please feel free to leave a comment and share some of your experiences with the menopause monster.
Do you have any tips on how to cope with the symptoms of menopause? Sharing is caring, let us know how you cope.