Today is day 161 or 5.75 months since my surgery. Next week will be 6 months since my hysterectomy. Crazy to think six months has gone by already! In an effort to continue to help those looking for information and healing timelines for a hysterectomy, here’s where I am at.
At six months, you are 80% healed. Externally, I’ve been healed up for a lot longer than that but internally, it takes a year for 100% healing to be complete. It is, after all, major surgery and organs were removed!
My incisions continue to look better by the week. The small incisions on my right side (where the assistant had his instruments) and right on my hairline are completely gone. Can’t even see them anymore. The one on my left (where all the work was done by my doctor) is getting much less purple-red in color and starting to fade out. Eventually, it will just be a normal white scar which will make it even less noticeable. My belly button looks pretty normal and there’s just the tiniest little bump of a scar right below it. But it really doesn’t look like anything to an outside observer.
Well, thankfully, at the 4 month mark I really got a lot of my energy back. It was almost like a light switch. So I’m not bone-weary tired all the time anymore. (Which is awesome.)
Pain-wise, around that same time, things also stopped aching so much. I was taking ibuprofen every day without fail because I just had deep aches. It wasn’t sharp pain, but rather deep and constant. Lately, I’m doing a lot better. I don’t really need to take anything except the for occasional normal aches. Though TMI WARNING, I find that if I have digestive upset such as constipation, I still get that deep soreness at the incision sites (on both sides) from the strain of pushing. I feel it when I am actively using the abdomen muscles and can make an already frustrating experience all the more annoying due to the added internal abdominal pain.END TMI
I think it’s still not only possible but likely to overwork the muscles a little and therefore, experience some soreness in those areas. I think that’s part of the fact that you’re only 80% internally healed. Overworking the muscles leads to some soreness. I don’t know if that’s unique to my type of surgery (TLH or Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy) or if it’s common to all types of hysterectomy procedures. I would guess that in my specific case, the fact that I still get sore directly under the incision sites leads me to believe it exasperates the potential soreness.
“Swelly Belly” (Abdominal Swelling)
Anyone who’s had a hysterectomy knows that “swelly belly” comes with it. This is where your stomach gets very swollen and bloated looking; very puffy. In worst cases, it can look like you’re pregnant or gained a lot of weight. In lesser cases, it can lead to clothes not fitting right or being uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. My belly was swelly for about 5 months. It only recently has stopped being swelly all the time. At about 4.5 months, it started being flat in the morning but swelly by the evening. Slowly, and irregularly, sometimes it stayed less swelly throughout the day.
Lately it seems to be pretty normal all day. Though it still occasionally gets a bit bloaty if I’ve been doing a lot during the day. Overall though, it’s much more normal than it’s been since before surgery!
Belly Button Sensitivity
This may be a weird one, but those who have read my other updates know that my belly button (or navel) hurt badly as it healed. First it was sharp zaps and zings of pain as the nerves reconnected and then it was a real sensitivity that I couldn’t stand anything touching it. It’s a lot better now though it’s still a little touchy; sometimes, if I wear pants or jeans that rub it for too long, it’s irritated then for the rest of the day. And, sometimes, if something is too tight in the area, I can’t wear it at all. Every now and then it effects my clothing choices but I’m back in 99% of my clothes without any real thought these days. Just every so often, my belly button gets annoyed and lets me know. This is definitely unique to a laparoscopic surgery since the camera goes in the belly button; without that, they doctor would never need to cut into the umbilical scar in the first place.
At this point, I don’t know honestly if my belly button will ever be fully “normal” or if things will continue to bother it a little forever, but it’s not the end of the world either way, so I just deal. I mention it though because when I searched for things like “belly button hurts” or “belly button sensitivity” I got very little back, so I don’t think many people have this problem. (Those who do are welcome to comment or inquire with me for further thoughts on the subject!)
Migraines After Hysterectomy
As far as other issues go, my migraines have been greatly reduced since my surgery. I think that despite the fact I kept my functional ovaries and thus, do experience a natural ovulation and hormone shift (which keeps me from being menopausal), I’m just not having the HUGE hormone shift that lead to getting 3-4 days of migraines right at the start of my periods. I always, like clockwork, would get a migraine a day or two before starting and then have either the same one or subsequent ones for the first day or so of the cycle. Now, I get one or two a month it seems which is amazing.
I also don’t seem to get as much “aura” as I used to get with my migraines. I have always had very bad visual distortions and extreme photo sensitivity to all light source leading up to my migraine. But, while I still squint a little at the perceived brightness of light during a migraine, it’s not the blinding pain of before. Again, I don’t know if it’s hormone related but in my case, not only have the frequency and intensity of my migraines changed, but how they present has changed as well.
So, almost six months out, things are pretty good. I’m really at the point where I don’t always immediately remember I had surgery. For the first months of healing, it really defined me; what I could do, how I was feeling, etc. Now, I am more back to normal and no one would really ever know I had surgery. (If they didn’t already know that is!) I’m sometimes reminded when I overdo something or when my pants rub my belly button the wrong way, but mostly…I just kinda feel like me again. In fact, with the reduction of my migraines and not having periods anymore, I’m even better me than I was before. And that’s a wonderful thing.
Tags: 6 months after hysterectomy, 6 months post op, abdominal incisions, abdominal pain, belly button, belly button pain, belly button sensitivity, belly button sore, healing, help pay medical bills, hysterectomy, hysterectomy healing timeline, i am obama care, i am obamacare, incisions, medical assistance, medical bills, medical fundraiser, migraine with aura, migraines, migraines after hysterectomy, navel pain, navel sensitivity, obamacare, PCIP, post op, post op hysterectomy, post surgery, surgery, tlh, total laparoscopic hysterectomy, what does hysterectomy scar look like, what does laparoscopic incisions look like, what does total laparoscopic hysterectomy look like
:: about ::38 year old Pagan female who lives in Florida with her guy and three cats, loves Disney, reads fanatically, tinkers in photography and runs her own small jewelry business.
Inadvertently became the face of Healthcare Reform in America by posting the (in)famous "I am Obamacare" image and sharing the story of her hysterectomy at age 34. Now runs her own small business, PhoenixFire Designs, full-time.
Our best friend passed away suddenly March 13, 2010. Three years later, it's still hard. The full story can be read here.
Hysterectomy FundOctober 2013 Update: Happy 2 Year Anniversary!! I'm amazed at how different life is two years later. Though the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life, I've grown so much as a result of having overcome such terrifying and daunting medical issues. In a weird way, I'm better for having experienced these hardships. I'm more sure of myself these days and more confident I can face life's challenges better.
I have tried to turn this medical challenge into an opportunity and using this as a means to push forward with my small jewelry business and as a way to support myself again.
Your continued support is appreciated right now and even links to my shop are appreciated. Thank you to everyone who's helped and spread the word. All of you helped make it possible for me to be here and healthy.
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