Post Hysterectomy – Almost 6 Months

Posted by miss m on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 @ 3:05pm in General Blather |

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.

Photo of stomach and healing scars 6 months after a hysterectomy

Pain, Fatigue
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.

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  • Sumiko says:

    It amazes me how much better surgical procedures are these days: I’ve had two partial oophorectomies, one in 2008 and one in 1989. At the time of my 1989 surgery, they had to give me a bikini line incision – the scaring from it is much more extensive than from the second one in 2008 – your hysterectomy scars seem quite similar to the ’08 ophorectomy, which was performed with much smaller laposcopic incisions and instruments. I’m very glad to hear you’re healing up nicely, and I’m absolutely astounded by how far the technology has come in the past 20+ years.

  • miss m says:

    Yeah most people are amazed at how small my incisions are given how big of a surgery it was. And if you think, the “bikini line” cut was an improvement on the vertical cut they used before that! So, yeah, they’ve definitely come a long way! πŸ™‚

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