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Friday, February 20, 2009

Thank you Hystersisters

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On January 22, 2003, I had a total hysterectomy.  I mean I had everything taken out.  Ovaries and all.  Why?  Because I was an emotional and physical wreck, peri-menopausal mess.  For about 2 years prior to my surgery, I had been experiencing intermittent hot flashes and my cycle was a complete disaster.  For almost a year I was having a cycle every 2-3 weeks.  There seemed to be no end to the emotional and physical roller-coaster I was going through.

When I was tired, I was in a coma when I slept.  Unfortunately, I was tired all the time.  Then, out of nowhere, I felt like I had the flu - with sweats, hot flashes, achy bones and muscles.  I was miserable.  So, Big Bear and I went to my doctor and I told him point blank "Get this thing and everything attached to it out of me - now."  I told him I couldn't live like this any longer and he listened.  The following week I had surgery to have everything removed - ovaries included.  I do not regret that decision for one second.  However, and there is a "however" in there - it has changed many aspects of my life and I want to discuss them here.

It took me weeks and weeks to recover from my surgery.  Fortunately, I had family and friends who cared for me and pampered me during that time.  I was so lucky.  Blessed is more like it.  Unfortunately, I have spinal issues that got progressively worse during that recovery time and 6 weeks after surgery I couldn't walk.  THAT was not a good thing.  I felt like a 90 year old woman.  The good news is that my Big Bear helped me through every second of the recovery and got me back on my feet.  I couldn't have done this without him.  He was my rock. 

A lot changes when you have a hysterectomy.  For me, that included changes in my body, my weight, my hair, my sex drive (yes I said it here daggonit - I'm keepin' it real by golly).   And these changes are not fun.  In fact, they are down right lousy, stinky, horrible, ugly, yukky, and weird.  I'll get into those things in a minute, but first...

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Welcome Hystersisters.com.  My saving grace during those first months after my surgery.  I cannot say enough for Kathy and the forum and website that she has built for women who have had or will have hysterectomies.  Everything I could possibly need to know was right there on her site.  I joined on the very day I had my surgery - after I woke up from the feel-good anesthesia of course.  And I am so happy I did.  I had an online support system like no other.  I made friends, had my questions answered, and my concerns and experiences were validated with kindness, concern, and professionalism. 

It has been 6 years since my surgery and I've gone through many good and bad changes over the years.  First of all, I gained weight.  Now for some of you that's like "who cares?"  but for me, I've been rather spoiled in that I've never had a weight problem.  Never.  Nada.  Skinny Minny.  Twiggy.  Yep, that was me.  "Was" being the operative word here.  I never thought in a million years I would have a weight problem.  Now, I wouldn't go so far as to say that I have a weight "problem."  It is, however, a bit uncomfortable and strange to not have any clothes in my closet that fit, to have jeans that look gross (if I can get them up over my stinkin' child-bearing hips) and to go clammering through my mother's closet for clothes because everything in my closet is a size 8 and I am now a size 12.  There - are you happy now? 

My hips ain't never been so wide.  My butt ain't never been so round.  My tummy ain't never been so rolly-polly.  I ain't never felt so bad about myself.  I ain't never felt so undesirable in the sack.  I ain't never going to fix this "problem" without some help.  So, today, I signed into my account on Hystersisters and got a dose of reality, friendship, advice, validation, and good solid guidance.  Which begs the question - why did I wait 6 years to get these answers?  Because, uuuuh - I have no clue.  I should be scolded.

 

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Hormones.  I take Estrogen.  To be exact - I take Estradiol.  I tried Estratest, but for some reason that made me feel sick and nauseous.  So, I went back to Estradiol.  Since I had everything taken out, my doctor told me I did not need Progesterone, but the more I read about the benefits of Progesterone, the more I questioned the validity of going without it.  I still question this, and today I went to Hystersisters.com and did some research.  I am not alone.  There are even a few women who have opted to take Progesterone and have had positive results - like an increase in their own natural testosterone production thereby improving their sex drive.  Progesterone also has benefits for strong bones in later years and helps decrease a woman's chances of developing osteoperosis.  Now, obviously, I am no doctor.  This is all just information that I have read about the benefits of taking Progesterone after a hysterectomy.

Still, I do not understand why doctors believe that this hormone is unnecessary after a hysterectomy.  It obviously has many benefits for a woman's well-being and overall health, even in her later years.  That said, I'm going to hop on over to Hystersisters store today and get some Progesterone cream.  I'll let you know how it goes.  Sound like a plan? 

As for other changes.  I'm really tired a lot of the time.  I just don't have any energy, which might explain why I hate to exercise.  It wasn't always like that.  My skin is not the same either.  Although I have nice, clear skin, it is thinner (I notice this particularly around my hands) and it doesn't have the same tone that it did just 5 years ago.  I'm wilting.  wilting.  wilting.  (name that movie)  My hair does not have the same bounce and boing that it used to have.  Which might explain why women who are older tease and spray their hair so it looks like a concrete hat.  No, I don't do that, but it isn't easy maintaining nice hair after going through all these hormonal changes.

Poor Bob.  My sweet Big Bear.  He's so patient.  That's all I'll say about that. (I know, too much information) but these things are important!  Very important - to a marriage.  Fortunately for us, he is my best friend, my loving companion, my rock of Gibraltar, my big bear.  There is no one I would rather cuddle with.  He is so loving and affectionate.  And patient.  And tolerant.  And, and, and...  just wonderful.  I recommend you get a big bear of your own if you don't already have one.  Especially if you are going thru menopause. 

So, as I sit here and take in a big breath, a sigh, a "what the heck" inhale, I realize that I am not alone.  Life changes things along the way.  We grow up and we grow out.  We're turned on, and then we lose sight of the switch.  We go gray.  Our bodies get fatter while our skin and our hair gets thinner.  It's a dreadful life cycle, but we all go through it.  Anyone who says they don't is just plain lying or still in their 20s.  I wish it weren't so, but that's just how the cookie crumbles. 

 


I can sum it all up in 6 words ...

I am turning into my mother.


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