This was done because of severe abdominal pain and crippling PMDD which saw me useless for three out of every four weeks. Hormonal options were unsuitable due to a history of blood clots so the surgery seemed my only option for a normal life.
I will begin with my expectations: I had been told I would be in hospital for at least four nights and unable to do much for at least eight weeks.
On the morning of surgery I awoke in great pain but chose to go without painkillers so as not to interfere with anything the hospital might want to give me later. I arrived at the NHS hospital in Central Scotland well before my call time of 0800 and was fitted for surgical stockings and met with the surgeon, anaesthetist and theatre nurses before walking to the theatre just before 0930.
when I awoke a few hours later my first thought was: "This hurts, best get up and get a heat pad or hot water bottle and some painkillers.".
As I gained more awareness and realised I was in the recovery room and that the surgery was over I felt huge relief as the level of pain was not much more than on my worst days. A nurse gave me some water and helped me onto the bed I would be taken to the ward in. This transfer was quite uncomfortable and awkward, partly as I was still woozy but mostly because I felt I might burst open if I moved too suddenly or violently.
It was about 1230 when I got to my room on the ward. I spent a few hours drifting in and out of sleep in between my parents visiting and the nurses checking my blood pressure and so on.
My pain level was medium. I was given oral liquid morphine which did very little for the pain but made me feel very nauseous.
I didn't have any dinner as I was napping when food was brought but I would have refused anyway because I felt sick from the morphine. I was able to move about in bed without much difficulty although certain movements hurt a bit and I was very aware of the staples securing my wound. I drank lots of water as advised by the nurses and also some Lucozade (an orange flavoured sugary fizzy drink strongly associated with recovery from illness in the U.K.).
At about 1930 the nurses offered more morphine which I refused because of the nausea. Instead I was given some dihydracodeine and paracetamol which seemed to work quite quickly so I nodded off again. Just before 200 my husband arrived to visit. On seeing me asleep he started writing a note to leave with the chocolates he had brought me. I awoke just as he was about to leave and as two nurses arrived to check my blood pressure and temperature. Fortunately the nurses were so sharp they knew I was going to vomit before I did and produced with lightning speed a bowl to catch it. Worrying the vomit was part bottle green and part black. My guess is that the painkillers taken on an empty stomach had disagreed with me. After throwing up I felt great and sat up chatting with my husband for almost an hour before he tucked me in and kissed me goodnight.
My first night was fairly uncomfortable but I did manage a few hours of sleep.
The next morning I felt fine and, following my earlier experiences with analgesia opted for just paracetamol and ibuprofen for the pain. I ate breakfast and was keen to get up and about, which I am told is unusual so soon after this surgery. Mid-morning my urinary catheter was removed and I was able to get out of bed. I walked around my room a few times to be sure I was steady on my feet then got dressed in a jogging suit. I spent the morning watching videos on my iPad while sitting in a chair then had lunch and started thinking about how nice it would be to go home.
On the morning of my second day in hospital I was having minimal bleeding and the pain was about what I was used to before surgery so I had hopes of discharge. The doctor asked if I would like to stay a few more days to be looked after but I declined as I felt all I really needed was a few good nights of sleep which I would not get there.
I was discharged about 48 hours after leaving theatre and went home to my parents' home for some R&R. A few hours after getting home I took a bath ( I had assumed these would be off-limits for weeks so I was delighted at this), then my Mum drove me to the local mall to run a quick errand.
I made a point of going for a short walk every day to regain strength and within a week felt able to take a bus to spend the afternoon shopping with a friend 20 miles away.
The only moments of real worry I had were when my friend made me laugh so hard I thought my wound might burst open and the same sensation if I didn't hold my abdomen when sneezing.
The surgery was on Monday and the staples were removed on Saturday. The wound was healing very well. Once the staples were removed I was able to wear jeans again: I had been paranoid about catching the staples so had only worn soft, loose trousers.
One week after staple removal we drove to the Highlands for an over night stay in a hotel and a trip to a Wildlife Park. I felt incredibly well with only mild pain which the paracetamol and ibuprofen dealt with.
I returned home exactly two weeks after surgery delighted that I had yet to find anything I was unable to do, although I held off on both swimming and sex until early December to be on the safe side.
Now in December I feel fantastic. My wound is a little tender still and the scar is occasionally itchy but it has healed beautifully.
I know sex is a big issue post-hysterectomy so I will give a brief account. It was only about a week before I gave in to curiosity and discovered that clitoral orgasm was still as easy and satisfying as before. Due to fear of infection i didn't dare insert even a finger for six weeks and only then just to see what it felt like not having a cervix...this was a quick feel that went nowhere. In early December almost 3 months on I felt ready for sex and my husband was great. He spent ages kissing me and getting me ready before gently inserting one finger. Very soon it was two fingers and not so gentle. When we moved on to PIV it felt different but in a very nice way. Perhaps because of my cervix being gone or because he was being cautious I felt he wasn't going as deep as usual but that the outer part of my vagina felt much more sensitive than before. Unfortunately we have not made love since due to busy schedules and both being ill so I have no further report. All I can say is that my fear that sex would no longer be enjoyable seems to have been unfounded.
I started very low dose H.R.T. Patches six weeks post surgery and feel fantastic with no menopausal problems.
Tl;Dr version: had surgery, discharged after 48 hours. Moderate pain at first quickly giving way to mild. Very quick return to normal activities and found nothing I have been unable to do.