Hello! I’m 7 weeks post my hysterectomy and I’m sharing all my knowledge and experience with you here as I hope I can help others that are going to have the op too.
I knew a full hysterectomy with stage 4 endometriosis would take time to recover from. But I had no idea how long and how hard it would be. The paperwork you receive and the conversations you have at the hospital can be confusing. Some say you will need 12 weeks to recover. Others say you can run after 2 weeks. I’m a healthy person and thought I’d be up and working again in no time but that wasn’t the case. I’ve really tried to take my recovery seriously and be sensible in order to get the best possible version of me back.
As a therapist I really do know how important recovery and self care is but it can be tricky to put into practice. My Mum and husband will tell you that I haven’t been the perfect patient but I’ve really tried.
Here’s what I’ve been up to and what I’ve learnt. I hope it helps you, your friends and/or your family.
For the first couple of weeks post your hysterectomy you have no choice but to rest in order to manage your pain and recover from the anaesthetic. Please don’t think you will just be able to get on with things as you won’t be able to. It’s a major operation and it takes time to heal. So be kind to yourself and avoid unnecessary stress by cancelling all your plans before your operation. Move everything you will need to waist high shelves, drawers and cupboards. Get the freezer stocked up with easy meals. Get some good books, magazines or TV shows on record and look forward to the rest. Arrange for people to come round to make you cups of tea and food. Don’t be afraid to ask for help as people are really happy to do things for you.
Once you do start doing things, you must listen to your body and if something hurts stop doing it!! Otherwise you will put back your recovery and it will just take longer to get better. Make sure you keep asking people to lift things for you. I found my husband needed me to tell him exactly what I needed help with. He wasn’t a natural carer and wasn’t good at guessing but he was very happy to do things if I asked and was specific about what I needed.
Walking is amazing and the best kind of exercise for recovery post an operation. Just don’t go too far too soon. It’s great to get out and about for a coffee or a walk in nature but don’t be too ambitious. Even a supermarket, local park or a garden centre can be too much like hard work at first. Pace yourself. Make sure the car, a seat or home is close by in case you all of a sudden need to sit down again. Don’t carry a bag. Even a small handbag as I found out can be uncomfortable.
Be good and take it really easy for at least 4 weeks. Listen to your body. Be kind and don’t push yourself.
I’m a big reader upper of all things health and well being. So I bought lots of menopause books and used my first 4 weeks heavy rest to learn lots about menopause and what you can do to manage the symptoms. I suffer with hot flushes, night sweats and heavy fatigue and am keen to do my best to manage these through a healthy diet and exercise rather than HRT. Although I am considering HRT due to the risks of osteoporosis. I’m still pondering on all the information I’ve read. We are all individuals so it’s good to be informed and choose what is right for us and our families. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this soon.
My chiropractor is a special lady with kinesiology and cranial sacral therapy skills too and she is helping me with not just my back and pelvis alignment but also the soft tissue structures that have been affected by my surgery.
Kinesiology uses muscle testing to identify imbalances in the body’s structural, chemical, and emotional energy. Kinesiologists undertake years of training to be able to access the movement of energy – or what the Chinese call Chi – around the body and brain.
She is amazing and I feel so much better after my appointments. Even more so the next day once a good nights sleep has embedded all her good work. I started seeing her after 4 weeks once I was able to get out and about a bit and wasn’t heavily reliant on pain killers anymore.
I’m very passionate about yoga. There are so many different types of yoga so whatever your physical state you can practice yoga. I started post op with Yoga Nidra. It’s an amazing relaxing form of yoga. It’s described as yogic sleep and is blissful. Then once I was starting to feel I could move a bit more I moved to restorative yoga which is basically lying down with different leg and arm positions to keep you flexible. Now I’m starting to look to hatha yoga which is gentle movements to gently open the hips, relieve tension from the neck, shoulders and keep the back mobilised.
I use Movement for Modern Life which means I can choose which yoga video I want to access online or on my phone anytime I like. It’s a subscription service but there’s a free trial period which is great.
Now I’m driving I’ve managed to get out for a reflexology treatment with my friend and colleague Claire. Reflexology is amazing for mind and body. I got all tearful during the treatment and we realised it was while my uterus reflex was being worked on! So as well as the physical healing, maybe I need to pay some attention to my emotions and how I’m feeling about the loss of my reproductive organs.
I did prepare mentally and emotionally before the operation and I promised myself I’d allocate time after the op too. I now know that needs to my next focus. I’ll share where that takes me soon.
In the meantime I hope this post is interesting and useful.
All the best,