So, I had a hysterectomy on July 9th. I discovered a host of things no one – not my surgeon, not the nurses, not even my ob/gyn – told me would happen, so I thought I’d post the list and either inform or entertain you.
1) You don’t feel the lack of your uterus. This is, in my opinion, extremely disturbing.
2) You still have “menstrual cramps”. I figure this is because it’s not actually your uterus that cramps, it’s the muscles around your uterus – and you don’t lose those, so sometimes, you still get cramps. They seem to decrease as time passes, but they sure as shit freaked me out the first few times I had them.
3) Finding the right hormonal balance for your own self is a long and somewhat arduous process. Blood tests aren’t particularly accurate – the best judge of how much estrogen you need is you: how you feel on various doses. Too much estrogen leads to foggy brain syndrome, a lack of focus, feeling fuzzy-brained, hyper-emotional. Too little estrogen, and you have no drive: no sex drive, no motivation, often you’ll feel depressed and lackadaisical, under-emotional or unaffected. Experimenting on yourself until you feel good will probably do you far more good than relying on doctors and blood work.*
4) Even though I hated my period with a firey burning passion, and even though it was always horrible and painful and made me insane for weeks at a time, I miss it now that I’ll never have it again.
5) There’s a universe of difference between “I don’t want to,” and “I am physically unable to.”
6) Every time you see pads or tampons, you’ll have a moment where you’re not sure if you’re out of them at home or not… and then you remember that it doesn’t matter anymore. And it’s weird; kind of awesome and kind of sad.
7) Your sex drive drops. It’s scary. But you gain more pleasure from non-sexual physical touch.
8) Your vision changes due to all the hormonal fluctuations. It might auto-correct itself – or, as in my case, not.
9) Most people will utterly fail at responding in the way you need them to respond. Prepare for that, and have a few people on hand who will comfort you when the failings pile up and start to make you crazy.
10) Hormonal fluxuations increase writer’s block. Whereas before, you might’ve been able to whip up a list of, say, 10 things with little effort, afterward you might discover you can only come up with 9. But the lack of that final 10th thing will drive you batty. I say, wing it.
*We’re not doctors. Do what’s right for you, not what you think I think is right for you.