Updated: Sep 3, 2022
I've been offline for June and July 2022 as I have had a hysterectomy. I felt the need to unplug from the internet, leave social media alone, and focus on my healing. It's been quite an adventure and I kept a diary through the experience which I've typed up to share now I am a lot better and well on the road to recovery. I'll be putting up a couple of episodes a week so bookmark my blog if you are interested in reading more.
Making the Decision
Note: I am sharing my personal experience of having a hysterectomy and letting you know what I found helpful or unhelpful. This is not medical advice. Please consult your medical practitioner if you have any questions or concerns about your own treatment.
I had a large fibroid that had been pressing on my bladder and one of my kidneys for years. It was bulky and made me look five months pregnant. When my NHS Consultant recommended I should have a hysterectomy it felt like a big decision and I took a long while to make my mind up. I was hungry to hear about other women’s experiences.
Many of the women I spoke to were delighted with the transformation in how they felt once they had recovered and assured me it was the best decision they’d ever made, others regretted having the operation at all, or had mixed feelings about it. I am truly grateful to all the friends, family members and acquaintances who discussed this very private part of their lives so frankly and openly with me.
I kept a handwritten diary to help me process what was happening to me. I find it therapeutic to write and I now offer my diary entries publicly. Going public feels like an act of faith. I’ll be sharing personal and intimate experiences with some people who know me and other people I’ll never meet – I don’t know which feels more exposing!
I do think it is time that we are able to speak more openly about our health issues as women and that we should do what we can to remove shame and embarrassment from the conversation. My hope is by talking about my own operation and recovery I can help other women facing a hysterectomy, or support someone recovering from their own operation.
I have of course written from my own perspective. I’m a complementary therapist with 20 years’ experience of energy healing. My beliefs and perceptions will be too ‘out-there’ for some and my recourse to conventional medicine and surgery may not be ‘spiritual enough’ for others.
The Build Up
My hysterectomy was long awaited. It had first been offered two years previously. My NHS Consultant had phoned me during the first Covid-19 lockdown in Spring 2020, ready to give me an operation date. At this stage people were dying of Coronavirus in shockingly large numbers and people going into hospital for other procedures seemed particularly at risk of catching the virus. My gut feeling was to avoid hospital for anything less than a life-threatening condition.
I politely declined the operation and that was that. I assume at that point I went to the back of the queue; fair enough. Later I came across an article in the Guardian suggesting over 40,000 people in England caught the virus whilst in hospital. I am glad I followed my intuition. My fibroid was bulky and uncomfortable, but it was not deadly.
I received another call from my Consultant in late 2021 offering the operation again and saying it should happen within the next three months. With Covid infections apparently becoming less serious it was time to say yes to the procedure. I was tired of looking pregnant and feeling the big hard lump in my belly. I was also concerned about the amount of pressure it had put on my left kidney for so long. Time for it to go.
Having made the decision I heard nothing more for months, until I found out on the grapevine that my Consultant had been seconded to a new post abroad. As more time passed, I wondered if my notes had been lost in the system. Life started to return to normal, the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted and I offered my Crystal Therapy training courses again, reasoning that I would chase the NHS once I had completed the run of teaching I had scheduled for Spring and early Summer.
My husband Steve interrupted me whilst I was teaching a class one day to bring me to the phone. This was highly unusual; he would normally take a message and I would phone back later. It was the hospital. Would I mind being transferred to the Nuffield hospital?
I have great respect for the National Health Service (NHS) and the staff, but the UK’s NHS hospitals have been under huge pressure since the pandemic. This private treatment was offered as part of a strategy to reduce long NHS waiting lists. For me it was a welcome development. I looked up the Care Quality Commission (CQC) hospital ratings online. They are the health sector’s independent regulators. The NHS hospital I would have been sent to has an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’ and shockingly an ’inadequate’ rating for surgery; their worst rating in all the categories. The Nuffield had a rating of ‘overall good’ with ‘good’ for surgery so my decision to go there was a no-brainer. I believe everyone should have access to excellent healthcare, but that is not the reality at the moment in this country. I also preferred the thought of a private hospital room if I am honest! If you want to check a UK hospital’s ratings on the CQC site you can do so here.
Once I agreed to transfer to the Nuffield waiting list everything went quiet again. I made a request to my Spirit Guides that my operation would be offered as close to completing my teaching of the Crystal Therapy Foundation course at Glastonbury’s Chalice Well as possible, then I put it to the back of my mind.
A week before I was due to leave for Glastonbury I received the phone call I’d been waiting for. My operation was booked for Monday 30th June. I was invited for a pre-op appointment and told I would need 3 days of isolation before the operation, which I could just fit in. The timing could not have been any closer! I was to return home from teaching on Thursday 26th May, I booked my Covid PCR test early on Friday 27th May and then would be isolating from that point. As you might imagine I said a very big thank you to my Guides for their incredible feat of organisation!
I was jittery in the week preceding my operation, although teaching a class took my mind off it for much of the time. I think it is reasonable to experience some fear in the build-up to any big operation. Even though the success rate for hysterectomies is reassuringly good, the thought of handing over your body and your continued physical existence to people you don’t know is daunting.
Whilst existential fear was running strongly through one side of my persona in the days prior to the operation another aspect of me felt preternaturally calm. I had good reason to trust that my Guides had this all mapped out and the operation would turn out to be in my best interests.
I was sent a host of positive signs in the build-up to my hysterectomy. They didn’t erase my nerves, but they did instil a strong sense that everything was happening as it should. By synchronicity a friend from Mid Wales who had moved to Glastonbury contacted me and asked if we could meet up whilst I was there. I explained I was playing things as safe as possible regarding Covid and mixing very little with anyone outside of class because of the operation. It emerged she’d had a hysterectomy a few years before and felt very positive about her experience. We sat outside and ate a meal, chatting for hours on a chilly evening!
I had one job to do before leaving Glastonbury. I had promised myself a sculpture by Phillippa Bowers. I'd admired her work for many years and had intended to buy one of her Goddess sculptures to celebrate the publication of my book Crystals in 2021. The pandemic was still rolling along at that time and so this was my first opportunity to visit Phillippa's shop. I chose Luna, pictured below, I love her serene expression and her hollow belly lined with crystals felt apt given my imminent operation. She travelled back home to Wales strapped into the passenger seat of my car.
My return was on Steve’s birthday and I picked up some fancy food for a birthday tea from Waitrose on my way home. Next morning I had my PCR test. I’d had some frustration booking it as the NHS Covid helpline hadn’t been able to tell me which testing services were still operational. I rang my GP Practice instead and they did know the number for our closest test centre. It transpired that centre had me on their list and were expecting me, although I’d had no contact from them!
The testing centre itself was very efficient. They took my mobile phone number to text me the test results, which were, thankfully, negative. I told the testing centre I was going to the Nuffield but apparently their results have to be sent to the NHS hospital in the first instance and it is the role of the NHS hospital to forward them. I was advised to take my phone with the text message showing my negative result for Covid on admission. As suspected my test results had not been passed on through the official channels so that was good advice. Communication appears to be an issue if you get offered the private care option via the NHS.
Over my self-isolation weekend I checked into my favourite online astrological tarot reader. I enjoy Raphey’s readings because he is down to Earth and good humoured. He feels genuine. I like to watch his general overview for my star sign Aquarius. His prediction for the week ahead contained an unusually specific comment that if you were having a medical procedure you would be in expert hands. I felt like that remark had been especially dropped into the reading by Raphey’s Guides for me to hear! His channel is Reydiant Reality if you'd like to check out his style of reading.
The day before my hospital admission I put an out of office message on my email and posted on Social Media that I was taking time offline to focus on my creativity. It was true in that I hoped some creative ideas would bubble up whilst I was recuperating and taking time off work. I know some people would announce their operation on Social Media, but I didn’t tell people for a couple of reasons. Mostly I didn’t want any fuss and attention. Messages, however supportive, would draw me away from the quiet time I knew I needed to heal. I felt strong guidance to focus inwards on my own well-being and unplug from the social network.
My other reason for keeping quiet and maintaining a low profile is that a lot of healers send distant healing when they hear someone is poorly. I learned this lesson the hard way some years ago when I made the mistake of mentioning I had been ill on Facebook. For days afterwards I was bombarded with healing. The ad hoc mixture of healing energies made me feel incredibly unwell, and my system was overwhelmed, until Steve put a strong defensive barrier around me to block it all out. The relief from it all was instantaneous.
A mixture of energies from different healers, however well-meaning, is not necessarily harmonious. The old adage of ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ applies as much to healing as it does in the kitchen. For recovery from my hysterectomy I trusted that my Spirit Guides and Steve would keep watch over me and put me in appropriate healing.
Interested to read more? Next episode - Day Zero: Operation Day