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The Hysterectomy Diaries - Part Eight - Starting HRT

By the third week it felt like I had turned a bit of a corner. The pain wasn’t as all-consuming and I could manage longer intervals between painkillers. I could sit and stand for longer, although my muscles still felt weak.

I had my first visitors this week. A friend was travelling to the area for a weekend retreat close by and we had pre-arranged that she would drop in enroute. I knew she wouldn’t have been offended if I didn’t feel up to it and I know her well enough to relax in her company. It meant I could show off my amazing bruise to someone other than Steve! I didn’t know how I’d cope with sitting up as I hadn’t been out of bed for more than an hour at a time, however I dosed myself with painkillers and we sat in the garden together and had afternoon tea enjoying the Fortnum and Mason goodies. It felt great to chat to someone, and have a little taste of normality, but I was really worn out afterwards and needed extra rest the next day.

That weekend my son came for a visit which was fab. He brought another lovely bouquet of flowers. I can’t remember the last time I have received so many flowers; it was probably when my son was born. He gave Steve a break from cooking the evening meal on Sunday and treated us to a veggie curry with homemade naan breads which was delicious. He works for the cookbook authors Pinch of Nom so is getting to be quite a foodie.

I noticed that when I walked I was more upright and I didn’t fold forward protectively over the wound so much. The weather was lovely that week and I spent a little time in the garden and even put my washing on the line, I just had to carry the clothes in a couple of lighter loads rather than trying to lift a full basket. Simple actions like hanging washing actually felt like a mindful treat – to be fair I’ve always enjoyed putting washing out in sunshine.

Week 4 - Release

Having been constipated for so long I woke at the beginning of week four with a bout of diarrhoea - which came as a bit of a surprise! I had pulled one of my angel cards the day before and got ‘Release’. No kidding! I had a day of running (literally) back and forth to the toilet. The memory of that day has been filed under the heading of Billy Connolly’s memorable advice, “Never trust a fart!”

I reasoned that my body might have been expelling residual toxins from the operation and the painkillers, plus the stagnated energy from so much bedrest and immobility. Needless to say I cut out the prune juice and figured that my poor old bowels would eventually settle back to a place of balance.

The next day things were much calmer and I just felt ‘washed out’ and needed to rest. The sensation around the wound had been gradually tightening, which I had read was a sign of healing.

I'd discussed starting hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with the surgeon and he'd suggested having a chat with my GP a couple of weeks after the surgery so I booked a telephone appointment. I’d already put up with a lot of symptoms through years of peri-menopause. I had been refused HRT at that point because hormones can make fibroids grow. I was keen to receive the benefits now.

I don’t think women should feel guilty about asking for help if they are having a hard time. We all have to make our own decisions regarding HRT and weigh up the pros and cons. Accepting some assistance with smoothing this major life transition is not 'cheating'. I suspect men wouldn’t agonise about this if their bodies went through a similar transformation and help was available!

When I was much younger I’d made up my mind to do without HRT because back then the hormones were derived from pregnant mares kept cruelly tethered in narrow stalls and left thirsty to concentrate their urine. I felt I’d need to refuse help on ethical grounds, however most HRT is now lab created, derived from yams or soya and is ‘nature-identical’ so animal cruelty isn’t such an issue any more.

I had a call with my GP. To prepare I looked through the list of menopausal symptoms on the NHS website. The most obvious ones I was experiencing were hot flushes. These were so intense post op that I kept checking the radiators weren’t blazing away. They weren’t. The night sweats had ramped up in intensity and left my nightdress feeling clammy and damp when I woke.

The doctor recommended starting on the lowest dose oestrogen patch. As I no longer had a uterus I didn’t need progesterone. He gave me a month’s supply of patches, to be changed twice a week, and told me to let him know how it went, advising I should notice some effect within a week or so.

I was prescribed Evorel 25 which contains the active ingredient estradiol. Looking online the hormone is synthesised from yam in a lab to be ‘bio-identical’. I was relieved that they were in stock at the chemist as recently there has been a shortage of HRT in the UK. Hats off to campaigners including Davina Macall for highlighting the needs of women going through menopause and pushing for a real change in the way we are treated.

A couple of days later I woke feeling slightly depressed, which isn’t my normal state at all. Talking to Steve I became weepy without consciously knowing why. It could have been a side effect of the HRT patch, but that would have been a very sudden reaction to such a low dose. I think it was more about the loss of my womb and ovary. I notice I call it 'my womb' when I feel emotional about it and 'my uterus' when I am being clinical and matter of fact! Once I’d had a cry the sad cloud lifted and I felt a bit better.

Steve included me on his client list and was shown I needed another soul retrieval. My soul part was wandering around the Nuffield hospital. It seemed to have detached itself in the operating theatre. This was where I had expected him to find a soul part when he did my first soul retrieval so I wasn’t at all surprised.

Prior to my operation we had discussed the transition between Mother and Crone and this abrupt shift into the Crone. It felt like she was a part of the Mother energy that had detached herself. She came back and reintegrated through my solar plexus and sacral chakras and Steve put me in emerald ray healing.

I took some time to tune into my body this week and reaffirmed my intention:

‘My body is healing well and growing stronger. I am giving it the perfect balance of stillness and movement, sleep and wakefulness, nutrition and fluids, to support my optimal recovery. I love my body for its incredible wisdom. It knows exactly what it needs and I listen to its signals.’

I noticed I was feeling a little bit bored. I knew I wasn’t strong enough to do much, but I took that feeling of boredom as a good sign. I still did not get out of bed for very long at a time and I was taking ‘micro naps’ over the weekend, just 10- 15 minutes long. I felt considerably better after each sleep and I sensed my Guides were delivering a lot of their healing during the nap times. It was still a case of 'rest is best'.

One of the many beautiful bunches of flowers I received.

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.


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