Kim Brownsberger McMahon, 43, is a mother of two boys living in Denver, CO. I’ve known her since 1987 and never knew about the pain she suffered her entire adult life due to severe endometriosis. She is surviving her hysterectomy and facing a new set of health challenges. Here is her story:
My decision to have a hysterectomy was not sudden- I suffered from endometriosis my entire reproductive life. My mom had a hysterectomy at 32 for the same reason, so I knew this surgery would have to happen eventually.
Fertility was never an issue for me, unlike some women with endometriosis. My issue was chronic pain that could only be handled with a combination of prescription meds, birth control pills, and laparoscopy surgeries (I had about 6 of those throughout my 30s). My poor uterus was such a mess, that blood appeared in my stool from all the endometrial tissue traveling around my abdominal area.
I suffered an ectopic pregnancy that almost killed me in 2004. It ruptured internally, and I had emergency surgery to remove the fused embryo and my left fallopian tube. Luckily, I was able to have my two boys after that. Once I was done having babies, my doctor said it was “time” for the hysterectomy. This was October 2010. I was 41.
Since I was basically house-bound for a month post-op, I didn’t have any challenges when it came to clothes. I just wore a robe w/ out undies for a month. That or loose sweat pants and Mike’s (husband) old t-shirts.
The three essentials post-op were staying ahead of the pain w/ medication, taking stool softeners regularly, and not doing too much too fast.
It was pretty rough, psychologically speaking. Even though I was done having children and knew my chronic pain would be virtually eliminated, I struggled with feeling like less of a woman. I have dealt with anxiety, insomnia, hyper-thyroid conditions, and headaches since my surgery. I still have my ovaries, so they say these symptoms I have been experiencing are a form of postpartum depression. My hormones have given me problems ever since. Not sure if it’s related to the surgery or because my body is trying to acclimate itself after being hormonally-regulated for 30 years.
The most challenging part of my immediate recovery was bowel issues (for a about a month). But hands down, the MOST challenging has been what my hormones have done to me over the last three years. This anxiety thing is brutal.
My surgery didn’t effect my personal style, but I did obtain a Colorado Medicinal Marajuana card to get edible cannabis for my ovulation pain (yeah, still have that) and anxiety. I also take Xanax when the anxiety rises to ridiculous levels. So I guess those are two lifestyle changes.
Today, I still struggle with anxiety, weight loss, and insomnia. I will get my thyroid rechecked in March to see if I need to be treated for hyperthyroidism.
Overall, I am happy I did it. I didn’t expect to have hormonal issues but that may be more about being on birth control pills for sooooo long and my body not knowing what to do with itself now that it isn’t regulated. It had to happen but it was no picnic, even now.
Thanks to Kim for sharing her story with us. Please feel free to leave comments with helpful suggestions or the unexpected challenges you faced after your hysterectomy.
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