What did I get for Christmas? A hysterectomy! Yeah me!! (Can you read the sarcasm?) Why did I “choose” this? Read on . . .
Back in 2013, I had a couple of bleeding episodes after sex. Nothing major, nothing serious. But we’ve all been told over and over that this is abnormal. So, I went to the doctor. He recommended an ultrasound, which sounded like a good idea to me. It was non-invasive, not painful, and insurance would pay for it. A mass in my uterus was discovered. (Have you ever had a phone call from a doctor when he told you you had a mass of any kind? That was a long day!)
The next step was a referral to a gynecologist, who informed me that it was likely a fibroid mass that was not malignant. We had no idea how long this had been there. They are very common, so he said. He recommended a laparoscopic biopsy. That made sense to me, so I scheduled the outpatient surgery in conjunction with Labor Day weekend so I would have an extra free day off work. Biopsy was benign. But now what? I still had a mass in my uterus.
We decided to wait 3 months and do another ultrasound to see if it was growing. Fast forward to December . . .
The next ultrasound was a bit confusing to me. The ultrasound technician said it had grown, and he also said it looked “abnormal” to him. My doctor thought it had not grown but was very uncomfortable with the idea of anybody leaving a mass in their body. The gynecologist thought it had grown, and since he was a surgeon, he was perfectly okay with pursuing a hysterectomy. This ultrasound also showed fibroid cysts on my ovaries.
1. Do nothing.
2. Partial hysterectomy, taking out only the uterus.
3. Complete hysterectomy – I’m 49 years old with a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility.”
Why Not Leave it Alone?
At this point, as far as I knew, the mass wasn’t causing any problems. However, I am a bit of a prepper. So when I considered the option of leaving the mass in, I had to consider the possibility of it causing trouble during a major national upheaval of some kind. “What if” something terrible should occur, this mass began to cause serious problems, and I had no access to medical professionals? I certainly did not want to think about major surgery “in the field,” so to speak.
Why Not a Partial Hysterectomy?
I don’t have any stats to back this up, but it seems like women who have partial hysterectomies end up having to have the rest of their reproductive system removed later. The 2nd ultrasound diagnosed cysts on my ovaries. I am 40 years old, have “unexplained infertility,” and didn’t want to go into surgery twice. (Again, being a little bit prepper, I had to consider the possibility of needing a second surgery after a collapse. Probably won’t happen, but . . . always be prepared!) On the other hand, a partial hysterectomy would have left my ovaries, which would have meant my body would still produce normal levels of estrogen, allowing me to go into menopause more naturally. But then there were those ovarian cysts . . .
Why Choose a Complete Hysterectomy?
I finally chose the complete hysterectomy for two reasons:
1) I didn’t want to take any chance that anything going on in my reproductive system might involve even one cancer cell.
2) I wanted to get it over with so I wouldn’t have to think about any of it anymore. And IF we encounter a time when medical professionals are not accessible, I would not have to worry . . . at least not about issues with my “womanhood.”
Was this the right decision? Who knows? Maybe the mass had been there my whole life and was not bothering anything. Maybe – hopefully – we will never experience a major national collapse. Maybe it was cancer waiting to happen. I’ll never know, but I made the choice I did.
As it turned out, the mass in questions was pressed against my bladder. This is why I would wet my pants every time I coughed, or laughed, or sneezed! I thought it was just because I was getting older! There were more cysts on my ovaries than the ultrasound showed, as well as a 2nd uterine mass. All were benign. But it’s probably just as well I had it all taken out.
Now, I don’t wet my pants (usually,) I don’t bleed, and I will never have to see a gynecologist again.