Hi, my name is Marit and my story began in May 2006, when the results of a pap smear showed that I had dysplasia (precancerous cells) of the cervix. The doctor advised me to have a colposcopy and HPV DNA test. After so many years of normal pap tests, this was what I least expected.
In June, I had the colposcopy and a biopsy was taken. It confirmed that there was high risk HPV that had caused dysplasia of the cervix. In July, I had a loop electro surgical excision procedure (LEEP) to cut out the abnormal cervical tissue. It all went well, but the fear for cancer remained.
Pap smears were taken every three months, and there were no abnormalities found. In October 2007, at my checkup the doctor found a large cyst on one of the ovaries. He gave me a hormone therapy for three months to resolve the cyst. I went for a second opinion, and was told that the cyst did not contain fluid but other material that would never resolve with hormone therapy. The only solution was an operation as these large cysts may cause serious complications.
In November 2007, I had the operation, and a large cyst, like a big orange, was removed together with one of my ovaries.
A year later, at my checkup, I had another colposcopy. Even I could see on the monitor that it did not look that good. A biopsy was taken, and the doctor told me that I needed a hysterectomy. In December 2008, age 45, I had a total abdominal hysterectomy. I asked my surgeon if he could leave my one ovary as I had not entered menopause yet. But during surgery they found several small cysts on my other ovary, and decided they better remove it.
After the operation, I recovered soon and felt great, no menopausal symptoms and hardly any pain. I had to force myself to take it easy and not to lift anything heavy.
And then at about six weeks after the operation it suddenly started. Night sweats, not being able to sleep, joint pain and all the horrible symptoms of sudden menopause.
When I asked my doctor if could have hormone replacement therapy, he said that he could not recommend it, with my family history of cancer. Both my parents and grandparents had all died of cancer.
My joint pain became worse. I was hardly able to move when I would come out of bed. Everybody was telling me that I had to exercise as I was putting on weight. But I was in pain, and exercising was the last I could do. So I put on weight, and I thought; oh I will lose this when I feel better. Then I will go on a diet and soon be my old self again. Was I wrong, no diet seemed to work for me anymore. It was as if the pounds were glued to my body. One look in the mirror would make me feel terribly depressed. How can you not get depressed if, all of a sudden you feel like you are eighty years old. Sometimes it would take me five minutes to get out of a chair, straighten my back, and starting to walk. People were laughing, thinking I was either joking or exaggerating.
When I asked other women, how long those symptoms would last, some said they can last up to 10 to 15 years. Well fortunately this is partly true. After two years, the worst was over. The hot flushes were less frequent and intense, I was sleeping a lot better, and my joint pain miraculously disappeared. Now after four and a half years, I rarely have hot flushes any more, as I have learned what to avoid and what triggers them most.
Only my problem with my weight gain remains. I try to eat as healthy as possible. I walk about an hour each day and in the morning I do a cardio work out of about ten minutes.
I feel fantastic, I can move mountains again. I am just grateful now that I am alive. If I had not had the hysterectomy this may have not been the case. I still have to go for a pap smear every two years, and that brings back some of the stress. But so far, so good.
Why am I telling you my story? Because I hope that, by reading this, other women waiting for their hysterectomy, or women having a hard time recovering from their hysterectomy, find new hope and courage that there is indeed a life after hysterectomy. I made this website so you can find answers to questions about the hysterectomy procedure itself, common hysterectomy side effects and how to deal with menopause symptoms naturally.