Recovering from a Hysterectomy by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

In Women
Jan 17th, 2014
In 1999, I had a hysterectomy (thankfully) and I got some great advice beforehand and learned a few things along the way, too.  If you imagine that you might be having this surgery sometime in your life (or if you have a friend who is), I encourage you to take heed.
Note:  As one of our readers, an RN and Ph.D. in nursing, indicated – these tips apply to other major surgery as well.
  1. If your doctor says, “Take off 6 weeks,” take off 6 weeks.  The best advice I heard prior to having a hysterectomy was that I could either take 6 weeks off and completely recover or I could go back to work sooner and take a year and half to recover.  (thanks, Betty!  You were right.  I took off 6 weeks and when I went back, I was full steam).
  2. Know you are NOT going to feel good for days.  You will have more gas than you think you can stand, just for starters.
  3. Know that anesthesia is still in your body and completely avoid alcohol for awhile.
  4. Let other people bring you food.  Whether you feel like eating or not, your family will and you don’t want to be worrying about them.
  5. Sleep when you want to.  You may or may not sleep much at night so take lots of naps.  Get better.
  6. Be aware that your hormones are going to be out of whack – maybe more and maybe less than they were before your surgery.  If others try to help you notice some changes in your personality by saying something, try to accept it and please talk to your doctor or other health care provider about your concerns.
  7. Just hang out.  For most women, this is not easy and it even feels unnatural.  Honey, I’m telling you, this is your time to just hang out and let life swirl around you.  You don’t have to engage unless you really want to.
  8. Putter around.  Then be ready to sit down or take a nap whenever you feel like it.
  9. Talk to other women who have had hysterectomies and see what their recommendations are.
  10. After you’re able to drive in about 2 – 3 weeks, meet some friends for lunch.  Then go home and take a nap.

I actually wondered if there was more surgery I could have after my hysterectomy because apparently it took major surgery for me to do the things listed above.

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And if you liked these tips, feel free to check out Putting Pockets in Your Personal Life: 52 Tips to Implement Immediately. If you know you are operating without any “pockets,” and you realize that you have lost sight of the difference between calm and crazed, then this booklet will help you regain that realization and subsequently DO something about it.

Inside, you’ll find practical ideas to implement, letting you actually choose to put in pockets in your personal life (i.e., some protected space, both the physical and metaphorical). With these 52 tips in-hand, and you’ll be well on your way to greater peace of mind and productivity.