Claire* underwent a total laparascopic hysterectomy at Spire Murrayfield Hospital. The operation was carried out by Dr Martin. Here's her story:
I had previously been told (after various scans) that I was 'quite fibroid-y'. I had been prescribed the Mirena IUD and when that didn't work, I was put on the pill as well. But nothing was working. I hadn't realised how ill I was because it had become my day-to-day normality.
"I was able to go for a walk round the Botanical Gardens on my first full day back home"
Claire*, laparascopic hysterectomy patient
Dr Martin suggested an exploratory hysteroscopy which revealed one large fibroid the size of a large grapefruit or thereabouts. He explained my options (and the possible risks) very clearly and gave me plenty of time to think things through. He was very enthusiastic about going for keyhole surgery.
I felt very much in control of what would happen and very confident in Dr Martin. I emailed him quite a lot in the run-up to the operation and he always replied promptly. I was keen to have a hysterectomy by keyhole surgery if possible although I understood that he might have to revert to the more traditional surgery once he had begun the operation.
On the day of my surgery, I felt very nervous, but everyone was incredibly nice and made me feel as calm as possible. Dr Martin came to see me and so did the anaesthetist. I had been very sick after a previous operation and the anaesthetist said he would make sure this didn't happen again.
When I came to, I felt no discomfort and – best of all – I didn't feel sick! I was a bit surprised at the number of tubes coming out of me (catheter, drip etc) but I really felt fine. Dr Martin explained that because the fibroid was so large, he'd had to use the largest keyhole surgery tools and it had take longer than he had expected. But it had all gone well and that evening I was sitting up and talking to my partner, who was allowed to sit with me until very late. (I can't remember much of what I said to him.)
The worst part was the weird 'trapped wind' behind the shoulder but the nurses were great about that and gave me oil of peppermint. It was uncomfortable for a few hours but I understand it's very common. By the second evening, I was walking along the corridor (very slowly) and the following day I was allowed to go home. I had only been in for 48 hours. I do remember sleeping all afternoon, though, when I got home.
I hardly had any pain when I got home. My partner commented on the fact that I was taking far fewer painkillers than with a 'normal' period. I had to keep reminding myself not to do any heavy lifting and I was able to go for a walk round the Botanical Gardens on my first full day back home. For the first week after that I was very 'tired and emotional' but this settled down quite quickly – particularly as I was making such a good recovery. It probably sounds a bit odd, but I really rather enjoyed my convalescence.
I can honestly say that this operation has transformed my life. I probably should have had a hysterectomy years ago but I was afraid of having surgery. Now I'd say that surgery really isn't that bad at all. My iron levels were back to normal within six weeks and it's just amazing not having to deal with all that pain and blood loss every month. Hardly a day passes that I don't stop and think about the difference it's made.
If I'd had a 'traditional' hysterectomy, there's no way I would have been out of hospital so quickly, nor would I have been going for walks within a matter of three days. And I was back at work within seven weeks.
I have two small puncture wounds on my lower stomach but they are not a problem at all (I never did like wearing a bikini anyway – and I know that the traditional approach would have left me with a much worse scar).
And as if all that isn't positive enough, I didn't gain any weight either!
I can't praise Dr Martin's care highly enough. He is clearly so skilled at what he does, and takes genuine care. His positive attitude was also a great help to me. I was equally impressed with the nursing care, levels of cleanliness and comfort of my room – all of which was excellent.
I'm so pleased to have been given this opportunity to share my experience – and I hope it might help someone else to make what is, after all, a fairly major decision. It could just transform other lives, too.