Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Sly Speaks: Why I Noped Out of my Hysterectomy


I'm 53 years old and I have a history of sexual trauma and issues with my endocrine system including my reproductive system. I have PCOS. I have a degree of endometriosis, and I have polyps and fibroids in my uterus. The fibroids are small, not some grapefruit-sized thing.
I avoided having pelvic exams for close to 30 years because of past sexual trauma and fear of being shamed for being a larger person. I finally found a doctor I could trust to be honest with about my plumbing problems, so to speak. I see her quarterly because of my endocrine issues. When I told her that I had my "annual period" and was hoping this would be the last year for that mess, she said that wasn't normal and referred me to a gynecologist.
The gynecologist was a very sweet person who made me feel at ease. She never shamed me for my size. She did a D&C, which sucked because I felt like someone had been up in my business with a cheese grater, but I wanted to rule out cancer. The biopsy showed that I have simple endometrial hyperplasia with no cellular atypia. My risk of developing uterine cancer is 1.6% greater than the risk for someone who has no hyperplasia.
Hyperplasia is par for the course in someone with diabetes and PCOS. I produce too much estrogen. My primary care doctor is having me try a bio-identical progesterone, which may reverse some of the issues with my plumbing. One can always hope.
I was scheduled to have a hysterectomy, but I canceled the night before. Let me be clear that I'm not fanatical about women keeping their uterus come hell or high water. My son's best friend's mother had such horrible endometriosis that it had invaded her digestive tract. Some people have fibroids the size of a full-term fetus. There is no reason that these people should be forced to keep an organ that is malfunctioning to that degree. But this is not my case.
I always had miserable periods from hell and was glad when they came to an end. Initially, I was gung-ho to get rid of my reproductive organs, but after doing some research I realized I might be trading one problem for another (i.e. my incontinence could get significantly worse) and the inside of my hoo-hah could turn into the Great Southern Desert for the remainder of my life. In the end, it didn't seem worth it to undergo major surgery for a 1.6% higher risk of possible uterine cancer down the line.
Although two of the doctors involved in the process are women themselves (the person who would have done the surgery is a man) and they were all respectful to me, not a single one of them said a thing about the downside of having a hysterectomy. I think that doctors are taught to have this attitude that post-menopausal women are no longer able to have children, so why not just take the uterus out? But major surgery comes with risks. For me to agree to it, the risks have to outweigh the benefits, and they simply do not in this case.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright Juliahenze @123rf.com


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