It all began when I noticed a tiny pinkish spot on my underwear. Maybe a bit of dryness, or perhaps a slight infection. But a few days later it happened again. Doing some research, I was convinced it was due to vaginal dryness–nothing to worry about. But a week or so later, there was real, actual blood on the toilet paper. It was obvious that something was going on that was perhaps more serious. Couldn’t put it off any longer–a trip to a gynecologist was in order.
Being new to the area, I searched the Internet and found a Dr. C. His “Healthgrades” on the web were all glowing five star reviews. So off to him I went. I hadn’t seen one of these specialists in decades. There was no need to. Never any pain, no discharge and only the occasional UTI, which my family physician took care of. With no symptoms (until now) it seemed a waste of time and money. So I made an appointment with his office, a bit concerned but not overly so.
Dr. C was not intimidating, but there was something about him I did not like, although I could not put my finger on it. He greeted me kindly enough, talked about mundane matters and in general seemed a decent man. Then all of a sudden his demeanor changed, even before he had read through the history I had filled out in the waiting room. He started pointing out various things: my age, my early first menstrual period (at the age of 10) and my relatively late menopause (maybe 55? I cannot remember exactly). He then told me about the profile of women who were at high risk for endometrial cancer. Which of course I fit to a “T”.
The Big Sell Begins
Before he even examined me, the very next thing he did was to start talking about that wonderful new surgical instrument, the DaVinci robot. He explained that in most cases, women could avoid the large incision and blood loss because this method was an assisted laparoscopic procedure and patients were bouncing back to their former lives in a matter of weeks after having a total hysterectomy. Why was he discussing this now, before there was no exam, no diagnosis? My head was reeling.
After being lectured for not having annual mammograms, he wrote out a prescription and told me to get one post haste. Finally, the physical exam. After he looked around a bit, the speculum pinching and my nerves now totally frazzled, he took a Pap smear (the cotton tip was covered in blood). Then I was told to dress and come back into his office.
He told me that to rule out cancer he had to do a hysteroscopy–a procedure where the uterus is filled with saline solution, samples of the lining were removed for biopsy, and also pictures were taken of anything that looked amiss. But since his schedule was pretty tight, he advised me to get the mammogram first and then set up an appointment for the procedure sometime in the coming weeks.
Back in his office, he had me watch a video (everything already set up before I had even entered the room) about how all these women of various ages were giving glowing reports of their wonderful hysterectomies done by this latest advancement in surgical procedures. Back to work, back to exercising, back to everything in their former lives in six weeks! As I watched, my mind kept asking–why is he showing me this now, when not a single biopsy had been done and he had seen nothing amiss during his examination? After receiving the date of my hysteroscopy and pre-surgical testing, I left his office shaking, frightened, a bad headache coming on, and the thought that I just might be dying.
Phase 1 of the Hysterectomy Sales Job: Stoking the Fear of Cancer
I had the mammogram. The results were mailed to me, indicating that something was seen in my left breast and that I should come back for a more detailed look at this foreign mass that could not be felt by a physical exam. I went back to have a more in depth mammogram of my left breast. About a half hour later a radiologist spoke to me and said that it looked like I had a fibroadenoma, a type of benign lump. But the only way to be sure was to have it biopsied. I was given an appointment with yet another doctor; this time a general surgeon. After feeling around my left breast without success, he finally found it buried deep near the chest wall. He squeezed so hard I cried out in pain. His conclusion was to have it biopsied and then go from there.
I went to C— Medical Center, where an associate of the surgeon used a puncher to withdraw nine samples from the tumor, putting in a tiny metal clip to mark the spot. I was then subjected to still another mammogram against my vehement objections-I told them I thought I have been irradiated enough-to assure that the clip was in the right place. I left very angry, wondering how they dared to go against my rights as a patient to refuse any aspect of treatment. But their attempts to thoroughly frighten me about the “Big C” were very successful.
I returned to C— Medical Center for the hysteroscopy. Dr. C was almost one hour late, greatly increasing my sense of apprehension as well as giving me a pounding headache and trembling all over from nerves. Finally, I was wheeled into the operating room. It was a relatively short procedure and I woke up about 45 minutes later. As I was in recovery, Dr. C spoke to my husband in the waiting area, telling him that he had found some polyps but as far as he could tell there was no cancer present. While showing me the photos of the polyps, he mentioned that he would have to wait for the pathology report, but he was certain everything was benign as he had already done a microscopic examination of the growths. As I was dressing to leave, my husband came to help and informed me of what Dr. C had told him.
One of the nurses advised me to make a follow up appointment to see the doctor as he would be receiving the official pathology report as well as the results of my breast biopsies. However, I learned that he would be going away to Maine for a two week vacation and would see me when he returned.
Two weeks! A long time to find out if there was cancer in either my breast, my uterus, or both. So I endured the wait, trying to keep my mind occupied with other things and also dealing with my entire uterus aching from the hysteroscopy. Regardless, I felt positive and when my follow up day arrived I walked into his office believing that all was fine, based on what my husband had been told.
During the follow-up visit, Dr. C told me that although the breast biopsy was benign, there was an encapsulated cancer in one of the endometrial polyps. The shock I felt cannot be described. Hadn’t he said everything looked good? I hardly heard his next words: that if he were to get cancer, “this is the type he would wish to have as it was very slow growing”.
Phase 2 of the Hysterectomy Sales Job: The Wonders of Robotic Surgery
He then began to tout the virtues of the DaVinci surgical system for hysterectomy, even remarking that he was thinking of becoming trained in the procedure and moving from private practice to becoming a specialist with the DaVinci. (He actually proceeded to do just that, and is now a practicing gynecological surgeon specializing in the DaVinci robotic surgery technique. That’s where the money is…but I digress.)
I was then forced to watch the same video TWICE about the wonders of robotic surgery-the same one I had seen at the time of my first visit. It did not reassure me. I had cancer growing inside me, and the happy, glowing faces of the women talking to me from the DVD player did nothing to reassure me that this was going to be easy and that everything would be rosy again.
While I was watching women jogging in a park and playing with their grandchildren on the video, Dr. C was on the phone to Dr. B, a gynecologic/oncologist who was “top of her field”. He spoke personally to Dr. B on the phone and was able to get me an appointment quickly. This couldn’t be happening; I walked into the office in such a positive mood and now my thoughts ran to how long I have to live. Despite his claims to the contrary, this would be major surgery and I would lose my (useless, as he put it) female organs.
I felt ill and told one of the nurses my head didn’t feel right. She took my blood pressure and it was around 204/107. The woman informed the doctor and he took me into another room and had me lie down as he would not let me drive home with such high numbers. And so there I was, lying on an exam table while he was telling me to imagine being on a tropical beach with the waves gently rolling to shore. How I did not have a stroke puzzles me to this day.
The drive home was one of the worst of my life. I told my husband the diagnosis, and he was as shocked as I was. I spent the greater part of the day crying, and even entertained suicidal thoughts thinking that just ending my existence quickly would be the easiest way to handle this. But truly all I could do was wait to see the oncologist, who would determine what course the rest of my life was going to take. My husband had suggested that I get a second opinion. At first this seemed reasonable to me, and I made an appointment with a second gynecologist to find out if such a drastic approach should be made. But I was so terrified of the “C” word, totally believing in the diagnosis and afraid that it would spread very quickly, that I decided to cancel and just go along with Dr. C. The fear they instilled in me was so intense I had lost my ability to think clearly.
Shortly after all the above had transpired, my husband and I sat in Dr. B’s office as she went through my records, which had been previously faxed over from Dr. C. Again the same words “If I had cancer, this is the type I would want to get”. (Much later, after perusing the internet, I found that these doctors seemed to be working from the same script, all using the exact same words to a large number of frightened women. To me this indicates they all received the same training and were told exactly how to present the “slow growing cancer” and the wonders of robotic surgery.) She then told us how she was going to perform a total hysterectomy/oophorectomy, probably using the DaVinci robot. Dr. B went into how there were risks including excessive bleeding, nerve damage and possibility of blood clots. It was then that I told her I had Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and felt that I was not a candidate for this type of surgery. The chances of the RSD spreading were high. She said she didn’t see where that would present any difficulty.
Hysterectomy and Robotic Surgery Side Effects Never Mentioned
Dr. B then went on to say that I would be put in a steep Trandelenburg position, with my head nearest the ground and my body near to a 45 degree angle. What she didn’t say was that this position would be maintained for about four hours. I was told that the abdomen would be pumped full of gas, but never mentioned the awful side effects that would occur post-op and that the gas would take a long time to dissipate. There was absolutely no discussion of what the ensuing lack of estrogen was to do to my body over time, the increased heart attack risk (which is very high in my family on both sides), osteoporosis etc., most stemming from the loss of my ovaries. Lastly, no mention was made of the weight gain of thirty pounds or more that the majority of women experience following a hysterectomy and how this weight would be almost impossible to lose. And the huge, huge breast size increase that would occur.
Dr. B then asked if we had any questions, but we could not think of anything else at the time. She just so happened to have a cancellation, thus assigning next Tuesday as the date of my surgery. Since this was only a few days away, I then went to my primary physician, Dr. C’s wife, who filled out the necessary forms to clear the way for the operation.
Pre-Hysterectomy Fear Sets In
The night before my surgery was living hell. I could not sleep. I thought of the cancer. If this is what I truly had, then perhaps I should just commit suicide then and there rather than go through years of suffering. Yes, that is the horrendous state my mind was in that night. But my husband sat up with me and tried to reassure me that all would work out in the end.
The day dawned, and by 7 am my husband and I were waiting in the pre-surgical cubicle. Dr. B was running late due to complications from her first surgery that day. I happened to mention that the night before I was wondering if it wouldn’t be better just to bring all this to some kind of premature end. Immediately, I was surrounded by hospital personnel and had a young student nurse sit with me. I was put on suicide watch, my surgery canceled. They wheeled me (with a security guard following) into the isolation room, where for the entire day every move I made was watched. Why was I there? I only expressed my fears over the future and had no suicide plan. I felt like a criminal. My handbag was turned upside down and the contents roughly shaken out onto the table. When I had to use the bathroom, an aide came in to watch my every move. I will never forget the humiliation I felt. This lasted until a psychiatrist came in that evening. He asked me why did I have to take Ativan four times a day! This was totally incorrect. It was prescribed as a PRN medication and I rarely took more than one or two in a week. The hospital apparently had screwed up my entire medication list. At any rate, I was OK to be discharged the next morning and the suicide watch was canceled. To this day I don’t feel free to tell any health professional if I am feeling suicidal or even close to thinking about it for fear of being subjected again to the demeaning treatment of being “locked up” for the crime of feeling overwhelmed.
Hysterectomy Day and the Pain of Recovery from Robotic Surgery
My surgery was re-scheduled for October 2. Back at C Medical Center, I was anesthetized and woke up in recovery screaming. I was wheeled into some kind of maintenance area while they prepared a room for me-all this while my agony was extremely apparent. My entire rib cage felt like knives were being thrust through it. I thought I was having a heart attack and would die right then and there. The response was for someone to bring in a dinner plate of regular food as though I hadn’t just had over four hours of being under heavy anesthesia. Eventually the terrible pains ended, and I later learned that because of the head downward position during surgery, most of the gas pumped into my abdomen ended up in my rib cage around my heart and lungs. No one ever prepared me for this.
While in my room, I kept asking where my regular medications were and why I was not being given my hydrocodone. They informed me that the pharmacy did not have my dose on hand. I called my husband. He came rushing back to the hospital to give me my pain medication. This was against “the rules”, but by then he was furious with the lack of care. When I asked for my night time medications as they helped me sleep, I was instead offered a regular sleeping pill, which I refused. My medications for my RSD and psychiatric conditions were withheld from me for my entire stay.
Dr. B arrived the next morning and when I informed her I had been given no pain meds because they “didn’t carry my dose”, she appeared angry and said that I should have been given two of the dose they presumably carried. I felt well enough to walk around the hall and was then discharged with the usual post-op instructions. There had been some benign cysts removed from one of my ovaries. Abdominal lymph nodes were removed. Everything was biopsied and came back benign.
Botched Surgery or Normal Aftereffects of a Robotic Surgery?
I came home Wednesday, October 3. All seemed fine until Friday evening, three days later, when I looked down and saw two large spots of dark blood growing ever bigger on my white T-Shirt. Extremely alarmed, I called Dr. B’s number. Her assistant, Dr. H. (whom I later learned had been present during my surgery) told me this was “normal”. If it didn’t stop I was to go to the ER; otherwise, just keep my regular follow-up appointment on Wednesday.
During my Wednesday appointment I told Dr. B what had happened. She did not seem concerned until she began taking the steri-strips from the incision above my naval. When she removed the one on the end a large amount of very dark red blood literally exploded out of the incision, so much so that her assistant had to jump back in order not to be sprayed by the blood. Then began a massive cleanup job as blood continued to come out with the removal of each steri-strip. Dr. B gave no explanation as to what had happened. She began packing the area with iodoform tape, shoving it into the incision (very roughly, I might add). She must have used over a yard of the tape. Dr. B then said that the incision had to be cleansed and packed twice daily for at least two weeks. Since my husband is an LPN, she instructed him how it should be done, and I was to come back the next week for a check up.
I then went through two weeks of hell, as the amount of packing needed was huge, the tape itself was scratchy and caused additional bleeding in and around the wound. I would have to stuff part of a pillow in my mouth to keep from screaming. The blood stained tape that was removed had to be pulled out of the wound each time, and the amount needed to pack the hole was, to me, unbelievable. Twice a day I had to endure this torture, while my husband tried to make the procedure as gentle as he could. But there is no way the scraping of the wound and the bleeding this caused could be anything but excruciating.
This went on for two weeks, and I told Dr. Brudie I could not stand it anymore. She then took about three large pieces of gauze and shoved it into the hole under and to the left of the original incision. Unfortunately, this proved to be not enough and it was back to the iodoform strip. Healing of this incision and area was long, painful and left me with a keloid scar that constantly feels as though someone is stabbing me in my belly. It only occurred to me later that a blood vessel must have been nicked during surgery.
The Pain Continues
Several months later I experienced pain in the keloid area and vomited up very light green fluid with small white pieces floating around. To this day I cannot eat more than a small amount of food at one time because of the pain it causes underneath the keloid.
Because my pain management doctor, Dr. G, had prescribed that I be given Ketamine during surgery to decrease possible complications from my RSD (and which the hospital VERY reluctantly used even though my pain management doctor had discussed this with Dr. B prior to surgery), it seemed my healing was proceeding normally. It was in November of that year that I suddenly experienced intense burning like fire from my groin area and down my legs. About one week later, large lipomas appeared on both thighs where the burning had been.
When I tried to discuss this with Dr. H (Dr. B had since moved back to Florida), the matter was dismissed. I believe these lipomas were the result of lymph node removal, but no one seemed to want to discuss this latest development. Occasionally I would experience a light reddish-pink discharge from my vagina. This was put down to vaginal dryness. I have since discovered that this would occur when I was severely constipated and the vaginal walls began rubbing against each other. This constipation is still an almost everyday affair.
Post Hysterectomy/Oophorectomy: Pain and Suffering
I had made up my mind that I was finished with all of this. Cancerhead was literally driving me crazy, as every ache and pain to my mind had to be cancer. My life has changed so much for the worse that I often feel that I died the day they took my female organs. I don’t understand why organs are first removed and then biopsied. I was given no physical therapy instructions, no offer of some kind of hormone replacement to stop the horrible symptoms that have developed since the surgery. Even though I was already menopausal, it has since come to my knowledge that our ovaries, uterus etc. still perform certain functions that help us get through our later years. We don’t even know today just what these organs continue to do after menopause and the totality of how they continue to influence our other bodily organs, including the thyroid gland.
Most of the following symptoms began about a year after my DaVinci hysterectomy and oophorectomy and include:
- Varicose veins
- Constant constipation
- Pain throughout my torso that is elicited by just a light touch
- Extreme dryness
- Extreme mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts
- Cognitive difficulties
- Serious depression
- Unexplained weight gain unresponsive to diet/exercise
- Huge growth of breasts
- Constant backache from the “apron”-a horizontal lump of flesh and drop of the abdominal structures from the cutting of suspensory ligaments and muscles
- Vision problems with extreme dry eyes
- Panic attacks
- Occasional loss of balance
- Sexual difficulties
- Nerve tingling and pain
- Severe pain in both lower legs from calves to ankles with no obvious source
- Joint Pain
- Painful lipomas on upper thighs
- Movement of section of lower colon down to the pelvic floor. This sometimes necessitates manually pushing it back into place in order to complete a bowel movement.
I live with constant fear of cancer on a daily basis. It has made my life miserable, increased my depression tremendously and has resulted in a number of suicidal ideations which I don’t tell anyone about because I don’t want to be put (again) in any kind of mental institution or subjected to the criminal like treatment I received while on suicide watch at the medical center. Never.
Absolutely NONE of the above effects were ever mentioned as possible outcomes from the hysterectomy/oophorectomy surgery. My life has been drastically changed for the worst. I refuse to go back to any gynecologist and/or oncologist because the very thought causes me extreme anxiety. From the lack of empathy, post-op care and refusal to give me my proper medication in the hospital, the rupture of blood and ensuing pain from treatment of the hemorrhage, I cannot bring myself to let a doctor touch me again.
I Was Railroaded
I feel as though I was railroaded from that first visit to Dr. C’s office. The da Vinci robot was marketed to me as though it were some type of miracle device. I was never told about some of the problems that have since been associated with this type of robotic surgery, and that I was used as part of a money making scheme despite the fact that the rest of my life would be changed forever.
Regardless of my objections, I believe their insistence in having a mammogram after the biopsy procedure violated my right to refuse any and all treatments. I am concerned that all the radiation I received between the mammograms and the biopsy will have deleterious effects on the rest of my life.
The fact that heart disease is widespread throughout my immediate family and my diagnosis of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy should have been sufficient to warrant serious consideration regarding this procedure and whether or not I was truly a candidate for it. Being thrown into isolation for just expressing my fears and being treated like a hard core felon was unnecessary and resulted in extreme mental stress and anxiety. I feel I was a victim of a system which saw a means to make money without any regard for other approaches to treatment or the quality of life that would be lost forever. All courtesy of an uncaring and greedy medical establishment that believes that our life producing organs are of little to no consequence while there is money, lots of it, to be made through the use of scare tactics and the “it’s always been done this way” approach when certain types of (potential) cancer is found. In other words, we are dispensable when it comes to increasing the bank accounts of all involved except, of course, the victimized patient.
© October 2015 Sharon A. Hutchinson
Hello Sharon ,
I am glad a came across your story. I had a hysterectomy a year ago 12/19/21 and my whole life was flipped upside down. The only good thing about the surgery is that I don’t have the heavy bleeding and also no more UTI’s. The worst thing about this is that my mental health has hit so bad. I still have my ovaries, but none of this was told to me could be a possibility or a side effect. I had to be put on antidepressants that help a bit and when I was doing good at my one year I was hit with another bad episode of panic attacks and depression. If you don’t mind me asking what did you do about your mental health? is your mental health much better? Is there hope for me?
I had to be tricked and horribly harmed irreparably befor I realized that hysterectomy & ovary removal has been mainly a surgical racket for many decades…
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
In 1976 two researchers wrote:
“An operation that results in complications for 30 to 45 of every 100 women receiving it, and is followed by death in one woman in 500 to 1,000 can be considered to have considerable somatic (bodily) impact that can have major psychological reactions. Yet on the level of pure cultural patterning, hysterectomy has become so common it is seen as almost ‘normal’. Such widespread acceptance may tend to mute the recognition of not only the physical but also the psychosomatic and social sequelae (complications that follow).
It is time to recognize that this practice is “not normal” for the human body.
Now, with this much biochemical proof, it behooves all of us, women and doctors alike, to change our beliefs about elective organ removal. Medical dictates have been wrong in the past. Bloodletting, a “standard medical practice” for hundreds of years, sped many people, including George Washington, to their deaths. Today, we wonder how anyone could possibly think patients were being helped with such erroneous reasoning. As the information provided in this book (Hysterectomy & Ovary Removal) becomes accepted common knowledge, future generations will be just as incredulous about the 20th century’s “standard medical practice” of hysterectomizing and oophorectomizing 10s of millions of women.
I hope everyone spreads the word that these surgeries have to stop. When we finally all join hands and say no more elective hysterectomies or prophylactic ovary removal, our incredible medical technology will find even better alternatives for helping women solve their problems, in ways that support their life-long vibrant health – when organs are removed it is very difficult for the body to have vibrant health.
If I save one woman’s life, my experience and the writing of this book will have been worth it. My goal though, is to enlighten millions of women as to the potential devastation their bodies can undergo.
Women, please don’t play Russian Roulette with your life, or with the quality of your life.
WAKE UP WOMEN EVERYWHERE! DO NOT LET GYNAECOLOGISTS MUTILATE, VIOLATE AND CASTRATE YOU for non life-threatening reasons.
Gynocologist in my opinion in New Zealand are just perpetrators. Sourcing problems when there are none.
Greed has overtaken them. No Hippocratic oath whatsoever. They have destroyed my life, my families, my friends …. I have been mutilated lied to and decieved by the very people we are meant to trust.
And NO one helps you once harmed.
Hi , I am new to this forum and being reading z& reading all what has happened to you ladies.Thankyou for the insights, my heart goes out to you all.Looks like I found this forum just i time , as there has been 3gynos since I was 30ish telling me I need a hysterectomy even though there has been no cancer or bleeding issues .It funny each on e said all well you had your 5kids you do t need your womb anymore , how about a hysterectomy I replied to them no how about I cut your balls off see if you like it, after you’ve had your kids .they wrote to my go said I was abrupt & rude .
Years later I’m now 56 years old now , guess what I have a vaginal prolapse now after menopause , all I want is it repaired,go figure the gyno mere male said how about a hysterectomy, & we will take your ovaries to prevent ovarian cancer ect , he goes on to day your ovaries are dead anyway after menopause, no need for them anymore .my husband was present , so I said you want to desex me like my female dog casteate me , he went quiet turned to the nurse she put her head down with shame I guess as I was righ in saying that.the sales pitch was it was to prevent future cancers that may never even attack me as cancer doesn’t run in my family only heart disease /heart attacks.
After much research I discovered after reading this forum , removals if ovaries and other female atomy can cause lung cancers , brain cancer even sudden heart attacks , spine slowly collapsed into your hips , brittle bones 5to 10years down the track.ovaries do produce hormones to balance ones body into old age of 75..even after menopause.
I’m am a public patient with no history of uterus issues or ovaries problems .but they need guinea pigs for the public system.anyawy the doctor & nurse continued to book me in for the operation, and Ian day I g no once again .my saying if it isn’t broken it doesn’t need fixing..leave it alone.but I do realise there are women that need this operation.
My advise is women need stand up to these Gyno that know , that Taking your ovaries do cause more health issues as you get older & years down the track .ovarian cancer is 1% in women without a family history of ovarian cancer .
Good luck take care look after yourself and do your research forget the cancer sakes pitch..
Christine-Prolapse: any excuse will do! I have read in various websites, blogs etc. (not all dealing with hysterectomies per se but all speaking about women’s health) that women NEED their ovaries way after menopause. They don’t die off, but continue to secrete estrogen at a reduced rate. The uterus is important as well. Nature put those organs in for a reason. When the body no longer needs something, that organ will shrivel and die, after which it is reabsorbed by the body. Not so with ovaries and uterus. They remain, of course not like their pre-menopause state but do not wither away. That alone should tell anyone that the body still needs them. Of course, hormone replacement is available but there is “nothing like the real thing”.
I am now experiencing the later effects of my hysterectomy, including teeth that are in a rapid state of crumbling, problems with lower back discs (which I believe comes from the destruction of most of the supporting ligaments and tendons and the body’s attempt to keep me upright), nodule on lung, liver disease etc. The only reason I went to the ER was that I feared the vaginal cuff had possibly torn, which could become a life threatening issue. It wasn’t but now I have other conditions to add to my long list.
May I please share your post with other women who are concerned about the rate of hysterectomy and how a lot of doctors view us as cash cows. I wish you luck and want to thank you for sharing.
P.S. Summer’s post below is well worth reading. Wish I could rewind time and do what she so wisely did.
Do your research. Get second and third opinions. Know your options. I researched mine for at least 8 months and had consults with 3 different surgeons. I got all my questions answered, I wasn’t bullied, and if I had been, I would have found a new doctor. I chose a great surgeon at the best hospital in my state and received wonderful care. I had a laparoscopic hysterectomy and kept my cervix and ovaries, even though I have PCOS. Everyone is different and most people do not have issues with having a hysterectomy. You need to be smart enough to make your own decisions and not just blindly trust doctors. I joined one of those hysterectomy forums prior to surgery and quit looking at it because I got tired of hearing stories like this. Your experience is not the norm.
You have to understand that we had just moved into the area. We didn’t know anyone, could only go by Internet research, and my insurance would not be agreeable to putting out more than a certain amount of money. When you are at the bottom of the insurance rung, choices remain limited, as was our bank account. This was back in 2012. (in the end, I had to throw myself on Charity Care to get the final bill reduced to where we could pay it, something which embarrasses me to this day). There have been advances made since, and if the B of a surgeon had not kept back some of the effects this would have on my body, I would have declined to have her touch me. But at that time I found no other method being used except to take everything out, regardless of the (often delayed) after effects. Today a few (very few) are using much less drastic means to approach the situation. But alas, what has been done cannot be undone.
More women since I wrote the article have been in touch with me and it came as no shock that the same mantra was used on them, word for word. It is not as rare as you believe. These doctors were very obviously schooled in how to sell the procedure as though one were buying a used car. And since robotic surgery had recently entered the picture, surgeons were either instructed to do a certain number of procedures using the ultra-expensive piece of equipment and/or received bonuses if they did. Hospitals now had a super expensive “machine” and needed to push it in order to recoup its cost.
My story was written to make other women aware of the often dubious story lines and practices of the medical money machine. You didn’t mention when you had your surgery, or what information was available to you. I had neither the time nor the money. I hope women heed your advice and my only hope is that they now question their doctors on every little aspect of possible consequences and alternative procedures. It’s too late for me.
I feel for all you women who were lied to by the medical doctors, seems to continue into every area of healthcare, money and profit. Look for a good local ND in your area, clean up your diet, stay away from animal products as much as you can, sugar and eat organic NON GMO plant foods, fermented foods, colors that support the gut microbiome. Find a daily fitness you can perform daily that is fun and walk with your partner, make your main meal at noon and eat before 6 -fasting from 7pm till noon. Menopause slows things down, reduce your calories and begin weight training for muscle strength. Many herbals+ tinctures for health,check out Dr. Robert Morse ND in Florida
I can account for all of this being the same!!! I am so angry at the bastard doctors who did this to me as well! I was only 36! They took everything out! I had mine done at KP, Kaiser, and I hate them forever. I have tried to get an attorney to help, but to no avail. I have also tried to go through their greviance process to no avail as well. Bastards that’s all I cam say, bastards.
Thank you J. Hudson and all of you for your support and compassion.
Since I wrote my story, the list of physical changes goes on. My teeth actually started to crumble, especially in the front where it is most noticeable. With no dental insurance, not much can be done. I’m not saying all bad teeth come from this, but the rate at which it occurred was unbelievable. One day I felt a strange sensation and my upper jaw had dropped down so the point where the upper teeth now completely cover the lower when my mouth is closed. It was caused by another tooth crumbling along its bottom. There is a special guard that must be worn now so that further loss of teeth can be slowed down.
Just as hysterectomy ups our chances of osteoporosis significantly, it also affects the teeth in many women. My primary doctor, who practices “regular” as well as naturopathic medicine, has started me on natural substances that mimic estrogen due to breasts getting so large they rubbed my upper arms. Already they have reduced in size and the painful fibrocystic disease that has plagued me for most of my years has also shrunk and no longer hurts. Hopefully we are on the right path.
And to think a female surgeon happily did this to me.
Thank you all for your kind words and support. You all mean so much to me. It helps me to go on with my life knowing that not all women think I am crazy (you wouldn’t believe the attacks from other websites). Remember I don’t condemn all hysterectomies. Many women have suffered a lot and they have found relief from them. But too many are subjected unnecessarily to a procedure where doctors can make quick $$$. Bless you all and please tell other women (and their partners) to research, research, research before caving in to the pressure of certain members of the medical field.
I feel for you. About 10 years ago a female GYN tried to talk me into one-NO I will keep my female organs she said “well you don’t plan to have anymore children. I been in healthcare 26 years-I have seen it all and yes-your not the only one. Lymphedema facebook so many women who are sick from the removal of cancer and lymph nodes. Blessings to you.
Hi, I had a complete hysterectomy almost 5 years ago. I was told I would feel so much better afterwards. I had edimetriosis my whole life so I had heavy periods and cramping almost daily. When I went in for my annua papsmear my uterus was the size as if I was 3 months pregnant. They rushed me to have a ct scan which showed cysts on one ovary and the other ovary had multiple cysts. So they told me I needed a complete hysterectomy. But I could leave a quarter of one ovary. So with great thought and research I decided to have my surgery and while I was prept and ready to be wheeled in the Doctor came over and asked what I had decided. I told him to save my ovary as much as possible. He immediately said that it would be a huge mistake. All I wanted to do at that point was to take my iv out and run. But I was too embarrassed. The only reason I agreed to have the surgery was because he gave me the option to save my ovary. Well needless to say I woke up with them both gone. It has been almost 5 years and I’ve gained 15 pounds. Which every doctor tells me I’m in my 40’s now I am just like everyone else. But I’ve always been thin and active but no matter what I do I cannot lose weight. I have been to several different specialist to find the right balance for hormones. Still no luck. Every time I start taking estrogen I gain about 3 pounds a week. Then I go off and lose weight. Right now I just got prescribed progesterone, testerone and estrogen. Apparently since I have blonde hair and blue eyes I don’t need mich estrogen but I have bad hot flashes without them. I just wish doctors would prepare their patients for the after effects of such a radical procedure. The only thing my surgeon told me was that I would feel so much better afterwards with no periods and I would never experience menopause because I would only need to slap on a patch and continue on in life feeling great. I can tell you it was the biggest mistake I have ever made. Every day is a task. My body hurts and I’m tired of worrying about how to balance myself with hormones. The doctors treat me like I’m crazy because the hormones they prescribe are not working. I’m still in the dark as to why he took both ovaries.
I am so sorry for what happened to you. My faith in doctors is dropping a great deal as time goes by. Unfortunately, the history of the medical profession is rampant with the flippant treatment of women and their ailments. It’s all “in our heads” or they haven’t a clue what it is like to be female and how our organs are really the core of our being. That’s why we have the word “hysterectomy”, deriving from the Greek for “hysteria”. Up until even the middle of the last century , it was believed that the uterus was supposed to drive women crazy and thus most of their complaints were thought to be psychologically based. It was not so when women were the “healers” until, sometime in the 1700s, men took over the practice of medicine, pushing out those women who had dedicated their lives to helping others.
Your story has me so very angry. The ovaries are to women what the testes are to men, yet the cutting off of their male organs just doesn’t happen anywhere near the rate of ovary removal. I thank you for having the courage to come out and tell it. How many more are out there with similar horror stories? They took my ovaries too, just because I had a cyst (which had been there for decades) and fabricated polycystic ovary disease. It means more $$$, just like crooked auto mechanics will sometimes do unnecessary work on a customer’s car. Sad that it has come down to this.
The least we can do is to let doctors know that they are hired to do a job and that their clients’ wishes should be respected. That goes for any treatments or procedures. But this hysterectomy racket is much more serious, and the more women that come forth and tell how little the quality of our lives matter to these heartless doctors, the more chance we have to start making a difference and putting a dent into this cash cow business.
I never heard of blonde haired, blue eyed women needing less estrogen; that’s very interesting. But the fact is that we NEED it to have any quality in life. Our bodies start to crumble without it. I want my body back, but all the money in the world can never make this dream come true. All of you brave women are in my thoughts everyday. This is madness.
Jennifer, so sorry for your experience. Weight gain is NEVER mentioned, or is either made light of by someone pushing an agenda.
Our ovaries are important not just for estrogen production. In fact, science does not know all that they are responsible for and that there may be yet other secretions that are still unknown. We do know that lack of estrogen affects the thyroid gland negatively. The uterus even after menopause still helps the body maintain homeostasis and also helps provide support for internal structures. In nature, if something is no longer necessary, it will wither and eventually disappear. This does not happen with our female organs after menopause. The very fact they still remain is testimony that they continue to provide some kind of function to the body.
All the methods to regain health by food (I hate using the word “diet”..grrrr) that seem to work even for post-menopausal women appears not to apply to us. In my opinion, it is like someone took a sledgehammer and destroyed our hormonal/endocrine control panel so it no longer responds properly. I am slowly switching over to paleo and will update if and when there are any results either way. It is never taken into consideration how excess weight impacts health in general. Especially the weight that one cannot lose.
P.S. Could you kindly let me know where you heard the blonde hair, blue eyes idea about needing less estrogen? I know that during reproductive years there is a difference among normal levels for women from different countries. Does it apply to post-menopausal women as well? Very interesting!
Thank you so much for sharing this story. I was in shock because this echoed my daVinci story, almost PRECISELY. I got my period early too (11). I had heavy periods, and had a fibroid that was tracked over the years. When I came to FL and went to a new ob/gyn, she seemed eager to do the pre-testing and suggest an immediate hysterectomy via the daVinci. I opted to keep my ovaries. The in-office biopsy of my uterus was excruciating. My husband was with me and never witnessed such a horrible procedure (and I had been through colposcopies with him present!), and it wasn’t even done by an M.D.!
The daVinci surgery took place 3 years ago, at age 52. I was still getting periods. I was promised that I’d feel great within a few weeks. As soon as the surgery was over, I wound up in the ICU with severe chest pains. It was never explained to me either! My head was killing me (I have chronic severe headpain due to an accident) and the hospital also didn’t have the right dosage of my particular meds (Fioricet). Luckily my G.P. doctor was on call that evening and she checked on me and dispensed my meds. Hubby stayed by my side the whole night in the ICU.
The post-op appointments were shrugged off as “possible UTIs”, filled with reoccuring Rx’s, then thrush from those Rx’s, etc……… Instead of the normal 8 weeks recovery, I took many months to recover. It felt as though my entire body was shifted around. I was constipated and in constant pain, not to mention the severe hot sweats 24/7. I fired my ob/gyn, took my chart and found also got a new g.p. who put me on estrogen. We both weighed out the risks and I began to feel like I was getting my life back. I go yearly for mammograms because of the estrogen, and my constipation issue never cleared up.
The ONE positive from the surgery is that I no longer have ‘crime scene’ periods, and no more monthly pain associated with that. I’ve adjusted to this new life but for a while I was very mad and disappointed with the whole medical world, pushing this type of surgery on me, promising me that it was the least invasive and best way to go. Knowing about my head injury and pain, this all should have been explained to me more. This was sheer and utter negligence on the doctor’s part.
I joined a webpage called Hystersisters and researched the surgery before getting it done, and I seemed to be in the minority. Hearing other stories and people recovering quickly from routine hysterectomies reminded me that “new” isn’t always better! I believe that my doctor wanted to just increase her daVinci surgical patient #’s.
I think you just had bad or inexperienced surgeons. In Australia the DaVinci procedure for hysterectomies is very successful. I have a girl friend who had a vaginal hysterectomy and was back doing her normal life a week later. For women like me, who experience ‘crime scene’ periods every 2-3 weeks, a bit of wind pain (due to carbon dioxide in gut) post-op is a minor inconvenience.
Also weight gain in the 40s and 50s is common even in women who do not have hysterectomies. My mother gained 100 pounds in her menopausal years and never had any surgical interventions. It’s just a change in hormones, lifestyle & depression in midlife.
Lee, thanks for your comment.
My surgeon was tops in her field and taught the procedure in Florida before she came to New Jersey. She is now back in Florida, leaving about two months after my surgery. She was very rough, no compassion, never discussed what to do post-op etc. Just left me estrogen deficient. My breasts got so huge I thought they would explode and I felt like a lumbering cow. I no longer wanted to live. Thankfully my pain management doctor, who also studies herbal remedies and such, listened to me and put me on some herbs. Within two weeks my weight and bloat started to reduce, as did my breasts. Also brain fog cleared up after four years. It was like a miracle!
About weight gain: About a month after my surgery, my weight went up 15 pounds in that time period, and kept on going up no matter what. It was scary. Not one doctor ever discussed this with me, which is what really made me angry. I understand what you are saying about menopause but this happened so quickly I was literally in shock.
My God I wish someone had told me about the gas. It filled my chest cavity and I thought I was having a heart attack. And no one on staff came to my aid, except the food service that brought in a supper tray (just a short time after being moved out of ICU) when they put me in a glorified broom closet while waiting for a regular room.
That said, I have communicated with some wonderful Australian ladies who have had an entirely different experience, as you write. Also the difference between the cost of the procedure is amazing. The DaVinci here has become a cash cow and a lot of surgeons want to jump on the bandwagon, so to speak. If I could do it over (and knowing what I do now) I would have asked for a hands on laparosopic procedure. As you can tell by other comments here, I am far from alone in what happened. And that is only from women who have found this website. I’ve gone on a variety of forums and have found variations on my story repeated over and over. One UK site blocked me because I was warning about what may happen pre-op, criticized the DaVinci and gave a list of questions to ask the surgeon both before and after.
Again, I appreciate your comment. I only know of one Australian woman who had a terrible time of it, so there may be some differences in approach. I would never wish what I went through upon another woman.
What herbal medicines did he put you on?
I agree and have experienced all you have mentioned except i was only 29 when i had mine. I went straight into menopause and no one explained anything. My whole life and personality changed i am now divorced and just now learning that most if not all of my emotional problems, stomach and bowel problems, weight gain and headaches are due to the quick fix i had for my uterus prolapse. Its so terrible that drs change us like this without telling us the side effects
Amanda-that was horrible! A hysterectomy at 29??? That sounds like a crime. To be struggling all those years with the terrible after effects…my heart goes out to you. I believe the ob-gyn field has a lot of sadists and/or sociopaths. I had a female surgeon and during after op visits she seemed to get delight in causing me pain while examining me, so there are females included as well. How lightly they take our female organs and their extreme importance to our bodies and minds.
They don’t tell us all the side effects (especially the ones that develop as time goes by) because they don’t want us to be reconsidering the surgery. Since my surgery in 2012, there is thankfully much more information on the internet, if women will do the research. Thanks to this and other websites and very dedicated women who are angry and fed up with us being the cash cows for these creeps, the full knowledge about this is slowly but surely coming to light. Which is why we must keep telling our stories and getting them out there where other women can see them. Hysterectomy should be the very last resort unless it is very obvious that it is needed.
Thank you for adding your voice about your castration. Every single story counts!
Sharon…… oh my God….. I wish I could just hold you and hold you.
It seems the Sociopaths get their way with the most vulnerable. The medical establishment is crawling with them. Travesty beyond all travesties imaginable. I’m so sorry!
Thank you for sharing this. Thank you so much!
Thank you, Svetlana. It is hard to believe that doctors can be like this, but the sad truth is that so many are. I have known some wonderful doctors in my life, but only about 6 or so. I spoke to a woman from Poland who had her hysterectomy there years ago, and she experienced nothing like I did. Then again, no fancy robot, no “railroading” and it is used as a last resort. She encouraged me before my surgery to get a second opinion and said that in Poland they would probably have tried other means first. But of course, being so scared of the “C” word, I didn’t listen.
Let’s keep spreading the word that doctors are not gods, they make mistakes, and in the US making a lot of money is a huge factor in a lot of their decisions.
Again your words are greatly appreciated.
Sharon, What a horrific story! I am sorry for all you have been through and continue to go through. Thank you for the courage to share your story. The tactics these doctors use are so unethical! We have to continue speaking out or nothing will change.
Thank you for reading. Unfortunately I believe many women are not even aware of what had occurred to them. Most of us were raised to believe that doctors were always right; just one level below gods. After all, they have our lives in their hands (or do they??). I was so scared by the “C” word that I didn’t even stop to think that if this type of cancer was so slow growing, then what was the rush? I have tried to stop blaming myself. As someone with a degree in history, I was trained to research, research, research. Yet some kind of primal fear took over my otherwise rational brain.
It is sad to think that there are so few of us who have seen the light, as it were. Especially since we are up against huge monied corporations that can easily belittle and crush us. But we can’t stop. Sometimes, evenutally, the little guy (or gal) wins in the end.