So, readers of this site will know I have fibroids, which are non-cancerous tumor growths in your womb, and can cause lots of distress during your period (see header below), and, in my case, fertility issues. Here’s how I got them removed and what I’m doing in my recovery.
When to get checked by a gynae:
If you have heavy periods (that make you want to faint or throw up) and you’re constantly going to the bathroom to change out your menstrual cup/pads/tampons, bad cramping that makes you want to stay in bed all day and you can’t even move (or if the only way you can deal with it is to take meds and try to sleep it off).
I actually made an appointment with the gynae to check if I was fertile. My friends and cousin who knew about my difficulty in conceiving had been telling me to get myself checked and I finally bit the bullet and did a day 12 check. The results of the check were that the four tiny fibroids I used to have had flourished and multiplied to six larger ones (the largest being 7 by 5cm–around the size of a lemon). My options were surgery, and open surgery was deemed the best choice so that my womb could remain intact as much as possible so I could have a healthy pregnancy.
I was pretty shaken and cried pretty much the whole day, but over the next few days I made the decision to go ahead with the surgery. My husband would have preferred I didn’t, probably, but I had to get them out of me.
Pre-Surgery Prep, Monday 18 March – Tuesday 19 March
I went down to the clinic on Monday to get the pre-operating procedures settled, and also asked if minimally invasive surgery was something I could opt for. She said no, open surgery was my best option, so I agreed to proceed with that. I was given a small boatload of medicines for my recovery and had to do a blood test–seems nothing was amiss as they didn’t call me the next day.
Tuesday was purge everything day, and I had to drink two bottles of foul-tasting laxatives, with plenty of water, to get everything out of my system. This was hell, and I ran to the bathroom like 20 times. I ate only porridge the entire day. I still had to get up in the middle of the night a couple of times. My butt hurt SOOOO much.
Day of Surgery, Wednesday 20 March
We got to the clinic pretty early and was in my ward by 9am, where I took the meds that was supposed to open up my cervix. This induced bleeding, and horrific cramps. Walking around seemed to make it better so that’s what I did, until a nurse came in to change me into my hospital gown. I was shivering like mad so they piled me with blankets. I was then pushed into the gurney and sent down to the operating theatre floor, where I had to wait about an hour for my gynae as she was held up with other patients. I did get to talk to my mum and husband on the phone to tell them about the delay, and I had like three layers of blankets on me as the aircon was so cold.
In case you think I was being a baby about this, the anaesthetist also said she should bring her winter wear to work, haha. They fitted me with an IV, and then wheeled me outside the operating theatre until my gynae came. To keep myself busy, I counted the number of squares on the ceiling that I could see (44), prayed like mad and just waited. When she did come, I was brought into the operating theatre, and then lifted onto the bed. They gave me general anaesthesia and I was knocked out, dreaming weird dreams like someone saying that my gynae was the enemy, lol.
I woke up at about 3pm to a lot of pain, so I asked them to give me more morphine. They told me it took a while to kick in but I remember just insisting on more meds. The pain was like an 8-9. They brought me back to the ward at about 3.30pm, and I was surrounded by my parents and my husband. I think I just basically drifted in and out of sleep, and tried to talk to them for a bit. My doctor came in and told us she’d removed the fibroids and polyps, but that my fallopian tubes might be blocked and I might have to go for IVF treatments in the future to get pregnant. She did have good news though, I could actually have soft food and liquid (although let’s be real I didn’t–and still don’t–feel hungry).
My mum actually fed me each mouthful of soup and porridge, which I didn’t really finish, and I also had Milo so I could take meds for the pain. The nurses came in every hour to take my blood pressure and temperature, and each time it was normal, except for that one time I had a low fever and they took a blanket away from me. I tried to sleep, but I’m not good sleeping on my back and I could still feel pain, and discomfort as I bled into the hospital-given pad (which they tie around you). I kept suggesting they change it but they didn’t listen until about 3am in the morning.
Day 2, Post Op, Thursday 21 March
The girl beside me got discharged today, and no wonder, she was independently taking care of herself, going to the toilet on her own, walking around, tossing and turning–which I interpreted to mean she could sleep on her sides, something I was envious of.
My husband came at about 8am, when I was having my breakfast, and impotently trying to feed myself. The doctor came in at 9am, and told me that I could actually wear my own underwear and pad once the urine tube was removed (yes, we bought two boxes of menstrual pads, sigh) later that day. Also, my IV bag and the leg massager thing could be removed. The abdominal dressing was removed and a binder replaced it. Small victories but I’ll take it.
I had a lot of visitors that day, my aunt, best friend and my parents came to see me, and I wasn’t really tired. I had spasms of pain wash through me and it was difficult trying to sit up on my own. Also, NEVER try to feed yourself noodles while in a hospital bed. The first time I went to pee, a nurse had to come help me and get me out of bed, the second time both my mum and my husband had to get me out of bed. I also learned that I was sitting all wrongly in bed, but only the nurses could get it perfectly right.
Post Op Day 2, 22 March
I slept on and off throughout the night, and managed to go to the toilet on my own a couple more times. At 5am, another girl was warded into the previously empty bed next to mine, which meant I had to reach for the earplugs and eye mask to sleep more.
My mum arrived at 8am, and I tried to feed myself a normal breakfast of eggs, tomatoes, hashbrowns and sausages, but I felt nausea and couldn’t finish it. What I really loved was that they’d send an accompanying bowl of nourishing soup–that I would down. My doctor came by soon after, and after checking everything, determined I could go home that day.
We packed our stuff, I had a shower and removed the stockings I was given, ineptly tried to fasten my gown before seeing the message from billing. I changed into my regular clothes, (a H&M dress and a sweater), and then paid all my bills and waited for my dad to come.
I’ve been sitting a lot, watching (or trying to watch) shows on the TV, on my phone and trying to sleep in the day. For some reason I have tons of weird ass dreams. Although I’m supposed to stick to a fish-rich diet (from my mum and mum-in-law, NOT the doctor), I’ve also eaten pizza, bak kut teh (pork soup with herbs and spices), cereal.
What I’ve noticed is that a lot of myomectomy patients love having people around them–I’m the complete opposite. I don’t want people lingering about and the only person I can about stand is my husband.
Zero Waste Efforts
I know this isn’t very zero waste, considering the amount of waste I’ve contributed, in food wastage, buying sanitary products, and loads of packaging, but it’s not super feasible to do it in a hospital. I will use most of what I’ve brought home with me (but never the hospital pads), and try to minimise my waste (I’m actually wearing Thinx now instead of the sanitary napkins–I’ll wear these when my flow resumes). Another area is food deliveries, which I’m doing a lot of. We always save the paper bags, but the plastic food containers usually are discarded. It’s imperfect I know but I’m doing what I can.