Recently, I’ve never had difficult menstrual cycles. So, my menstrual cycles start to get a little weird. So I felt like something was kind of going on, so I start making appointments to go and talk to the doctor. And low and behold, I have fibroids inside of my uterus.
I talked to the doc and she gave me some options of what I could possibly do. But I elected to have the full hysterectomy and have the fibroids removed at the same time. I thought that would be the best for me because at least if I have the hysterectomy and I get the ovaries, everything out, I won’t have to be bothered with the fibroids. Which would take down my risk for ovarian cancer as well. And that was a big concern for me.
So of course when you first wake up in the hospital, you realize you’ve had surgery. The pain initially was excruciating. I will say I was relying on pain medication for a while. The incision where the cut is, it bothers you. But the internal is what you feel the most. Because you don’t realize just how intense that surgery is. And, you know, the recovery trying to get yourself back up and moving and then you’re tired. The pain at the incision, the pain that you feel inside, it takes a while for your organs to start regulating themselves. So your appetite is a little bit off. Your bowel movements are a little bit off. It’s a lot of things you have to deal with internally.
And menopause came in like a whirlwind. I immediately started getting the hot flashes. They came slowly. I got the hot flashes. The mood swings have been crazy. I have made it difficult for my husband. I’ve made it difficult even for the folks even to work around me. It’s very difficult being in the Air Force, and you have to go to the bathroom because you need to either cry or have a moment. But you can still have a very fulfilling sex life. And all the stereotypes you just have to kind of get over.
It did take us, after my recovery – the doctor has to clear you before, of course, you have sexual activity to make sure everything, everything is working all right. And when she cleared me, I was cleared. And I could have sex with my husband, but I was – I had an anxiety about it. I felt like, okay, is this going to be uncomfortable? And she gave me some things that we could use, some medication that I can use just in case we have difficulty with sex. But so far it’s been, it’s been okay.
I opted not to have HRT because once again, I went back to some women that had already done HRT. My sister’s a nurse practitioner and she went through menopause two years before I started mine. And she was explaining to me that hormonal replacement therapy for some of her patients, it didn’t really work that well. She was like, well try it and if you need hormonal replacement therapy, you can always go back to your doctor and tell her that, you know, the menopause is effecting you in such a way that you really want that option to still be available.
I have used the black cohosh, which is an herb, so I’ve been kind of taking that kind of stuff. I’ve been introduced to exercise. There’s certain kinds of exercises that will be able to help you. Eating ice chips at night, I kind of incorporate that. But, I’m always willing to try new things. And every time I follow up with my doc, I ask her all the time hey, any new things I can try? Is there something that I can do? Because I just didn’t want to do hormonal replacement therapy.
When there’s changes in your body, whether it’s your menstrual cycle, whether it’s your desire for sex, if it’s painful during sex, listen to your body. Because the body is trying to tell you that there’s something wrong. Even though you’re in the military, you have to make sure that you take care of yourself. Work will work itself out. And for any woman who is working, taking care of her family, you have to be able to take care of yourself in order to take care of your family. And if that means you have to have absences from work, you should put your health first. Because a healthy you is a more productive you.