Other than my mom who had gone through it 30-some years earlier, I didn’t know anyone who’d had a hysterectomy recently. So I didn’t have anyone to share notes with or get opinions from.
My doctor had scheduled the surgery right away, so I also had very little time to “learn” about how to prepare for my hysterectomy… and what to expect after a hysterectomy.
In an attempt to help other ladies in the same boat as me, I did a lot of research — both before and after my surgery — and I took pages and pages of notes, detailing exactly what my experience was like as I went through it.
It’s been a few months since my surgery, and I have finally put my entire experience into some meaningful form here on our Health blog.
Let’s start with the things I’d recommend you do in the weeks and days leading up to your hysterectomy…
The type of full hysterectomy I had is a robotic hysterectomy. It’s actually called a DaVinci hysterectomy.
Most experts believe that very soon this will be the preferred method of doing all hysterectomies. But for now, it’s mostly used for complicated hysterectomies.
I can’t speak highly enough about it. My surgery and recovery both went quite smoothly.
They say that you can only take Tylenol (or acetaminophen) for headache and pain starting 1 week prior to your hysterectomy.
You have to avoid some common types of medications because these thin your blood:
There are lots of other popular medications on the blood thinners list they gave me (and a few they added that are not on that list), but the ones I’ve listed above were the most surprising to me since they’re often used as vitamins and supplements.
Buy These Things Ahead Of Time
You might want to do what I did…
Make sure you have enough gas in the car for the drive to the hospital and back — plus enough to get prescriptions, if necessary.
Make one big trip to the grocery store 2 days before your surgery to stock up on enough food & snacks to get you and other family members through the first couple of weeks after surgery (plus all “the necessities” to get you through the pre- and post-surgery requirements).
Here’s what I bought:
You can only have clear liquids for the entire day before your surgery which includes these foods & beverages:
…so I stocked up on the ones that I liked best.
Those were my go-to’s the day before surgery and in the days immediately following surgery — when you don’t feel like eating much at all.
I also stocked up on these things at the grocery store beforehand, so I’d have plenty of the best things to eat after surgery:
Reminder: You’re pretty much running to the toilet all day long the day before your surgery — due to the Magnesium Citrate and pure liquid diet — such is why you need to do the grocery shopping 2 days before your surgery. Also, you cannot eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before your surgery.
Do These Things To Prep Your House
Remember, you can’t push, pull, or stretch for 6 weeks after your surgery. That means you’ll be relying on family members to do all of the household chores — and chances are they won’t be as thorough as you are about it.
That’s why I made a point to get the house as clean as possible (and crossed my fingers hoping that my husband wouldn’t have to do much in terms of household cleaning while I was laid up).
Here’s what I did:
Do These Things If You Have A Dog
If your dog is hyperactive and needs a lot of attention, make sure that you arrange for a friend or family member take care of your dog’s everyday needs for the days during and after your hysterectomy.
My dog is very laid back — so I knew that he would never jump up on me or even be too demanding of my time in the days following my surgery. (He’s a 9-year-old Lab mix.)
Still, I wanted to be as prepared ahead of time as possible — so I wouldn’t have to do a lot of lifting (or keep having to get up to reach my dog’s treats) in those first few days after surgery.
Here’s what I did to simplify the process of keeping my dog happy:
I left the house on the morning of my surgery wearing loose-fitting sweat pants, loose-fitting underwear, a zip-up lightweight jacket (that served as a shirt too), no bra, and slip-on shoes (no socks). Those are the same clothes I wore home from the hospital the next day. (I only stayed one night.)
I put these items in my husband’s wallet for the day of surgery:
These are the items that I packed in a duffel bag for the hospital:
The hospital will give you anything else you might need — like warm socks, medicine, water, maxi pads, even more puke bags if you think you might need them for your first days at home.
One of my all-time favorite “gifts” from the hospital was a pair of mesh underwear that they provided — actually 2 pairs in sealed packages. These are extremely tacky looking, but oh so practical because they’re holey, yet durable. So they’ll hold a maxi pad in place, yet they’re lightweight and don’t cause you to sweat after hours of lying in the same position. And the best part: there’s no tight elastic, so they don’t tug on your groin- and waist-level sutures!
Oh yeah, the other “gift” I was thrilled to receive from the hospital (which I’m sure I paid dearly for!) was the 3-foot by 3-foot quilted stain-proof pad that you put on top of the bed sheet before lying down — or place on top of the chair before sitting down. It prevents any staining from getting on your furniture and bedding — and it’s fully washable. I took my quilted pad home to save my own bed sheets, chairs, and sofas from staining after surgery! That pad also gave me a sort of “cloth handle” to pull myself up with when getting out of my bed at home.
Reminder: You cannot chew gum, have mints, water, or ingest anything else on the morning of your surgery. I brushed my teeth that morning — being careful not to swallow any toothpaste or water. They told me to take my blood pressure medicine with a sip of water before I arrived for surgery. They’ll tell you how to handle your own routine prescriptions during your pre-op appointment. You also cannot wear makeup, jewelry, or nail polish into surgery. Why no nail polish? So they can check your oxygen levels by looking at your fingernails. (For what … I wore mascara.)
Here’s what my hysterectomy surgery was like, including week-by-week updates of my recovery.
And in case you’re wondering, I spent most of the first week after surgery watching OnDemand TV shows and movies — Amazon and Netflix too. Oh, and taking diligent notes of what I was experiencing day-by-day, along with tips to help other women who are scheduled to have a hysterectomy.
I hope you’ve found this info helpful!
P.S Before your hysterectomy, be sure to share this with your husband: How Hubby Can Help.
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).
I started my baby’s oral care regime as soon as he got his first tooth. But I should have started…
You know what a dirty bathtub ring looks like... Now imagine what that soap scum buildup is doing inside the…
I'm thinking of getting a foot tattoo. But I've done a lot of research and I've found 5 good reasons…
Yes, I have something in common with some very famous SNL comedians. I took an improv comedy class - just…
Yoga in bed?! ...Why not? It’s no secret that regular exercise is an important part of a happy and healthy…