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One woman's Surgical Menopause (hysterectomy)

My doctor said surgical menopause is like driving a car 70 miles per hour and slamming on the brakes. That's what it's like for your body.

When I was 43 I went for my yearly ob/gyn visit. I could tell something wasn't right as my ob asked me when my last period was. When I got in his office he told me I had a cyst on my right ovary. I was concerned because I had two on my left ovary seven years prior and had to have them both surgically removed. At that time I was also diagnosed with endometriosis.

I went back again after another period and he said that it was smaller. I was concerned still as he was checking me manually and didn't offer an ultrasound or a Ca-125 test for ovarian cancer. I called the office and spoke to the nurse and told her I wanted a Ca -125 test as when I had the 2 cysts on my left ovary. She said it would be fine to come in and have it done, but my doc said that it wasn't warranted, but I could have it for peace of mind.

Peace of mind, my foot. Two days later I got a call from the nurse and she said to come to the office immediately as a normal Ca-125 was between 1-35. Mine was 75. How I made it to his office in one piece is beyond me. He told me since I had opened Pandora's box by asking for the Ca-125 test that he had to investigate.

I was on the operating table 2 weeks later having a complete hysterectomy. I have regretted that day forever. I was put on Premarin .625. The first month I felt great. Then I woke up one morning with a bladder infection. The panic and depression set in and loss of appetite. My insides felt like they were shaking. In short, I was a mess.

I went back to my doc and he told me these were not menopausal symptoms, to get them out of my head, I was on estrogen. I went to a second doc and cried in her office. She added estratest.

Finally I went for a mammogram and ultrasound and the female breast specialist to whom I had been going for years asked me what in the world was wrong... as I had gone from 118 lbs to 107. She got me in to see a female ob/endocrinologist.

I had never been depressed before and not wanting to get out of bed. But now I dragged myself to work everyday. I finally went to see the ob/endocrinologist and she said no wonder I didn't feel well. My estrogen level was 40 and should be over 100 for my age. Also since I was thin I did not store estrogen.

She has been a help, but if I knew what surgical menopause was like I would never have done it and would have sought a second and third opinion. By the way, I didn't have ovarian cancer. Thank God!!!! But the road has been long and difficult.

My doctor said surgical menopause is like driving a car 70 miles per hour and slamming on the brakes. That's what it's like for your body. I never even knew that hormones have such a strong affect on a woman's mind...your thoughts, your reactions, your interpretation of things, not to mention the brain fog. You wonder if you have Alzheimer's or are you losing your mind.

I'm better than I was but not 100% and sometimes wonder if I will ever be 100%. I'm on 2 estrogen patches and still don't feel exactly right. Sooo, Ladies, have blood work done to know what your levels are prior to surgery and get a second and third opinion. I wish I'd thought I had the time to do it.

I have emailed Oprah and Dr. Phil about this as I feel it's a shame women have to go through this.

Take care, Tina <braddukes@mindspring.com>

 

For more information about hysterectomy:

  • HERS Foundation (Hysterectomy Educational Resources & Services) is an independent, nonprofit women's health education organization providing accurate information about hysterectomy, its adverse effects and alternative treatments.
  • Hysterectomy Awareness, a website dedicated to raising awareness about hysterectomy as well as providing support and resources about the subject.
  • Sans Uteri, a forum for the discussion of the physical and emotional challenges that can be caused by hysterectomy.
  • Hystersisters, a woman to woman support website for hysterectomy recovery. This group offers resources and kindness so that visitors can discover options and make decisions for themselves.
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Updated  05/15/2010