Hysterectomy – Helen Long shares her experience

Hysterectomy? Me? I’m not old enough! Having got over the shock and accepted the inevitable, I decided I would be as fit as possible before the op. I was going into ‘pre hab’.

Helen 2The physio who visited me after the op was impressed with this and said that the NHS are always saying that physios should work with patients before operations to get them fitter. Sadly, in reality funds are just not available.

Helen 1I’m afraid to say that the only person who can do this is you! Speak to your FLexercise teacher and they can advise you of some good exercises to do to help you prepare.

For my ‘pre hab’, I particularly worked on my glutes, deep abdominals and my pelvic floor. I combined this with walking and cycling a few times a week. The combination was a great core strengthening work out.

After a hysterectomy, it is important to rest as much as you can. Your body has undergone a huge trauma and needs time to recover. It really is crucial to regularly do the exercises you are given. And, to begin walking as soon as possible. I felt very vulnerable as I began walking outside again. I made it to the end of our drive and back for the first couple of days. Then I gradually increased the distance over the following weeks.

Helen 4All of the exercises given to me in hospital were ones I had done week after week in my classes. So it was easy to do them at home, gradually building up the repetitions and levels of difficulty. You can only do limited types of exercise for quite a while post op. It’s a brilliant excuse for getting out of doing your least favourite! You can’t planks or sit-ups for months.

There are many reasons for having a hysterectomy and there are varying degrees of surgery. Mine was a total hysterectomy with the incision all along my low abdominal area. After the initial shock of discovering I needed the op, then the fear of the procedure itself, I am now enjoying the benefits. No more crippling period pains every single month and no totting up weeks to see if holidays are going to be at the wrong time!Helen 3

In addition, my husband turned out to be a fabulous nurse and totally exceeded my expectations with his caring skills!  He even organised and cooked an absolutely wonderful Christmas lunch – and voluntarily did it again last December!

Helen 3Exercise is not only good for us physically but also for our mental wellbeing. A hysterectomy can make you feel pretty vulnerable. So, exercise will be the last thing you feel like doing. However, it can the very thing that makes you feel better, inside and out, mentally and physically. Thanks to FLexercise I was at a teachers refresher course in Torquay after three months, skiing after four, and walking twenty six miles around moonlit London in the Moonwalk after five. All down to diligently doing my exercises regularly, and walking lots.

This blog is not a medical factsheet, there are lots of those out there. Rather, it’s a confirmation that exercise really does make a massive difference in recovery following a hysterectomy. My FLexercise training and continued practise of our exercise system before and after the op,  was instrumental in my quick, uncomplicated and now complete recovery. I have to say that I would not go back, I’m feeling good and although the big ‘M’ has hit me, I’m tackling it head on!

I wondered how I would feel about being thrown in the deep end regarding the menopause. But, I’m feeling good so far and keeping up with the exercise. And there’s always HRT if I need it…

And there starts a whole new blog!