If you are a woman in the United States, you’ve either had a hysterectomy, will have one or know someone who has. I joined thousands of other women on November 26th when I underwent a hysterectomy (uterus/cervix removal) due to suspected adenomyosis and other issues. A salpingectomy (surgical removal of fallopian tubes), single oophorectomy (removal of one ovary) and endometriosis removal was also performed.
Hysterectomy is so commonplace in the U.S., and now that it can be performed on an outpatient basis, the seriousness and full recovery time is often downplayed. You will hear about women returning to work 2 weeks after surgery. You will hear stories of little to no pain or complications. It’s truth for those women. You will also hear about women who were couch-bound for weeks, as well as women who had to go back in for revision surgery due to complications. No surgery and no recovery is going to be exactly the same. Even if you have a complication-free surgery and are fit going into it, a smooth recovery is not guaranteed. It doesn’t mean that those who have a bumpy recovery did anything wrong. My surgeon told me that I’d start to feel awesome after just a few days. Well, it’s been just over two weeks and I am only now starting to feel anything resembling “awesome”…and that’s only immediately upon getting up in the morning.
As you know, I work with women as a personal trainer/coach. One in three will have a hysterectomy by age 60. For that reason, I’m sharing my experience.
When we share our stories, what it does is, it opens up our hearts for other people to share their stories. And it gives us the sense that we are not alone on this journey.” - Janine Shepherd
It’s mid-November and I’ve heard a couple of clients lament the stress they feel building due to the upcoming holidays. As a personal trainer/coach, I don’t want you experiencing holiday-related stress that impacts your health, happiness and overall well-being. It’s supposed to be the happiest time of year, after all. Only sometimes, it isn’t, right? Added expectations and obligations amount to added stress. And the holidays are full of both! We’ve got expectations for amazing home décor and gifts, home-cooked meals and baked goodies, obligations to attend gatherings and give charitably. If we're being honest, often these expectations and obligations are self-applied! We can’t forget the potential winter time weather and travel woes. Then there’s the challenge of familial strain or conflicts that seem to only come up on Thanksgiving or Christmas. (Deciding where you’ll spend the holidays is always a fun one!) The stress is almost palpable.
It’s easy to get caught up in the negative feelings by imaging all the scenarios that haven’t even happened yet or recalling the disasters of holidays past. The good news is that you can get a handle on some of the tasks that are stressing you, right now. You may not be able to extinguish every ounce of stress but you can certainly manage it and spend more of this season in enjoyment rather than worry.
Hysterectomy is among the top 10 most commonly performed surgeries in the US; 1 in 3 women has one by age 60. It seems like every other woman I’ve talked to has had one or knows a relative or friend who has one scheduled. It may be common but it’s still a major surgery that requires general anesthesia and significant recovery time. We’ve got to have a pre-op plan for optimal mental and physical health post-op. These are the things I am preparing in the two weeks leading up to my surgery date. The following tips are written with hysterectomy in mind but could potentially be applicable to other major surgical procedures.
I believe in the power of perseverance. I do. I know that the key to success is ultimately to keep going after inevitable failures. However, not all projects, goals, jobs or relationships MUST be seen through to the end. This can be difficult to admit. We are taught that quitters never win.
I used to have mini-breakdowns every time I dropped a class, quit a job, or changed my mind about a project I had started. I hated being a “quitter”. That wasn’t who I was. Eventually, I learned that it can be okay to quit. I can trust myself to know when it's time to stop. Sometimes I quit because new approaches aren't having the desired outcome. Sometimes I quit because I honestly no longer care to complete the goal. I don't throw my hands up and walk out the second it gets tough. Only after evaluation (and a gut-check) do I decide to walk away.
At times, it can be relatively simple to determine that quitting is the right course of action: