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location:  Transition  >  Hysterectomy  >  Timeline

Since I had a history of menstruation problems and anemia, I decided to try to get insurance to pay for a hysterectomy before starting T. I went to my local Planned Parenthood, where I knew there was a trans-friendly ob-gyn surgeon.

January 3, 2003
I had to have a preliminary laparoscopic surgery to look for endometriosis, which is the presence of endometrial tissue (normally found only on the inside of the uterus) in locations outside the uterus. Because I always had extremely heavy and painful periods, it was fairly likely that I had it. If I did have endometriosis, my OBGYN doctor was confident that the insurance company would be willing to pay for a complete hysterectomy. If I did not have endometriosis, then she said it will be a bit trickier, but she would try to push it through anyway. Regardless of the outcome, I knew I'd be happier in the end to know that I at least gave it my best shot.

Pre-op Visit:
March 7, 2003
I met with my surgeon for a pre-op appointment to discuss exactly what will be done during the surgery. I signed all the consent paperwork and had to change into a "johnny" to get the internal exam to check my uterus. I didn't remember how traumatizing those exams are. My doctor explained again that if I have endometriosis, the insurance company shouldn't hassle about wanting a hysterectomy. But if i didn't have it, then it would be a bit of a hassle. I was perfectly confident about entrusting my sugeon with the procedure and doing the best job she can to push it through the insurance, but of course, there is the voice in the back of my head that was asking, "what if." Other than that, I was completely ready.

March 12, 2003
During the laparoscopic surgery, my surgeon made a small cut below my navel. Then, carbon dioxide was used to inflate my belly so the organs can be seen more clearly. The laparoscope (a small camera) was placed through the cut. Another cut was made above the public hair line so another instrument can be used to move the organs around. My surgeon did find endometriosis, so she made an additional cut also near the pubic hair region to insert a laser to remove the tissue. After the procedure, the instuments were removed, the gas was released, and the cuts were closed. I was under general anethesia for about 35 minutes. My surgery was at 7:30am, abd I was able to go home by noon or so.

Day After:
March 13, 2003
I survived the surgery with no major complications. My doctor found 3 spots of endometriosis (yay!). She lasered one and removed the other two for biopsy. The two removed for biopsy were right near my bladder so my bladder was very disturbed and not working properly the day of the surgery. I had to go back to her office to have a catheter put in for overnight. Even though it hurt like mother f*cker when they put it in, I had fun peeing standing up with it. When she removed the catheter the next day, she said she would call me in about a week when the biopsy results are come in to let me know what the next step was going to be. She mentioned that the insurance company might want me to go on medication to control the endometriosis before approving a hysterectomy.

2 Months
Laparoscopy Post-Op:
May 11, 2003
All of the swelling had finally gone down and the scars were healing up nicely. The belly button incision gave me a little bit of trouble, but after the stitches were removed 10 days post-op it began to heal much more easily.

Pre-op Visit:
June 2, 2003
Since the insurance company approved me for a laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (LAVH and BSO), I had my pre-op visit with my doctor on June 2nd. She said she didn't need to do a "physical exam," because she knew what was going on in there due to my recent laparoscopy. Thank god. She answered all my questions, I signed some paperwork, and that was it. She warned me that because I have never had children (or put anything up there ever), then there might be some "technical difficulties" fitting the instruments through my vagina. If that was the case, then she would have to convert from laparoscopy to open-belly sugery, which takes about four times as long to heal from. But that was a risk I was going to have to take.

June 11, 2003
The surgery went perfectly. It took two full hours, but she was able to remove my uterus, overies, and cervix all vaginally, using just the camera through my belly button, and two other instruments that were inserted near in my lower abdomen. Because of my previous experiene with getting catheters put in while awake, I requested that mine be left in overnight so there was no chance that would happen again. I spent the night in the hospital and was able to go home the next afternoon. There really wasn't much pain at all. The most annoying thing was being so sleepy and groggy from the pain medicine...I wasn't even able to keep my eyes open when I had company. Everyone was so great to me, even the overnight nurses who came to take my vitals and give me more pills every two hours. My doctor said that I would bleed/spot for the "the next few weeks," but I ended up bleeding for about 5 weeks (which I believe is an abnormally long time).