So How did it Go? My Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy-Details!

11 August 2019: Updating five years after my Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy for just a minute. I had hired someone to update my blog and the individual did not move photos or forward links appropriately. Content below has not changed, but unfortunately photos were lost. I will work to recover these. As for how I am doing – AMAZINGLY well. Over five years later, I still am SO grateful I had the procedure.

Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy
14th of March 2014, rolling me in

…Or what I can remember anyway.

TMI alert here. I am going to be really blunt about all parts of this surgery journey. So if things like bowel preps, bowel movements, tampons and gas give you the heebie jeebies, you’ve been warned my friend!

Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy – The Day Before

Thursday, the 13th was rough. I wrote I thought I’d escape my last cycle and I didn’t. It gave me a farewell with a bang. And a punch. To the ovaries and uterus. Damn I’m glad she’s gone.

Throughout the entire day the nausea was something fierce. I kept drinking hot tea, chicken flavored broth and longing for a saltine cracker like it was going to be my last meal on the planet. Alas, no cracker for me. At some point in the evening I also packed my bag for the hospital, triple checking I had my ID and insurance cards.

The hubs went to the drugstore and got my Vicodin prescription (which I was allowed to take in the evening thank goodness) along with two bottles of Magnesium Citrate. That stuff is awful. Although, they did have a flavor I hadn’t tried before – grape! How exciting, huh!?! I have to write it was the best one of all I’ve had. It’s kind of sad when you can actually review that stuff in your head (note: avoid cherry, lemon-lime is okay). Okay, moving on… Put it over ice, and chugged it down from 1500 to 1700 hours (3pm to 5pm). Half an hour later, it started working. UGH. If you have never done a bowel prep let’s just say you have to remember that you’re actually going #2 because it seems like #1. And have baby wipes on hand. Yeah. Gross. I know. But all truth. Then I was up about every half hour until bedtime and I was graced with only having to get up about every hour. I never actually fell asleep, but just laying down felt good.

Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy – Morning of

Finally at 0330 (3:30am) I couldn’t take it anymore and I got out of bed. After spending the better part of a half hour on the toilet (told you I was going to be blunt) I took a shower with anti-bacterial soap as per my pre-op instructions. I dried my hair in-between having to use the bathroom and being hunched over in pain from cramps. Then the hubs got up to get ready and I just laid in the bed in complete and utter pain from my period since I couldn’t take any medication before arriving to the hospital. I am sure the neighbors thought I was either dying or in complete ecstasy from the groaning. While I wish it was the latter, alas, we all know better.

Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy – Getting to the Hospital

Before I knew it, it was finally time to go. It took just a handful of minutes to drive to the hospital, get parked and walk in. We walked in behind a few people and the guy was “one of those” who had to tell everyone what to do, where to go and how to behave. All I wanted was to tell him to shut up. Nerves. Hubs and I just looked at each other like, “Oh brother.”

The hubs had to have a visitor bracelet and confirm he had a flu shot with the front desk guy (I don’t know why they ask – but they ask all visitors if they’ve had one). He got a bracelet, then we went up to the surgical check in. I checked in, gave them my insurance cards, ID and then they confirmed all my information and stuck my hospital bracelet on me.

We hung out in the waiting room area a bit and the news was playing information about the missing Malaysia Air Flight. As a frequent business traveler, I didn’t want to see that right before going into surgery. My heart breaks for all involved, but in that moment I was being selfish and I wanted no negative vibes, so I told the hubs I wanted to ignore the TV and we looked at Pinterest on my phone – the Animals section- and I went on about how I wanted “that animal” and “this animal” – everything from dogs, to hedgehogs, to chameleons to cats. Then it was time for me to go back. The nurse called me back and told hubs that they would come and get him once they had me ready. It took awhile. Here is what I remember:

Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy – In Bullets

  • They asked if I could leave a urine sample despite being dehydrated from the bowel prep. Don’t know how I did it, but I gave them one.
  • Disposable underwear and pad on (tampon out) – wouldn’t be needing any of this much longer
  • Clothes off
  • Hospital gown (glamorous) on
  • Hospital socks on (the Bear Paws kind with paw prints awww)
  • Graduated compression stockings on
  • Pneumatic compression cuffs on (these inflate and deflate every few minutes to squeeze the veins in your legs so you have good blood flow – prevents clots during surgery)
  • Heart monitors on
  • Hair cap on
  • Met the camera man and the woman from the hospital who interviewed me
  • Got into the bed
  • Reviewed paperwork
  • Signed paperwork
  • Had IV put in (first try, too – score!!!)
  • I told them in-between all this I wanted to see my husband; they finally brought him back and we chatted and he calmed me. He never let go of my hand.
  • The menstrual cramps started back up somewhere in here and he told me he could see the monitor changing when I would react to a bad twinge of pain
  • I was interviewed and filmed
  • Dr. G came back and said ‘hello’, met my husband and asked if I was ready and had any questions
  • Anesthesiologist came back and I told him to shoot me up with painkiller because I was hurting
  • They gave me two things, but I can’t remember one of them
  • He also asked me if I wanted something to relax. When he walked away he told the nurse to give me 1) I can’t remember 2) Patanol and 3)Versed (also known as Midazolam). First I said yes I wanted something to relax, but the Patanol hit me so hard it made my head go backwards and I was like, “Ummm, never-mind. I think I’m good.”
  • I remember getting chatty, and then after that I don’t remember much. The hubs said I sang, “The best husband in the world song.” I have a song that I sing to him and I make up the lyrics as I go. I don’t remember this at all, but he says I can ask the nurses. Let’s just say no one wants to hear me sing.
  • He said I told him I Love him, I thanked him and told him how happy he makes me then they wheeled me into surgery.
  • I remember seeing the robot (Melissa, but I named it BotWati for the surgery). I remember, a little; i.e. them moving me onto the surgical table and shifting me around, then an oxygen mask.
  • Then I woke up in recovery. I don’t even remember getting anesthesia in the operating room!
  • I feel like I was in recovery forever. It took me a long time to wake up. I felt queasy, which is par for the course for me when it comes to anesthesia. Dr. G came in and I don’t remember much of the conversation other than him telling me I’d be staying the night in the hospital.
  • Also, I went into surgery with a purple hospital gown on and came out with a green hospital gown on. I kept fixating on that for some reason.

Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy – Waking up

Eventually, they brought the hubs back and I held his hand. Somehow I got up to my room, but don’t remember how. My mouth was extremely dry, and I wanted water They gave me ice instead. It was wonderful. I also remember being given morphine and how much I HATE morphine because of the head rush and nausea I feel. I got the dry heaves (AWFUL) so they switched me to Toradol (much better). Only problem with it is that you can only take it every eight hours. All in all, I remember thinking, “Wow. I have NO pain!” I did really well that first day and slept a lot. It’s all kind of a blur. A note about morphine: It is not long lasting, so you need a lot of it. My advice, get something else. Of course, it might be different for other people. That’s just me.

I do recall the nurse asking me if I had gas yet. Ah gas. I forgot I had read about that. Day One – the answer was no. I didn’t have gas yet. Everything was still sleeping in there.

At some point the hubs left for a little while to eat dinner with our friends who sent him back with a basket of magazines, soaps, scrubs, a card and other treats. So thoughtful! Hubs had also got me these beautiful purple orchids. He couldn’t find lavender, but they were close enough to remind me of our lavender farm wedding. 🙂

I also had to use my spirometer to do breathing exercises. I also have to continue using it at home – ten times an hour. This ensures the lungs stay active and prevents pneumonia. It sucks, because your chest does feel a little crushed. Breathing is a bit difficult, but once you get through it it feels a million times better.

They brought a cot in for the hubs and he slept in the hospital with me. Poor thing. They kept coming in every hour to check my vitals, take my blood and so forth. I slept as much as I could. I think I was up and down to pee at least six times.

Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy – The next day

We got up and I walked a little. Eventually the gas started to hit me. And the gas hurts more than the soreness from the surgery! Stuff is still moving around in there. It’s only coming out in small burps, but this is the one time in my life I wish it was easy for me to be rude! I don’t ‘fart’ in front of my husband. I’m a believer that complacency breeds contempt, but in this case a little flatulence would be welcome. He makes jokes about it, but I am mortified. I haven’t had a bowel movement since the morning of surgery. I’m eating prunes, fruit and downing hot jasmine tea. Still nada. He tells me just to sit on the toilet with a magazine. LMAO. If only that would actually work.

Dr. G called me a little while ago to see how I am doing and says it’ll take a few days. I’m doing really well. Right now I haven’t taken any painkiller. I feel a little sore, but it’s just the gas moving around a bit that actually hurts. I do feel tired and will probably fall asleep again soon.

So back to the hospital. On day two they brought breakfast but ordered the wrong thing so I got nausea again because I don’t eat eggs. The nutritionist took the lid off the breakfast which was scrambled eggs and the smell hit me like a slap to the face. The hubs told her she should take them away and she looked at him, confused. He said, “No really. You should take them now,” as I grabbed a Kleenex to cover my nose and mouth and could feel the gag reflex in my throat engaging. Luckily we caught that one in time.

Later they brought some fish and chicken noodle soup. I finished the soup and about two bites of fish. I also had water and hot chamomile tea.

Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy – Going Home

I kept asking if I could go home and finally the doctor did the paperwork to release me. The ride home was a little bumpy and I felt every.single.bump. OUCH. When we got up to our place I was so grateful to get on the sofa. I fell asleep almost immediately.

I’ve pretty much been out of it. I’ll read a little of a magazine here and there, watch a few minutes of a movie or program then pass out. I took about four doses, total, of the Vicodin over the last two days. If I need it later I’ll take it, but I just don’t feel any pain right now.

Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy – Feeling Good

Dr. G did show me a picture of my incision. I’ll have to see if I can get it from him to post (I’ll link it for the faint of heart). It really is just around and in the belly button.

I have to write that I am really lucky I didn’t experience the emotions a lot of women do when going through this type of surgery. I never planned on having biological children and I was already sterile from the Essure tubal ligation and the endometrial ablation, so it wasn’t a loss for me. Yes, part of me was being taken out, but it had felt like an enemy since I was ten years old. It was time for it to go. I made my peace a long time ago. At the same time, I kept my ovaries and cervix so I think the surgery was less traumatic for me. The fallopian tubes (and Essure coils) along with my uterus are gone. I was more emotional about how this would affect my husband. He is a saint. I cannot write enough about what a true man he is. He was there every step of the way, supported me and continues to support me in this decision. Suffice it to say, he is also excited for the freedom this will give me-and us- throughout our lives together.

Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy – Other Notes

Dr. G did mention I was bleeding A LOT – emphasis on A LOT and he felt the endometrial ablation did nothing for me. As it turns out, they did not find endometriosis. How do I feel about that? A little confused, because I expected it. Still, I know my uterus was not healthy and it is good we finally did the surgery. Let me be clear about something:

Do I think women should just go around removing their reproductive organs because of cramps? Good grief, no. I am 100% resolved I made the right decision for ME. My quality of life was not good and with my surgeon backing my decision it wasn’t entered into lightly. I encourage anyone considering this route to really do your research and make sure there are no other options. This was my choice. The right choice for you or someone you know could be different.

So what now? I focus on recovery. This has been a little detox. I am not very hungry, but what I am craving is healthy options. This will help me refocus since I want to keep this up and really re-focus on healthy eating and getting my body back into shape. I have done this so I will be stronger, so it’s time to care of myself again. I am excited about what is to come!

Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy – Sex

A word about sex and intimacy. I have heard different things. The average wait time seems to be six weeks (which yes, might as well be six years UGH). I have a follow-up in two weeks and will get more info then. I will write this. Last night the hubs was kissing me good night and I got that rush and OUCH!!! Yes, waking things up around that area did hurt a bit. It’s like nerve endings that were sleeping being splashed with ice-cold water. It actually felt like a sharp pain, so I was like, “Uhh okay. No kissing or touching,” in a joking, light-hearted, but kind of serious way. So whether we have to wait two weeks or six weeks, it’s going to be very hard errr difficult, but I don’t suspect that there will be any problems. AT ALL. In the meantime, just know that it’s possible if you have this surgery, in the beginning those nerve endings will present themselves in an unpleasant way.

Davinci Robotic Hysterectomy – Other stuff

In this particular moment I am really sleepy. I am still not in any pain. It took awhile to write this entry. I feel a tiny bit of soreness around the incision. Standing up still takes some time. I would give someone a prize if they could give me the secret to getting to go #2 – and not with use of a laxative (not supposed to do that). I keep trying to remember everything, but this is what I’ve got for now.

I’ll sign off with this… I am one woman. This is my own journey. If there are other women out there who are considering this surgery, who have questions or who want to share their own stories, please ask and please share. As women we should empower each other.

Thank you for reading. I’ll let everyone know how the post-op goes!

Have a great St. Patrick’s Day!

Until next time,

H.