Hysterectomy surgery

When I was told five years ago that as part of my transition I should consider a hysterectomy, I secretly decided to put it off as long as possible. Or avoid it all together. This resolve became even stronger after my chest surgery (I am still traumatised by the memory of the drains being removed).

Why was I so worried? Because I was afraid. I had heard all sorts of horrible stories about the effects of the hysterectomy from women I probably shouldn’t have been listening to. I thought it would be too expensive. And mostly I think I was afraid of a gyno treating me like a freak and looking at that part of my body.

But after four years on T the cramps I got monthly before T were still REALLY painful. There was no bleeding anymore, but the cramps were crippling. So I spoke to Dr Gail (Bearman) here at the Gender Clinic and it was decided that the best way to do away with the pain was a hysterectomy. And the added bonus was that I wouldn’t need any more pap smears either.

I needed to see a psychiatrist for approval prior to surgery, but that is another story. Needless to say, I was approved.

I called Dr Gordon Kilvert’s rooms for an appointment. The receptionist was really friendly to me. When I first attended, the waiting room was crowded but there was no discomfort because I realised there were other guys waiting to see the doctor about their wife’s pregnancies.

Dr Gordon had me come through to see him. He was really good. He treated me like a man. Shook hands etc. He was very gentle in his examination and very understanding of my discomfort. I felt that he knew what he was doing and that he wasn’t embarrassed by the situation.

He booked me in to have surgery performed in St Andrew’s private where he does all his ops. He also told me that he would only charge the recognised fee so that I would have no gap to pay my insurance company (MBF cover this surgery for trans-guys).

I remember nothing from the surgery itself except that prior to being knocked out the anesthetist and Dr Gordon were talking to me to make me comfortable and then I pleasantly fell asleep.

When I awoke, it was dark (I had surgery at 8am). Sharon (my partner) was sitting next to me and told me that the nurse said to press a green button if I had any pain. She also told me that she had to go home to Matt (our son). I don’t remember pressing the button or any pain at that time. Next time I woke, a female and male nurse were asking me if I wanted my gown changed. I mumbled, “No”.

The next morning I woke up and had my gown changed by a male and female nurse.They were REALLY gentle. Sharon came to see me. I don’t remember feeling much more than a dull pain in my abdomen at this time. I spent the day moving in and out of sleep and watching TV.

The nurses were great. They kept telling me to press the green button and that if it were them, they would. It became a joke that I didn’t feel the need to press it too much.

The next few days are a blur. I remember that I wasn’t allowed to leave until my digestive system was working again and that I was tricked into eating a laxitive disguised as icecream (very salty). YUCK! I also remember that the nursing staff were really good and no one treated me like a freak.

Dr Gordon came in to see me every day and check on my progress. Usually he came in early before work. On the Saturday (surgery was Wednesday) he came in at 6:30am and asked me when I wanted to go home. At 9am Sharon was there to pick me up.

The drive home was uncomfortable. The next 3 weeks were quite uncomfortable and boring. I couldn’t do anything. I could lay down and watch TV but that was about it. And it was summer and our loungeoom gets REALLY hot in the afternoon. But after about three weeks, my Oma came over from Holland for Christmas and spent some time with me.

The second three weeks of recovery were still painful but at least I could move around. I helped my Oma cook and I started to do some cross stitch to keep myself entertained. I was still very tired and uncomfortable but all-in-all it was ok.

When I returned to work, I was on light duties for about three weeks. I still did everything I normally did in that job (apprentice two-way radio technician), but I didn’t do any heavy lifting or stretching jobs.

I did get some minor internal bleeding at the site of the scar after about 2-3 weeks, but I think this occurred because I did overdo it (I blame it on the increased sex drive from T). However, between Dr Gail and Dr Gordon it was treated effectively and went away. I now have very minor scarring, no cramps and no more papsmears.

Andrew G (2003). Hysterectomy surgery, Torque