A little while ago I met a beautiful little girl. She was friendly, courteous and very charismatic. She had a mop of flame coloured hair and immediately stole my heart. Her mother has many of the same characteristics and just happens to be one of the bravest people I have ever met. She made a decision that I am not sure I could ever make.
At 33 she CHOSE to have a full hysterectomy.
She chose not to have any more children. It was a choice she made to take the chance to live pain free.
While you and I take for granted our everyday existence without the reliance of strong medication and therapy, Annette doesn’t. She lives a life of pain, operations and ongoing pills.
This story starts with a young carefree teenager. Just your girl next door who loved life. She was 15 when she first started experiencing terrible pain in her abdomen.
At 18 she was diagnosed with endometriosis. As a second kick she discovered she also had adenomyosis. The two of these only occur in about 10% of cases. They can show no symptoms in some patients but in others, like Annette they create ongoing debilitating pain.
Annette and her sweetheart married and decided to try to have a baby. Luckily they fell pregnant quickly (after only the second month) and she experienced a fairly normal pregnancy.
Little Charlotte was born eight days late following a 36 hour labour and a 3.30am emergency caesarean.
Annette recovered and believed that the pregnancy possibly cured her endometriosis and adenomyosis.
Unfortunately that was not the case.
Two years later her life came crashing down again. Annette experienced post natal depression. She describes the first six months of Charlotte’s life as ‘groundhog day’ over and over and over. She desperately wanted to her life back but couldn’t bear to let anyone else care for her new little girl. Guilt, desperation and resentment consumed her.
She fought through and finally one day woke up with a new lease on life.
Not long after, the stomach pains returned. She had adhesions in her uterus. The doctors told her the only option she had was a full hysterectomy. She was 33.
No more children. No little brother or sister for her darling Charlotte.
Following the major surgery she experienced horrific pain. For six weeks she was unable to move. She had to sit in the shower. Her blood pressure was out of control, even causing her to pass out.
A little while later she experienced a brief reprise from her pain. It was bliss. She could play with young Charlotte.
Then the pain came back 10 fold. Neuromas and nerve tumours overtook her body. The pain was excruciating.
Annette is on a disability pension because she is unable to work due to the heavy load of medications that she is on. Every single day.
Some days are so bad she is unable to go to the toilet unassisted due to the spasms.
Her mother takes care of her. Her husband takes care of her. Her daughter takes care of her.
Annette fights an up-hill battle every day to try and find a way to live without dependence on endone.
Annette says she doesn’t regret the surgery but does wish it had been more effective. She says without the support of her family and in particular her husband, she wouldn’t be able to survive.
What does worry her is that her mother had a hysterectomy at 38 years old. Is this a hereditary problem that has passed to little Charlotte? Only time (and prayers) will tell.
Annette, you are strong and brave and the Central Nest sincerely thanks you for sharing your incredible story with us.