I had a Bilateral Salpingo Oophorectomy on 1/9/17. Some ladies have this surgery on a different timeframe, some not at all, depending on their specific diagnosis and treatment plan. I decided to do it now because my body was not responding to the hormone suppressing Lupron shots. After 4 months and increased dosage, I was still not in menopause. So, after trying to induce it medically, we resorted to inducing it surgically, which was necessary to start the next phase of treatment. Having my ovaries and tubes removed wasn’t that complicated, but I realize that has a lot to do with how much I have been through already. Relatively speaking, it was a minor, outpatient, laparoscopic surgery with a much easier recovery than the last one. Actually, the experience falls somewhere between mastectomy and port placement/removal.
It took a bit more than 2 hours for the procedure itself, but they put me under and the whole process was much longer. I checked in around 10 a.m., surgery at noon, in post-op recovery until 4 p.m. There were 3 small incisions and I was woozy and flushed from the anesthesia. My body was pumped full of air so I had lots of bloating and painful gas in my torso and was sore for a week or so. Sleep was tricky during this time, mostly because I couldn’t get comfortable. I used ibuprofen for the first few days, but otherwise was fine without meds. The steri strips stayed on for almost 2 weeks before the residue started to bother me and I worked them off with a little oil and witch hazel.
Photos: The day after/a few days after surgery and one week post-op
I couldn’t wear the baby carrier (or normal pants) for a couple of weeks because the hip strap went right over my wounds, but I wasn’t supposed to be carrying over 10 pounds for that long anyway. Ha! I only made it 5 days, even with my mom and husband home to help. How do you deny an upset toddler with arms outstretched? I tried to redirect her, but was not always successful. Sometimes I needed the endorphins from her too. I am lucky my side effects were minimal. No dramatic onset of hot flashes or night sweats, as I was anticipating.
I have since followed up with a NP at the surgeon’s office (which included a brief pelvic exam), and my oncologist on 1/26. Everything looks good, except I already have osteopenia in my hips and this will get worse now that I am menopausal. I started my Aromatase Inhibitor drug a few days ago, which I will take for 5 years to help prevent recurrence. I am taking a calcium citrate and vitamin D supplement along with it, as well as melatonin to help me sleep (the surgery threw me off any kind of regular schedule I had). This is the beginning of tapering off regular visits to Seattle and my oncologist. We have been going every month, on average, for over a year and my next appointment is not for 3 months!!! It is exciting and also a bit anxiety inducing. I always seem to have strange pains the day after I see my doctor. I am regularly reminded they are just a phone call away.