I am rarely at a loss for words, but recently every time I think of writing about the incredible hysterectomy support group online that I participate in called “HisterSisters” I don’t know what to tell you, just that I’ve got to tell you something.
“Sisterhood” only tips the surface of what this support group of women from all over the world provides. I had actually come across the site months before I decided to have a hysterectomy. As my surgery date approached I remembered the site, but thought I’m sure it is just filled with a bunch of women who are angry about having their uterus and other gyn parts removed. Oh no, just the opposite. Most of the women on the site were like me, thrilled to be finally fixing a problem that plagued their every day lives for so long.
Here is a sampling of what my HysterSisters are writing. This thread is from one particularly lively pre-operation discussion called “Last Period” (note “Aunt Flo” is a reference to our period!):
“I remember my last period…it started New Years Eve. All I could think was that this was the last time my Favorite Aunt (Flo) was going to intrude on anything in my life.”
“I plan on having a funeral for “flo” and I can not say good things about her or be sad to see her go.”
“Pre-op nurse asked when my last period was and I, who used to be clockwork, couldn’t tell her- I have been bleeding for months!
Like all of you, I cannot WAIT to kick Aunt Flo to the curb FOR GOOD!!!!”
On the day I went off to The Castle (HysterSister speak for “hospital”) they sent me this “get well” greeting: http://www.hystersisters.com/greetings/wishes.htm
Normally I would find a greeting card like this ridiculous. But in this instance, about to have my body cut open, it was a refreshing breather that made me laugh.
When I returned from the Castle “Princess Bea Well” (get it? Be well?!) sent me a “Hope you are resting!” email inviting me to chat with the other women who had hysterectomies on my same week.
Here is something that absolutely shocked me. Just on my day of surgery (January 26) there were 31 other HysterSister “Princesses” going to have hysterectomies. I was floored.
I am not alone, that’s for sure.
What amuses me the most is how women can bond despite differences. For example, I am quite sure there are not many home birth moms of two in my week of HysterSisters! (and maybe on the entire discussion board). There are secretaries, managers, housecleaners, writers (me!), and therapists all hanging out talking about our bodies. There are women who would describe themselves as overweight and others who exercise compulsively (like one woman who was walking her dog 2.5 miles in the Minnesota cold less than a week post-op!). I love it all!
Perhaps I enjoy the HysterSister Forum so much because I am a story person and that is exactly what it is – a safe place for women to tell their stories. There are sad stories (women who found out they have cancer) and triumphant ones (women who thought they did, but don’t). I have laughed and I have cried. I have hot flashed with several women who also had an ovary taken and are waiting for their other one to wake up, and I have felt every painful gas and bowel movement story as if I was right their with each woman.
There is nothing like a truthful story as good medicine.
Last thing: I just have to share some of my HysterSisters’ names because beyond reading their stories their names have made me smile these past couple of weeks. Here are just a few:
Meshugna (the funniest!)
And my name? Goddess44.
To end I want to share with you my favorite line of all the HysterSister entries (by Meshugna, of course). She was talking about how we must all be patient with ourselves as we all heal differently. Then she adds:
“Apparently even Superwoman needs time to heal.”