by Carmel Reid, Somerset, UK
I recently had a hysterectomy; it was the final solution for a vaginal prolapse that had been around for many years, although I had largely been unaware of, until it became too uncomfortable to ignore.
What is a prolapse? Well basically, a weakness in my pelvic floor muscles and vaginal wall, so that what is normally held inside is no longer supported, and begins to protrude on the outside, making walking uncomfortable.
What caused it in me? Many reasons, I suspect. Giving birth is acknowledged as a common one, and new mothers are always encouraged to do their pelvic floor exercises afterwards. I didn’t, so that may have contributed in my case. Add to that was my attitude to what I felt my body could do. I played squash 2 or 3 times a week; that’s a game that can be pretty hard on many areas of the body. Not only that, but I was strong and therefore allowed myself to lift heavy things, and enjoyed the weekly battle with a wayward shopping trolley and all the heavy shopping, not knowing how much lifting heavy things was affecting my pelvic floor muscles.
The prolapse manifested in a big way recently, when I was doing two things: working in a busy café on my feet all day walking about with heavy trays, pushing/pulling trolleys full of used crockery and washing up with a huge pull down dishwasher hood. Outside of work I was packing up my house ready for a move abroad, with boxes weighing up to 20kgs. All because I could.
One evening in the shower I noticed a bulge in my genital area where there should have been an opening, something was sticking out of my vagina and this then happened whenever I spent a day on my feet. Afraid of getting an infection through having what should be inside on the outside, I went to my local GP Surgery.
I was told it was a prolapse and I was given pelvic floor exercises to do and told to come back in three months – they would only operate if it was really uncomfortable. I went back a week later, unsure of the effectiveness of pelvic floor exercises in curing the problem and was assured it would be fine.
Conscious of the increasing discomfort and aware of my upcoming travel plans, I called the Doctor’s secretary and asked if I could be referred to a gynaecologist for further advice as soon as possible. They said it would be weeks before I got an appointment, beyond the date I’d planned to leave, so they suggested: What about going private?
Fortunately I had enough funds so I looked up the local private hospital and made an appointment for two weeks’ time. In the meantime I looked up on the Internet about prolapse and possible treatments, which included pessary rings or surgery. In view of the fact I was travelling to start a new relationship, I didn’t feel a ring would be the solution, so I looked at surgical options. They mentioned repairs including using gauze, but these could be complicated by infections so that was out. They also mentioned hysterectomy as another solution, so that got me thinking and aware of that as a possibility.
When I finally met the consultant, he said it was the front wall of my vagina that was weak and that it was the bladder pushing through. This made sense to me and fitted in with what I felt in my body. He also said that once in the operating theatre, if they found a repair wasn’t possible they might need to do a hysterectomy and asked if I would consent to that, which I did. I was a given a date for surgery in two weeks, with a six week recovery time.
I cancelled my flight and left my travel plans open for a later time. I was disappointed, but felt this was important enough to deal with urgently.
In the meantime, aware that nothing happens in our bodies for no reason, I sought advice from Serge Benhayon, asking for a reading on what the prolapse meant. I already knew what had caused it and he agreed, adding that it was me not in my full expression, in fact pushing against being who I naturally am and he also said that it was showing me to ‘…endorse being a woman, and a beautiful one at that, to a much deeper and far reaching level.’
That made sense, I have always seen myself as a ‘person’ and ignored the feminine side, and in truth in recent years had largely been numb to what went on in my pelvic region apart from the bodily functions of going to the toilet. This was calling me to feel my uterus and cervix and vagina. I had been doing some Sacred Movement exercises, but still resisted feeling my sacredness as a woman, so this was all a huge wake up call.
Keen to make the best use of the healing offered to me, I spent the time before the operation preparing my body by eating well, doing the pelvic floor exercises and generally resting. I had already given up work, so there was no more need to be on my feet all day. The boxes were all packed and stored ready for shipping, so I did no more heavy lifting. I came down with a cold and the operation was delayed one more week, and that gave me more time to rest and prepare.
I had asked Serge Benhayon for support during the operation and I found that just before going down to the operating theatre I felt an amazing stillness and felt Serge would be saying, ‘Enjoy it,’ so I relaxed and surrendered to the procedure. The staff were amazing, the anaesthetist who already knew of my anxiousness was so sweet, caring and supportive that I drifted off with no qualms and woke after it was all over to find myself in pain, like a bad period pain. They took a long time and care to get the pain management right, but we got there in the end.
I was a bit woozy for the next 24 hours. I’d been eating a pretty light diet and had no medication other than warfarin for years, so my body was a bit in shock from the procedure and the drugs, but the staff were very understanding and supportive. I didn’t eat for 24 hours, just drank water, but, once I had vomited up whatever my body needed to eliminate, I was fine. I was blown away by the chef who followed my requests exactly, providing me with simple dishes of fish, green beans, avocado and salad. No sweets. It meant that I was eating food that supported my body with no resulting bloating or raciness.
I was in hospital only three nights and came home to my housemates who were incredibly supportive. We had already agreed a kitchen plan where things were at an accessible height for me, as I was not to lift or push anything heavy (a half filled kettle was ok), and to avoid bending too low. They also arranged a daily visitor from our local community of friends who would come in and cook me lunch.
I have used the time recuperating to really listen to my body, to rest and not override anything it tells me. The hospital have encouraged me to be up and about as much as possible, building up walking from five minutes a day, and I’ve been doing that, walking further each time. I’ve been doing gentle leg and arm exercises too, to keep my muscles in trim – nothing heavy, just gentle movements. And I’ve been doing the pelvic floor exercises.
A huge change for me has been letting go of my identity with doing and to focus on just being. My whole life has been based on recognition for my intelligence and ability to organise, co-ordinate, be efficient, do lots of different things, and here I was, on a six-week recuperation program with nothing to do except look after my body; what a challenge! I’ve let go of the push on many fronts, I am learning to honour what my body feels, I am learning to be more aware of what I feel, I am incredibly sensitive and can feel changes in energy. In the past I would eat to numb anything that felt uncomfortable, especially as I felt what others were feeling, which was often distressing. Because I am honouring my body in this way, not pushing to do any more than feels ok to do, I am healing very well. The pain stopped very early on, so I am no longer on a regime of pain management; I’m back on Warfarin as before, but my vitality is good, considering I have just been through a major operation.
Natalie Benhayon also gave me a reading in reassuring me that although my uterus and cervix are no longer there physically… ‘Yes they are there energetically — it is for you to work so that your worth and value is known before anything you do.’ That said it all really.
For me this has been a big healing: the medical profession have done a superb job in handling the physical side, and my approach to the psychological side has enabled me to not only cope with losing my womb and cervix (I still have my ovaries), but celebrate the opportunity to connect with myself as a woman more deeply. I have also had support with treatments of Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy and Chakra-puncture. I lost a bit of weight but that’s steady now, as I have been eating nourishing meals with protein and vegetables three times a day and the walking is rebuilding my leg muscle strength.
This experience has shown me how much we can support Western Medicine in our health care, we don’t need to leave it all up to the doctors. By taking care of myself I am making the most of the healing opportunity on offer. By continuing to take care of myself I am honouring my physical body, which will stand me in good stead in the future. After all, our bodies are simply reflecting our lifestyle choices; if we live well, that’s how our bodies will be too.
A huge thank you to the staff at the BMI Bath Clinic, the Anaesthetist, the Consultant Gynaecologist, to Serge Benhayon, Natalie Benhayon and all the students of Universal Medicine who have supported me through this opportunity to learn, heal and deepen my connection to myself as a woman.