Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Introduction and explanation

This site grew out of my ongoing awareness that it's hard for women to find good, accurate, unbiased information on the internet when they are having a hysterectomy. While I moderate an active yahoo group on the topic, the content of that group is not exactly transparent to those who don't want to get their information in a discussion format. There are lots of sites out there if you do a search for "hysterectomy" but it's hard to sort out those selling services from those trying to scare you away from the whole idea from those who are simply poorly informed.

For many women, a hyst is their first major surgery. They may not know much about their female anatomy beyond a long-ago high school health class of the "now you are becoming a woman" platitudinous sort. Their only hyst information may come from what their busy doctor's office staff can toss out on the fly plus the content of so-called educational pamphlets that are so bland and non-committal that they spend four pages essentially telling you "ask your doctor for anything specific." However much they want to be informed consumers of health care, they just don't know where to begin. Congratulations: you've made the first good step by coming here.

What I plan to publish here is, first, a whole lot of background information on the sorts of things women ask most on HysterList: what do all the terms mean? what do I need to ask my doctor? how do I get ready for my surgery? will it hurt terribly? how long will it be, really, before I feel good again? and is it true that I'll get fat/never desire sex again/lose all my maternal feelings? I'll be skipping around between pre- and post-op topics and it'll take me awhile to pull things together, so try to be patient as I assemble this information. There's a lot, so it will take some time. You can always, though, get a full overview of the site through our table of contents, and that's a handy tool to navigate through the site.

What I don't plan to publish here is advice. I can't—and won't—tell you what to do. Whether or not a hyst is the best approach for you is not something I can address. I don't think a hyst is inherently evil, an evil plot on the part of the medical establishment (whoever that may be), or a miracle cure-all. We'll talk more later about making the decision to have a hyst, but I want you to know that my goal here is purely information. It's up to you to make whatever use of it seems right to you.

Please don't email me and ask me to solve your problems. If you want to discuss specific hyst-related issues with other women who have had a hyst or are preparing for a hyst, you are more than welcome to join our yahoo list. I do not have the time to conduct a private counseling service on the side. You are welcome, however, to email me with suggested topics that you would like to see me discuss here on this blog. My address is in the sidebar.

One last note: why should you believe me? Mmm, you shouldn't, necessarily. I've spent a few years now in the hyst community as well as experiencing a hyst myself, so I have a fairly clear idea of the things women are thinking about on the topic. I've done a lot of research and I continue to do a lot of research into the physiology involved. I work very hard at being accurate. But you should never take any single source as authoritative. Read what I have to say and then check it out for yourself. This is just a starting point, but the endpoint is a decision you feel comfortable with. And you deserve the best, so don't short yourself in the research department.