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To a large extent, the reason for the operation determines the reaction to it. If the uterus is being removed because of cancer, survival and getting through treatment will be the overwhelming issues, and the same is true for any malignancy.

Ron had a feeling there was something seriously wrong when his bowels started to play up. ‘I had always been regular as clockwork, after breakfast every morning. Then I started to skip a few days here and there. I thought maybe I hadn’t been eating right, but I couldn’t think of anything that had really changed. I started to take some laxatives we had in the medicine chest and that helped for a while. When I started to get the pains I thought it was about time I got it seen to. Well, they did all these tests and before I knew it I was on the operating table counting backwards from a hundred. I didn’t have too much time to think about what would happen when I woke up. Well, my belly looked like it was done up with a zipper and I had this colostomy bag they’d told me about. The pain didn’t help either, every way I moved seemed to hurt. To be honest I was scared sick that they hadn’t got it all. It took about three days before the pathology result came through and I know my wife went through hell waiting for it. When they told me they thought I needed chemotherapy as well, I just lost the plot for a while. I was so depressed. I kept thinking I would be better off dead, but I had to keep going for her sake.

‘For the first few months I didn’t think much about sex at all, and we didn’t talk about it either. We would lie right up close to each other all night though. You know, we hadn’t done that since we were first married. Eventually I got interested again but I was pretty self-conscious of the bag. Marg must have known because she made these sashes for me to wear around my waist to cover it over. Bless her, she even made them in colors to match my pyjamas!’


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