When Jules had a surgical menopause at the age 39, following a total hysterectomy, her surgeon advised her to start Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) straight away. She plans to continue taking it for the rest of her life.
“As a result of having a total hysterectomy, I was plunged into surgical menopause at the age of 39. At the time, I didn’t really understand what surgical menopause would mean for my body. I just knew my uterus and ovaries were going to be removed, and the endometriosis I had been diagnosed with years earlier had won out in the end.
My first endometriosis keyhole surgery occurred when I was 24. By the time I was 37, I’d had six surgeries. There was respite from the menstrual pain following surgery, but unfortunately it was short-lived as the agonising pain eventually returned. That was a sign that the endometriosis had returned and, at times, it was accompanied by ovarian cysts.
Looking back, I had always yearned to be a mom. Outwardly I was the funny, playful ‘aunt’, but inside I often felt alone. All around me, friends and family were getting married and having children. I was delighted for them, but by the time I reached 30 I felt that I’d strayed from my own life’s path.
Coping with the relentless pelvic pain and recurring surgeries was a difficult and complicated part of my personal and professional life, but I was determined to soldier on.
When I was 36, I married my soulmate. We saw a fertility specialist and tried to get pregnant for two years, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I knew I couldn’t mentally or physically endure the clinical tests or procedures any longer, so we made the decision for one more surgery – a total hysterectomy. The sense of loss was immense, but I never gave up hope and still dreamed of becoming a mom one day.
The hysterectomy instantly put me into menopause. My surgeon understood the importance of safeguarding my long-term health, and advised me to start on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) straight away. I am so thankful for his guidance, because this meant I didn’t suffer the debilitating effects of menopause that so many women needlessly experience.
I’m now 58, and it’s been almost 19 years since that final surgery. I’m still on estrogen-based HRT today, and I’ve come to learn that every cell in the body responds to estrogen. The hormone effects and protects not only the cells of the brain and many organs, but also blood vessels, memory, mood, hair, skin, bones, muscles, and joints. I plan to be on HRT for the rest of my life, because I want the protection that HRT gives me.
As for my dream of becoming a mom? I’m thrilled to say that we are the proud parents of a fabulous teenager, who came into our lives through adoption 17 years ago.
Our family is complete: I never gave up hope.”