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A little concerned about a hysterectomy....
May 31, 2007
1:08 pm
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ScaredinMichigan
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A lot of you know my situation but I know that many of you do not. I am 30, and a mother of four. I have been having a lot of problems with bleeding and pain for months. I am having my 5th period in 12 weeks. They have been horribly heavy, and I have had a LOT of pain as well. My lower back has hurt since I delivered my last baby on July 31 of last year. They believe that I have developed endometriosis. The only way to test that is to do a scope, but since I don't have insurance they are not going to play around looking for whatever multitude of problems that may or may not exist. They did do a biopsy, and a vaginal ultrasound. The biopsy results were negative for cancer, and the only thing that the ultrasound showed was a cyst on my left ovary. I agreed to a hysterectomy. I have had my tubes tied, and I don't need any more children. I am ok with that.....BUT....the thought of having that right completely taken away from me scares me a little bit. I didn't do well having my tubes tied, at all. Now to have a hysterectomy?? That worries me a little. They are going to try to leave my right ovary so that I don't have to deal with the hormone issues. But, it is possible that she will need to take that as well. I am also nervous about recovery from it as well. It has to be done abdominally, so I will have a 4-6 inch incision right along my bikini line. (Trust me, that is NOT a concern....the only two piece swimsuit you would EVER find me in is shorts and a t-shirt) But, I worry about the recovery from that. I am trying to raise four kids. 10 months old, 4, 6, and 10. The 10 year old can help, but I don't want her resposible for the baby, or the other two for that fact. I know that we have friends that will help us out...but I guess I don't know what to really expect. Ok...I am scared to death. Emotionally and physically. And for the rest of you that REALLY know my situation, you know that I may be in a really tough situation of living without my husband by that point. Anyone have any answers, helpful ideas, or anything else at this point?? But, don't sugarcoat it...I want the truth. I am trying to go into this expecting the worst...and hoping for better. That is how I do best in scary situations....but, it still scares me to death. This is tentatively scheduled for the 28th of June. I was hoping to have it done sooner than that...BUT...ughhh. I hate waiting...the anticipation is killing me. I have NEVER been sedated. The only surgery that I have EVER had was my tubal and I was awake. Help....I am nervous...COMPLETELY.

Thanks all....

Mich

May 31, 2007
1:56 pm
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bevdee
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Hey-

I totally can't relate to this because I haven't had one. I've had my tubes tied laparoscopically. I have however, dealt with the issue of not having children and how that affected my concept of femininity.

I googled! And look at this support forum.

http://www.hystersisters.com/

May 31, 2007
2:04 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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sweetie...I dunno how I would feel about taking my "ability" away would make me feel. I would think that having four beautiful children and being done would make it easier...but I am not in your shoes.

If you need to grieve that loss, then do it...it is part of the process.

As for how to cope - before you schedule it...perhaps you can talk to EVERYONE and anyone you know to enlist help - do you go to church? maybe some members would help with clean up and meal prep.

Do you have any friends with older teen daughters that you could "borrow" or even pay a small nominal fee for helping you out? Could you get some temporary day care for the kids so you can rest during the day? Perhaps get someone to shuttle them back and forth?

In the meantime - make up meals ahead of time and freeze them...don't feel bad if your kids eat ramen or cereal a couple of nights while you are recouping....it won't kill them...whatever is easiest on you.

They have come a LONG way since conventional hysterectomies...and I think the recovery is easier...the scars "sound" huge but they are tolerable.

I had a inguinal hernia operation....I was not allowed to lift ANYTHING...which will be an issue with the baby...but the pain was tolerable and after the first day, I was able to move around and prepare small simple meals for myself.

Don't be shy...ask everyone for help...have backup plans.

And check out local support groups for women who have had the procedure...I bet you aren't alone in your fears.

I wish you the best.

May 31, 2007
2:10 pm
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sad sack
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Dear Scared,

Let me first point out that I am NOT a doctor so the advice I give is only my opinion. I urge you to seek out the medical opinions of several doctors before undergoing such a drastic operation.

I have suffered from endometriosis my entire adult life (I am 51). I have also had fibroids (twelve were removed via a myomectomy). Six have grown back. My gynocologist told me that the only reason she would perform a hysterectomy would be if she found cancer when she opened me up for my surgery. The two doctors I had seen before her, both suggested a hysterectomy. SHe said that should only be a last resort. And from what I have read, it appears that the medical community is in agreement.

SO what I am saying is that endometriosis should not be a reason to have a hysterectomy. However, I don't know your entire situation, so I will not secondguess your doctor. But I would definitely go get second and even third opinions. DO research and read up about your illness and inform yourself. Don't assume that the doctor is right. They are not always!

Please don't interpret this post as someone telling you what to do. I am just relaying my experience and urging you to go slowly and carefully think this through.

Good luck. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

Sad

May 31, 2007
2:19 pm
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ScaredinMichigan
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Sad,

The biggest reason that they are going through with the hysterectomy, as she said it was NOT her first choice, is because I have NO insurance. She knows that I cannot aford to continue to go through tests, and procedures, among everything else that all of this will require. The one thing that she is sure of is that a hysterectomy will take care of the problem. And I am tired of being miserable. That is the biggest reason for going this route.

Know that I did NOT take your post poorly. I appreciate your input and concern. Thank you very much.

Rising, Bev,

Thanks a lot. It will look up. Bev, I just registered on that sight. Thanks. I am hoping that it will help.

Mich

May 31, 2007
2:51 pm
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sandpipper
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Mich,

I have never had a hysterectomy but I have had three c-sections and I imagine recovering from the procedure would be similar. On my last c-section which was 19 years ago I was awake. They did a spinal. It really went surprisingly well. They give you stuff for pain so you need not fear that. They got me up the first day and wanted to send me home the second day. I opted to stay because I did need help with the kids.

I would recommend that you do line up someone to stay with you and help if at all possible.

I do have several friends who have suffered from your condition. They all have had hysterectomies and they all went well and are very glad they had it done. One friend who is a nurse was walking the halls with her drip bag trying to help others in the afternoon after having had surgery that morning. In two weeks she was back on her daily speed walks (only not quite as fast for a while). Everyone is different but I hope this helps with your fears.

Take care and wish you well

May 31, 2007
5:39 pm
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ggfred4
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Unfortunately, I do have experience with surgery, 9 that I remember...quit counting. You have a right to be scary, the unknown is. I am no braver any time I have had one. I am sure you remember me being scared last November. You said not to sugarcoat okay? Yes, it is scary being put to sleep, but NO pain. When you wake up, it is all over with and that is a relief in itself. I have had a C-section and a hysterectomy. My incisions are vertical. If this helps, you do feel stronger each day. The more you move, especially walking, the quicker your recovery.

I wish I had rising's great idea about preparing meals ahead of time as my h does not cook and my children were young when I had mine. You will want to wear loose fitting clothes or a gown for awhile. Definitely, do NOT lift anything you should not lift especially your baby.

Here's the good part...after 4 weeks, I felt better than I had in years and NO more periods!!! When people talk about their cramps and periods, stay quiet as they get pretty grouchy with people who don't have them...I learned that the hard way!!!

gg

May 31, 2007
6:00 pm
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gracenotes
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Mich,

I am no expert on this topic, but can only speak from my own experience. I had horrible uterine bleeding in my late 40's. It was so horrible I used to sit there in the bathroom and watch the blood flow out. I was clinically anemic, almost bad enough to need a blood transfusion. But, the cause was fibroids. This is so common in women, majority of women have them, its just a question of whether they cause problems. Has your doctor considered this as a problem?

I did my research. They suggested a hysterectomy, and I said no way. I didn't want to go through premature menopause anyway, didn't want to lose an organ that produces helpful hormones and has other functions.

I opted for a simple surgery called briefly an Ablation. They went in and ran hot water over the surface of my uterus, scraped away only the top layer of the uterus It was a simple surgery, about an hour. Once I was over the anaesthesia, I was fine. In fact, I went out to dinner with friends that night and just took it easy for a few days. Never ever any bleeding ever again.

That's my story. It may have nothing to do with your medical problem, but, again, were fibroids considered as the problem?

In my research, I found there are alternatives to hysterecomy, but for some reason a lot of doctors are hysterectomy crazy and see that was a first drastic solution. That was the first solution many years ago, but now there are easier surgeries. Why expensive hysterectomies are used, I dont know, especially with other options.

May 31, 2007
6:29 pm
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thewall
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Im on my 3rd period this month and ready to yank it all out. I feel your pain and frustrations, as I am going on vacation next week to a spa and was hoping to be able to enjoy it. Guess not. Im so pissed. Ive had a tubal lygation, and laprooscopy for endo and fibroids. My uterus is at a size 3mos pregnancy bc of the fibroids and he doesnt want to do a hyst on me until it grows to a 6mos preg size!. At this point i dont know what i will end up doing but Im ready to sit down and cry over this frustration and ok probably pms too. 🙁

May 31, 2007
8:17 pm
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lovinglife
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Hi sis~ I too would have my share of concerns as well as I'm sure the many thoughts going through your mind. Think if we didn't we'd be lacking emotion and THAT wouldn't be healthy. (((( My Michigan))))

Truly wished I could be right there for you, helping with the kids or just able to keep you entertained during your recovery : ). I'd do it too!! Enough so that you'd be screaming - "LL- GO! Enough Already!!"

Love ya Mich...will keep you in thought and pray that all your concerns quiet down with answers and that you end with a complete peace when going into it.

Got to love being a woman, too bad that men can share in our problems, huh? And they wonder why we can be so darn emotional at times...

May 31, 2007
11:12 pm
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2BHAPPY
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Well, I had the same problems you did and did a lot of research about hysterectomy and decided to do it It has been the best decision ever made...I did not have the abdominal cut..but vaginally which takes less time to recover. I was back at work in 2 weeks (I am self-employed so had no choice) and was feeling ok.

The reason I decided on the hysterectomy was I didnt want to worry about any cancers later on. I kept my ovaries so I didnt go into menapause. I feel better than ever plus the doctor tighten up some things and it feels great.

Its a very difficult decision..but whatever you decide to do you have to think of a positive outcome..otherwise it will be a bad experience. Your mind is very strong and will only belief the thoughts you put in it.

At 30, I would really exhaust all othre posibilities..but then you already have 4 kids...what if you meet someone else and you want to have one more? Then again..it is horrible to live the way you do right now..I remember I used to bleed everywhere, at work, at school, on A DATE which was very embarrassing and I was very very weak from all the bleeding.

Good luck in your decision. I hope I was of some help to you.

 

 

2bHappy

June 1, 2007
4:36 am
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Matteo
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"Why expensive hysterectomies are used, I dont know, especially with other options." They are used precisely because of that: they are expensive and the doctors get paid well.

Mich., you might not only loose the chance to have children in the future, but you have an excellent chance to loose any kind of libido and sexual pleasure, not to mention ability to have an orgasm. There was another thread about hysterectomy, not so long ago. I would do absolutely everything possible not to have it done. Think about it hard and deep. If you go ahead with it, its irreversible. The hormones they give you after are only for the pleasure of your partner, you might have no feeling there whatsoever till the rest of your life. Uterus produces hormones which regulate sexual functions of women long past menopause; it is not useless thing to yank out after the childbearing period in woman's life. Even if they leave ovaries, they often fail to function without uterus. You are only 30, you would deprive yourself of sex life for some 40+ years.

June 1, 2007
9:48 am
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Matteo
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Just to add to it: It is pretty amazing how men are preoccupied with worshiping their sexual and reproductive organs and how women are willing to "get rid of" their reproductive organs and how they are encouraged to do so. Imagine a man facing the possibility of loosing his penis: He would not leave any stone unturned and he would fight for decades not to loose his reproductive organ; and so should you.

June 1, 2007
10:12 am
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ScaredinMichigan
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Matteo~

If I really thought that this were a choice, it would be one thing. However, here is the thing. I would like to enjoy the children that I have. We cannot afford to keep going through tests and procedures to try to fix this otherwise. I really hope that you don't think that this is just as simple as "throwing my organs away." I am always tired, and I am bleeding half of the time, and therefore it makes my life pretty miserable. Sex isn't enjoyable to me now, in part due to pain, and in part because I don't want it. I could live the rest of my life without it. Whether I can or can't have an orgasm for the rest of my life is useless to me. I don't care. I don't like sex, and I don't need it. In addition to that...it is VERY uncommon to lose your ability to orgasm. And seeing how I don't care anyway...so what. Sex served one purpose for me in the 18 years that I have been having it. To deliver the four beautiful children that I have. My placenta separated this last time, and is MUCH more likely to happen again in any subsequent pregnancies. Making it a HUGE risk factor. If you think for one second that there is NO emotional thoughts about this, you are wrong. It scares me. I don't want any more children, and I don't need any more children. However, closing that chapter of my life is not an option to me at this point. My sanity has to be worth something. And IMHO, your last post to me is the type of thing that I believe makes women struggle with feeling like less of a woman. It DOES NOT make me less of a woman to want to feel better, and be healthy and happy. Those parts are NOT necessary for living. I hope that is not what you base it on for yourself. My uterus, and my cervix, and my ovaries, are NOT what make me a woman. I can live without them, and it can be a better life for me.

Mich

June 1, 2007
11:11 am
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gracenotes
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mich,

I just hope, for your sake, that your doctor has absolutely ruled out uterine fibroids as the cause of your bleeding. The is the most common form of bleeding and they would be diagnosed must likely by your dcctor feeling them in a simple hands on examination. The way you feel, the tiredness from anemia, the constant bleeding, sounds so much like my bout with fibroids. I just think this is so important because there are about four or five options, besides hysterectomy, all must less invasive as well, to help or cure this problem, including the simple Endometrial Ablation surgery I had. In fact, this surgery can be used to stop heavy uterine bleeding from any causes, so it might be an good option to ask for with your doctor, if he or she even does it. My HMO suggested a hysterectomy, but I did alot of research and kept my uterus. I don't think science is exactly clear on the total function of the uterus, but it is estimated it serves hundreds of functions in the body that go well beyond childbearing. And, no, a hysterectomy won't make sex or orgasms impossible at all. In fact, some women enjoy sex more because they don't have to worry about getting pregnant, although that doesn't seem to be the case with you.

But, in the end, it is your body, and you know best what you want to do.

June 1, 2007
11:15 am
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ScaredinMichigan
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gracenotes...

Sorry to have not answered this question before. They did rule out fibroids, tumors, and cysts with the ultrasound and vaginal ultrasound that they did. The only thing that they found was the cyst on my left ovary. Which that wasn't the first time.

So, they do know that. I appreciate your concern. This has been months of issues that I believe in my heart that this is the only way to fix. That is giving ALL of the facts as well. Financial, physical, and emotional. I believe it to be all for the best. That just doesn't make it easy.

Thanks again.

June 1, 2007
11:51 am
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Matteo
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Mich. ~ No, I never said that uterus makes woman a woman. However I am a sexual being and sexuality is an important part of me and my life. We both don't know how we would feel after hysterectomy, because we didn't experience it.

I read stories told by women who underwent this procedure and this is where I take it from. Their recollections were heart breaking and the loss of libido and sexual satisfaction or at lest huge portion of it was a common theme. No, they didn't talk about how their sex lives improved. If you read the site which bev gave you a link to, they strongly advise against hysterectomy in case of heavy bleeding unless all the other options were tried and didn't bring results. They also talk about specific concerns of and for those who were sexually abused.

However, it seems like you've already made your decision to go ahead with it. I am not here on any mission to convince you either way. You voiced your concerns and I shared with you what I know about it. That's all. Yes, I feel strongly about it because many women who were coerced to go ahead with it didn't have any information from other women who experienced it, and the doctors didn't know and didn't care either, which makes it more sad in the end. If you feel that this is the way to make yourself healthy and happy, by all means go ahead and have hysterectomy. I am sorry that I misunderstood your first post that you want opinions from both sides of the issue because I would never answer your post; I am really not good in cheerleading on this issue.

June 1, 2007
1:42 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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Matteo -

here is a thought to consider when reading those sites.

Like this one, most there are looking for support for the trouble they faced during and after their procedure. They were unhappy and they went looking for answers.

Much like people on this site.

Now - how many women are NOT posting because they ARE happy with the procedure. You see - when you are ok with what happened, you don't go looking for information and support. You just enjoy your decision. You have no need to look up anything further.

So, are you only getting one side of the story?

Like this website...if everyone considering dating came here looking at how difficult it is...would they want to date? No, they hear all the horror stories here. When life turns good for most people, they stop posting here...cuz they don't need the support anymore.

So, I am careful to not believe everything I read...well, not that I don't believe it happened or they felt that way...but I reconize that it is only a small part of the big picture.

I personally know MANY women who were happy to have their hysterectomy and had no loss of libido and no loss of sexuality. Keeping in mind that the ones that didn't experience the loss DID get to keep their ovaries.

I am sure that some loss of libido is bound to happen when you lose your ovaries as well.

BUT - keep in mind...your libido drops when you go thru menopause as well...so does that make you less feminine once you go thru that?

I think it's all what you make of it.

And for the record, as I have mentioned before...if it's the difference between suffering month after month after month with unbearable pain and constant bleeding and having my uterus removed and being less "feminine"...I will choose my sanity over my uterus.

Some people see their pets as extensions of their families...others as just "pets". Like them, I see my uterus as an organ. And once it's done serving it's purpose, I would have no trouble having it removed.

You mention I don't know how I would feel after - well, no, I don't...hormonal changes happen - and may affect me. But in the grand scheme of things...I think that I would still be happy with my decision if I had to face it.

And there was a time I did have to face that option. And I was young.

I don't celebrate my period...I bleed heavy and I cramp badly. I have backaches and my legs ache and my feet swell. I am sorry, but I don't celebrate having to sleep with a mattress pad between my legs and having to rise just the right way so my clots don't roll down my legs as I get up. Or fear walking out of a work meeting and having a clot break thru my nice work outfit.

I tolerate it...but I don't celebrate it.

just one woman's opinion....mich, sorry to take over your post.

June 1, 2007
2:02 pm
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gracenotes
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Rising,

I sure remember all those blood clots and expecting to make a puddle of blood on the floor. Terrible. I hope you have had that checked out by a doctor. You may have uterine fibroids. There's a lot of help for that as I have been posted here. My empathy to you for what you are going through. I've sure been there.

June 1, 2007
2:08 pm
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StronginHim77
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I was a "bleeder." Terrible, heavy menstrual cycles all through my thirties and early forties. Finally, (at age 44), my uterus and bladder both prolapsed, so I had to have an emergency hysterectomy.

For two weeks after the procedure, I was not allowed to drive a car. And I could not do laundry, (no lifting/bending), make beds or lift anything heavier than a can of soda for ONE MONTH.

I am happy to report that the hysterectomy did NOT affect me, sexually. The doctors left in my ovaries, but I went into early menopause, anyway. Had to take hormone replacement therapy (mini doses). My bladder reattachment did not go well, but the hysterectomy was a complete success. I can't tell you how great it was to NEVER deal with that pain and bleeding again. It was so liberating. I felt FINE within 4 weeks, following the surgery.

They give you tons of pain meds. You will NOT suffer, I promise you. Just be very blunt with your doctor and make sure he/she prescribes appropriate pain meds and have the Rx filled and waiting at home.

You will certainly need help with your children. You will be in bed, most of the day for the first 7-10 days. You will not be able to bend over a dishwasher, make a bed, pick up the baby or handle laundry, cooking, etc. Because of your relative youth, you may heal much quicker than I did. Likewise, your doctor may permit you to driver, sooner than mine did.

The surgery will make a new woman out of you, though. No more hemorrhaging, no more pain. It had no impact on me,sexually. My ability to have orgasms remained unchanged.

My local church was wonderfully supportive, following my surgery. The women of the church got together and took turns, delivering a hot, cooked dinner to my house each day at 5:00 PM for the first two weeks, following my surgery. Like you, I had children to care for. Their help was invaluable. I also had a young girl come in 3X weekly for the first two weeks, to help me wash my hair, do laundry and clean up after the kids.

Reach out for all the help you can get. You will need assistance.

- Ma

June 1, 2007
2:09 pm
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ggfred4
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I have had a hysterectomy in my mid 30's and had NO CHOICE!!!

We need to try and keep in mind that we are all individuals and have different needs, wants, opinions, and not to group people or ideas together.

I too have had four children like Mich, but 3 pregnancies. Funny thing, a doctor told me I was infertile. Yes, I had surgeries, drugs, and the everloving daily thermometer to get pregnant. I had abdominal pain for awhile after the last child, the backaches, etc. One day at work, I felt like I was going into labor! But, I was not pregnant, yet, the painful feeling was too familiar. When I stood up from my desk chair, I really felt like I was about to deliver. I was scared and had no idea what was going on. Well, after getting to the ob/gyn, I was delivering my uterus and pulling my bladder with it. So hence, I had to have a hysterectomy. Now, I had a cyst on my ovary, but it was removed and I kept my ovaries.

One month later, I felt like a new woman, revived and energetic and then got the added big bonus: No more periods!!! I have never had any negative effects, only positive ones. I do not believe that the removal of my uterus affected me anymore than my tonsillectomy. In fact, gg came from a nickname I was given, girlie girl. I do agree that major surgeries should have second opinions. I did this myself last year for my knee and got the exact same opinion.

gg

June 1, 2007
2:22 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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GG - I have been checked out...but they didn't find much of anything.

They suspect PCOS...poly cystic ovarian syndrome...and because of this, my daughter is being tested and on birth control if they find it positive (she is 13 but not sexually active). She is ALREADY clotting and already using overnight pads for daytime use. She already fears wearing light colored clothing during her period.

My periods have been better...and now that I am pregnant, I don't have to worry about anything. But once baby is born, I may consider my reproductive future...and if something needs to be removed...have at it.

June 1, 2007
2:38 pm
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Isis
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Mich-

I responded to you on the other side.

Sorry swetie, I just can't engage in this debate over here.

Oddly enough, I feel a bit "safer" over there.

🙂 SMILE for you

Isis

June 1, 2007
2:45 pm
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Friendma
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((((((((((MICH))))))))))

June 1, 2007
3:16 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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one more thought - about the whole comparison to cutting off the male parts.

a woman can have a hysterectomy and still have intercourse.

a man loses his penis and he can't.

so, all in all, it's not the same.

If someone told me they were going to sew my hole up so I can't have intercourse...yeah, I might complain...but then again, my "good parts" are on the outside, and with the right stimulation, I can still experience orgasm....so, maybe if THAT was taken away too...I may bitch.

But comparing it to cutting off a penis is a little off base in my opinion.

you don't need a uterus to still be a woman. You still have a vagina left.

sorry for the graphics.

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