It's so hard to say goodbye.
October 24, 2012 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Please help me plan a retirement party for my friend's uterus.

A beloved gal pal will be having a partial hysterectomy in a month or so and, understandably, she's very nervous and could use some moral support. Along with some other friends, I would like to help her through this major event by celebrating all the great things she's done over the years with her girl parts intact, and also celebrate all the great things she will continue to do after her uterus has been removed.

I'm thinking of a casual lady friends gathering, perhaps. Decorations? Gifts ideas? Musical playlist? Recommended books or websites or other references we can present to her?

Bonus points for extra usefulness: any suggestions or words of wisdom from those of you who have already jumped this hurdle?
posted by mcbeth to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
A Croning ceremony?

The surgery is no big whoop (especially if it's laproscopic). I was back to work in 2 weeks.

I never really bonded with my uterus, I was really relieved and happy to reduce my chances of ovarian cancer and to stop having periods (I was 43 when I did this.)

A casual gathering, where you do the Croning Ceremony (as light-heartedly as possible).

One thing that's worth noting, HRT is fabulous and don't stop at Estrogen. Progesterone and Testosterone are important too. They don't really tell you how much the loss of hormones affects you, until you complain of exhaustion, so tell her to discuss this with her doc ahead of time, and to see if she can get the hormones compounded.

I think little plastic babies would be adorable decorations. (I don't know why, it just appeals to me.)

Gifts could be pretty bed-jackets, puzzle books, or the National Enquirer.

Menopause is a milestone, but I'm here to tell you, I wish I had done it ten years earlier!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:02 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

When my dad's friend got a vasectomy, my dad gave him a cigar box. Inside the box were the following: a small bottle of Jack Daniels, a razor blade, some shaving cream, some small scissors, a small bottle of aspirin and some gauze.

They were all things that were more or less useful in life, but then also humorous in the context. Does your friend have a good sense of humor? Is there some hysterectomy equivalent you could put together? I have no idea what aftercare is needed, but if you don't think she'd cotton to funny surgical implements, maybe she'd be into some nice bath/shower items that would be soothing post-surgery?
posted by MonsieurBon at 1:11 PM on October 24, 2012

I had a hysterectomy years ago. The single best (also most outrageous) thing I got related to it was a fabulously ugly horseshoe-shaped floral arrangement with a banner reading "BEST WISHES ON YOUR NEUTERING". This sort of humor may not be for all people, however.

Perhaps an official retirement of her stash of pads/tampons? Shark week references, if that's the sort of thing that would go over well?

As for words of wisdom, I totally lucked out as far as side effects. (Actually, the ovaries didn't come out until 5 years later, but now I'm totally spayed.) The only menopause-related symptom's I've had, really, is my skin is sensitive to some stuff and gets itchy. The surgery was routine, recovery was fine. (Get stool softeners or something like it for an easier time rebooting the digestive system after the opiate anaesthetics.)
posted by rmd1023 at 1:14 PM on October 24, 2012 [10 favorites]

I've seen plush and knitted uteruses (uteri?) at craft fairs. I'm sure you could hunt some down on etsy and incorporate them into your party.
posted by youngergirl44 at 1:15 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here's the knit uterus pattern I used. I made one for my mom when she had her hysterectomy. It's very cute. If I were to do it again, I'd add googly eyes and a smiley face. We put ours on the Christmas tree, but depending on your friend's sense of style/humor, I think it would be lovely hanging with some beads or streamers (or maybe a paper-dolls style cut-paper uterus garland?) as a party decoration.
posted by fussbudget at 1:18 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love the "best wishes on your neutering" although technically it would be "spaying."
posted by radioamy at 1:27 PM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


You may want to really gauge what your friend is/isn't going to be into. This may sound odd, but frankly, my uterus and I have been through a lot together. I love the gal and would be genuinely saddened if I were required to undergo a hysterectomy. If I had to get it removed, and a friend of mine threw a sarcastic/jokey retirement party for me, I would cry and would think my friend were completely insensitive. I may be younger than your friend, so a hysterectomy might be a bigger deal for me (or not), but i don't really see that changing dramatically in ten years or so. It would not be a cause of celebration for me, at all.

So...maybe not? Or lean towards cute and sweet, like the pattern linked to above?
posted by sock puppet of mystery! at 2:01 PM on October 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

Also, more anecdata: A relative of mine was forced to undergo a sudden, unexpected hysterectomy in her mid-30s. She still tears up about it to this day, 20 years later. It was a fairly traumatic experience for her. So maybe you ought to weigh why this surgery is happening, with your friend's personality, so you can figure out what would be appropriate for you to do.
posted by sock puppet of mystery! at 2:07 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it perfectly matched my sense of humor, but I tend towards black humor. Do tread carefully.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:07 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Any good with Photoshop? I think it would be amusing to pair medical style uterus graphics or cartoon uteruses with famous points in history. Remember when the uterus went to Lady Di's wedding? Or walked on the moon? Or tripped out at Woodstock? Or went gaga for Lady Gaga?! Did her uterus run the Boston marathon? Of course she did!

Other than that, I think a casual gathering of friends with drinks and chocolate cake is called for.

Or, you know, paper mache some "maxi pads" and have a viking funeral at your local pond or bathtub.
posted by amanda at 2:18 PM on October 24, 2012

I came in here to say make sure you clear everything with her. I would be horrified if my friends wanted to "celebrate" a hysterectomy with me.
posted by murfed13 at 2:33 PM on October 24, 2012 [6 favorites]

I went through a full hysterectomy about 4 years ago and, even though I never really identified as Person With Uterus, I think I would have been uncomfortable with a celebration associated with this procedure. It would behoove you to discuss this with your friend before making any plans.

If you'd like a look at the wide range of attitudes held by women before, during, and after this surgery, the Hystersisters website is a very good resource. Try reading some of the forum threads.
posted by blurker at 6:28 PM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

How old is she? Is the hysterectomy expected or unexpected? Welcome or unwelcome?
posted by barnone at 10:36 PM on October 24, 2012

This (partial) (vaginal surgery) hysterectomy is not exactly expected but it also will resolve the bleeding for three months straight trouble she's been having. Perimenopause has not been kind to her. She's a hippie/earth mother lesbian who never had interested in bearing children, but she also is coming to terms with her mid-life body and the way it is changing, including the lifelong service of her reproductive organs.

I absolutely agree with all of you who said 'ohdeargawd check with her first', and I'm sorry I didn't clarify that in my original ask. I would never ever EVER do something like this without making sure she's up for it, which she really is. She loves an excuse for a party, she loves getting together with women friends, and she's excited to be celebrated this way. In fact, she's decided to call it her 'Coming Out' party and has taken charge of organizing the event: a Sunday (bloody mary) brunch.

The timeline idea is fabulous - I have the PS skills and can do that. I've also sent her the link to Hystersisters - she's been impressed with the breadth of information there. Thanks for that suggestion! Though we won't be having a croning ceremony per se, each guest will contribute an anecdote or poem or some words of wisdom. A friend is knitting a wee uterus with detachable/velcro ovaries.

Your feedback is much appreciated, thanks so much!
posted by mcbeth at 7:07 AM on November 14, 2012

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