Woman Chose Hysterectomy to Avoid Cancer

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"It was clear to me that it was not going to be easy," she said. "To me, the scariest part of it in some way was not really knowing what that would be like, the irreversibility of it."

But Fishman was able to determine the right hormone therapy and dosage for her. Most women need only about two-thirds the levels of hormones that their bodies made naturally to be comfortable and maintain their sex drives, he said.

Durham started using a weekly patch to get her hormones, but she shifted to a pill when a virus she couldn't shake prompted her to ask Fishman if perhaps the patch was a problem. She got better almost immediately and has been feeling good ever since.

"It's been such a long and emotional journey. I could never forget it," she said. "But I don't think if you met me you'd perceive me to be a post-menopausal woman."

Though Durham said she downplayed the surgery to her daughters, she plans to fully explain her decision -- and their cancer risk -- when they're older.

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