This article reports on part of a descriptive study of recovery from hysterectomy which was set within a cognitive-phenomenological theory of coping. Women's pessimistic beliefe in old wives' tales and the possible effects of hysterectomy were modified as they experienced operation and recovery! The majority made a good recovery in health and activity terms, and according to their own assessments. However information provided by staff and social support from partners, families and friends were low in quality and quantity, and the data includes some evidence that lack of support may have interfered with progress after hysterectomy. Implications of the study for nursing practice and research are discussed in conclusion.