My dearest readers,
Tomorrow it will be my one year anniversary of having my hysterectomy and I truly can’t believe how quickly time has gone. In this post, I will not talk a ton about the experience of that time, but rather my life post surgery; however, I encourage you to read about it here. To say this experience was life changing is an understatement; however, language is sometimes restricting as it is in this moment, so I am left with that simple phrase.
Physically, while I am still unfortunately ill with many other diseases and illnesses, being freed of those violent periods is a blessing, and I don’t regret having the surgery overall. It’s difficult dealing with residual pain in my hips and abdomen even a year later, but my phantom uterus and abdominal pains are nothing compared to what I had dealt with before. Looking back on my life, I am in awe that for ten years I was tortured to the point of passing out every two to four weeks from my periods. I missed so many events, was nearly kicked out of high school due to truancy, and was bedridden for weeks because I couldn’t use my legs at all and my spine was being crushed. for ten. Years I dealt with this. Now as I fight my remaining illnesses, I do not think I could continue living if I had all this and those periods as well. I used to even dream I’d have to cancel my wedding day because I wouldn’t be able to sit up, let alone walk, because I’d get my period.
A year after my surgery the main issue I struggle with is the very obvious fact that I cannot give birth. I have many friends with beautiful babies and toddlers, and some with pregnant bellies that I constantly scroll past on Facebook. I am elated to see my friends and their beautiful new families, yet it is always bittersweet knowing that my belly will never be so full of life as theirs. There are many times I don’t think about it because I am occupied with the rest of life, but often I suddenly feel as if a train has crushed me in one fast, invisible swoop; and then the hole in my belly is all I am capable of thinking of.
When my sorrow overwhelms me, I try to remind myself that because of my health, as well as the state of my uterus I most likely would not have been able to have a child anyway. If I had gotten pregnant, the chances of my child surviving would have been devastatingly small, and I may have not even survived it myself. The truth is usually harsh in my life, but whether I admit it or not, the fact is that as much as I wanted to have a baby and be a mother, I would not be a mother at all if I were to die. Despite all those facts and all that truth, though, a year later I can’t help but feel that I have been robbed.
It was my choice to have the hysterectomy. It was not my choice to have a chronically ill body with an unhealthy, sick organ that relentlessly tortured me for nearly half my life, and it is a shame that the organ happened to be the one I needed to create a child.
The largest problem I have with all of my illnesses is that I feel that they constantly give me “choices” that really aren’t choices at all. Having to chose between more years of absurd pain and suffering and most liking either dying or having miscarriages from pregnancy, or having a hysterectomy and firmly losing my ability to have children is not much of a choice.
I still want very badly to be a mother, and I am hoping that as my life unfolds in all its struggle and beauty, that the time will come when I will be able to open my arms to a child in desperate need of a loving mother. The hole in my belly left by my hysterectomy has also caused a cavernous hole in my heart. But it has also created a space large enough to be filled with the love for a child that may have not come from my body, but will become a part of my soul even still.
Especially since I have began to follow the Facebook page Together We Rise, an organization all about fostering and adopting, I am even more excited than ever for the day that my future family’s photo may be one of those posted on the site, with a ecstatic child smiling brightly, holding a sign like all the rest I’ve seen:
I was in foster care for ____ days, but today, I got adopted!
I would never recommend having the surgery for anyone, only because it is something that requires deep understanding and thought. Every woman’s experience is different. I was warned that I would suffer from depression and mourning after the surgery, and I took the warning seriously, especially since I already suffer from clinical depression. Yet despite heeding the warning I don’t think I understood exactly how much of a struggle my life after the surgery would be. That being said, it was the right decision for me; but right decisions are rarely easy ones.
It is ridiculously challenging to go through a hysterectomy even with a good deal of support. I had very, very little support at the time, but to those who sat by my hospital bed while I cried and screamed in agony, who allowed me to stay in their home while I recovered, and who comforted me when I had never felt so alone, destroyed or scared, thank you does not even come close to my gratitude.
If anything, through my tears I must remember that I am healthier now, and that my dream of being a mother has been altered dramatically; but is not defeated. And hopefully, whenever it does happen, I won’t just be able to walk on my wedding day, but will be able to have the epic lightsaber battle first dance I’ve always desired.
P.S – I couldn’t find quite the right place to insert this, but ultimately the reason I had suffered so much was because I had severe endometriosis not only in my uterus but on a nerve cluster on my spine as well (hence the spinal and leg pain), adenomyosis (endometriosis that is on the outside of your uterus, basically) and my uterus was engorged and inflamed.
Thanks to one of my very best friends, Chris Berger, for the photo of me in insane amounts of pain and high on four different painkillers a few days after the surgery.
Just Keep Swimming .
~I Think You All Know Who – Finding Nemo