Dear readers who most definitely brighten my life (as cheesy as that may sound, it’s alright because cheese is delicious),
A Few days ago I wrote about my “hystaversary,” as my lovely friend Elizabeth calls it; the one year anniversary of my hysterectomy.
While my post was laced with my sadness, I also tried to bring up the fact that I most definitely do not regret my surgery and that ultimately it was the right decision to have it. However, I don’t think I did a very good job of that.
Especially since I suffer from Clinical Depression among many, many other health issues (if you’re curious, click this cheatcode), I fully admit that I can sometimes be a pessimistic little asshole, and that the positive in my life is usually drowned in fear, anxiety, and hopelessness. While I don’t intend to apologize for my post or any of those feelings because both positive and negative feelings need to be acknowledged , I do think that I haven’t quite expressed the importance of the goodness my surgery has brought me. So, I will bring it forth now.
As I said in my post, I still can’t believe how much I suffered for how long. To quote myself, which seems somewhat solipsistic yet entirely necessarily at the moment:
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.
That’s only to paraphrase the hell I lived through. The fact that I now no longer have to go through any of that is incredible and I am so thankful that after three doctors would barely even listen to me due to my young age, one surgeon fought for me and pushed for a board of doctors to allow me to have the surgery.
This brings me to another extremely important point: I was told over and over again by family and doctors that it either was not my decision or that I was far too young to understand the decision I would be making. Every time I was told this, especially by doctors, I was infuriated and heartbroken.
For up to two weeks every month, ten years straight, I was incapable of walking, nauseous, dizzy, and my legs and spine were in horrendous pain that would constantly cause me to pass out. When I did pass out, I would often hit my head on either the floor or the bathtub and then the floor. In fact, my horrible periods triggered my Vasovagal Syncope so many times that I now have a Syrinx near my neck, which is a tear in the spinal cord caused by a trauma. My neurologist believes that my constant vasovagal episodes are the cause of that trauma. While I am not cured of my vasovagal syncope and still experience them, they have been reduced by nearly 80% by having my hysterectomy.
So, to go through all that, and then be told I was not old enough at 25 to make the decision was ridiculous. While I understand the other doctors being cautious, the only one I am still angry at was the female OB/GYN that walked in the room, said, “I will not do this surgery because you’ll regret it,” and then walked away without hearing me out. The surgeon that did finally agree to listen to me had a nearly four hour appointment with me, and listened to every word I choked out.
My periods were so brutal that after the hundredth time of being sent to the ER in an ambulance, my male ER doctor, while scrutinizing me overnight, told me, “look, I know that because you are young this is a very hard thing to consider, but you absolutely need a hysterectomy. You are not living a life like this, and if I were you, I would have had one many years ago. I have no idea how you’ve gone this long.” It was only then, after I had told my mother to go home because she always tended to make situations worse, that I confided in the doctor that I was fighting desperately for a hysterectomy, I had to hide it from my family, and that the doctors were questioning the “morality” of my request, so were going to have a board meeting about my case to decide. He then told me, “well, if you need another person fighting for you, I will. You can put my name on the list of people on your side.”
I also said that I would not recommend this surgery only because every woman’s experience is different, so it needs a considerable amount of thought. This does not mean that I don’t think a woman should fight for a hysterectomy if she truly believes that it will improve her quality of life, and that those improvements outweigh her desire to have a child. I am crestfallen that I cannot have children not because I am a woman and because that’s all we are good for (which in my opinion, was how some doctors treated me). I am heartbroken because I am simply a person who wanted to be a parent, and I still can be, just in a different way.
This past Friday I went to visit my darling friend Kimkelly (I always call her by her full name because she sounds like a superhero). Before I left she gave me a colorful bracelet that her four year old daughter, Violet, said was for me. Well, first it was for KimKelly, but apparently my visit made Violet think I needed it especially badly. I didn’t know that she would be right. I went to work after my visit, forgetting I had the bracelet on me, until I was folding towels in the back of the salon and I saw it decorating my wrist, just as I was fighting back tears.
I thought of all I had been through for someone fairly young. But I also thought what a lovely coincidence it was that on the anniversary of the day I officially gave up my ability to give birth for the sake of my health, I was reminded that I didn’t exactly have to give birth to have a child like me, or even love me. In fact, it reminded me of all the babies, toddlers and children I’ve gotten along with in my life, and how much I loved all of them though they were not my own and only temporarily in my care. If I have that much love for Violet, all my friends’ children, and all the children I’ve nannied, just imagine how much more I can give to an adopted child I can call my own.
So, long story short:
- I’m elated that I got to have my hysterectomy and that it has spared me from more horrible suffering.
- Having my hysterectomy has improved my physical and mental health by lightyears; while it has not cured me of everything, it’s one less ailment on my list, and not fainting every two weeks is fabulous. It also means I’m at less risk for more spinal cord injury because I won’t be subjected to as many falls.
- I was most definitely not too young to make this decision, especially on my own, and while for the third time, it is something that needs to be thought about tirelessly by the patient to make sure they want it, I urge doctors to take the time to understand their patients better and truly listen.
- I will be heartbroken about the not being able to give birth thing for a while, but not forever, because I understand that the consequences of keeping that ability would have made my life significantly unhealthier and could have possibly put someone else’s health (my child) at risk. The best possible thing I could ever do for them is to not allow them to end up suffering as much or even worse than I have.
- I really, really want some fucking ice-cream. For…uh…medical reasons.
Sometimes, I wish I was brave.
I wish I was stronger, I wish I could feel no pain.
I wish I was young. I wish I was shy.
I wish I was honest, I wish I was you, not I.
‘Cause I feel so mad, I feel so angry.
I feel so callous, So lost, confused, again.
I feel so cheap, so used, unfaithful.
Let’s start over.
Let’s start over.