This is an honest reflection of my eight year journey with “Feminine Trouble” of the reproductive system, therefore it requires the terminology of human anatomy, bodily functions, and medical conditions and procedures.
Due to the extensive nature of this journey, with endometriosis, pelvic congestion, pelvic floor dysfunction, polycystic ovation syndrome (PCOS), and a uterine fibroid tumor it is a multiple post series.
- “What the Hell?” was an overview of the diagnoses, briefly the associated pain, and the medical treatments/procedures endured.
- “Disruptive, Destructive Norm” was about how these medical conditions, treatments, and procedures affected my physical and mental wellbeing.
- “Hysterectomy and Beyond” is about the decision to have a hysterectomy and how it has and continues to affect my physical, mental, and relational well-being.
Before the Hysterectomy
I was never the young girl who dreamed of the day that I would be a mother, but at age 15 I begin to accept the reality that pregnancy, carrying to term, and giving birth to a child may be difficult or eventually not even an option.
While laying in a hospital bed after the third surgery (age 17), I was listening to the doctor share her discoveries (report) as truthfully optimistic as possible.
The uterus is a hard muscle, therefore if a surgical instrument is laid against the uterus it will hold its shape. BUT, when a surgical instrument was laid against my uterus it dented in and then returned to its normal shape once it was removed.
The doctor remained optimistic that I would eventually be able to conceive, to carry to term, and give birth to a child. I, however, was logically realistic but not prepared to face the truth that I would never have the option of “traditional” motherhood.
While in my early twenties, I expelled a blue-purple, hard mass. Although the OB/GYN office suggested it was merely a “blood clot”, it did not resemble those previous experienced. I honestly wondered (and further believe) it was an extremely early term miscarriage prior to knowledge of said pregnancy.
As I shared in the previous posts, the chronic pain had negatively effected me physically, emotionally, and mentally. Thus, I returned to the pelvic pain specialist when the chronic pain returned after the fourth surgery.
He was determined that the pain was a re-development of pelvic congestion, which he had developed an in-office procedure as treatment.
I, however, disagreed arguing that the pain was caused by the uterine fibroid, or non-cancerous tumor. It was located within the muscle of my uterus and thus could not be removed without a hysterectomy. However, he was convinced that it was “too small” for me to feel or to cause the pain I was reporting.
The doctor and I made a deal:
If a MRI with contrast showed pelvic congestion, then the in-office procedure.
If a MRI with contrast was normal, then the hysterectomy.
The MRI was “normal”, therefore I requested to be transferred for surgery scheduling.
On December 22, 2009 (age 23), I had the hysterectomy.
After the Hysterectomy
After nearly a decade, the hysterectomy remains the GREATEST Christmas gift.
Yet, I would be remiss if I suggested that it has been without struggle.
I struggle with persons who are not mentally, emotionally, or financially ‘fit’ for parenthood, but who have several children.
I struggle with persons who randomly question if I am pregnant, but my response is:
“Nope. I just love my carbs.”
I struggled with my hysterectomy as either a contributing factor or a convenient ‘excuse’ for my divorce. Let me explain:
In May 2010, I met a man (John) who I told about my hysterectomy prior to our first date. He expressed that adoption and/or a surrogate were viable options.
In January 2011, John and I were married prior to his deployment to Iraq.
(Yes, it was quick and I should have listened to my gut).
In June 2012, John and I were able to finally live together as husband and wife.
But, it quickly became clear that he struggled with my infertility.
John was speaking on the phone with a female friend who was pregnant with an unplanned child and was not in a relationship with the father at that time. I heard him say “well at least YOU can have a baby”.
John decided that he needed a biological son to carry on his name and legacy,
but a surrogate was too expensive.
John also decided that adoption (for a daughter) was too delayed and too expensive.
In August 2014, John and I decided to divorce.
BUT, despite these struggles I would not trade my decision for a hysterectomy
for the sake of my own physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health.