I’m attached to a lot of things. People mostly.
But I’m sentimental so I get attached to my clothes, my books, and yes, even my uterus.
Sometimes what you resist persists, right?
Life has a way of teaching us what we need to learn and so my children have grown and I’ve had to work hard at healthy separation, I live with two daughters who steal all my clothes (especially when I’m out of town) and we had a fire in our house a few years back- bye, bye books.
Now it’s my uterus that’s on the line. I’m scheduled for surgery in 2 days to remove a 10 cm (that’s the size of a grapefruit) fibroid (a non-cancerous tumor) from my uterus. The discovery of this fibroid was one of the scariest days of my life. (More on that in another blog post.)
Not wanting to part with my uterus, I’ve put this off for years. The surgery is considered elective but I’ve grown tired of regular sonograms, more than my fair share of scares, feeling six months pregnant and having to leave the dinner table doubled over with cramps.
Maybe I should have done this sooner but like I said, I’m sentimental and my uterus has been good to me. Five children have grown in there. I don’t take that lightly. So it seems reasonable that I’d be attached. Plus, it seems perfectly normal and logical to be attached to all my body parts. Doctors talk about removing a cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes as if they were manicurists removing nail polish.
“When the fibroid goes, my uterus goes too,” I explained to my oldest daughter. “And the problem is?” “I want my uterus.” “That’s weird. You don’t need it.”
And of course, she’s right but need is a funny word. My uterus feels connected to my youth and so there is a sense of loss. Plus, why’d I grow the fibroid in the first place? Unresolved emotions. Pent up anger. Who knows? I will tell you this- fibroids are common. Forty percent of women get them. But they are most common in African American women, women who are obese and women who eat lots of red meat, especially ham. I am none of these.
I tried to explain to my daughter that I didn’t believe you could just cut these things out. It’s the size of baby’s head. Coincidence?
“Okay, that’s super weird. And gross,” she said. “Just get it out. It’s a foreign something growing in your body.”
But that’s just it. It didn’t feel foreign. And for a long time, I wasn’t ready to let it go.
Along the way, I’ve had to fight to keep other body parts. Literally argue. Up until recently a woman’s ovaries were thought to do nothing after menopause (just for the record, that’s still years away) and were taken out without much discussion. It is now known that ovaries actually continue producing hormones for years. Hormones that I want! I had a similar debate over my cervix and fallopian tubes. All of which are staying.
As my mother says, with not a small amount of disdain, “You have to be your own doctor.” The point is you must do research and ask questions.
One doctor wanted to morcellate the fibroid, cut it up into small pieces so I wouldn’t need a big surgery in order to get it out; and a different doctor said morcellating wasn’t a good idea.
Turns out, even though the numbers are small, it is possible to have one bad cell, which once exposed could spread disease. (Yes, getting that information was one of the scary days.)
So it has taken time but I have accepted that my uterus will go. There comes a time for things, and when the right moment presents itself, you know.
When my youngest son was three, my mother asked, “When are you going to cut the umbilical cord?” Like I said, separating is difficult for me but I did separate from him; and now he lives on his own, holds a steady job and plays drums in a band.
Everything in due time.