I am 28 and I have no uterus. I had a total hysterectomy at age 25 in a last-ditch effort to resolve unbearable, daily pain that had gone on for close to three years, on top of over a decade of hellish girly bits issues. I chose to undergo major surgery instead of continuing on the recommended course of hormonal treatments and prescription painkillers. In my mind, preserving my kidneys and liver was more important to me than forcing them to cope with the medications that were prescribed to manage my pain and to try to make my uterus behave.
Gentlemen readers, you might want to go read about dog farts or something else that won’t give you nightmares.
It’s taken me a while to build up the nerve to write this post, partially because it’s such a personal topic, but mostly because I don’t want the people who read my story to think that I’m feeling sorry for myself or looking for sympathy. The truth is that having a hysterectomy was among the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made, and also one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I’m well aware it’s a cliché to say so, but if I had to do it again tomorrow, I would.
Part of the reason I’m publishing my uterine saga is the fact that many women out in the real world face issues with their girly bits, ranging from cancer to unsolved infertility and everything in between. I hope that by sharing my experiences, a few women out there might feel supported or that someone does actually understand the yard sale of emotions they feel after being battered by their own uteruses and related accessories.
My desire for sincerity is the second reason I’m sharing this story. I promised myself when I began this little blog and slapped my dog’s photo at the top that I would be genuine above all else. Without discussing my hysterectomy and the events that led to it, I don’t feel that Blue Speckled Pup would accurately represent who I am as a human being.
At first I thought this might be too gooey a topic for my blog. Then, I realized that there are blogs all over the internet full of very detailed birth stories that discuss dilation and placentas and episiotomies and all sorts of very intimate (and messy!) female experiences. Some them even have photographs of all the gross, for cryin’ in the sink! I’ll keep the gore to a minimum, okay?
So, this is the story of my uterus, and how I decided that we needed to part ways.
Since the first time they arrived unannounced, my periods kicked my butt with golf cleats and ninja battle cries. Even as a teenager, they were painful and heavy, but by the time I was in my early 20s, the pain was quickly becoming the focal point of my life for “that” week out of every month. I finally saw a gynecologist when I was 21, who was concerned that I might have endometriosis, which runs in my family, and she scheduled a diagnostic laparoscopy right away.
The laparoscope is this fancy medical gadget that the surgeon can use to look around inside a person without having to open her up like a flounder, or like one of those dead guys on CSI. It was pretty cool to me, when I didn’t think about it actually happening and get creeped out, to think that my doctor could go in there with her wee camera on a metal chopstick and have a look at my innards. Truly, I think that the inside of a person should stay inside, and that if all that stuff was meant to be looked at, bellies would come with a porthole, or something, but I truly felt wretched and I needed help.
So, I let my surgeon make a couple of holes in my belly (which were the same size as the button-holes on a man’s dress shirt) and have a look around. I was under general anesthetic and I don’t remember the actual impaling, which is a very good thing, but one of the nurses drew a smiley-face under the incision in my belly button, and I laughed when I saw it afterward until I realized how much post-surgical laughs hurt. It was similar to how I’d imagine inserting a barbeque fork and giving a sharp clockwise twist would feel, if the barbeque fork was first dunked in tequila, complete with salt and lemon.
The good news was that I had a smooth recovery from the laparoscopy. I suppose it was also positive to hear that I had what my doctor called a “normal pelvis.” Excellent. The one normal thing about me, and it happens to be my pelvis. The issue with that was that my gynecologist found nothing at all that could be blamed for my pain. When I saw her following the surgery, she told me that she could not help me and that I was basically stuck with my pain. She told me there was no point in seeing her in the future, and I felt angry and abandoned that a physician gave up so easily.
Before the laparoscopy, my pain was concentrated around my periods, and while it was brutal, I could generally count on it dissipating after that week was over. After my little surgery, though, the pain increased to a debilitating daily burden. I have no idea if something happened during the surgery, or if it was a cruel coincidence, but my much life was controlled by my uterus from that point on.
Stay tuned for the rest of the story. Thanks for being part of my little medical drama.
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