Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Four Inches

The scar is just over four inches across. Just above the pubic area, under my lower-most bits of belly fat. It hurts like hell. My understanding is that they opened up this wound and discovered a much bigger mass than they expected. Almost certainly nothing but a benign - if painful - fibroid tumor. But, still. They were expecting a tangerine. They got a grapefruit. From the four inch incision they removed my uterus (which housed the tumor), my cervix, and my fallopian tubes. My healthy and productive ovaries remain in tact. Of course, getting to this meant cutting through not only skin, but fat and muscle and I-don't-know-what-else. Which is why this hurts so much, even a week later, and will keep hurting, I hear, for several weeks.

Imagine someone kicking the shit out of you with his steel-toe Doc Martins. Now imagine that guy is giving you this ass-kicking not from the curb or some street corner, but from the inside out. Yes. Imagine this steel-toe-booted thug is living in your abdominal cavity, and kicking the ever-living shit out of you from inside your own body. That's what it feels like. That little bastard is lucky to have such excellent cover. If anyone tried to pull this shit on me from the outside, I'm pretty sure I'd murder them. Instead, I just keep taking pain-killers that do little more than take the edge off, and brace myself before doing anything drastic. Like breathing. Or sitting. Or standing. So, yeah....I brace myself for everything. This morning, a sneeze made me see stars and call out for my mother, who hasn't been alive since 2010.

I expected the physical pain (although I have to admit I never imagined it being quite THIS intense and unrelenting) but the other pain comes as a surprise to me. The uterus they cut out of me never housed anything more than a fibroid. Babies never sprung from it. George Washington did NOT sleep here. I'm sad about this, and a little guilty. Not that I was in any position ten days ago to do anything about it: I am 47 years old and perimenopausal. Still, the finality of this is really difficult to deal with. I keep thinking about my mother and my grandmother, both of whom seemed made for motherhood. They were both really fucking good at it, too. Growing up under their auspices, I learned to value motherhood above all other callings. Somehow, though, I never felt it would be right to try and tackle it myself, even though I love children, and have always wanted them. Now, long after it's too late to double back and rethink the choices I've made, I'm filled with both sadness and guilt. Sadness for obvious reasons. Guilt? I feel as if I've let the fine women who came before me down. They set such a great example, but I never picked up the proverbial ball and ran with it. They shared so much with me, in a way that one can only share with one's flesh and blood. I don't have a daughter to pass it all along to. It's ridiculous that I should find this painful: I've never even WANTED a daughter, but a son.  Now, though, at 47, and medically barren, I feel sad about not having brought another generation of girls into my direct line. In fact, my direct line will end, forever, with me. I can't help but think this would make both my mother and my grandmother a little sad; that they gave me so much, and I haven't made provisions for it all to keep going forward. And, now, through the decision to get this surgery (which will improve my quality of life, but was in no way an emergency procedure that saved my life in any way, as far as I know) I've made it all very final. My brain knows that they would understand. That, in fact, they DO understand, wherever they are, now, both part of everything.  My gut, though, my aching gut keeps wanting to apologize and tell the best women I've ever known that I've meant no disrespect by making such different choices. I'm not even completely happy with some of those choices, but they're irrevocable, and I have no choice but to make peace with them.

A couple of days ago, a doctor who is not my regular physician had occasion to look at my scar.  "How beautiful!" She exclaimed, "That's a lovely bit of work and a gorgeous scar. And it's healing so well and so quickly. You and your surgeon could be the poster children for tidy surgery and optimal healing! You're barely going to see this, when the healing is complete."

I'll see it.  Always. All four inches of it.

1 comment:

shirley said...

When I finished reading your words I felt like I woke up floating, bobbing in a lake. The water was warm and there was morning mist and shimmering ripples of muted moss green and streaks of heathery purple.

Your bearing witness = rebirth.