Last Updated on January 5, 2021 by World’s Okayest Mom
Yes. That is a strong statement. Yes. I have a flair for the dramatics.
But my uterus is the enemy.
So much, in fact, that I plotted its death for 10 years.
When you are 15-years-old and you beg your doctor for a hysterectomy, he looks at you like you’re crazy.
When you consistently ask him for a hysterectomy for 10 years – twice a year, to be exact – he looks at you with concern.
When he explains the process of the hysterectomy (small incision, cut the uterus in ribbons and suck it out a straw) and you say: “Good… It deserves to die a slow and painful death,” he looks at you and begins practicing his testimony for the courts on your sanity.
But to be completely honest, those are my thoughts regarding my enemy, The Uterus.
In case it’s not clear, this is a very open post about my struggle with my lady organs, my victory over them and the hysterectomy I had ten years ago.
To understand my deeply harbored hatred for my uterus
You have to understand how despicable it was to me. It never worked. In fact, beginning at age 15, it caused tremendous back pain.
At that age, I was just starting to train for the long jump on the track and field team when I first felt the pain. It was consistent and intense. I assumed a sports injury since I went nonstop from soccer to basketball to soccer to track to soccer to basketball to… You get the picture. Doctor after doctor and test after test showed no back issues, no kidney issues, no muscle issues, no nothing.
Finally, after a year as a human test dummy for doctors, they realized the problem was with the uterus. I was unusually young for this problem and it gave me unusual pain. But the problem was finally diagnosed – endometriosis – and I zeroed in on my enemy.
Enter the first time I asked for a hysterectomy
The doctor said he would be run out of the healthcare community if he took out a 15-year-old’s uterus. That translated to a no. So he put me into a drug-induced menopausal state.
Yes, at age 16, I went into menopause for the first time. And yes, I just said “for the first time.”
Do you know anything about menopause?? If you don’t, let me give you just a few tips:
- hot flashes to the point that you think you may pass out or puke
- mood swings that could get you a room booked in Bedlam
- sleepless nights
- mood swings that make your emotional health look like a Richter scale on the San Andreas fault line.
Now imagine all that at age 16 with a first boyfriend, precarious social standing, normal high school/teenager stress and hormones, and friends who don’t even know what menopause is. In hindsight, my mom and I nicknamed the medication that put me into menopause as the Bitch Shots. To give you a small clue as to the effects it had on me: at one point my high school friends asked my mom “Why does she hate us??” That was one battle my uterus won.
About the time I figured out the mood swings and hot flashes and general unpleasantness of menopause, I was passed on to a new doctor who told me “being a woman is natural.” This doctor — need I even say it? — was not a woman. He thought I should learn to deal with the pain, so goodbye menopause, hello more pain. Now my bitchiness was not due to anything hormonal but the exhaustion of a constant ache.
The pain was back full force until a new doctor (yes, there were many in the beginning) took pity on me and put me back on the bitch shots.
Cue Menopause #2
I handled round two, I believe, with a little more grace. I was older and had a little bit more experience under my belt, was now dating a very understanding and patient guy who would later become The Husband, and had friends who were also a little more supportive and understanding.
Round Two lasted a few months until we realized that they were having a hayday on my bones. At that point, the doctor put me on a nice cocktail of hormone suppressants and osteoporosis meds that Sally Field advertises. Yes, my body thinks it’s that old.
My uterus won another battle against my body because around age 27ish, I was diagnosed with osteopenia. So taking Vitamin D and calcium by the truckload is a normal routine for me. Praying that osteoporosis is still many years out is a normal thought for me and The Husband.
Does this explain my hatred for my uterus a little better?
Hopefully, you can at least nod along in sympathy when I say I wanted it to die a painful and slow death. Doctor said he had to cut it into ribbons and suck it through a scope, I said: “Good! Make it suffer!” Doctor asked if I wanted to keep my ovaries for sentimental reasons, and I said: “Why? They’ve never done anything for me.”
At age 25, I was able to finally convince my doc that I truly, without regret, wanted a hysterectomy. I kept telling him and The Husband and anyone else who would listen that “I can’t have a baby until I have a hysterectomy.” I knew what a paradox that was, but it was the truth as I saw it. I obviously couldn’t naturally have a baby in a menopausal state. I would never conceive a baby on the amount of prescription pain killers that it would have taken to get me out of a menopausal state. So that was the quandary.
For me, though, it was easily solved.
Adoption was never a last resort
Adoption was the way. And while I have no judgement for women who don’t see adoption as an option, or conceive in other ways, it wasn’t for me. My path was very clear. Maybe that’s why endometriosis happened to me… to take away any trials that would have tried to steer me toward other ways.
To finally convince my doctor of all this, I had to bring The Husband in for an appointment. (That could open a whole other can of worms about a woman’s body and her choices, but I’ll bite back my feminist tendencies and just move on.) So at age 25, my uterus died a painful death, I rejoiced and then went through menopause for a third and final time. Practice makes perfect.
You’re probably wondering why I would share something so personal on a blog. First, I’m an open book. It’s not a secret to anyone who knows me. But more importantly, whether it be a good thing or not, it’s a big part of who I am.
I spent a great deal of my developmental years fighting my uterus. That’s not something I can separate from even though the uterus and I finally separated company. It’s the reason why I have a strange ability to sense another woman with fertility issues. We have a secret handshake, in case you’re wondering. It’s the reason my nieces, for quite some time (even while The Sister was pregnant) thought you had to have babies in Utah, because that’s where we got My Girl. It’s the reason we celebrate My Girl’s Gotcha Day (the day her adoption was finalized) and why she will sometimes randomly ask me who another child’s birth mother is. (She’s still trying to comprehend that she’s a special and unique girl because she has both a mommy and a birth mommy who love her.)
It’s not something I talk about or even think about every day, but it helped shape me and my family.