Category:

30 to Life

women, middle aged women, midlife crisis, an open letter to women everywhere, you deserve better

I’m smack dab in the middle of a life journey back to me. Sounds existential, right? No, it’s not a midlife crisis. I was thrust into a situation where I had to evaluate all of my life choices and make better choices for myself, for my family and for my life but mostly, for MYSELF.

Women, you deserve better.

It’s really pretty simple and it’s more common than not. In fact, I know a lot of women who are also going through this exact same thing. Don’t get me wrong, I know plenty going through a midlife crisis too. I’m just not there yet. I’m sure my time is coming. When it does, I will embrace it.

READ ALSO: The Secret that will Change Everything

The journey I’m talking about is the moment that we find ourselves in a new chapter of motherhood and life. Our kids don’t need us as much as they used to. They’re a little more self-sufficient. We’re a little lonelier. We want to contribute. We want to feel needed. We want to feel purposeful. We want to be seen for who we are and suddenly, we barely recognize ourselves in the mirror.

I don’t recognize the middle-aged woman staring back at me.

She looks like me but tired and grey. She’s missing her spark. Feeling like a childhood lovie; worn, outgrown and left behind.

We realize that we’ve let ourselves fall to the wayside too many times. We’ve lost priority seating in our own life. We can’t even get past the velvet ropes into VIP and we’re the effing bouncer. Gone are the days of taking 2-hours to get ready but we’re done with the ponytail and yoga pants too.

READ ALSO: Best Things about 40

We’ve let ourselves become invisible for so long that we almost can’t see ourselves and if we do, we definitely don’t recognize the person staring back at us. We’ve glimpsed our reflection and we deserve more. We want more. We are no longer satisfied with being a ghost, transparent from the photos of our own lives. The problem is that we need to remember to see ourselves before anyone else can.

I thought I was in this situation by myself but its more common than not.

I had a medical crisis that made me take a hard look at myself with all the lights on, strong fluorescent lights at that. It wasn’t even good lighting. I had a come to Jesus meeting with myself and myself gave it to me straight.

This is all my fault.

No one else did this to me. They just followed suit. I’ve heard so many ladies asking the internet for permission to do for themselves lately that I’m dizzy. Before I would have nodded in agreement but now, I’m saying take it. You deserve it. You deserve all the good things. I’m grateful for me and I’m not taking it for granted anymore.

READ ALSO: Gynecological Misadventures of a Millenial Mom

Suddenly, I realized that if I wanted to be prioritized and treated right by others, then I have to prioritize and treat myself right. Respect yourself and others will too. We show people how to treat us. If we accept being pushed aside and made to wait for what we want, that’s what will happen. If you ask for permission, you run the risk of someone saying no. Do “you” and ask for forgiveness. You won’t need it.

There is no award for martyrdom and our families can’t read our minds. But just like we tell our daughters, “you set the standard of how others will treat you.” We need to believe that it applies to us too. I’ve been drilling it into my daughters’ heads and hearts since birth, all the while contradicting myself in the way I live my own life.

READ ALSO: The Moment I stopped caring what others think of me

That’s where I am today. I’m loving who I am. I’m remembering that I am worth all the love and hard work that I put into everyone else in my life. I deserve good things and I shouldn’t be afraid of failure or not being perfect. Just by doing my best, I am succeeding.

My journey is slow and steady and that’s exactly how I want it to be. Nothing good ever happens overnight and if it did, I wouldn’t trust it anyways. This slow shift is giving me time to get used to who I’m becoming; to live and thrive in my new normal. It’s giving me time to ease into the fact that I am good enough. You are too.

What are you doing for you? Just for you? Are you working out? Are you resting? Sleeping enough? Eating right? Are you forgiving yourself? Do you believe in yourself? Are you going for your dreams? Trying new things? Taking vacations? Being kind to your heart? Living out loud? Are you loving the life you live? If not, stop what you’re doing right now. Change it. It’s that simple. Make up your mind to change the narrative.

 

 

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vaginal cuff, hysterectomy, endometriosis

What is a vaginal cuff ? Everwonder what that even means? I’ll be honest, I never even heard of the word before I got one. I can tell you that it is not anything like an ear cuff. It’s not a piece of jewelry. It is not an accessory of any sort. It does not adorn or make anything look fancy. It’s a procedure that is done when your uterus and cervix is removed. Basically, it’s a separation.

I’m on day 6 of recovery from my hysterectomy. I’m sure that you are all tired of hearing about it and I’m sorry but it happens to be the giant squishy elephant in the room at his time. Yes, it was squishy and big (like a softball) and apparently, the damn thing was so heavy my body decided my cervix should dilate a centimeter to help my body expel of this thing.

READ ALSO: Take this Uterus and Shove It

Basically, just like my misplaced gallbladder, my uterus didn’t look as was expected. That’s exactly what you want to hear after having the beast removed from within the fruit of your loins.

How do I feel? It’s the number one question everyone keeps asking and I keep telling them that I feel exhausted and sore. After all, I have 5 incisions in my frankenstomach now. In addition to the butcher marks from when they removed my gallbladder, my stomach looks like you can play a game of connect the ugly scars. I have become a carnival game for small children. And yeah that hurts.

But what really hurts is that it feels like I’ve done a zillion sit-ups. I guess that is what happens when they are tugging away trying to remove an organ the size of a freaking softball from the walls inside your body cavity. Oh, and did I mention that my vagina has been sewn shut?

READ ALSO: Last Period Ever

I found this out after surgery. No, it’s not like they sewed my face shut at the lips. No, it’s more like they sewed my mouth shut at the back of the throat only… between my legs. Are you getting the picture? Apparently, a few IRL people don’t because they keep asking me if I’m “really” supposed to be in bed and I’ll probably be healed in a couple of weeks. Obviously, they know more than my doctor.

See when they remove your uterus, your fallopian tubes, leave 1 ovary …they also remove your cervix. Its purpose is for the transit of babies from uterus to the outside world. As I will be having no more babies. I no longer need the cervix. Leaving it behind would be of no benefit, require yearly paps and the only purpose it would have is for me to get to play the delightful game of will she get cervical cancer or not for the rest of my life. So, they took it.

Well, like I asked my husband (not to be too graphic, as I am not a doctor) so what happens when you ejaculate? I mean, I love you Big Guy but I don’t feel particularly healthy about your sperm just roaming around my upper chest cavity like ghosts in an old house. That’s when I read up and was graphically explained while high as a kite on Percocet about a vaginal cuff. Sounds like a fashion accessory, right? I assure you that it is not!

READ ALSO: Having a Hysterectomy before the Fibroids Kill Me

What happens ( if you don’t want to know….stop reading here) when they remove your uterus and cervix and all the goodies inside ( save my left ovary who was left behind like a sacrificial lamb to stave off menopause) they have to cut the cervix free from the vagina. Yes, cut, it free from the VAGINA!

Remember your 8th-grade anatomy, it goes labia ( hello, come in. Welcome to my vagina. ) Vagina ( the grand foyer of your lady parts…it’s where you spend time getting to know one another…enjoying one another’s company), then comes the cervix ( mine was super deep and I like to think of it as the long walk to the back room) the uterus is where the magic ( and babies) were made. That’s where the babies grew and to be honest, as deep as my cervix was, I’m surprised I had any kids at all. They were determined. Those are my champion, long-distance swimmers.

READ ALSO: The Poor Man’s D & C

So, now that you know what the set-up is. In my scenario, you now come into the fun room ( the vagina) and then the rest of the house has not only been sealed off but removed. That bitch has been condemned; vacated and torn down.

I have a zillion questions going through my head. Will my husband still fit? He’s a Big Guy. Is it going to be too crowded? Will it hurt? Will things still work like they are supposed to?

Aside from all of this, I have people who have never had a hysterectomy telling me how I’m supposed to be feeling and how fast I’m supposed to be feeling and asking me if I actually feel as bad as I appear to be. Am I really supposed to be in bed?

I want to shout, “No, I’m just doing it because I’m lazy.” That’s the answer I feel like they want. I feel judged for trying to recover.

Well, I’m not a gynecologist and the people who are asking me aren’t either, but my doctor was pretty adamant that I take it easy as to not rip any stitches and end up back in the hospital. But hey, I’m sure this stranger’s cousin’s sister’s friend who was the janitor in the hospital knows better.

Basically, I feel like I’ve had a c-section minus the baby. Instead of pulling out the baby, the removed my entire uterus. It hurts. It’s uncomfortable and I’d appreciate it if certain people would quit questioning if this major surgery is “really that bad”.

 

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Hysterectomy, surgery, uterine fibroids, fibroids, what happens when you get a hysterectomy

Take this uterus and shove it! You ain’t welcome here no more!

Remember that song? Take this job and shove it? Yeah, that’s how I’m feeling about my uterus tonight.

We had a good run. She gave me two amazing little girls. She flaked on the last one. I’m still bitter about that.

So, my uterus has been being naughty again for the past few days. Of course, she chose her full on mutiny to coincide with my first ever red carpet press event. And of course, it happened when I was completely unprepared and 3000 miles from home. Yes, this is a TMI post. If you are squeamish, don’t read on. Leave now. Run away. It’s going to get bloody awful in just a few seconds.

Basically, my baby maker hates me. I don’t know why. I’ve been perfectly nice to her. I’ve always taken care of her. I’m gentle but firm. But she’s decided she wants to throw a tantrum. She’s suddenly throwing out medical oddities like a surprise uterus full of blood. Fibroids that grow with love. One that is full on prolapsing and blocking my cervix and another one growing into my uterus and wreaking havoc. Last but not least, uterine polyps. It’s a party in there and I’m just the poor sucker whose house is being trashed.

She has no shame. Oh, she’ll do it on a plane. She’ll do it on the train. She’ll do it in a fancy black car service. She’ll do it on a tour. She’ll do it while you’re dancing. And of course, she’ll do it when you’re in a very public place with a whole bunch of very important people because my uterus doesn’t care who you are or what you’re doing. She’s the boss of you.

And oh yes she did! She did all of that and more. She didn’t care. She waited for me to be vulnerable, away from home and she tricked me one last time. She got me good. She ninja style snuck up on me and karate chopped me in the ovaries.

My uterus threw a full-on mutiny. She knows that today she’s outta here. Getting evicted and she’s not going gently into that good night. She is bitter. It’s not me, it’s definitely her.

As if that my situation was not embarrassing enough, she made me revisit my teen years. Thank goodness for that jacket tied around my waist and dark blue jeans. Being a woman is hard, even after 30.

I wanted to crawl into a hole and die but I didn’t, because I’m a grown woman. I went on about my business. I did the damn thing… as well as you can while asking everyone in proximity where the restrooms are. You thought you lost all modesty when you gave birth? Psst! Nope, this was worse.

Did I mention how wonderful and understanding every single human being I met was to me? They all tried to help me. Yep, humans are amazing. My uterus not so much.

While you’re reading this post, I’m in the hospital burning this mother down because I’m done with this 78-day hostage situation that my uterus has had me in.

I’ve got one last thing to say to her, and one thing only, “Bye, Felicia”.

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hysterectomy, last period ever, menstruation, uterine fibroids

When you’re young, it feels like waiting forever for your period to come. Then, once you start, it feels like you are going to have a period forever. I can’t tell you how many times I wished it would stop in my lifetime. But I never thought, and still don’t, about what it would be like to have your last period ever.

As many of you know, since I wrote about it ad nauseum as I was freaking out, I’ve been having some issues of late with my lady bits. A few weeks ago, it was a few hours before my birthday and I felt more like I was about to attend my own funeral. That’s what happens when you have a 38-day period, an emergency “poor man’s d&c” and you are on so many hormones that you don’t know whether to laugh or cry, so you do both.  Anyways, if you want to read about that..it’s all on this blog.

READ ALSO: Waiting for Biopsy Results

Today though, I’m here to talk to you about something completely different. Now, after 78 days of constant flow of the heaviest cycle, I’ve ever experienced, anemia induced by blood loss and generally not being sure what the heck is going on with my female parts. Today, with a hysterectomy on the horizon, I’m realizing that this nearly 3 month period will be my last ever.

Which is amazing in all kinds of All CAPs AWESOME ways but then it hit me, just now, in the shower, that this is probably my last.period.ever. I should be ecstatic. I mean 78 days is a long time. But so is forever.

Last year, when my doctor first came to me with the idea of a hysterectomy. I looked at her like she was insane. I’m too young for a hysterectomy. I’m not menopausal. I’m vibrant. I’m fertile. I’m every freaking 28 days, ovulating on day 14. I’m a reproductive machine. Only this machine has chosen not to grow any more humans. This machine is not a machine at all. It’s a woman with all the feels. I’m a woman who found out last week that my uterus and fibroids are conspiring to mess me up. They are doing medically unseen things.

READ ALSO: Why I Won’t get an Elective Hysterectomy

Last year, a hysterectomy was an elective opportunity to stop some nuisance heavy days. I knew I wasn’t going to have any more babies because when I lost the one, it broke me but I wanted the option. What can I say, my uterus makes me feel special. It’s like a superpower and I wasn’t ready to give that up. I’m still not BUT when you are hit square in the jaw with an emergency type situation and told that you might have cancer, well, then a hysterectomy sounds like a breeze; like clipping toenails or trimming fringe.  That’s how I came around to my current reality.

But now my period, this crazy long cycle, is my very last period. I mean she’s going out with a bang. 34  years of right on time cycles ending with a 78-day, Shining type of a rager, I’d say my uterus is the flipping Rolling Stones rock star of uteri.

READ ALSO: Why I’m having a Hysterectomy before the Fibroids Kill Me

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, many of you have been here since the girls were babies. You held my heart when it was broken into a zillion tiny pieces and duck taped that bitch back together when I lost my third baby. You’ve read all about the saga that is my reproductive mishaps, I thought you’d like to know when I played my farewell show. I don’t think there will be any more encores. There better not be. Geez, Keith Richards the uterus…go the fuck home.

But, I’m scared. Nothing about this has been “normal”. I’m constantly surprising my gynecologist and I really don’t know what to expect tomorrow. I may wake up with an incision and no ovaries but the plan is to have a robotic surgery and leave the ovaries. I’m not ready for menopause or any of the hormonal treatments that go with it. I’ve been on hormones for the past 78 days to stop the bleeding and it’s making my vision blurry, my moods all over the place, my blood pressure high and a host of other issues. I just want to be normal again. I just want to stop bleeding and feel good.

Pray for me. Keep me in your thoughts. I’ll be here on the couch for the next 6-8 weeks recovering with limited mobility. Apparently having your baby maker removed is a big deal. Pray for the Big Guy, he will be playing the role of Mr.Mom as I won’t be able to drive for at least 3 weeks. I need a mommy meal on wheels and a maid, STAT.

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hysterectomy, uterine fibroids, fibroids, endometriosis, gynecological issues, perimenopause , uterine biopsy, cancer, poor man's d and c, D&C

It stands to reason that since women’s superpower is that we can conceive, grow, birth and feed babies taking our uterus is like using Kryptonite on us. I never knew how vital my uterus was to my existence until I had children, then I knew it gave me miracles. I never realized that three little uterine fibroids could kill me. I never believed a hysterectomy would be my best case scenario. 

I also learned quickly with my miscarriage that my uterus could also bring me to my knees in prayer, pain and humility. When it’s supposed to work and it fails you, there is nothing like that pain and vulnerability. It’s indescribable. It feels like a failure and betrayal by your body against your soul.

With each of my beautiful children that I was fortunate and blessed enough to conceive, I was also given a uterine fibroid; a tumor. They’ve been monitoring my fibroids, Mo, Larry and Curly, since 2004 to be sure they caused no interferences with my pregnancies.  Each doctor made it sound like there was no cause for concern. So, we let them go…grow with estrogen, not with love. But as they grew, so did my uterus.

READ ALSO: The Surprise Biopsy

But then last year happened and this entire year has been a catastrophic menstruation disaster. Nothing is working right. I’m as about as anemic as I can be. They’ve just upped my iron again and apparently, my uterine fibroids, now more reasonably named, Jason, Freddie and Michael are trying to kill me. If you don’t believe me, explain a uterus full of blood?

You can’t. As I told you in the last post, not even my doctor can. I’m just this anomaly with a uterus like a swamp that needed to be drained. Whatever the hell that even means.

The thing is, as I was referring to women possessing the superpower of conception, gestation and birth, it makes me think that our uterus is pretty vital to our womanhood. It’s our essence. Or maybe that’s just my scared out of my wits that I have cancer, I just read the hysterectomy surgery pamphlet and all these hormones have me jacked talking.

I’ve had tonsils and adenoids taken out. I’ve had tubes put in my ears. I’ve survived a miscarriage and a D & E. I’ve Humpty Dumpty broken and shattered my leg into a thousand tiny pieces, had it put back together and then had the armor put in and surgically removed 3 times. I’ve dislocated my elbow and had it go back into place (both equally as painful). I’ve survived excruciating gallstone attacks and had my gallbladder removed. I’ve spent the better part of the past 3 years in hospitals, laid up and still paying the bills. But this surgery scares me and it’s not just that I might have cancer. Though, believe me, that scares the shit out of me.

READ ALSO:  The Poor Man’s D & C and Waiting for Biopsy Results

This entails a mandatory hospital stay. I may wake up with a couple robotic incisions or a cesarean like incision. I might get to keep my ovaries or she might take everything. I might go into menopause or onto hormones. I might have an oncologist in the surgery or I might not. There’s a 6-8 week healing period. My doctor says that’s very restricted. I have children and I have been here in this restricted position and it’s so hard to be so vulnerable and dependent on others.

There are so many uncertainties and that’s nothing to say of the fact that I just put myself out there and interviewed for a new job in a brick and mortar establishment.  I mean what do I say? What do I do? That’s if I even get the job.

My mind is a million different places this weekend and my sore uterus from my Friday office visit is a constant reminder that this is real. I’m still bleeding…day 29. I’m trying to stay calm for my girls but then all I can think of is what if these fibroids kill me?

I’m afraid of all the things I’ll miss. The milestones. Our 25th anniversary. Bella’s quinceanera. Gabi’s confirmation. Gabi’s quinceanera. High school proms. First boyfriends. College. First heartbreak. College graduation. Weddings. Babies. Becoming a grandma. Growing old with the Big Guy. So much life still to live; so much love still to give. Not enough time to change the world. Not enough time to love the people I love.

hysterectomy, uterine fibroids, fibroids, endometriosis, gynecological issues, perimenopause , uterine biopsy, cancer, poor man's d and c, D&C

So, I’m getting a hysterectomy and I’m waiting on biopsy results. I’ll never have another baby. I’ll never have another period. Bella and I, our periods sync up. Gabi and I will never have that. I know it’s stupid. I know that maybe everything might be all right but right now, I have to face the facts that these fibroids are slowly killing me and now, my uterus has become hostile towards me too. I just want to be ok and be here for the people I love.

So, if you are the praying kind, I’m asking for all the prayers you’ve got. Because, right now, all I can do is wait with nothing but prayers to keep me sane. And to think,  a few days ago, I thought early menopause was the worst thing that could happen to me.

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hysterectomy, uterine fibroids, fibroids, endometriosis, gynecological issues, perimenopause , uterine biopsy, cancer, poor man's d and c, D&C

What trumps a surprise uterine biopsy? A surprise poor man’s D and C. It’s not the same as a D and C in the hospital under anesthesia. My doctor’s words, not mine. It’s fall and the week before my birthday, so I must be waiting for biopsy results. Remember last year’s biopsy wait and see? It was the worst. I went in for my annual exam and ended up with a surprise biopsy. Damn uterine fibroids. Get off my lawn.

This year, I had a 28 day period and nobody knew why. Was I menopausal? Am I perimenopausal? Are my fibroids just the worst? Is it endometriosis? No, I’m not menopausal. Dr. says probably another 6 years before I’d start any kind of natural menopause. Perimenopausal? She said nothing of being there either. Not endometriosis, at least not that she mentioned.

What I did have was a surprise ultrasound to see if my uterine fibroids had grown. Last year, my uterus was the size of a 10-week pregnant woman’s due to the size of the uterine fibroids. This year, since we’ve come to the conclusion that a 28 day period for a severe anemic is not something I can withstand longterm without transfusion…a hysterectomy it will be. Yep, those days of being adamantly against it have given way to just wanting to be able to function in the upright position without feeling like my insides are falling out.

Well, talk about a surprise. The doctor and I were both surprised with the ultrasound results. It was my third time taking off my panties in one office visit and I was getting scared. But when the ultrasound tech nonchalantly asked me, “When was your last uterine biopsy?” I began to get a little squirrely. I asked, “Why? Do you see something?” To which she replied with her best poker face, “Oh, no just wondering. “

READ ALSO: The Menopause Spectrum

I knew that was bullshit. It felt like the day they told me they couldn’t find a heartbeat with my last pregnancy. I wasn’t getting a good vibe. It was hour 3 at the gynecologist’s office and I was beginning to really freak out. She sent me back up to my doctor’s office.

My doctor came into the room like a frantic ball of nervous energy and very quickly told me, “Debi, I need you to get undressed and on the table. Your entire, now, 12-week pregnant sized uterus, is full of blood and we need to empty it and do another biopsy.” As you might remember, last year’s biopsy was very painful and traumatic. A biopsy is not anything you want to be sprung on you.

Then all the blood began to rush from my head ( apparently to my uterus) and the room was spinning. All I heard was biopsy, cancer and uterus full of blood. Remember last year when I complained about my 5 days of heavy bleeding each month and it got me a biopsy and an entire year of horrible, no good unpredictable, heavy periods? Well, now if my options are cancer or menopause…. I’m praying for menopause.

If you’ve made it this far, the next part is going to be TMI so if periods, uterine fibroids and cancer are not your thing, leave now.

My doctor was so frantic, that it felt frenzied. I felt like she was acting under a code blue and I was an unwilling participant in the shit show that was about to happen to me in stirrups.

She put my legs in the stirrups. Asked me to please scoot down and then bright lights and speculums. The deepest one you can find because I have a deep cervix. There was no pain medication of any kind administered.  After trying several speculums, she finally found the one that fit.  I can hear her opening it up. It made me feel like I was about to get a tire changed. She is apologizing the entire time. My fibroids were recoiling while drowning in a uterus full of blood. My imagination is running rampant.

But worse, my gynecologist is talking to herself out loud and I am practically in tears. “I wasn’t worried about cancer but there is just so much blood!” “I’ve never seen so much blood in a uterus!!” “We’re going to do another biopsy.” “You might faint!” “Do you feel faint?” “Hold on to something, this is going to hurt….” “Oh but it’s dark blood, so it’s old blood so I’m not as worried. “ “Sorry, just talking out loud.”

hysterectomy, uterine fibroids, fibroids, endometriosis, gynecological issues, perimenopause , uterine biopsy, cancer, poor man's d and c, D&C

WTF??????

Then she proceeded to insert a giant syringe about 12 inches long and 2 inches around in diameter in through the speculum opening and began to vigorously and aggressively suck the blood and clots out of my womb. If my uterus were a hotel, I imagine that scene out of the Shining when the walls are bleeding and you can hardly see anything.  It was very painful. A surprise D and C is not ever a surprise that you’d want. She referred to it as a “Poor man’s D & C.” I dug my fingers so deep into my arm to stop from screaming that I am covered in bruises.

She emptied 5 full syringes of blood and clots into those cups they make you wee into to check to see if you’re pregnant. I was getting more and more faint with each syringe. Meanwhile, she is calling my attention to it, “Debi, look! Can you believe this? This is incredible.”

I felt hollow. I felt like someone had roto rootered my female reproductive organs. To be honest, I felt violated.  I understand she was doing her best impression of a caped crusader to eliminate the blood from my uterus and shrink it down to as close as possible to normal sized but I could see the vigorous movement of the syringe through the top of my pelvis and worse, I could feel it. It felt like labor pains or those pains you get right after you give birth and your uterus is shrinking down. Either way, it was PTSD traumatic.

READ ALSO: When Cancer’s on the Table

And now, aside from scheduling a hysterectomy that I don’t want to have but have to have and advocating to keep my ovaries so that I don’t go into early menopause and worrying that my uterus will be too big and robotic surgery will give way to a full stomach incision removal, I have to wait to see if I have cancer. Happy birthday week to me.

They’ve put me on meds to stop the bleeding but I’m still bleeding. Right now, it’s a wait and see, try not to throw up from nerves sort of week. I can’t think of anything else and all I want to do is distract myself. Did I mention that the Big Guy is out of town for work? Yep. He volunteered to stay home and cancel but I’ll need him when I have the surgery. I’m just praying it’s not cancer because I don’t want to be alone if that’s what they tell me.

Right before I left with my insides feeling like swiss cheese and my world flipped upside down, I was taking solace in the fact that she said, “It’s all dark blood, I’m not as worried. It’s probably just the fibroids and nothing more.” Then she stopped me as I was leaving, all the color left from my face and said, “If the results come back as cancer, I’ll have another surgeon in there to check your lymph nodes.” And all I could hear was Charlie Brown wah, wah, wah, wah and my mind has been in a very dark place ever since.  I hate the waiting.

Being a woman is hard enough with the whole world trying to stick their noses in our uteruses without having it turn on us and having to worry that the very thing that brings life into the world may in fact, take ours.

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endometriosis, fibroids, colposcopy, menorrhagia, hysterectomy, uterine fibroids

My birthday is next week. I’m turning 30 for the umpteenth time and hoping my fibroids don’t want to be part of the celebration. This month’s period has lasted….captains log day 28…TMI alert* do not pass go* if you are squeamish….I am on day forth box of super tampons. P.S. I’m anemic and I have 3 fibroids. I got one each time I was pregnant. I only have 2 kids so that’s another kick in the vagina.

My point is, and there definitely is one, I went in for my yearly gynecological visit last October, as some of you may remember, I was complaining about a “heavy 5-day period”. I was so stupid. My doctor did my pap, wham, bam, thank you ma’am and noticed, “Hey, Debi, you are spotting and I know you’re a freak so I’ll just do a biopsy. No Bigs.”

Yeah, my doctor and I are all extra like that. We’ve been through a lot together. I’ve howl cried in her office and went straight up looney toons the day of my D & E and refused surgery until they brought an ultrasound machine down to my prep room one last time…just to be sure. I’m sure that I looked as squirrely as I felt. She gets me.

READ ALSO: Why I Won’t Get an Elective Hysterectomy to Cure my Uterine Fibroids

I’m a super advocate for my own health and she knows I’m a little too smart for my own good. Forget WebMD, I consult actual doctors in my circles and ask them all the questions before I bring it to my gynecologist. I research. I weigh odds. I am a freak. She isn’t wrong.

Anyways, that biopsy caused a domino effect. I started a period, right after I had finished a period. Then, I went three months without a period. 3 months is forever in no period days.  I felt like a puffer fish. Then, she told me to start birth control pills to start my period. It worked. I started my period and it lasted forever. It finally stopped and then it kept starting again. Breakthrough all day, every day.

I stopped the birth control pills. I had a couple months of regular 4-7 day periods. Now, let me tell you my period always still comes every 28 days. Whether my period lasts 3 days or 15 days, on day 28 I will start my period again. Linings will be shed. My period somehow always sinks up with my vacations.

READ ALSO: The Gynecological Misadventures of a Millenial-ish Mom

If I am traveling, you can bet money that I will be on my period. It’s been like that since I got pregnant on an anniversary trip to New Orleans in which I got pregnant. I think either God’s got a wicked sense of humor or my body doesn’t like children.  Either way, if it even gets a whiff of a possible travel date…cramps start.

Anyways, we traveled a LOT this past summer and my period proves it. My period refuses to miss out on a good vacation. July’s period lasted for 2 weeks of heavy fibroid bleeding. It crossed the threshold from July into the first full week of August (I was traveling to the beach so of course, I needed to be bleeding in order to attract all the sharks.) Then we got home from the trip, 2 weeks later (28 days from the start of my last period. Wait isn’t that how the zombie apocalypse is supposed to start? Am I patient zero?) I started again and it hasn’t stopped yet. Wait. I have an appointment tomorrow with my gynecologist, I’m sure I’ll stop today. But it’s ok because Saturday is day 28, so I should do something special tomorrow like celebrate with some marital relations.

It’s become so bad that I had to raid my teen’s feminine hygiene products. Let’s just call it even for my disappearing box of tampons when they were toddlers. Seriously, sometimes it keeps me up at nights wondering where the heck all that cotton went. I never did find them. Is it shoved up into my teenaged girls’ noses still? Is this why we have all the sinus issues?

Maybe I should start a new blog called have uterus will travel. Or maybe broken uterus, who dis? Or Menstruation Never Interrupted? All I know is I can’t wait to see my doctor and find the root of this problem. Fingers crossed its hormones and not cancer or some sort of infection that’s gone untreated. Of course, my mind is going to the worse possible case scenario because that’s who I am. I expect the worst and hope for the best.

There’s been talk of a hysterectomy to alleviate the anemia inducing hemorrhaging that we call my period. I was adamantly against that course of action this time last year but after the last 28 days of a near-death slow bleed out, I’m seriously reconsidering it but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared because I am. Not only is my vanity taking a hit that I will be missing parts, I’m literally nervous about being cut open again but I don’t think I can continue on like this. The anemia is taking its toll on my health. My vision is blurry, I’m perpetually exhausted and there is anemia induced anxiety. It’s a thing. Who knew iron was so important?

READ ALSO: When God Shivs You in the Lady Bits

Plus, the pica is embarrassing. I am a grown woman who is currently chewing ice like it’s my job because when you are this iron deficit, it is. You crave it like air. Yes, I do take iron but apparently, I need to up the dose. In case you were wondering if I’m just over here chewing on ice, bleeding out and ignoring the situation. I’m not but thanks for the worry. Still, I just reached my hand into my cup and grabbed a piece of ice like an animal in front of a group of adults in public and so now, I’d say it’s a problem.

So here I am, somewhere on the menopause spectrum with no official diagnosis but here’s hoping tomorrow they give me a diagnosis and something to stop this never-ending period. If you are the praying sort, I’ll take them. If you only believe in positive juju, I’ll take that too. Hell, at this point I’m so desperate, you can do a stop menstruating dance for me and I’d be grateful.

endometriosis, fibroids, colposcopy, menorrhagia, hysterectomy, uterine fibroidsLadies, have you ever had something like this happen? What did you do? Have you had a hysterectomy? Do I believe all the rumors? Am I going to gain 30 pounds, grow a mustache and get a grammy paunch? Because I’m going to tell you, I’m not ready for all that. Why else do you think that I ’m turning 30 for the umpteenth time?

Do you struggle with fibroids or endometriosis?

 

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How to embrace getting older, sisters, best friends, motherhood, growing up, I used to be beautiful, getting older

I use to be beautiful but no one told me how to embrace getting older. When I was younger, I always thought I could be taller, thinner, lips fuller, breasts bigger, skin darker, nose straighter, fingers longer. Believe me, I had a laundry list of things that I wanted to change about myself. I think most of us probably do, at that age. But photos tell a different story. In retrospect, I can see that I was beautiful. My skin was flawless and the perfect shade of golden brown or alabaster, depending on the time of year. I had great legs, hair and boobs. I can see now that I was pretty. I couldn’t see it then.

Now, I am middle-aged and though not “ugly”, I look tired and grey. I look worn and everything is the victim of gravity from eyelids to breasts and my ass. Every part of me is exhausted from years of sporadic sleep, worry and stress. When I gave birth, I knew there would be sacrifices but I had no idea how much it would change me, inside and out. I had no idea that it would rob me of my vitality.

READ ALSO: I will not become the Invisible Woman

I am no longer first in my life. I probably never will be again. Even when I try to make myself a priority, my heart knows that my children always come first. I don’t mind so much. I feel like I have given my life over to a higher purpose. I sacrificed myself for them. It sounds damn pitiful when I write it out but it’s not.

The only time it bothers me is when I show an old photo of myself to my girls and they stare blankly at it for a few minutes trying desperately to place the face. It’s mine but not one they recognize because it has bright white teeth, big happy eyes, make-up on, hair not in a ponytail and a body that I should have been thanking God back then instead of complaining and killing myself via starvation of my body and soul.

I used to be beautiful.

The girl in the photo is young, beautiful with perky breasts and svelte legs. She was well rested and ridiculously optimistic. She had her entire life ahead of her. There was nothing but hope ahead. She still lives inside of the woman you see today.

The thing is this, I don’t want to be who I was at 25 because then I wouldn’t be who I am today but I also don’t want my children to look at photos of me when I was 25 and find me unrecognizable. That hurts because to me, I am still that girl. I know I am exhausted, and not as hip or free-spirited as I once was. I am no longer the life of the party or the girl who lived so big and hard that the only thing constraining her was the atmosphere. No, she is long gone but in her place, someone deeper, wiser and better has emerged even if I do have more luggage under my eyes than I do in my attic.

READ ALSO: I’m so Tired

I was not born a mother; run down and tired from caring for others constantly. I was not born old. I used to travel, dance and go out to fancy dinners. I used to enjoy being the center of attention. I used to be selfish in ways that you cannot imagine. I am much happier now.

beautiful, sisters, best friends, motherhood, growing up, How to embrace getting older, sisters, best friends, motherhood, growing up, I used to be beautiful, getting older

I used to be beautiful.

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