A gynecological misadventure is never fun, especially when they involve surprises and words like fibroids, pregnancy, menopause, miscarriage and mammogram all in the same visit. Last week, I had my “yearly” exam and mammogram because women’s reproductive health is my jam. And, I discovered the meaning of life or at least solved one of life’s great mysteries, why women start getting mammograms at 40 and not 25.
As the mammogram tech, the same lady who did my first mammogram last year, gingerly fondled my breast as she positioned and repositioned my very pliable breasts I realized, had I not given birth, breastfed and subsequently fallen victim to gravity, there is no way that she could maneuver my breasts into this machine. Mammograms are not a young woman’s game. Then I laughed because I remembered that I used to be known for my breasts and my legs. How’s that for irony? Broken and Broken. Check and Check.
Pert breasts could never do what these ever so gracefully aged, slightly used breasts can do. No way my 25 year old tits cold be placed into a machine as an entity in and of itself, separate from my body, as if I could remove them.., place them in the machine, walk out of the room and come back after pressing the imaging button. No way!!
Mature breasts have lived more and while they may be slowly creeping into my armpits because my hatred of bras has increased almost as much as my newfound love of full-coverage panties, they still have some life in these old girls… even if they are 3 inches lower than they used to be. You know the story, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
I thought my “advanced maternal aged” pregnancy at 31 made me feel old, well… you can imagine what being referred to 3 times (by 3 different medical professionals) as menopausal at “my age” made me feel like?
It was like suddenly my lady bits dried out, shriveled up, got arthritis and no longer functioned. I felt old, like my uterus suddenly needed a walking cane. Like the fruit that were my loins had suddenly rotted on the vine. Hey ladies… Don’t you worry about my bits, they’re working just fine, every 28 days just like clockwork and my ovulation could give any 27-year-old a run for her money. The shark week force is still strong with this one.
The gynecological inner workings of my lady bits were insulted and then my ego was grievously injured. Shot through the uterus. Menopausal? Jesus! Had my moisturizer stopped working? This was more embarrassing than the fu man chu incident of 2005!
I knew this exam was different because for the first time in my lifetime, the doctor didn’t have to grab for the world’s deepest speculum, you know the one that feels like my uterus is in my throat? Nope she was able to use the “regular” speculum, just like she uses on everyone else. Whomp whomp. In a weird way I took pride in that crazy deep cervix of mine, it made me feel special like a gynecological unicorn but alas, now I am “average”.
I balked. “Wait? Is something wrong down there?” My doctor, whose sense of humor is just as randy as my own, replied, ” No, sometimes this just happens to women when they get “old”. Their uterus begins to fall.”
Not “older” that bitch said “old” and then she giggled, signaling to me that she was in fact giving me a hard time. I mean, I’m not Michelle Duggar, my uterus should be firmly in place and this lady wants to play Chicken Little with jokes about my uterus falling! Did I mention she’s only 3 years younger than me? Hey now!
Luckily, she quickly followed that by, “It’s hormonal. At different times of the month it can feel differently.” That didn’t give me any relief. And then while doing the physical exam, she gave me the head tilt and ” Hmmm?” Not a combo I like to see at my doctor’s visit.
Wait! What’s going on? Is my fucking uterus actually falling? Nope, she followed with this, ” Well, your uterus feels about the size of a 10-12 week pregnant uterus.”
If you thought an accidental pregnancy at almost 40 was scary, you can’t even imagine what one today would do to me.Whispering as all the color and blood rushed from my face, “What? I’m not pregnant! Am I?” I hoped she had the defibrillator near by. Obviously being “menopausal and of the reproductive age of retirement ” I was going to have a heart attack any second now. Then, my brain, “Booyah bitches! Who you calling menopausal now?” Strangely, momentarily, I felt reproductively vindicated.
Wait? Was I one of those morons who didn’t know they were pregnant until they went into labor? 147 IQ, you failed me. Oh God, senility is setting in, maybe I am menopausal?
Then she tilted her head the other way and said, “Hmmm” again as she manhandled my uterus.., “Nope! Have you been having regular periods? When was your last one?”
“26 days ago. I’m starting again on Thursday.” In my brain, ” oh dear Jesus, I’ve had a miscarriage again.” Holding back tears, saying a rosary in my head.
More uterine fondling, this time it felt personal. She tilted her head back in the other direction, “Hmmmmm, nope!”
Jeopardy music playing in my head.
“Probably just fibroids!”
“Just fibroids?” Que loca? There’s no such thing as just tumors in your uterus.
“Just tell the front desk to schedule you for a ultrasound and we’ll take a look next time.”
Gynecological misadventure number 3; cancer?
I tilted my head, “Hmmmm, Nope!” I suddenly staged a sit in of one. I refused to leave the building without knowing whether I was dying or not. Damn you webmd. Just like the 108-degree bronchitis fever incident in 2009. I’ll sit here forever. I’ve got nothing but time, lady. She knows that I’m was just crazy enough to do it.
Needless to say, I was seen immediately for my transvaginal ultrasound. Suddenly, I found myself pantless in stirrups having trouble breathing. Then I remembered the last time I was in this room, on this table, I was told, ” I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat.” The day that all I could do was cry.
Gynecological misadventure number 4; fibroids?
As a middle-aged tech, at least 10 years my senior explained to me that fibroids are common in women who are “menopausal” I nearly lost my shit. If only I could breathe. Then she showed them to me, my fibroids. All 3 of them. I had gotten my first one with Bella, a second with Gabs and I’m assuming a third with the pregnancy I lost. I wanted a tattoo to commemorate the baby I lost but instead, I got fibroids as a parting gift.
So, I go upstairs and wait to see my doctor again. She confirms that I’ve got the fibroids (guess its better than hemorrhoids?) but it’s nothing to worry about. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I quietly asked her the question that we’re all dying to know the answer to, “Am I menopausal?”
Gynecological misadventure number 5; menopause?
She giggled, no hmmm or head tilt this time, “No, you have no symptoms and you are still regularly menstruating and ovulating. Some women do start the process at 35, though. But no, you’re not menopausal.”
I felt like she should have handed me a damn t-shirt saying as much. I felt reproductively spry. Then, I gave her a hug bye and said, “Can you pass the word along to the rest of your staff and… I’ll take that referral for a vasectomy for my husband now. You know since obviously, I’m still fab, fit and fertile!” My uterus is a millennial even if my breasts are looking middle-age ish these days. Damn you breastfeeding.
And we both laughed.
Have you ever suffered a gynecological misadventure or (any doctor for that matter) and how did you handle it?