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Not Quite Midlife

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

As a woman, after a certain age, that age is 30, seems like for every gynecological issue the final solution for everything is a hysterectomy. You’re spotting. Let’s give you a hysterectomy. Cramping. Hysterectomy. Heavy periods. Hysterectomy. Uterine fibroids or endometriosis? Hysterectomy. You stub your toe? Bump it, let’s throw out your uterus.

It’s not just me. I have loads of friends who have suddenly been recommended to get an “elective” hysterectomy. I don’t mean elective like getting your teeth whitened or vaginal rejuvenation. They mean, “well, you’re done having babies. You don’t need that thing anymore. Crampy? Tired of periods? Why not try floating ovaries on for size?” So does that mean since I won’t be breastfeeding anytime soon, we should just cut those off too?

I feel like it’s jumping the gun a little to offer to remove my parts just because things don’t run exactly as they used to. I mean, I’ve been pregnant three times and each time I was, it was like there was a little Oprah here in my uterus going, “And you get a uterine fibroid and you get a uterine fibroid and YOU GET A UTERINE FIBROID!” Heaven forbid you find out that you have endometriosis, they may not even ask. They’ll just go ahead and schedule you an appointment.

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

There were two births and a D&C, things are not what they used to be. But, every 28 days, menstruation happens and every 14 days ovulation happens. My fatal mistake was that at my last appointment, I went in there complaining about my “heavy” periods. You know because I was getting tired of 5 days of heavy bleeding. Next thing you know, ” How about a hysterectomy, Debi? You have uterine fibroids that aren’t growing. You said yourself that you’re not going to have any more babies. Why not just get the “procedure”?

So the doctor did my exam and low and behold, my irritable cervix decided to have some breakthrough bleeding right during the exam. How damn rude. My doctor, knowing that I am a complete freak about these things sprung a surprise biopsy on me. Ironically, not the kind of surprise you want. It was like a painful pop quiz for my cervix. Remember, that deep cervix who is a major priss? She does not like to be poked and prodded. She needs a little tenderness.

I went from waiting for biopsy results, Mama’s first cancer scare, to biopsy-induced bleeding. My doctor said the heavy bleeding was most likely from the fibroids that are not growing but are pressing on my uterus and when I menstruate are causing heavy periods. These were my options. Can you guess the first one? A hysterectomy. Absolutely nothing wrong with me but since those pesky periods were annoying, let’s just take out that uterus of yours. Nope. Pass. Next, up, we can go in and surgically burn them to make them smaller. Lastly, we can just put you on some low dose progesterone birth control pills. Yes, I said. I will take option C. Also, why was the least invasive option given last?

READ ALSO: How to Explain Where Babies Come From

The catch was that I couldn’t start my birth control pills until I started my next regularly scheduled period. Which never came. Three months later, walking around feeling 13 months pregnant because I was so bloated I called my doctor and gave her the scoop. She said these things can happen. My uterus and cervix got all freaked out from the biopsy and like an anorexic’s body goes into starvation mode and tries to hoard calories, my uterus and ovaries were holding on to my eggs and lining like they were the last in the world.

Finally, I had a period. Oh and if I thought the “heavy” periods of before were bothersome, let me tell you what 3 months of built-up uterine lining exiting your body feels like. It was painful and “heavy” can not even come close to describing what happened to me. I was afraid to leave my house. It was like having spastic bowels but in your vagina.

I stuck it out for 3 months but basically, it felt like I was hemorrhaging all month long and remember the severe anemia I had? It’s back with a vengeance because my gynecologist made the connection, the uterine fibroids are causing the heavy bleeding which is causing the anemia. Iron and I are in it for the long haul.

I started getting depressed, remember the old nurse who asked me if I was perimenopausal at that last visit? Yeah, I just called her old because she called me perimenopausal. Well, I started thinking maybe I was and if I was, there is no way I will survive menopause. No effing way I can go 3 months without a period and feel like a Thanksgiving day parade balloon or bleed out for weeks at a time. My anemia got so bad I was having blurry vision and feeling fainty.

I quit the birth control and just like when I got the biopsy, my angry cervix and uterus got together and mutinied on me and had some weird rando 5 day period like experience and this past Saturday ( while I was on vacation because my period has wanderlust) I get my period…28 days later. Is it just me or do you see why they named that zombie movie what they did?

Anyways, the day I got my biopsy, I had spoken to my bestie (who is also a doctor) and she told me that she was having a hysterectomy and getting herself some of those fancy newfangled floating ovaries and I should do the same because periods are for losers. I felt kind of peer pressured, like in high school when some cool kid offered you a blunt at a house party and you didn’t puff and you just gave but you second-guessed that decision for the rest of high school. Maybe floating ovaries are for me? But then, if I let them take my uterus the terrorists win and by the terrorists, I mean that fucking 60-something-year-old nurse who asked me if I was perimenopausal. I got really offended, and now, I just want to keep having my 28-day cycle forever and hear my gynecologist tell me that I have the uterus of a 25 -year-old.

I guess the moral of the story is don’t complain about a 5-day “heavy” period because it could be way worse, by like 3 months. And also, even though I know all the cool kids are doing it, I’m not sure floating ovaries are for me…yet. What about you?

Has your gynecologist offered you vaginal rejuvenation with a side of hysterectomy?

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Kitchen appliances you need, 5 Kitchen Appliances You Need to Get Healthy, tips to live longer, tips to get healthy

Ever think you might want to live longer than the national average life expectancy? It’s 79 years old, by the way. That doesn’t work for me. I’m aiming for 103. Life goals people. I want to live longer, bolder and fiercer. I want every moment to be packed full of living.

There are very few things that can get me to change my entire life. My children are the reason I want to live longer but other than that, I’m a creature of habit and not all of those habits are good ones. I mean, I’m not smoking crack or anything but I’ve been known to say (on more than one occasion) that I’d rather work out for 3 hours than give up my carbs and I meant it, every single time.

The thing is sometimes those things are taken out of your hands and your only option is to give up the proverbial carbs, or in my case, the literal carbs. That’s what happened to me. Can you say morbidly obese, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetic and anemic? Yeah, that will make you change your, “I’d rather workout for 3 hours than give up my carbs” mantra really quick. I thought I was special.

It reminded me that time is fleeting and I want to live longer… a lot longer.

Well, not really special but I thought, it can wait. Like you, I’ve always been the kind of mom who puts my kids first sometimes to my own detriment. It’s just I want them to fondly remember me as the best.mom.ever.

I don’t pretend that we are friends. They hate my guts sometimes because I am “so mean” because I make them do things like eat vegetables and get their homework done. There will be plenty of time for bonding like friends when they are grown. Right now, my mission is to love them, keep them safe and raise good human beings so sometimes I have to be unpopular. Eye rolls be damned. Besides, I know they love me because they hug me while they are rolling their eyes.

Anyways, back to me, because I am embracing this new “selfish mom” era of motherhood. I had an incident recently, that I truly thought was a heart attack. Went to the doctor with 187/107 blood pressure. Was literally freaking out. Suddenly, no carbs in exchange for my not-quite midlife sounded pretty damn good. I was beyond bargaining and was begging the universe to let me have another chance.

Are you there God, it’s me Deborah and I’m going to need to live longer!

Well, after lots of tests, I found out that I did not have a heart attack. Thank Goodness. But everything else I’d feared was right there in my chart confirming my suspicions, I had been ignoring my own health for way too long.

Eating cold food on the run or late at night after everyone else is taken care of is not good for you. Never taking the time to work out to lose the baby weight (for 11 years) because you are too busy rushing kids to their sports, definitely not good for you. Never looking at labels because you know what’s good for you, surprisingly not good for you. Eating out…so terrible for you. But I live in the real world and I want to keep doing so. So, I’m changing all of my bad habits with the hope of being able to live longer.

Here’s how I am making little changes that will help me live longer and be healthier.

Shaking my bootie

I’ve started at the bare bones. I’m moving. No, not across the country to a weight loss commune. I’m moving my body, morbidly obese as it may be. I, like you, don’t have a lot of extra time in my day so I am designating 30-45 minutes a day where I dance all over my house with the music blaring. I know I dance like Sam Rockwell but I don’t care I am moving. It makes me happy and it feels good.

A couple other things, I’ve gotten myself a Lotus desk stand so that I will no longer be sitting all day. In fact, I’ll probably be dancing at my desk. I’m probably dancing right now.  The Lotus™ Sit-Stand Workstation features Smooth Lift Technology™ to keep your workstation stable and make changing positions from sitting to standing effortless. Lotus is an easy to use, adjustable and worry free setup engineered with the durability to transition working positions throughout the day. Numerous studies have confirmed that sitting for prolonged periods of time is harmful to your health.

Another thing, I’m walking. Why sit or stand when you can walk. Park further away, take the stairs, just do it.

Writing stuff down

Also, like I told my mother (who was not amused at all) thanks to my past history with eating disorders, I am a dynamite list maker and a pretty damn restrictor. I’ve channeled that into something good, I am logging all of my food into my phone and then I am keeping an actual list of all the calories, carbs, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and fiber that I am getting. Sounds daunting right? You know what’s even more daunting, being dead. Missing my girls grow up, so lists it is!

Making better choices

I am making informed decisions about what I put into my body. I have my guidelines and I am following them. I do believe everything in moderation so if I can fit what I am craving within the parameters of what I am allowed to have on that day, then I have it. I’m eating cleaner with lots more fresh fruits and veggies, no red meat, lots of lean meat and being very aware of the dairy I put into my body and only eating whole grains. Yes, it is an adjustment. My family is ready to murder me in my sleep for all the sneaky veggies that I’ve been feeding them. My daughter was not amused when she found out that her popcorn chicken was actually baked cauliflower with honey garlic sauce. She thought it was amazing until her sister ratted me out.

Letting it Go

Last but not least, I am letting stuff go. I am a long-time, Type-A perfectionist. I have doctor verified control issues but I am like a dog with a bone when it comes to issues that bother me. I can’t let anything go. I’m a fighter but with that comes stress and worry, which are two pointless emotions. They serve no purpose other than to make your situation worse so I’m stepping back, counting to 10 and recognizing my limits. If kids don’t get their homework done, I can’t stay up until 3 a.m. finishing. If the house can’t be perfect, so be it. I can’t make everyone happy. If you are someone who stresses me out, I’m probably not going to be answering the phone or interacting anytime soon.

I want to surround myself with positivity. That’s it. I want to live and I want to be healthy so I have to make it happen. I have to be selfish so that I can be around to be a good wife and mother. My dreams will never come true if I’m dead so I am embracing my new lifestyle.

It’s only been 11 days but I’ve lost 11 pounds and I feel better than I have in ages. This change is not only good for my mind and body, it’s good for my soul. I can see things more clearly when my mind is still and I can focus. So this is me becoming the best version of myself.

Since beginning this journey, I have found a lot of great family-friendly healthy recipes and discovered new and exciting ways to be active at home, with your family or by yourself and I will be sharing them all here along the way. It’s not as hard as I thought, with the right motivation.

What are you doing to live longer so that you can see your little ones grow up and you can grow old with your special someone?

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midlife, change, midlife crisis, middle adulthood

What the hell is midlife anyway? I mean, isn’t it all just a matter of perspective? It’s not the actual “middle of your life” now is it? I mean, it’s no more accurate than saying you will die once you double the age you are when you get your wisdom teeth because some people don’t get them. What are they vampires? No more scientific than doubling the height of your child at 3-years-old can determine how tall they will be because if so, my girls are going to be 7-foot tall. And no more scientific than determining the sex of your baby by how high or low your belly is. It’s all just a bunch of nonsense and so is the myth of the “midlife crisis”.  You say crisis, I say opportunity for change. Hey, I hate labels and nobody puts baby (Jane) in a corner.

Also, can someone please tell me when midlife began at 35? My research quoted midlife as being 34-65-years old.  I certainly plan to live past 70 but I’m not thinking I’ll make it to 130. Is that even possible? But if we’re being honest, my midlife isn’t even allowed to think about happening until I hit 51.5 because I’ve got goals and this broad is looking to live to be 103. Don’t ask me why, it just sounds like a good, solid number for me. Look, I was mad when they called my pregnancy at 31 “geriatric” as if my uterus was on life support but midlife at 35 or 40 is too much. What am I a fucking pioneer? Am I mining coal and smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day while trying to cross the country in my covered wagon? NO, I’m not. I’m a middle-class suburban mom who has pretty damn good insurance and even better genes.

I’ve never been one to buy into the whole midlife crisis. Well, not for women anyway. I’m pretty sure most of the men that I know who are my age are smack dab in the middle of some kind of freak out over their mortality. This explains all of the divorces happening around us. I’m starting to feel like the Big Guy and I are some sort of anomaly. You know being on our first marriage and all because everyone I know is on at least number 2.

And don’t buy into all that “40 is the new 20” crap. It’s not true. My creaky knees, achy back and not so perky breasts say otherwise. But who wants to be 20 again, anyways? Not me. I was a self-absorbed moron at 20. Hell, if I wasn’t me, there is absolutely no way I could have stood being in the room with myself what with all the narcissism and arrogance. I thought I knew everything and I loved to hear myself talk, to the exclusion of everyone else. In retrospect, I was impossible. Thank God I was cute.

Anyways, I’ve always lived a life of no regrets. I don’t have any unless you count a couple of lost weekends in college or my misplaced virginity. Still not sure where I put that damn thing. Binge drinking and anorexia don’t mix. Anyways, I’m getting off topic.

The thing is I’m beginning to feel like I wish I was 10 years younger. Not because anything is lacking in my life. I love my life except for the fact that I wish I had a little more money, but who doesn’t, am I right? Kids are expensive y’all!

No, I’ve been wishing I was 10 years younger because I know so much more now than I did then and I could really rock my life ten years ago if I knew then what I know now. I finally get the saying, “Youth is wasted on the young.” That’s a saying, right? I’m too lazy and tired from bitching about my misspent youth to Google it.

The thing is you can’t get wisdom without experience and experience comes with living and age. If only we could have the courage of our youth and the wisdom of years lived both at the same time. What I could do with that?

Maybe I could forge my own path? I don’t feel my age and why should I let myself be defined by the narrowmindedness of others? I want to take flight right now. I wasted my youth waiting for the right time and now, I feel like maybe there is never a wrong time to live your truth and pursue your dreams. Life is for the living; there is no age limit.

What are your dreams? If you could do it all over again (with the benefit of wisdom and the bravery and wonder of youth) what would you do?

Why can’t you still do it? Just do it. F*ck a midlife crisis, I’m not in crisis. I’m in clarity and I’m embracing it.

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new baby smell, wanting another baby, unexpected pregnancy, midlife

I hate to admit it but I’ve been missing that new baby smell. I thought I was done having babies but lately, I’m having some sort of parenting growing pains and amidst all of the letting go, my uterus is trying to hold on for dear life. It’s crazy that I am saying this out loud because it feels a little like something I should be keeping to myself but what they hell, I figure when I go through these difficult times, I’m not usually the only one feeling this way.

The thing is I’ve always wanted a big family. I come from six brothers and sisters and even when it was crazy, crowded and hard there was a simple peace in knowing that I had 5 built in “ride or die” bitches at my disposal. I mean, we’re the kind of deep that if one calls to tell the others that we just murdered someone, there is no asking why or questioning our morality and sanity, there is only, “where do I need to be and what do I need to do to protect you?” These are the people I would die for or at the very least murder for. I’m not afforded the luxury of dying for anyone since having children, except for them.

Anyways, the point is I kind of wanted my children to have that. They do. They have each other and I have taught them in specific what it means to be each other’s ride or die bitch and they know that’s how family works. Family is everything. They know that. They embrace it mostly except for when they are telling the other one that they wish they were an only child. That really burns my ass because I worked hard for the two I have and they should be grateful that they have one another. That new baby smell is like heroine.

When I was a little girl, I wanted at least 4 kids. It was a many as my mom or my grandmothers had but it was a nice even number of children to love. I wanted two boys and two girls. I got the two girls. But life and circumstances just didn’t provide us with the opportunity to have four. I would have settled for 3 but then I had the miscarriage and then I was just too freaking beaten down and betrayed by my own body that I gave up. I was afraid; terrified of another loss. That was 4 years ago but it hasn’t stopped the desire for holding a newborn to my chest and inhaling that new baby smell.

We waited to have babies until after we had been married for five years. In truth, I was ready after year one but the Big Guy wasn’t so convinced early on if he was sure that he wanted kids. We had fallen in love and gotten married quickly. In all that hustle, we forgot to hammer out the details like children. It was a really shitty spot to be in knowing that you absolutely loved your husband but that you would both have to make a decision whether or not the marriage could survive the sacrifice of not having children. I knew I wanted to be a mother. It wasn’t something I was willing to forgo. I knew if I did, I’d regret it later and probably end up hating him for it in the long run. It was all coming to a head when we decided to plan to plan to get pregnant. Life had other plans. We got pregnant on our five-year anniversary getaway.

The point is we got pregnant and after the shock wore off, we were both absolutely thrilled with the idea of being parents. So thrilled in fact that we immediately planned to get pregnant again. We wanted the kids to be two years apart and so that’s what we did. Again, it was amazing. The Big Guy is not only an amazing man in general, he is an outstanding father. I mean he’s the kind of dad that you see in the movies. He not only loves his girls unconditionally, he is involved in their lives and not only talks to them but listens to them; like really listens. He even hears what they don’t say. It’s kind of beautiful and every time I see it, I fall deeper in love with him. So, we planned to go for baby #3. I really wanted a boy because the thought of raising a son with my husband, molding another boy into a man like my husband; let’s just say, there need to be more men in the world like my husband. But fear tricked me into believing that I was done.

Now, here I am, past my own personal expiration date and I can’t stop thinking of that one more baby. My ovaries occasionally twitch and I my imagination conjures that new baby smell. I get glimpses of what another baby would look like in our family but it’s too late. My time has passed. But it doesn’t stop me from daydreaming about what a son raised by the Big Guy would have been like. Then I find myself sad because I feel like we missed an opportunity to do something amazing. I’m missing that new baby smell. I’m feeling a giant hole where baby #3 should be. Maybe it’s just that time of year and I know we had it in our grasp and we lost it. We had it and it’s gone, like those damn Pokémon that ghost out on you after using 10 superballs. Once your balls are gone, they’re gone. I don’t know how to fill this hole. I don’t think there is anything I can do but learn to live with it.

I can’t be the only one who’s felt this way. I imagine there are plenty of people who have decided to forgo becoming parents or put parenthood on the back burner only to feel regret later. I’m actually certain that there are people who’ve had children and wished they hadn’t. Only I know that I wish I had our third. It’s my only regret in my life. I’ve always believed that where there is a will there is a way but, in this case, there is no possible way that I can have another pregnancy or have another natural pregnancy. I have the tools and all my parts are still working but the risk just outweighs the reward and the odds of failure are much higher. I don’t want to go through that but how do you learn to live with not being able to fulfill a heart’s desire?

How do you reconcile being done having babies but missing that new baby smell?

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