Before my diagnosis of cancer the doctor suggested I get a hysterectomy because I was high risk for developing cancer, little did we know… At first inclination I was all for it. I have always found periods annoying, what woman doesn’t, and I have never wanted children. There was no logical reason for me to keep my uterus. I went home and talked about it with the husband and eventually decided against it. Sure there was no reason for me to keep my uterus but hysterectomy was major surgery. Should one think of major surgery as an elective. So I decided if my tests came back normal and I was just having wonky periods due to my weight gain and stress I was going to pursue birth control instead. Made sense and let me avoid surgery. Something that scares the crap out of me completely.
It is not so much the losing my uterus that bothers me. If this was the 23rd century and we could beam that puppy out of my body like they do on Star Trek I would have gotten rid of it long ago. The idea of being put under, anesthesia, is terrifying. The idea of turning my body over to other people while I’m unconscious keeps me up at night. I have never had any surgery in my 42 years and spent much of my life avoiding doctors and hospitals for that very reason.
You see my dad was sick for much of my life. He had juvenile diabetes and we spent much of my youth in and out of hospitals as we dealt with his illness. It always seemed that he was in the hospital around the holidays too, ironic that my diagnosis came so close to Christmas. I spent my pre-teen childhood watching my father deteriorate as he lost his sight and then his kidneys. When I was 12 my mother died in a car accident and it turned to me to take care of him, the reason I had no interest in having children, and we learned he had a heart attack and eventually he started losing his limbs. I was away at college, 20 years old, and my father died in surgery for his second leg amputation. His heart stopped. They resuscitated him but he never regained consciousness.
So when I tell the doctors that I’m scared of the surgery and they start in on how safe it is I can shut them down pretty damn quick. I know things can go wrong, but I also know that most likely they wont. I’m not my father. He had spent much of his life dealing with his disease and in the end it was simply too much for his heart. I also think he wanted to go. He never got over the death of my mother, I was never coming home, with the death of his mother two weeks earlier there was little left for him. My brother, but I’m not sure the state of their relationship. I’ve often thought it was for the best, that he passed, he had suffered enough in his life. We didn’t get along and there was much resentment on my side but I also wanted him to find some peace.
So surgery is one of the things that is frightening me the most right now. Not that I don’t want to have it, but it is a fear. Since I started bleeding again last night and continue to feel worse I would love to have it today. Why wait? My uterus is trying to kill me after all. Must be the resentment that I never wanted to use it… Still, I worry about going into instant menopause and my sex life. I am 42 after all and married to a very handsome man. I would like to enjoy our lives together. It does help to hear the comments from my friends on Facebook that tell me they have also had a hysterectomy. If they got through the surgery then so can I. And yes, it will be pure bliss to never have another period. I am all over that!
Of course I have other fears but that is the most relevant one right now. When I go in for surgery and if I can get through it with even the smallest amount of dignity (not constant crying or shaking in fear) then I will consider that one of the bravest things I have ever done. Its funny, strength and bravery doesn’t come from some character trait you either have or don’t have. It comes because you simply have no other choice. If you want to live then you do what you have to do. You don’t let the fear stop you.