My hospital bag is packed, but this time it’s not for the welcoming of a new baby, it’s for my hysterectomy. A decision I’ve been agonizing over for years.
After living with Endometriosis my whole life, it’s finally time. Time to take out what’s causing me pain. Time to take care of myself and finally give myself a chance to feel better. I deserve this.
But as I prepare for the surgery and what’s to come afterward during recovery, I can’t help but feel a great sense of loss and sadness. I have felt this feeling before when I entered perimenopause at only age 34. The hot flashes signaling the end of my ability to conceive and had me mourning the end of my youth. And I felt it again after I learned I couldn’t have more babies and decided to have an ablation.
But this time it feels like the end. I know it’s irrational, but it feels like I’m ripping out everything that makes me a woman, and that I’m losing the home that made my babies. This is the official end of this stage of life for me, the one in which I can conceive. And while I’m incredibly grateful for our two miracle daughters, I’ve come to the realization today that there will be no more. And I wonder by losing my womb – will I too lose my femininity?
I am mostly eager for the surgery to happen, as I don’t remember what it’s like to live without pain. My cycle started at 13, and with it came horrendous cramping and bleeding for 10-12 days every day of the month. After baby number one the bleeding increased to 15-20 days a month and the early menopause began. And the cramps never stopped, no matter what hormone or treatment they put me on. Luckily I was able to come out of perimenopause to have baby number two through IVF, but after I stopped nursing her, the hot flashes came back.
I’ve had a surgery to remove endometrial tissue. Another one when a grapefruit-sized cyst (Endometrioma) gobbled up my left ovary. Countless fertility treatments over seven years including two In Vitro Fertilizations. And another surgery for an ablation. For the past four years, I’ve been to three OBGYN’s, four holistic doctors, an acupuncturist, and tried every hormone replacement therapy ever created. And while I finally have a treatment that takes away the hot flashes, I still have pain. Every single day.
So here I am, finally scheduled and ready for the final step. The removal of my uterus, cervix, tubes, possibly my remaining ovary, appendix, and endometrial excision. And while I laughed when a friend sent me this photo of a cake, it made me sad. So I fixed it. And decided to say a prayer of thanks to my uterus.
So thank you for being a warrior despite the constant attacks of the Endometriosis.
Thank you for nurturing my first baby, and keeping her safe all the way to 35 weeks.
Thank you for building a strong home for our daughters to grow and thrive.
Thank you for growing our second daughter who made it to 36 weeks, and is so full of joy I can’t imagine a day without her.
Thank you for giving me the gift of becoming a mother.
Thank you for the last 42 years of service, but now it’s time to part ways. While I am so grateful for the precious children and the miracles in my life, I cannot take the pain any longer. I don’t know why I was given this disease, or why the pain persists, but I’m finally ready to feel better. Even if it means another surgery, another recovery, and living without my “lady parts”.
They say that everything that happens in our life is a gift. And today I’m thankful for the gift of perspective. And while I’m deeply saddened and a little scared to enter into another operating room and have more anesthesia, I know it’s for the best.
I don’t know what happens next, how I’ll feel afterward and if this is actually going to cure my pain. But I’ll take my chances. It’s time to move on.
So goodbye. Farewell. Thanks for the babies. You’ve given me the things I love the most in the world, but honestly, I won’t miss you one bit.
And baby number two.
And for those dealing with early menopause, here’s what it’s really like.