Sunday, November 8, 2009

Barren is dead word

The word hysterectomy has permanence to it. There is no turning back. “Hysteria “ refers to a woman’s reproduction organs , and “-ectomy “ denotes removal.

Since my divorce 7-1/2 years ago, I have battled pre-cancerous cells that went away on their own, some so severe they were removed by surgery. I have my ex-husband to thank for the HPV that caused all of this. I’ve had an enlarged and sensitive cervix my whole life. I have cysts on my ovaries, and cysts in my uterus. When my doctor lasered my cervix, she took as little as possible to preserve my ability to have children, but warned another surgery like that would render me barren. That was several years ago.

Now, I’m 37. I have no children, and have never been pregnant. I did what I was taught—get married first, then have children. My ex not only left me an HPV present, but he left just as we agreed to start trying for a child. (FML) I kept telling myself through all of my abnormal paps, "God is preserving my organs for a child, right?" Apparently not.

I’ve waited for Mr. Right for a very long time, in vain. I sat in my gyno’s office a few weeks ago and she began asking about my periods. I gave her the rundown—my cramps last 7 days, my periods last 7 to 8 days, and are VERY heavy. I may have a period twice a month, maybe only once. You never know until it happens. I’ve had periods since the age of 10. I have other issues that have popped up in recent months that I won’t describe here. (TMI)

She told me that my options have ended, and offered me a hysterectomy. I told her I wanted to wait for more vacation and more money. But honestly, I wanted time to think about it. I was shocked at her offer, and left her office in shock. She told me to call anytime that I’m ready.

I am at that age where pregnancy means taking on huge developmental risks for that child. I’m at a high risk for infertility and miscarriage. And let’s face it—I’m not even in a relationship!!!!!

My mom asked me tonight why I am waiting to have surgery, and I told her that I know what will happen: I will say, “Let’s do it”, and I will emotionally break. As soon as I said that to my mom, I nearly broke. As tears rolled down my face and my lips quivered, I told my parents, “You guys have to realize how hard it is. It’s hard to go to church and see these young couples talk about God bringing them together. And you see them having babies, and saying that God gave them this gift. It makes you feel worthless. Like God hates you or is playing favorites. I can’t look at that anymore! But the day I give in to being barren will be the first day of many, many tears. ”

And so, the reality is setting in. I haven’t been to church in a while for a number of reasons. This is one of them. There is a part of me that thinks it’s pointless, because God isn’t listening anyway. And I am concluding that it is time for a hysterectomy. I’m tired of waiting. Tired of wanting. Tired of hope. The older I get, the scarier the thought of bringing a child into the world. I am only up for it if I’m in a healthy relationship, and I’m not even close to that.

I was talking to my friend Randall the other night about relationships. I told him, “In a perfect world, a man would come up to me and ask me out, and I would say, ‘here is a book called Love is a Choice, about overcoming codependency. Read it, think about it, and then call me if you are still interested.’ And months later he would call me, still interested, but emotionally healthier than before.” Randall laughed and said, “No, in the perfect world, he would say, ‘Oh, that book? I already own it. It’s helped me tremendously.’ Then you would KNOW it was a match made in heaven.” He is so right. And well, this isn’t a perfect world, is it?

Now, it's out in the open. The conversation with my parents, and this blog, make it real. So I guess the next step is: when shall I do it?


luke said...

I'm floored and don't know anything I can say. But I want you to at least know I read this and my heart twists inside me. Of course I'll pray for you; and not some sappy everything-will-be-okay prayer - I'm going to give God a piece of my mind. I'm sure he'll clobber me but sometimes you just have to clench your fists and thrash it out.

Anonymous said...

I love you and can NOT imagine what you are going through. As I sit and read, I can hear your pain. I am praying for you--for peace, wisdom, and understanding and so much more. I'm here for you. You are an amazing woman--I am so blessed to call you friend.


Kristi said...

Thanks guys. I've known this was coming eventually, but always prayed it would be AFTER I had married and had a child. I was thinking of being a kid today, and how I used to pretend I was pregnant, stuffing towels under my shirt and waddling across the bedroom. As girls, we are always told that motherhood is the pinnacle of life. It's a strange place to be in for me. I know I could wait until it was an emergency, in hopes of a chance at children. But the reality is, I've been hoping for 7-1/2 years. I'm alone in this. I don't have a husband to share my grief with. It's just me, and I'm spent. I'm tired of wanting things I cannot have. so I'm going to have the surgery early next year. I will have vacation time then.

luke said...

You came to my mind as I read this quote from Thomas Merton. I don't know why and don't know if it means anything at all, but here it is ...

"In all the situations of life the 'will of God' comes to us not merely as an external dictate of impersonal law but above all as an interior invitation of personal love. Too often the conventional conception of 'God's will' as a sphinx-like and arbitrary force bearing down upon is with implacable hostility, leads men to lose faith in a God they cannot find it possible to love. Such a view of the divine will drives human weakness to despair and one wonders if it is not, itself, often the expression of a despair too intolerable to be admitted to conscious consideration. These arbitrary 'dictates' of a domineering and insensible Father are more often seeds of hatred than of love. If that is our concept of the will of God, we cannot possibly seek the obscure and intimate mystery of the encounter that takes place in contemplation. We will desire only to fly as far as possible from Him and hide from His Face forever. So much depends on our idea of God! Yet no idea of Him, however pure and perfect, is adequate to express Him as He really is. Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him."

He gets a little preachy after that and I don't think you're in the mood for preaching. But you're not alone in this. I'll go with you however you want to go.

Kimberly said...

Isn't it sad that our doctors have completely lost touch with what it would mean to lose our reproductive organs? They say well, "we'll just do a hysterectomy to fix this little problem" as if they're telling you that you need a cavity filled.

I couldn't help but think, while I was reading this, what if this is what is SUPPOSED to happen before you have a "healthy relationship"? What if, after the loss and grief, you don't have that to identify with anymore, so you are able to shed some of your self-loathing (for lack of a better word).

Regardless, it doesn't change the grief, or the inevitable feelings of failure that come with losing the organ we are "supposed" to use for the purpose of reproducing. It still hurts. But accepting it is the very first step.

Hang in there, woman. Love you.

Kristi said...

Actually, my gyno has known my feelings in the past and has always been sensitive to them. She was sparing on one of my surgeries, in case I did have a child. She wanted to remove much more tissue, but knew it would keep me from keeping a pregnancy. So while I think a lot of doctors take it lightly, she has been watching my "girl stuff" deteriorate for over 6 years.

I'm accepting this whole ordeal. It's just not what I had planned. Actually, nothing is as I had it planned. I think I held onto hope that at least this portion of my life would pan out to my dreams. But I'm realizing that I can poop in one hand and wish in another, and see which one gets full faster. (Phrase compliments of my granny.) :-)

Kelsy said...

I just wanted to let you know that I miss you and I think of you often. I can't imagine what you are going through and I hope that you find peace in everything that is going on. If you need someone to just sit with you and say nothing, I'm there...or if you need someone to cry with you...I'm there too. I guess I'm just trying to say, I'm here if you need me. Love you and praying for you.

Kristi said...

Thank you Kelsy. I think of all of you guys often. I thought I was Little Miss Strong until this past week. A friend of mine found out she is pregnant, under less than optimal circumstances. She is happy about it, but it brought up a whirlwind of emotions: anger, hurt, disgust, but more than anything, just sorrow. I I cried for a few days, all day long. It felt like God was saying, "see this? You'll never have it. Even though you followed the rules. Instead, I'm going to give this 'blessing' to someone who was careless and broke all the rules." I told a coworker that I felt like I was grieving a death, and she noted that the card she bought me was in the "sympathy" section.

I'll be fine. It's just going to be a process of acceptance. I'm realize the emotions will come and go, but I'll survive.

luke said...

I remember just a glimpse of that feeling when Tiffany and I were trying to get pregnant for a while and then TWO of my sisters who were trying NOT to get pregnant did!

Kimberly said...

In spite of the seriousness of this topic, Luke's last comment cracked me up. "trying" not to get pregnant is a term I hadn't thought of before.