I am having a hysterectomy tomorrow and I’m not feeling good.
Physically, I’m fine. I am not in any pain, and ever since I entered menopause, I’ve barely thought about the uterine fibroids that plagued my life with heavy periods and dangerous anemia. They were supposed to shrink after my periods stopped, and most of them did.
But a few have continued to grow, and that concerns my OB/GYN very much.
I’ve taken a couple of blood tests to ferret out signs of cancer, and both came up clear. I’ve visited a City of Hope oncologist (at the direction of my OB/GYN), whose first reaction upon looking at my scans was, “Why are you even here?” He thinks the growths are benign. BUT…
“You don’t want to be sorry you didn’t take it out when you had the chance.”
He didn’t spell out what he meant by that, but of course I knew. I was in the freaking City of Hope offices, waiting along with patients who really did need his expertise. Cancer is something I don’t want to think about — but once the possibility has been raised, it’s like a scab you can’t stop picking at. I can’t help it.
I have amazing, strong, wonderful friends who have faced life-threatening illnesses with grace and courage.
No one will ever say that about me.
I’m pretty sure I DON’T have cancer and my reaction to the news that I would need this surgery was something akin to Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief: I’ve tried lots of denial, anger and bargaining — and have been pretty depressed. But instead of finishing up with acceptance, I think I’ve rolled back over to denial, anger and bargaining.
I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS.
I don’t like doctors. I don’t like hospitals. And although it seems counter-intuitive, I find it easier to face tomorrow’s events without knowing too many of the details, because if I know all the things that could go wrong, that’s what I’m going to be thinking about.
That’s why when folks offer me advice and links to articles I should read, thank them and turn away.
“Lots of people have this procedure. For your doctors, it’s routine,” my family says.
“You’ll be happy when it’s all over,” say friends who have already been through this procedure. I believe them.
I remind myself that I don’t actually need my uterus and ovaries any longer, that it will be a relief to put an end to monitoring their growth with uncomfortable ultrasounds every six months, that once these organs are out of my body, my doctor will be able to prescribe hormones to deal with my hot flashes — and wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Originally, the surgery was going to be laparascopic with the use of robotics — but the oncologist put the kibosh on that. Some of the growths have calcified and they are really kind of huge. So it may turn into something more akin to a C-section.
I’ve been through a C-section. I can handle a C-section.
Except that time I had a C-section, I got to come home with a beautiful baby, which made it a lot easier to deal with the pain and recovery. I find it ironic that this is happening just a couple of weeks after that child has left home for college. This time, all I get is the removal of a lumpy, misshapen uterus and ovaries that may or may not have something growing on them.
My doctor called me this morning to remind me of all the things I need to do before I show up at the hospital tomorrow.
A good friend took me to a nice lunch today, which was essentially the last solid food I’ll eat until tomorrow night. I’m grateful.