"And" has become my new favorite word. I use it now instead of the word “but” in so many places. As I sit here this morning sobbing in fear and gratitude, the word “and” becomes even more profound.
I’ve been suffering excruciating monthly pain for well over a year. When I say excruciating here is what I mean (those of you who have borne children may relate to this better than others.): If a 10 on the pain scale of 1-10 is Pitocin-induced triple contraction labor for hours on end (without an epidural) – my current pain is a 15.
Rolling around on the floor, screaming, sobbing, gnashing of teeth – you get the idea. This happens every month for over two weeks. The length of time between cycles has been steadily shortening. I’m getting about 10 days off now.
Four years ago I had an ablation to relieve my massive menstrual bleeding. I had a friend who had had one and swore by it. No more bleeding. No cramps. No hysterectomy. Just blood-free, pain-free living. Who wouldn’t want that? So I signed up and got mine. Easy peasy.
Apparently, unbeknownst to me, there is a thing called, “Post-Ablation Syndrome” that about 30% of women get 30 months post-ablation. Lucky me! It has to do with scar tissue forming and the uterus not being able to do its monthly squeeze. The ablation never really worked for me the way it did for my friend, and now it’s become a thing much worse than what it set out to cure.
So, this brings me to “and.”
I have REALLY resisted having a hysterectomy. I had a lot of really good reasons – my naturopath agreed – for not wanting to have my uterus removed. She’s the one who actually diagnosed my pain and together we set out on a course to try to fix it non-surgically. I really was desperately attached to my uterus.
None of what we tried worked and she spent one entire office visit talking me into the hysterectomy. That was unexpected. And eye-opening.
It’s taken a lot of coaching around my thoughts about not wanting to have surgery and about keeping my uterus (and let’s be real – a shit ton of pain) to get me to where I am today – The Eve of the Parting of the Ways. My uterus and I will be parting ways tomorrow. My friend Maya said it sounded like neighbors that just don't get along anymore when I phrased it that way. And that’s exactly how it feels. We co-existed and got along well enough for 46 years and now it's time to let her go.
I am so incredibly grateful that this chapter of pain and of losing so many days is finally coming to a close. I’m grateful to the people that have supported me through this. I’m grateful to the people that made this surgery happen tomorrow instead of months down the road. I’m grateful to be parting ways with my uterus.
Shitless. Surgery scares the crap out of me.
This isn’t a “but” situation, it’s an “and” situation. I am grateful and scared. I’m excited and afraid. I’m relieved and nervous. I’m sitting here with all of those emotions living side by side in my body. Grateful, excited, relieved. AND. Scared, afraid, nervous. I’m all of it. I’m both. I’m and.