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Mourning Aunt Flo

It’s not easy being transparent in a world that glorifies what’s fake and shuns reality. Reality isn’t pretty. Reality shows vulnerability– the bumps, bruises and scars. Here’s my story about poor Aunt Flo.

Last Tuesday I had a hysterectomy. I can hear my ancestors hushing me. I shouldn’t tell these kinds of things. These are the things you keep secret. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why people keep so many things that are common and part of life, secret. It’s my story and I’m telling it.

When I was 11 years old I prayed for my menstrual cycle to come on. I was weird like that. I was jealous because one of my friends had gotten hers and I felt like she was grown. I wanted to be grown too. Ha! I didn’t know it came with a lifetime of issues. From day one, I had bad cramps. However, my first couple of cycles, I handled them like a champ. But then came the cramps, chills, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea… I can go on with the list of symptoms. The gift I had prayed for was actually a burden.

Throughout the years it only became worse. When I was 16 my mom took me to my first gynecologist appointment. I found out my ovaries were covered with cysts but nothing else major like endometriosis. I was put on birth control pills which helped ease the pain and symptoms. The pills were a temporary fix. Once I was off the pills, my symptoms returned and they were even more severe.

As I got older, I heard that the cramps would go away after my first baby and they were right. For a while they weren’t so bad or as bad. Although, I can remember sitting on the toilet, bent over in pain, trying to breastfeed my baby girl. Note: Motherhood doesn’t stop because you’re in pain.

My first fibroid was discovered during my six week check up after my first child. That was 24 years ago. It was small. I was told we were going to leave it alone as long as it didn’t start giving me problems and it didn’t. Life went on.

Five years later the symptoms became more intense. I had another ultrasound and the fibroid had grown from the size of a marble to the size of a golf ball. It was located in the back lining of my uterus and was pressing on my colon. That’s when I had my first surgery. The surgeon was able to remove the fibroid without removing parts of my uterus. I was told if more fibroids grew I should think about having a hysterectomy. I can hear some of my readers screaming “You know you don’t have to have a hysterectomy.” Yeah, I knew that then and I know it now, and I know me. I don’t believe in dealing with the same issues multiple times. If it can be taken care of, let’s do it.

Over a decade had passed before I developed two new symptom, heavy flow and severe anemia. I was told the flow would become heavier with age. I was okay with that until I had to start wearing Depends lined with overnight pads. I called them my paper panties. That helped at first, but not for long. The day my daughter cleaned my car seat for me because I was in too much pain and had to change my clothes, was the day I knew I had to do something. And the anemia.. When I think about how tired I was all of the time and how hard it was to concentrate on and complete simple tasks, I tear up. I was really struggling- struggling to keep up the appearance that everything was normal. I was a mess!

The day I met with my GYN/surgeon I had mixed emotions. We sat down and talked. He went over the procedures with me. I just nodded my head and smiled. I understood it all. I had researched everything and was prepared for it. So I thought. It wasn’t until he asked his nurse to take me to the examination room that I began to feel differently. As I walked to the room, I felt like I had been handed a death sentence and I was walking to my doom. I became so emotional. I waited for the nurse to leave before I started bawling. The tears were flowing. I was thinking things like “I’ll never be able to carry another baby,” “I’ll never feel a baby grow inside of me.” Umm.. didn’t I have my tubes tied 15 years ago? So why was I crying? I realized I was crying over the loss of my friend, the uterus. We met when I was eleven. She carried two babies (and a few fibroids) for me. She was my annoying companion and she was being taken away. I was sad. Then once I realized the reason for my mourning, I said farewell to my uterus and embraced the idea of living without her. Just like that. I promise you I’m not heartless, she had to go!

Well, I’ve been five days without her. My stomach is too bloated from gas (that’s a-whole-nother story) to tell she’s missing. However, when I turn from side to side it feels like my organs are trying to find a resting place. Yeah, it’s kinda painful. They know something’s missing. I told my kids I wish I could’ve brought her home with me. Lol. I assume she will be missed another month or two. Then life will go on.

Guess what? I can finally wear white! Already bought a white dress! Yes!!

Muah,

Shaun
#Year45

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