I’ve been trying to put into words how I feel about this upcoming surgery, and I just haven’t been able to fully wrap my head around it yet. 5 1/2 yrs ago I walked into that hospital with my new husband of only 9 months, my mom and my grandma. I fell to my knees in tears as we approached the entrance. There was no way I was strong enough to survive this. As they were transferring me to the surgery table I remember screaming that I couldn’t do it, that I didn’t want the surgery, that I didn’t care what that meant and to please let me leave. I can remember the nurses voice as if it was yesterday “You’re ok sweetheart, we’re going to take good care of you. You’re going to get your life back“.
There is absolutely no way to explain what it feels like to have your worst fear come true. It’s soul shattering. And for the last 5 1/2 yrs I have gone through every emotion, I’ve gone over and over and over what I could have done differently. I’ve questioned the doctors, I’ve blamed them. I’ve questioned myself, I’ve blamed me. I’ve hated my body, resented it in ways I never had considered possible. I’ve sabotaged it. I’ve allowed that loss to consume me. At times it truly felt that my heart was turning to stone. I started to not even recognize myself when I looked in the mirror. I’ve gotten out of bed to face each day, most days certain that my heart was literally in pieces inside my chest.
The last year I have gotten to, what I believe is, a much healthier place with my grief. I’ve found a way to make room for it. I’ve learned it’s ok to feel it and, maybe more importantly, I’m leaning it’s also ok if I don’t. That it doesn’t mean I didn’t want to be a mother. It just means my heart is learning how to feel happiness and joy in moments that, before, would have broken me.
I hit my 5 yr Hyster-versary with hope. I’d done every. single. thing. I was told to do. I refused HRT so as to not feed the Endo that they had to leave because it was in places that made it too dangerous to remove. I’d also suffered the consequences of that… Surgical menopause has been an adventure to say the least. But it would be worth it, wouldn’t it? I’d made it to this milestone and that meant I really did have a chance that Endometriosis was no longer going to run my life.
Within weeks of that milestone, I knew something was wrong. In the months following I quickly went backwards in my fight against this disease. My body has once again betrayed me. I am truly at a loss and I absolutely was not prepared, emotionally or mentally, to hear that ugly word again… surgery. And now here we are, 2 days til Surgery #9.
I wasn’t naive, I knew that there would always be a chance of another surgery. But hitting my 5 year mark really made me feel safe. I felt like maybe, just maybe, the hysterectomy really did make a difference. My biggest fear since I was 12 yrs old was that the unbearable pain that was creeping into my life would one day render me childless, my body unable to carry the children I’d dreamed of having since I was a little girl. That I would never, ever feel the miracle of my child growing beneath my heart. That I would live a life removed from all those around me. That I would be the only member left in a club I wanted nothing to do with. And on August 12, 2010, that fear came true.
My biggest fear since then? That the stupid hysterectomy, which I was told was my only option at that point in my health journey, would at some point be rendered meaningless. That one day I would once again live my life each day held captive by a body that hated me, beaten by a disease I could not control.
And here we are… again.
So on Thursday my mom and I went and did our pre-surgery shopping spree, a pre-surgery tradition of ours. Yesterday, my sister-in-laws and I got some R&R with a facial, back facial and pedicure. I may or may not have chosen the brightest and most glittery nail polish they had. Why? Because bright and glittery toes are a surgery must. As are cute new pajama’s.
Tomorrow I will wake up and pack my hospital bag, finish last minute errands, go visit Duke for a kiss, cuddle extra with Kumo and do the dreaded bowel prep (TMI?). And on Tuesday I will walk back into the hospital, put on that hospital gown, get an IV and be wheeled to the OR. They will ask me to count backwards from 100, I’ll swear that I can make it to zero. I’ll be out cold by 94. My surgeon will make 4 cuts, and insert his “hands”… he’ll see what this disease has done to my body. He’ll see the scar tissue, the adhesions. He’ll see the ovary that, against all odds, regenerated itself. He’ll cut and scrape and cauterize. He’ll do what he’s trained to do, he’ll do what I’ve trusted him to do and in those moments my future will be in his hands completely.
And then I’ll wake up. And I’ll go to battle with this disease again.
I’m not giving up Endo. You have not stolen my strength. You have not stolen my fight. Everything you’ve done to me and taken from me has only made me stronger. I will get up every day, I will have a smile on my face and I will live a life I love.
So here we go again, just you and me. Only this time…