“I had a possessed uterus once. You might think I’m joking, but I’m not kidding.
I will save you all the gory details, but I’m pretty sure the devil himself placed his creepy monster hands upon my womb and cursed me. Had you asked me then, I would have told you there must have been a man inside my tube with an ice pick, chipping away at what was left after 43 years of use and three kids. If you can believe it, test after test showed nothing. Nothing. Not even my cries of pain or screams of agony could convince the doctor, nurse, radiologist or even my husband that something was truly wrong. CT scans showed nothing. Blood work showed nothing. Maybe it was IBS, they said. Maybe I should cut back on the salsa. Maybe it was stress. Maybe not enough sleep. Ummmm, k. How about, none of the above. I was certain something was not right.
It hurt so bad that I finally convinced myself there was something wrong with my hips, or maybe my back. It wasn’t until I went to the chiropractor and had four adjustments with no relief that he ordered an MRI to look at my bones. But what he found was not a bone issue, but rather a mass in my tube that couldn’t be seen on the other tests. And at just about the same time that I took those results back to my OB, the bleeding started. Finally, something real. Something I could prove. I wasn’t an easy patient at the time. I sent contradicting statements of, ‘Please just take the devil womb out. Please just take it out and feed it to a rabid dog somewhere,’ yet, we had another crisis we were dealing with at the time – my husband’s cancer diagnosis – and I could not block out two weeks for surgery and recovery.
Subsequent blood tests showed some low level of something so my doctor started me on progesterone until I could find time to become a full-time member of the ‘Happy Hysterectomy Club.’ The medication made me feel awful. The whole process had me irritable, emotional, snippy and downright crazy. I didn’t think it was really affecting my husband or family until one night when I refused to get in the car to go out with him and friends because I couldn’t find a tampon and I needed something to eat to take the medication, and of course my kids had eaten us out of the house, and nobody had gone to the grocery store in a week. My husband gently tried to convince me that everything would be alright and after six or seven, ‘let’s just go’ statements, with me standing at the door, arms crossed, eyes welling up and shaking my head in defiance, he finally lost his sh*t and stood on the front porch, arms extended wide and yelled, ‘Will somebody just get this woman a tampon and a cracker?’
Finally, my schedule opened up that winter and my hysterectomy was a go. I explained it to my husband. I told him I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I heard that if they take everything out, you go into instant menopause. I told him that meant there could be things like hot flashes, weight gain, emotional outbursts and that you basically go crazy. He smiled that crooked grin and forced out a sarcastic, ‘er?,’ knowing he was taking his own life in his hands. I folded my arms and squinted at him as he repeated it. ‘You mean, er. Like crazi-er?’ Oh, my sweet man. I knew what he meant, and he’s so lucky I didn’t have access to anything to throw at him in the moment. The closest thing was the lamp and I wasn’t supposed to be lifting anything that heavy.
So, off I went to have my surgery, which, by the way, did show some kind of golf ball-sized something in the tube. My doctor apologized. I get it. I know that some things just don’t show up on imaging. I was just so happy to have it gone.
But, the best part was yet to come. About three weeks later, as I was feeling better and minding my own business for once, I received a letter from our insurance company with questions about my surgery, before they would pay the bill. One of those questions was if my surgery was a result of an accident. Like, what kind of accident are we talking about? That’s the weirdest question I have ever heard after this kind of thing, and to be honest, I couldn’t let it go without responding in the best way I knew how.
Dear Blue Shield,
I am in receipt of your letter which requires me to answer whether or not my most recent surgery was a result of an accident. Honestly, I am in awe of your tenacious follow through on this, and appreciate your investigation (of sorts) into the root cause of my injury.
The quick answer is no, my hysterectomy was not a result of an accident, unless of course you want to go back to biblical times and figure out a way to blame Eve for eating that damn apple. As I’m sure you know, everything is pretty much her fault anyway, so I don’t see why this wouldn’t fall in line.
In fact, in Genesis 3:16, the Bible tells us ‘He told the woman, ‘I’ll greatly increase the pain of your labor during childbirth. It will be painful for you to bear children, since your trust is turning toward your husband, and he will dominate you.’
However, I’m not totally sure if the uterus was damaged because of childbirth, or the ‘husband domination’ thing. I guess that’s more of a question for my OB. (Can they tell if he caused the damage?) No lie, it kinda creeps me out if they can.
Either way, it was no accident, I can assure you of that. However, if during your investigation you feel Eve was truly at fault, you might have some more work ahead of you. I was baptized Lutheran, raised Catholic, spent some time with the Baptists, and I really like the Mormons. I guess depending on their take of this delicate situation, maybe they could split the bill?
If you decide my husband is at fault, heck…I’ll pay the bill and you can send him a medal.
Hope this helps. If there is anything else you need from me, don’t hesitate to ask.
I wrote that letter to Blue Shield just three months before my husband died of his pancreatic cancer. He was asleep in a hotel room in Arizona waiting to consult with an oncologist the next day, and when he woke up, I read it to him. He laughed. It was one of the last times he would really laugh. He said he would anxiously await his medal. They wrote me back and said they would pay the bill, and I made their day, but they never sent anything engraved with, ‘1st place.’ Truthfully, I should have bought him one myself. For he showed me what true patience was. What support looked like. What true, dirty, messy love feels like.
I hope you have that, and if you don’t, I hope it finds you. Because when you’re hurting, scared, emotional and ‘crazier,’ we all need a best friend who will stand in public and command the Gods to find you a cracker. Because, sometimes love is the big things and sometimes, it’s the little, beautiful, subtle, sweet moments that show you what this big life is all about. Remember those. Memorize them. Sear them into your memory banks. Because one day, you might need to pull them out and laugh.
Incidentally, about a month before he left me, he caught me in the kitchen doing something and said, ‘You know, you’re like a 50% nicer person now that you had that thing out.’ I didn’t throw anything. No, I walked over to him slowly and I hugged him. I hugged him tight and thanked him for being the best man I knew. It was the best hug of my entire life. We held on a longer than normal. I pressed my ear into his chest and listened to his heartbeat a little bit longer. I wrapped my arms around him tighter. While neither of us would admit it, we knew our time together was almost gone and neither of us were going to let those moments pass us by anymore. No, we understood the importance of a long hug, a deep laugh and standing by each other even when things were chaotic. I hope everybody gets that chance at least once in their life, because there is nothing better than being fully, unequivocally, crazily loved. Try it.”