My body is my body, there is not a single other person in the world that can tell me what to do with my body but I have learned the hard way that I must stand up and shout if I need to advocate for my body.
In 1996, I started to bleed heavily 24/7 in a constant agonizing period. I walked bent over with the pain at times and I was going through 2 overnight napkins all the time. I went to my primary care Dr whose answer was that I probably needed a hysterectomy but that she would not okay this as I was “only” 42 and didn’t really know that I didn’t want children. I might change my mind. Really? Seriously?Even after explaining to her that I was a lesbian, she insisted that I wait for whenever menopause would come because then it would just “go away” and I couldn’t know my own mind.
I finally got her to agree to an ultrasound and at that point I had a 13 cm fibroid and other smaller ones. She still would not agree to even give me a referral to an OB/GYN so I called the nurse hotline at my insurance carrier. The nurse was horrified and I found out later they suspended my doctor over this and other problems. The nurse gave me a referral to a doctor who just happened to be the same Dr a friend had just had a really good experience with and who also was a gynecologist/oncologist because they didn’t know for sure if it was fibroids or something else. The Dr got me in the next day and I had another ultrasound at that hospital. The tumours were growing so rapidly they had now swallowed one of my ovaries and had headed down my vagina. That was a Thursday, I was scheduled for surgery the following Tuesday.
My mother had kittens. How dare I have a hysterectomy when she wanted grandchildren? I ended up having to tell her she was not wanted and that she could not visit because I was really afraid she would stop the surgery after I was under anesthetic. So I took two good friends that day and gave them temporary medical power of attorney with strict instructions on what I wanted to happen in case of emergency. This happened to be at a Catholic hospital so I didn’t want to go in there with out specific instructions on what I wanted.
The surgery was supposed to take about an hour. It took 4 ½ hours. I had fibroids wrapped around my bladder which the Dr told me later would have gone necrotic within the next two weeks or so. They had to go looking for one of my ovaries, they had to remove tumors from my vagina and they ended up having to remove my cervix and rebuild my vagina. They had to remove parts of my intestines and clean off the tumours and put them back in. (This was not fun because I had IBS for about 2 years afterward. Intestines object to being moved.) She had to do a lot of reconstruction and fix everything around the bladder. Right before the surgery I looked very pregnant and I had taken to calling it “my alien baby, Q”. Afterwards, I was the Great Deflato”.
If I had not taken responsibility for my body and realized something was very wrong, I would not be here. I would be dead.
As a pagan, I was very distressed afterwards at the reaction from fellow pagans. One of my male pagan friends actually stopped talking to me because he was so mad that I had opted for a surgical solutions. He thought I should have used Chinese herbs and Reiki. Uh no?
Some women had the gall to tell me I was no longer a woman and really shouldn’t be welcome in a Dianic Circle, luckily Z does not agree. Some women told me it had happened because I had the “wrong attitude” to my reproductive organs. I should have been kinder to them and it wouldn’t have happened. Uh no!
I had been plagued from the time my periods started when I was almost 17 with horrible periods that lasted 9 days and were very heavy and always included at least 2 days of cramps that would have me lying on the cool bathroom tile waiting for the next session on the porcelain goddess and hoping to be dead. Or hanging upside down from bedpost because for some reason being upside down eased the cramps somewhat. This was before the wonder drug ibuprofen came along. Aspirin and Midol did doodly squat. in short, Aunt Flo had never been my friend.
I do not miss having my period or the $10 purchase of supplies (1996 dollars). The first time I went to the grocery store after my surgery I literally skipped down the feminine supplies aisle.
This could have been a sad story of what happens when you don’t advocate for your own health but it isn’t. I knew something was very wrong with my body and I took care of it and advocated for myself. I found solutions to a horrible problem and I did what I needed to do. My body is my body. It wasn’t my mother’s and it sure as hell wasn’t my doctor’s. It was mine and I made the necessary choices for my body.
My body is my body. My choices are my choices.
St Bride’s Charm
The charm put by Bride the beneficent
On her goats, on her sheep, on her kine,
On her horses, on her chargers, on her herds.
Early and late going home, and from home.
To keep them from rocks and ridges
From heels and the horns of one another
From the birds of Red Rock
And from Luath of the Feinne.
From the blue peregrine hawk of Creag Duilion
From the brindled eagle of Ben Ard
From the swift hawk of Tordun
From the surly raven of Bard’s Creag.
From the fox of the wiles
From the wolf of the Mam
From the foul smelling fumart
And from the restless giant hipped bear.
From every hoofed of four feet
And from every hatched of two wings,
Two of Stones
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