Saturday, August 18, 2007

"Reproductive Reflections", or "An Ode to my Organs"

(Male readers, you are being forewarned…some very graphic, intimate female topics will be disclosed in this post…view at your own discretion…)

After volleying back and forth between the need for my surgery and my doctor’s own impending hernia operation, we finally settled on September 6th to be the day that I start a life of freedom from the bondage of my menstrual cycle and leave behind the years of blood-soaked car seats, second-trimester sized bloating, and my stock in Playtex, Kotex, Stay-Free, and Always. I should feel liberated in some way, shouldn’t I?

Truth be told, I am very melancholy over this whole experience. Although my menses has sometimes been very wicked to me throughout the 33 years of our oppressive relationship, my female organs have been the vessels of miracles, from egg to human being. They’ve worked hard for me, perhaps too hard, and are now suffering as a result. They are being strangled and leeched upon by foreign objects, and I feel their painful cries for help—literally. As with an old dog who is full of tumors and whose every step is achingly slow, I am put in the position of sending my organs to their eternal rest—and it seems strange, almost immoral in a way. I feel as if I should have my doctor put them aside and let me see them to give them one last good-bye—and to say, “thank you for all you’ve done.” To bless them before they’re sent off to their disposal, a process that I have no knowledge of and shudder to think about.

If you think I have lost my mind, join the club. When I shared this desire with my 17-year old daughter, she told me I was weird and that she wishes she could never have her period again (I told her, “God forbid.”). My husband had no words—just a stare and a very wide mouth. Well, maybe it isn’t the “norm.” Perhaps I can say my farewells in my own silent, retrospective way before I go into surgery. I’m sure this would make everyone else more comfortable with my mental state; although I’m sure that my doctor has heard stranger requests than that.

I realized the other day (during my period, of course) that this would be the last time I would ever have to deal with cramps, bullet-shaped cotton products, and multiple frustrated visits to the bathroom at work. Was I sad? Well, yes, in a way. Although we haven’t always been the closest of companions, this “friend” has visited me monthly for most of my life. To me, it represents youth and vitality, femininity and fertility. If that factor is removed out of my life’s equation, I am left to feel—in a word—old. Or am I?

In the most preferred circumstances concerning my surgery, one ovary will be left in my body. The reason for this is so I don’t experience “instant menopause”, and become a victim of osteoporosis before I’m fifty. This also means that I will still be waging my monthly war against that all-time favorite adversary of everyone’s—female and male—PMS. In some way, that has to keep me feeling young. However, the bout of PMS I just experienced earlier this month was so severe, I ended up cutting off all of my hair. Nine inches of hair—nine. For some reason, I thought this would look “cute.” It would be easier; no more hour-long hair drying and straightening sessions. But the person staring back at me in the mirror isn’t “sassy” and “sexy”—she just seems old. It has gotten good response from those whose opinions I value the most—my husband and relatives, my good friends—but I know some acquaintances are wondering, “Why?” My cousin actually came right out and asked me. The truth is I don’t know why. Maybe I did it because I always wanted to feel what it was like to have hair this short. Maybe I did it because I thought it would be easier. Or maybe I did it just to feel alive. To take a wild chance, to know that I could be brave. In reality, I may never know. All I am certain of at this point is that I look much, much better with hair than without.

The “Eleven Year Glitch” factor seems to be coming into play again. Here I am, 44 years of age, and I’m once again experiencing a life-changing event in an eleventh year of my life. Strange, isn’t it? Perhaps this time, the change really will be for the better. I spent years with severe fatigue, bloating, and pain—I’m now hoping to come out of this feeling refreshed and renewed, and ready to take on the world. I know the void inside of me will only be making room for more hope, more energy, and most of all, more spirit. My life has only just begun.

27 comments:

Carine said...

Lisa,
I do hope everything will be okay. Surgery is never a "happy" thing to go through. Though, after it was said and done, my SIL thought it was the best thing that ever happened to her-if this is any good news to you.
I myself am just waiting to finish the process of menopause! I teeter between having a constant period and going months w/o one at all. I'm turning 50 in mid-November.
I'm sending out some hugs and good thoughts for you!

Mark said...

This is but another stop along your journey and what will come from it will be entirley up to you. We continue to transform, this is another transformation. You can make it a postive step along your journey if you so desire. Good luck with the surgery. I know this is not an easy thing to do.

Lisa said...

Carine,

Surgery is scary, but I'm hoping the positives outweigh the negatives in the long run. Everyone I know that has had a hysterectomy said they don't know how they waited so long to do it and they were very happy. Thank you for your hugs and good thoughts--they are very much appreciated!

Take good care,
Lisa

A Who said...

Oh Lisa...

1) Positive side of surgery -- Demerol (or whatever it is) feels so good as you come out of it.

2) People (family) cater to your needs for a while - um - perhaps for an hour or two.

2) As a teenager, I hated my period.
As a young woman I feared for it's absence.
And now as a woman of my age, it reminds me that I can still get "knocked up", doggone it! A marker for youth or immaturity?! How 'bout neither? Surgery and/or change of any kind is frightening -- ain't gonna lie.

3) Knowing you, as you look at your "sassy", "sexy" image in the mirror, you just need to go a little heavier on the eyeliner and redder and glossier on the lips to perk your self up and send you over to the PUNK era of your former self. (Jon was a punk. Were you, too?)

4) You are a gorgeous gal: thin, beautiful, smart, all that -- don't let self-doubt tell you other wise.

5) Only a crazy lady would be "happy" about surgery. I would be fit to be tied, (another marker me thinks -- of an unsinkable "Molly brown" kind-o-gal).

6) My/Our prayers are with you.
All good things are coming your way...

A Who said...

p.s.

I cut my hair, I've discovered, when I want to be able to control my chaotic life. It feels good, lighter, and freer.

The fact that you cut nine inches off speaks Volumes. I can understand why you did it. When will you post a picture?

Lisa said...

Dear Patti,

1. Demerol is great; Vicodin, even better.

2. I'd take 45 minutes.

2. (I just realized you had two "2's") I don't like anesthesia, and I hate being alone in a hospital room. The "change" thing--well, I'm hoping it's a change for the better!

3. I was "punk" for about 5 minutes, only because I was a young adult in the eighties and I had no choice...but I'm really much more of a nature gal, kinda hippy-ish. Although I can go glam if I have to, and I do like to on occasion. But not every day--that's what sucks! This hairdo definitely calls for makeup.

4. YOU are gorgeous and thin. I was slim a month ago...now I look like I'm four months pregnant, and it doesn't go down anymore, I imagine because the cyst keeps growing (it was the size of an orange three weeks ago). Self-doubt abounds. But my husband is always good when I'm down...he really does like my hair short for some unknown reason, and he's great for my ego!

5. I am fit to be tied. I don't like hospitals, and the other things I mentioned in the second #2 above. The only good news is that the surgeon promised to "clean up" my lumpy C-section scar in a "cosmetic" way, using dissolvable seutures instead of staples...so I am a trite bit hopeful about that! I've had a shelf there for 18 years, even when I weighed 105 lbs.

6. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your blessings mean so much, and I love you for it.

P.S...GREAT reasoning on your part for why I cut my hair--that would make a ton of sense if you knew the half of it! But a photo probably won't be posted anytime soon, only because I can't take one that I like!! I might attempt it this week. ;)

xoxoxoxo
Lisa

Betty said...

Dear Lisa,

Well, it's posts like this that make me count my blessings. No way around it- surgery is scary, and it's profound to lose parts of your body. Of course you want to say goodbye in your own way. I can only imagine how traumatic this must be, and I send you my very best strength and prayers.

I, too, am eager to see your photo with short hair! If you spend a little time at it, I know you'll wind up with a shot that's acceptable even to you!

I wish you as much peace and love and serenity as you can possibly take in over the few next weeks....

Hugs,
Betty

Loving Annie said...

Oh Lisa, I so feel for you. It's a very hard thing to go through the transitions in life. It's sort of like we know that the years are passing, but we don't really feel it until something like this confronts us and can't be avoided.

As for chopping off your hair, oh yeah. I do it too when something traumatic affects my life. I don't know why. Maybe because I don't act out self-destructively with drugs or alcohol or gambling, but I go after my hair yearning for freedom of some sort....

I hope that the doctor properly diagnosis the right hormones for you afterwards and that the pms becomes negligent.

Being healthy and pain free is a gift, and I am glad that you are taking care of yourself, even if there is sadness associated with it.

*Cyber hugs*
Loving Annie

Summer said...

Lisa, my best wishes for your surgery to go well.
i do believe that not getting my period anymore is one of the best changes in my life!!! Dealing positively with it makes a whole lot of difference...to me i just look at the cup half full, always!! Arm yourself with a “sunshine attitude” and live long and happy!!!

Shimmerrings said...

Good luck, woman... and I do mean woman! Which you will still be, when it's all done. I never had to go through the surgery, though I suffered greatly with cramps and bloating and heavy bleeding, most of my life, and more so whilest going through my changes. Haven't bled in 3 years. There was sadness... because of all the same reasons that you relate your female organs as being a part of, in your own life. But, I've never heard a single women say she ever regreted having her stuff removed. All the girls I know, who ever did, only rejoice in the new freedom. Best of luck to ya, on this one!

Tichrahn said...

Have faith sister that the surgery will heal the dis-ease and know you will be stronger and healthier afterwards. I had mine 7 years ago, traumatic and I too asked the doctor to save it for me to see, wanting to say goodbye more properly, but restrictions on cancerous tissue prevented it. My best advice, is to take it easy for the next few weeks after the surgery, have your favorite music, a journal, pens and markers or crayons available... write and draw. Let it flow from you, all of it,every emotion, every thought, every fear, every wish. For the healing process is going to be spiritual as well and you will cherish reading it later as you find yourself feeling different, better, more wholesome than you ever did before. There is a ceremony we perform in my women's group, called the 13th moon, to welcome a woman into the "wise woman" era of no flow. Light a candle, listen to your music and know that the gifts of women are ever-flowing, beautiful and loving in all stages, for all ages.
In the spirit of the Goddess's light may your Healing be complete and the journey wonderful.
Tichrahn

Lisa said...

Dear Betty,

It's funny; I think all of us are the type of women who would view someone else's burden, say a prayer for them, and then thank our lucky stars for what we have!

I am feeling very strange about what's going on; but I do have a wonderful support system, and I count my blessings for it all the time. I know some people would love to have the wonderful web of people in their lives that I have, and I'm very thankful.

I hope all is well with you; I think of your situation often. You hang in there, my friend. I have a feeling that you don't live too far from me or Simply me (well not flying distance, anyway); perhaps we could arrange a "blogger girl's day" and have lunch sometime! Wouldn't that be fun?

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Loving Annie,

I think you and A Who have hit the nail on the head. I would never in my right mind have cut nine inches off of my hair! I'm not in my right mind at this time, and I guess the reality is that I haven't been for some time now. I'm really hoping for some sort of freedom from what I've had to deal with over the years...and I'm hopeful that it might render me with a lot more energy to do the things that I really, truly want to accomplish in life.

Thank you for your good wishes...they are always so appreciated!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Summer,

Of course, your name fits you so well!! You are always like a ray of sunshine, and if I've never told you before, I want you to know that I admire your positivity throughout everything that you deal with on a daily basis. Just all that moving and traveling alone would make me crazy, but you handle it with style and grace, always!!

Thanks for your positive thoughts, and I will be sure to take your advice!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Shimmerings,

I definitely agree with you on this one...everyone who I've spoken to who has went through this does not regret it in the least! They are all much happier. I guess there are more women around than we know who suffer from heavy, painful menstrual periods. When faced with the choice to keep their organs and have their period, or to go through surgery to take body parts out, most will opt for the latter! I myself am hoping for the best.

Thanks for your good thoughts and wishes!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Tichrahn,

Thank you so much for stopping by and for sharing something so personal. I think it's wonderful to celebrate all of the different stages in a woman's life! After all, there are so many...puberty, sexual maturity, childbirth, menopause, etc...and all of them are wonderful in their own right.

I wonder if men have ceremonies for the different stages in their lives. Oh, wait...I think there's only one--the horny stage. And if I'm not mistaken, I think they celebrate that most every Friday and Saturday night at their local watering hole (JUST KIDDING---sorry, male readers, I couldn't help myself)!

Thanks again for sharing. I tried to visit your site, but I wasn't allowed access. How did you find me?

Take good care,
Lisa

simply me said...

My Dear Li - HERE IS TO LIVING OUT LOUD.....
You are awesome and after all is said and done you will shine brighter.
All will be well for God is with you my friend.

Betty said...

Dear Lisa,

When I was in NY this summer I did think of you and Simply Me, and if The Child hadn't been with me I probably would've tried to arrange a get-together. Oh, believe me, it's on my mind, and someday it'll happen! Can't wait for a photo of that new coif...

Hugs,
Betty

Loving Annie said...

Just checking in to say hello and see how you are doing on Thursday the 23rd, Lisa --

Lisa said...

Maria,

I know God's with me because He's brought friends like you into my life.

...How about that Stop n Shop coincidence? What was the likelyhood of that? I still can't get over it!

xoxo

Lisa said...

Betty,

I think we'd have a ball! I hope all is well on your end, and that you're hanging in there.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Loving Annie,

I'm doing well, and I hope you are too! Thank you for stopping by. I haven't had much time to visit my blogging friends this week, hopefully tomorrow I'll catch up!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Hello All, (and especially Mark)

I just noticed that my comment to Mark is missing? I know I wrote it, how can that happen?? Mark, if you read this, please accept my apologies! I wrote you a response, and I have no idea where it is!

I basically said thanks for the good wishes and sound advice. I do appreciate it more than you know!

Take good care,
Lisa

LZ Blogger said...

Lisa ~ I just want to wish you the best with your surgery. You are more than likely the BEST JUDGE on what is right for you to do. ~ jb///

Lisa said...

Dear LZ,

Thank you so much for your good wishes and for braving that post! I'm going to make sure that my future posts are a little more uplifting!

Take good care,
Lisa

Big Dave T said...

Yeah, you're right, that was a tough one for me to read. No, I'm just kidding. We men who have been married know something of what you speak about. Trust me.

It's amazing how the years just seem to fritter away so quickly. It seemed like not so long ago that my wife and I were considering whether or not to have a third child. We never really made a decision ourselves, and eventually nature made it for us. No more kids. It does make one feel kinda old when you can't even THINK about having another one.

Lisa said...

Dear Big Dave,

Thanks for braving it! You seem like a pretty sensitive guy, I kind of figured you wouldn't really be offended in any way!

We toyed around with in-vitro a few years ago as we've never had a child together, but after I saw what it involved, we shelved that idea quickly! We decided that God blessed us both with two beautiful, healthy children each and that we should just be thankful. Although when all this happened, he did mention that he still wondered what our child would've looked like...I guess the reality kind of hit us both that it is definitely OVER. But there are new adventures on the horizon...and the last thing I'd want to deal with as I'm approaching 60 is a teenager!

Take good care,
Lisa