Since March, I have now had four or five pelvic ultrasounds (yes, both the external and the internal probe Congress loves so much) and a pelvic MRI.
Here is what we know:
There are masses inside of me and they are growing, and they need to be removed.
Here is what we think we know:
One of the masses is an ovarian endometrioma the size of a tennis ball (and growing). Until late June I’d never heard of such a thing but turns out I’m intimately acquainted and just didn’t know it. Essentially, I have endometriosis that has invaded my left ovary and taken over to the point that it likely cannot be extracted and removed; the whole ovary has got to go.
I have other masses in my uterus that are fibroid tumors. At least one of them is also the size of a tennis ball. I was sent to have an MRI this past week to find out the number and size and placement of them all, since apparently, from the expression on my specialist’s face, there’s a bunch of crazy shit happening in there, all together, that has her thinking I should get a hysterectomy, STAT.
My specialist asked me, while prodding around my guts with her fingers, if I was done having children. Well, I said, I didn’t think I was. She pressed her hand down on my lower stomach from the outside and pressed her fingers inside of me upward, so her hands met around the parts inside of me that are swollen and cramped, and I felt a pain so deep it didn’t register in my body but it registered deep in my emotions and I began crying.
I am 34. I have always had regular periods that last three to five days and that come with minimal discomfort. I’ve never been on hormonal birth control and I had a quick and lovely eight-hour natural labor and delivery. I have always joked about being built for breeding, with my wide hips. I have had friends and family who’ve fought with period pain, endometriosis, cysts, fibroids and excessive bleeding and have always counted myself as being very fortunate to have a system that seemed, more or less, to do its thing and keep the peace.
I have finally met the man I want to spend the rest of my life and have a family with, and, in my more selfish moments, it’s a little like a cosmic middle finger in the face to think that that might not even be on the table for us.
My gynecologist asked me if I have a high pain tolerance. On the one hand, how great to have not suffered from the discomfort of my insides twisting and growing and crowding my organs. On the other hand, the lack of pain means I didn’t even realize what was happening for so long, and now it’s likely too late to really fix it and keep it functional.
I go back to the doctor Thursday to find out exactly what the MRI shows and what’s next. I know it will not be great news because they called and moved my follow-up appointment up a week. They told me come by whenever; they will work me in. That only happens if something is concerning enough to need action.
My family and friends are of course being supportive and wonderful in every way. My mom had a major bout of fibroids in her 40s and ended up with a hysterectomy. But she’d already had three kids and had her tubes tied; she knew she was done adding to her family. But she knows what a tough row to hoe this can be for the brain and body when it happens.
I had hoped I was finally getting to start a family in earnest, with someone who loves me and my son. It will be difficult to let that dream die before it even had a chance, if that’s what it comes to.
I know I will need surgery. I just don’t know how much and how soon and how serious.
I know I can feel a dull thud of pain on my left side where the ovary continues to grow larger each menstrual cycle. That pain wasn’t there four months ago.
I know sitting up from lying down is increasingly uncomfortable.
I know I can feel tenderness all across my belly, and sharp pain whenever a not-to-be-named 4-year-old gut-checks me while wrestling.
I know I am scared.
It is weird to be watched. To have someone waiting for you display how human you are so he can come after you and exploit your weaknesses. To be the target of an emotional sniper.
I wonder if he knows the damage he’s doing. Not to me, though. I’ve been working on being immune to that garbage for a long time and it’s finally taking hold.
I’ve taken the week off from work. Naturally, it’s been raining the entire time. You’re welcome, farmers.
I saw “Mad Max: Fury Road” the other day and it was intense in the best way. Just balls-to-the-wall insanity on an arc that most storytellers don’t often commit to. The rolling tribal metal concert was obviously the best part. I just kept thinking about the board meetings the Citadel council had to have where someone was like, “Gentlemen, times are lean and we need to think about reducing resources that are unnecessary to our most critical warmongering efforts” and then everyone looks over to the crazy suspended guitarist who’s just in the corner foaming at the mouth and stroking the frets and someone jumps up and says, “Now just a minute, Warrior Clank! One could argue that Coma-Doof Warrior’s contributions to the war effort are as critical as any of you silver-gummed, pockmarked shitstains!” and then the whole scene devolves into flammable chaos as Doof shreds his ax in the background.
That exact council meeting probably happened multiple times because, you know, political gridlock.
Such takeaway delight is not present in many films and for that I am grateful.
Also, holy fucking Furiosa, dudes. Don’t be surprised if I have a bad day and show up to the office some time soon with grease smeared on my forehead. On that day, either say yes ma’am to whatever I ask or run away from me.
“I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess.” — Donna Haraway
The new place is coming along. I’ve got furniture on the floor and things hung on the wall. I didn’t announce a move or anything because I don’t feel terribly comfortable announcing personal details here anymore. (See the beginning of this post.)
I love living in East Nashville. It reminds me of Midtown in so many ways and it’s great to be so close to friends. I want to explore more and today intended to do just that and got caught out in a serious deluge. I came in to Mad Donna’s and that is where I sit at this moment, gut full of burger and margaritas. Happy vacation to me.
Write write write something. Anything. Use words to conjure up pictures in other people’s heads and yes maybe even your own.
Stop asking why. You know why. You have to do it. It’s as much an instinct for you as blinking and breathing are. Can you imagine how awful it would be if one day you woke up and you couldn’t muster the energy to blink or breathe anymore? Your eyeballs would shrivel up in your head and you’d die. That is going to happen to the interesting part of your soul if you don’t write something soon.
Take a sip, loosen your standards.
Write write write, what can we write about?
Last night on Radiolab they were talking about laughter and how Aristotle thought it was our ability to laugh that made us human and apart from the other beasts. But Aristotle, while boasting a badass name, was wrong. Laughter is certainly a weird thing when you really think about, physiologically, what is happening during a fit of laughter. But laughter isn’t a uniquely human thing. Why would it be? Animals laugh and play and experience joy, too. I figure the only thing that makes us truly human is our capacity for self-sabotage. May science prove me wrong.
Is there a medication that kills ennui? Or transforms it into courage?
Actually, I don’t think ennui is what I have. I have the opposite, sort of: So many huge things I want to do but seemingly no time at all in which to do them, which creates a kind of crushing suffocation and a world that both zips around you and never seems to change.
So, what, like, mushrooms?
I’ve been thinking of all kinds of one-sentence bios for myself lately. Or are they epitaphs? Maybe that is the same thing.
• Incapable of sitting like a lady
• Liquid courage, solid shame
• Unimaginably bad at fantasy football
• Cannot pronounce “library” without total emotional and mental focus
• Completely, breathlessly, incontrovertibly in love with adverbs
• Never even touched a banjo :(
I saw “Boyhood” a few weeks ago. The only movie I’ve seen in a theater all year. It was lovely. I know everyone knows that already. Richard Linklater is my spirit animal. These are random thoughts. I got giddy when I saw the Lamar Sorrento painting on Ethan Hawke’s wall. That kid playing Mason could not be cuter and the adult playing Mason could not be cuter. Patricia Arquette’s boobs could not be bigger. I know that before I am able to accept it, my own boy will be bigger than I ever imagined. It’s terrifying, in the way a roller coaster is when you are at the top of that first peak. I suppose I am lucky in that I like roller coasters.
I’m not dreaming lately. I hate hate hate that.
I saw someone from my deep past last weekend and I went up and said hello and he wouldn’t even look at me. It was painfully awkward. I tried to talk to him and he kept looking past me, into the distance, obviously wishing I’d just go away. I left feeling like complete shit. He won.
The older I get the more my family breaks down. Lately some things have happened that I’ve not even been able to fully process, much less address. This one thing I had in my childhood that set me apart from so many — this solid, loving, close-knit family — has dissolved. It breaks my heart. I know nothing is permanent, but damn.
I’m tired of layoffs.
I miss taking photos, constant photos. You see the world differently when you are behind a lens. When you get out of that habit, the world goes a little flat.
I haven’t traveled anywhere in a good long while. I was supposed to take a road trip recently and it fell apart in spectacular fashion and didn’t actually happen. We are going to the Smokies in a couple of weeks for a little bit, but I am pining to see something new, to breathe the air of a place I’ve never been. I want to know why no one will just pay me to wander around aimlessly. I would have made an incredible trust-fund kid.
Wrapping up a random post is difficult. It’s 1 a.m. and the boy will be up at 7:30 and I’m really doing myself no favors by staying up, considering the insane workday ahead of me.
Let’s end with a photo of this guy, whose smile could power a grid. He’s in such a big way lately. So many new words and phrases and such a sweet attitude most of the time. My heart.
I stayed home from work today. Blame it on not getting home from work until 1 a.m. and then being up half the remaining night with an angry stomach. I have powered through days on three hours of sleep more times than I care to recount but today it was not happening. I fed my baby breakfast and kept him away from sharks and live wires until naptime, and then I went back to bed. Sadly I did not get to sneak in another nap the entire rest of the day, but sick days are not the same once you’re 31 and have a kid.
I spent the day wrangling Holden and counseling him on how much more effective words would be than the VERY LOUD whine-grunt he uses to lodge complaints. The sound seriously plucks at something deep and reptilian within me that makes me want to smash things. But in positive language developments, he now says “I love you!” fairly enthusiastically when prompted, thanks to that crazy dog I complained about. He can also locate the dog’s heart when asked. Touché, dog. You taught my kid how to love. Sorry I complained that you were too happy, yeesh.
To be honest, I am only blogging at this late hour because I’m procrastinating going downstairs and going to bed. That is how tired I am. My exhaustion and my laziness are doing battle and you, dear reader, are the real winner here.
What else can I type-blab about?
Oh, we saw a groundhog across the street the other day. Is it THE groundhog?! I don’t know. It never came close enough for me to play nature tracker* to compare and contrast its traits with the photo I have. Obviously, it’s likely that there was more than one groundhog living around here, so even if one of them was hurt or killed, there could be others. But we have decided, officially, to believe that this is the groundhog one of our neighbors tried to murder, and that he fought off death valiantly, and that he is going to eat the shit out of some garden veggies for revenge.
* kudos to you parents who got the Dinosaur Train reference. Pteam Pteranodon 4 LYFE!
• Ombre hair
• Mariah Carey videos where she tries to seduce the camera
• Videos on Instagram
• War and poverty, duh
• Bread with DHA in it (AKA fish bread)