Common pain, different reactions

19 Nov

Yesterday I was seduced by a banner ad. I clicked and wound up reading this story.

I was particularly stricken by her concluding paragraphs:

…Perhaps the reason we get scars is to tell stories that initially scare us. To realize what that scar has taught us. And maybe this tumor was just a test so that I could discover how strong I am and how in control of my body I am.

So, when I’m dancing at the bar and my shirt rises slightly above my pants and my scar shows, or when I’m laying on the beach and swimming in the surf and my scar peaks up above my bikini, what the world is seeing is proof of how strong I am. And that is a badge of honor I am learning to love.

Just three weeks ago this woman had her belly sliced open, much like I did. To my envy, she is already able to move on. I realize that having a hysterectomy is not the same as having a tumor removed, and that having a hysterectomy following a vaginal birth, is not the same as having any old hysterectomy, but still. It’s been four and half months and I feel worse about my scar, my nagging pain, my misshapen abdomen. At three weeks, all I wanted was to stand without shedding tears and to breastfeed without lying down. I wasn’t optimistic then, I’m not very optimistic, now.

I desperately want to make lemons out of lemonade. It’s why I keep coming here. Telling this story over and over gain (boring youto tears in the process). I keep writing it, because I’m so damn far from over it.

A year ago, we were just coming to terms with this pregnancy. Rife with hormones, my pants were already too tight. We announced the news to Garrett’s family by presenting a special dessert to his mom after we finished Thanksgiving dinner. hidden inside a small covered casserole was a jar of sweet potato and turkey baby food. I still remember the tears in my sister-in-law’s eyes when they all figured out why we were calling a jar of baby food a “special dessert.”

Right now, it’s as if every path of memory eventually leads to this surgery. I had no clue the enthusiasm everyone felt in that moment, would be met wit fear a grief just eight months later. I want to find that place in me where I am simply happy for the happy ending. I want to have a mind that doesn’t wander from the announcement of my pregnancy and the screams of joy, to the days after the emergency surgery that were interrupted with cries of pain.

I want so desperately to be proud of my scar. I don’t want to resent it. For it to be a constant reminder of closed possibilities, an ending I didn’t choose. I’d settle for plain indifference, but I’d suppose it would have to stop burning and throbbing, for me to ignore it’s existence and let it slip out of my mind.

I don’t have a conclusion, here. I have no point to wind down to. Some day you will come here and I won’t be writing this story anymore. I won’t be weeping on my keyboard and spewing melncholy about my poor, poor lost uterus, and my aching, aching belly. Because some day I will be over it.

Bu that day…is not today.

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3 Responses to “Common pain, different reactions”

  1. Garrett November 20, 2007 at 1:09 pm #

    What can I say that I haven’t already said… or I probably have who knows… It’s not a matter of forgetting it or letting it slip out of your mind. It’s a matter of looking at it differently or framing it in another way. You don’t even have to remember the event as a “good” thing or for what it was good for. Just that the event was significant and you got something out of it. Whatever that may be. If you can’t look at that day and determine what you got from it, then you won’t get past it. Your mind will have no comprehension of why it happened. I think coming to that understanding is one of the biggest keys to recovery.

    Maybe you’ll be proud of the scar in the end, maybe you won’t. It doesn’t really matter, I think? What matters is if you can come to an understanding about why it happened. So that when the memory of it comes up, you have thoughts to think that aren’t just about how horrible and unfair it all was.

    You will never forget what happened to you, to us. It’s an important event that helped shape our lives and should never be forgotten. Plus it was such a large event that it is unlikely you could forget it even if you wanted too, so there is no point in trying to forget it.

    Time has no effect on mental trauma. I wish I knew exactly what to say to help you heal your mind through this, but alas I do not. I just know what I got out of it and that I am here for you whenever you need me.

    I don’t think about it much anymore, but it was a very different experience for me than it was for you. I just know that at any other time in history you would have died that day and I would be alone. So it’s hard for me to be anything but grateful for how it turned out in the end. Yes, the surgery and everything was horrible and it really sucks that we can’t chose to have more children if we want to. But, thats life. Life I’m afraid isn’t always fair. I have my beautiful wife and healthy baby girl at my side.

    What more could a guy like me really ask for?

  2. Qtpies7 November 26, 2007 at 5:14 pm #

    Wow, I’m so sorry. I would be doing the same thing if I had to have a hysterectomy. I don’t know how I would deal with it. I guess you just keep going and maybe one day that pain won’t be as great. I do have a very close relationship to pain, and I know that it does eventually fade, only cropping up now and then to taunt you. I think for me it changed the day that I decided I would no longer be ruled by it. It took two years to get there.

    I came over here because we both commented on another blog about cloth diapers and the BumGenius diapers. Now I feel funny asking if you managed to get rid of yours yet! But did you? They are my favorite dipes of all time.

  3. fatinthefire December 18, 2007 at 7:19 pm #

    I just found your blog. I’ve only read this one post so far. I will read more after this but I felt compelled to write and tell you that I am just so sorry you are feeling so low. I don’t know you and you don’t know me but if sympathy and caring from a stranger are worth anything at all, please know that you have mine.

    As soon as you are strong enough to do so, please seek out others who have been where you are. If you haven’t been to http://www.hystersisters.com/ please check it out. Perhaps someone there who has experienced what you are feeling will have some advice or perspective.

    The reason I found your blog is that I’ve been on the internet trying to find every word I can–I am trying very hard to avoid a hysterectomy–I’m terrified of it myself.

    Please take care of yourself.

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