By Wendy Kipfmiller-O’Brien
MARCH 2015... Trip to the Gastroenterologist because of abdominal pain. CT Scan conclude cysts on both ovaries, fibroid masses. I am referred to a gynecologist, rather than my GP (and with good reason).
APRIL — Internal ultrasounds confirm things are just a mess in there.. ok, I get it already!
MAY - MRI test concluded scar tissue is binding my entire reproductive team to my digestive team... Endometriosis. Not sure what to feel except I KNEW things felt crowded in my belly!! I TOLD MY DOCTOR!!
JUNE - ...Meeting with new gynecologist... she breaks it down for me.. SURGERY- NO FEAR. But NOW.. I have these feelings of anxiety about losing my “lady organs”... Why am I feeling like I will lose my femininity? I KNOW BETTER!! I cry a bit, for the future loss of these organs that have turned against me. WHAT was my doctor not doing during all those exams, how did she miss this!? Angry.
Did she not realize my uterus was twice the size it should be?! Maybe she couldn't feel the massive colony of fibroids.. but she SURELY had to have felt the tennis ball-sized cysts on both ovaries! “YOU HAD ONE JOB!” Ok, maybe my anger is misdirected...BUT— for a couple of years, I felt my stomach hardening.. felt things getting crowded... I TOLD MY DOCTOR THIS... she said it felt normal to her. I trusted that. When my surgeon talked to me after my surgery.. she said my condition had to have started SEVERAL YEARS AGO.
AUGUST - Surgery was a big, long one, mainly because of the excessive scar tissue...but went fine. I don’t remember anything that happened until I woke up late that night in the hospital, with a massive headache and no journaling tools... Moving on!
Fast forward, First few days Post Op... Okay, this isn’t so bad. In my cozy bubble of main medication and bed rest, albeit some substantial physical pain. I can’t BELIEVE already the odd shape my belly had taken is already gone... No more feelings of loss regarding those lady-organs, though.
THREE WEEKS POST-OP, the pain is much less, but I’m incredibly exhausted after my recommended walking and I get into bed...with my journal. Not only to write, but to reflect on the preceding pages, to get clarity and perspective on my experience.
Now approaching week 4, and I KNOW that my journal will help me make sense of the physiological changes that are about to come.
Wendy Kipfmiller-O’Brien is an artist and graphic designer living in the South Shore of Boston. Her passions are human rights, animal rights, books, good design, yoga and her two little black labs, Yoshi and Norman.