Rev. Kate J Meyer, LPC
Journey to a Hysterectomy: Part 2
The emotions began to hit me out of the blue—triggered by a procedure that, for me at least, was awful.
The endometrial biopsy is what it appears to be: a biopsy of the endometrial tissue. Related to hysterectomies, the biopsy is done in order to determine if any pre-cancerous cells are present; if there are present cells, they cut more deeply during the hysterectomy.
I’d been told by the doctor’s office to take a mild pain med prior and expect “some cramping after.” Well, I deal with pain regularly (pain recently moved into reason number one to be having the hysterectomy!), so until moments before I wasn’t all that worried. Then I was called back for my appointment; here’s what happened before I ever even made it into the stirrups.
First, I met with a pre-op type nurse who informed me I would be washing the night before and morning of with a special cleanser. Not a big deal, other than getting up way early to do so. Second, I would also be required to give myself an enema the night before. This included detailed instructions—and the pictures on the product box fill in any possible blanks. This is a bigger deal and not something I’d like to think about. Third, I had to do a urine test for one last test of pregnancy. This shouldn’t be a big deal, but why is it they always spring this on us? Seriously, I had an 8:30 appointment; couldn’t someone have said, ‘hey, by the way, you’re going to need to give a urine sample’? Seems simple to me, but…moving on.
Finally I make it into the procedure room, which, by the way, is a just your basic OB-GYN exam room. I talked briefly with the nurse. Then my doctor came in and listened patiently and intently as I talked about my increase in symptoms and he talked me through the hysterectomy. He has always been very supportive and understanding of why I’ve chosen to go this route and that day was no exception.
All that was left was for me to get in the stirrups. In this office, they are attached to a motorized half-table that tilts back slowly, but every single time I feel I’m going to slide right off onto my head! I never actually do this, of course, but the sensation is real. Every. Single. Time.
So, table is tilting back, I’m gripping on for dear life, the female nurse comes back in since my doctor is male, and without any further ado, in he goes to take the sample.
Two or three months ago, I had a pain episode (I call them ovarian spasms) that dropped me to the floor on all fours. The pain that occurred the moment of “the snip” made that pain seem like a 2 on a 10 point scale! I audibly reacted before my eyes filled with tears. Suddenly I’m crying on this tilted table, the nurse is trying to tell me to breathe deep, slow breaths (to her credit, she did acknowledge this is easier said than done), and the doctor is apologizing while continuing on and giving me a play-by-play of how much scraping he has left to do. It sucked. I don’t think it was actually all that long, but it is something I’m happy not to endure again.
That procedure brought it all into reality. I’m choosing to have my uterus and ovaries removed from my body. Those parts that make me distinctly female. The parts that allow, in theory at least, for the giving of human life, are going to be taken from me. Why? Because for as long as I can remember, they have not functioned as they should. Because I’ve been married nearly ten years and have never conceived. Because I can no longer take the toll those two parts of me have taken, physically and emotionally.
The tears took some time to dry up and breathing took some time to return to normal. I never questioned my decision, but I absolutely began thinking about it more often. I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Surgery is scheduled and unless I cancel it, it is happening. There is emotional prep work that needs to happen, along with the super fun prep work I get to do the night before; I think I am handling that part of it, but I won’t know for sure until that Friday arrives.