This post comes from my heart, or maybe more accurate, my uterus.
You might want stop reading here, It`s good place to stop. I invite you to keep reading, nothing too personal or too gross will be written, this is a safe place, right?
I noticed something is wrong around Shavuot last year, June 2006. My period was still steady but the bleeding was heavy. I was invited for Shavuot dinner to my friends A & S, at the middle of the main course I feel this wave, I feel wet as if.. As I excuse myself to the toilet I notice the chair I was sitting on has a stain, dark red stain, So did my white & brown pockdottes dress. I was soaked, near the chag table. Needless to say everyone saw it. Luckily they were all polite not to ever mention this.
It was a stressful time in life, realizing I am not staying in London, trying to stop loving someone, not knowing what the next step in life will be, not an easy time. I think many of us women are educated to believe that everything that has to do with our biology and psychology is due to gender, we are depressed because of hormones, we are PMS most of the time, right? So when my period was not steady I thought its because of the stress, saying goodbye. lack of closure.
It got worse and worse. I stained so many clothing items you will not believe. I bought special pads one would usually use after delivering a baby, I would replace it every couple of hours. I invested so much money. the sales of Always went up, share holders were extremely happy.
I got back to Israel, started university, and suddenly I notice my period comes every 20 days. I am very tired, I have grey circles under my eyes. I am very weak and depressed. It is all bleak. Every task seems impossible. I cannot handle reality. my friend told me I should go and see the gynecologist, I wonder whether I should go. So my period is not steady, it doesn't mean something is wrong, right? wrong.
I go to see him.He is not nice, or compassionate needless to see he doesn't seem to understand. He cannot check me, so he sends me to have a ultra sound check up.
And it`s there. 7cm on 7cm A tumour. Myoma. Benign probably, its too symmetric to be cancer. It very clear. Its pushing the uterus towards the pelvic bones. I do blood checks, I am anemic. the Iron is very low. no wonder. I need to eat meat. lucky lucky me.
I google Myoma. I read about hysterectomy. I cry at nights, I am numb during the day. I am terrified. In March I have to go to the hospital - I bleed very badly .It doesn't stop. I need this operation.
I seek for help, I find it. I start exercising. I start a process with a Greenberg Method instructor, I chose my own specialist gynecologist,with a spaceship style ultra sound machine. she is warm and reliable. In March i realize the tumour is growing and growing. I must have a surgery. they have to open the stomach. I start taking hormones. Its not easy. I am depressed. I start getting hot flash, its summer in Israel, and I cannot stop sweating. In the office the temperature is on 15 Celsius constantly. I cannot deal with it. My friends are great. Aliza goes with me every month to get the jab. Simone makes me tea and finds me an electric pillow to ease the pain. It hurts. I cry. I am tired. I lose some hair. I gain weight. I feel very unattractive. I cannot see babies. I hate them. each one of them. and their mothers too.
I write this:
אסלה חיוורת מעוטרת בשושנים
עוצרות נשימה חדות קוץ
שושני פרא גדלות על מים רבים
גדלות עד ששורטות את
הבשר תופחות אל תוך
תוכי מאדימות עד ש
שורשיהן מלפפים עצמותי
ניכרות במכשירי המרפאים
עליהן פוצעים את יומי
משתוקקת לשושנים עדינות
מייחלת למדבר ציה
לאין פרח לאין עובר
My gynocologist which is frum explains to me that its quit common, especially among virgins at my age. Having sex involves a lot of blood movement to the uterus that prevents this kind of fibroid. Stuff your rabbi will never tell you.
I keep writing:
אני צוחקת כי לא יכול לכאוב אחרת
איך אזכה לבן ושכחתי את מעגל הימים?
פרי בטן לא ירקם מלקט תפילות.
הוא רוצה לנוח
הוא מאס בתקווה שתהיה לו עדנה.
עקבות רגלי בחול מציירות מילה
אותה רק אני יכולה לקרוא:
Suddenly I can think only about babies. my period stops. the surgery is nearer and nearer. I plan to recover in two weeks. to get back to work immediately. its all going to be fine. everything is under control.
I lose touch with people I cannot call them and say "hi, guess what I have in my stomach!" I am silent. I even hide it from my blog.
I slowly realize I will have a scar on my tummy. I am shocked how perfect my body was, and how come I never noticed it. a healthy body is a perfect body. Mine is not. I am bothered by the fact that plastic gloves will be inside my body, it gives my shivers. I am very worried. the evening before the operation I go to the beautician, I want to look great.
The operation is on June 18. the doctor that interviews me looks like Meredith Grey. She talks like her, only in Hebrew. where is Macdreamy? Nowhere.
I sign a lot of papers. she explains to me that one of the risks is that my uterus might be damaged, they might need to take it out if there is too much bleeding. Do I understand? I do. I ask her to write it down, that I allow them to leave part of the tumour inside if it will save my uterus. I want to be a mother.
My sister comes with me. I change my cloths to the ugly (yes, it is open) dressing gown. I cover my hair. They get me to the theatre. they start reading my medical history, I fall asleep. I wake up from the operation, completely drugged out. I keep repeating, asking my sister if they kept my uterus. they have. Have they? The tumour is 10cm on 10 cm. a grapefruit size, a melon. In three weeks time I will get the courge to call Pathology, its clear. not cancer. All Clear. I am clear.
I stay in Hospital for five days. I want to go back to my flat, not to my mother`s. I need my friends and my books near me. I stay at home for five weeks. I feel better and better. I feel a live. I am a live. I still don't get my period back. I keep dreaming I am pregnant. I cant be. In my dreams I am. I am worried. What kind of a women am I? no period. no husband. no babies. who will marry me?
I feel much lighter, my cheeks are pink again. I find myself laughing a lot. My hair looks good. I go to England. everyone tells me how great I look, I realize how ill I looked before, the grey circles, the dull hair, the heaviness.
The doctors tell me It should be back by now but its still normal. I want to be normal so I believe them.
Its my wish for the new year. and two days before Rosh Hashana It comes back. I am a normal women again. I am healthy. I am alive.
So here is my story.
What`s the message you ask?
1. If you, your mother, sister, friend, wife, partner, sister in law or anyone else you care of, has problems with her period please encourage her gently to see the doctor. No need to wait, nothing gets solved as you wait. Feel free to forward this post, to cut and paste,coorect the grammer, whatever. Just make sure women are more aware about thier body.
2. There is no shame in having any gynocogical problems. its part of life. Its part of me. It doesn't define me.It is my (medical) history.
3. I want to thank my friends: Shlomit, Meirav, Merav, Michal, Aliza, Shosh, Basmat, Alexandra, Tehilah, Mini and Debs, Sagev, Simone,Sari, Sharon , Lior, David, Itzik, Sarit, Lisa, Tal, Rena, Harel, Joseph, Rivka, Tzipora, Sharon, Sharon, Noga, Emily, my family, and everyone else that prayed for my health. It meant a lot, the food you brought, the laundry, helping with the shopping, listening to my complaints endlessly, being there when I needed you. I am deeply moved.
I also want to thank David for triggering me to write about this.
Thank you for reading this post. It`s not your classic feel-good read, is it? Thank you.