Another step along the way

I’ve always felt the yearning to chronicle my life. I’ve kept a diary/journal since I was little. I loved to capture what was going on in life at each step — as if I’d ever need to return to the history and make sense of whatever was going on.

Whenever a lot would happen during a time frame and the time in between journal entries became wider, I would procrastinate more and more, in the anticipation that it would take me so long to fill in all the details of previous days.

That worry is needless. Sometimes, all of the details are not important. Sometimes, it’s just the lessons learned, the highlights or the most essential elements that I  can trust myself to extrapolate from all of the details so that I can weave a story.

Here is where I am today: I am recovering from surgery #2 that I had two weeks ago. I see progress every day, but I still feel the need to rest, go slow, and listen intently to my body, emotions and mind. A slow mile walk is still just a little too much (and this is from someone who loves to walk a couple miles daily and do Pilates).

After the trip to the hospital on Jan 10 with that excruciating pain, my RE referred me to a reproductive surgeon. My RE did not want to proceed with IVF until I had another opinion and look at what’s going on in my abdomen.

The surgeon, Dr. C, impressed me with his knowledge and compassion on my first meeting with him. I went into the office just wanting to gather information — I was very reluctant to have surgery again. My thoughts about surgery (and my husband shared those thoughts) was that if I was going to have surgery JUST so I could give IVF another shot, then no, I’d pass, and we would consider adoption.

Welllllllll, it wasn’t that simple. Dr C gave me lots of reasons to have surgery to remove my fallopian tube — one being that since it’s blocked on both ends now, it’s like a balloon. And that balloon might fill and fill. Maybe it would be fine. Chances are it would be fine, but did I want to wait around, watching and wondering on every twinge, every inner stabbing twang, if I was going to be “ok”?

I also realized that if we were to say no to surgery, no to another chance at getting pregnant, I would need to seriously grieve that loss. I’m not ready to shut that door and begin grieving and moving on. Even though I honestly feel like we will probably end up adopting, I want to give myself one more chance at conceiving. And that meant taking out that tube.

Interestingly, too, after reviewing all of my previous medical records and notes, and talking to the surgeon who did my surgery in October, Dr C did not want to definitively call what’s inside me “endometriosis.” He called them adhesions. I’d been sticking to the word endometriosis after the October surgery … because my doctor had called it that. However, when she and Dr. C talked, she didn’t want to call it definitively endometriosis either. (WHO KNOWS?!)

Friday, February 10 I went in to the hospital for Dr. C to do laparoscopic clean up of adhesions and to remove the left fallopian tube. It was possible that my left ovary would have to be removed too. He explained that. I understood.

But it didn’t prepare me for the emotions I felt on having that happen. Because it did. I woke up from surgery and asked the nurse what was done. She told me he had to remove the tube and ovary.

And I cried. I felt the loss.  My already dwindling reserve has been cut by 50%. My ovary was a part of me that I never paid much attention to until that left side started to hurt monthly, in the last couple years. Now, it’s gone.

from my art journal

Never in my life did I imagine my steps to becoming a mom would turn out this way. I never visualized how motherhood would happen; I just assumed it would. I assumed that I would marry a man who would fulfill me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. That I would have a job that would pay my bills and give me cushy life and inspire me. That I would easily conceive, and a child would be a surprise us and delight us. I say all this, but I had never been the type of person to project into the future and dream about my perfect life. When I was a kid, I never played “bride” or “mommy,” despite being a nurturing caretaker of a bizillion stuffed animals. I was busy trying to sort out and accept life as it was then — through journaling and writing out the emotions, desires and fears I had as a young girl.

I can’t say I’m all that much of a driven person. I like to live comfortably. I love to do art and explore healing and self-growth. I spend a lot of time trying to get myself into the present moment, but often I’m stuck in the pain of the past. It’s a challenge to visualize and dream what it is that I want out of life.

In my 40th year now, and through this time of slowing down and recovering, I’m asking myself more, “What is it that you want?” I don’t have the answers yet. But I keep asking. What do you want out of this life? What is it?

.  .  .

On Monday morning, I’ll see Dr C for my post-op. I will gather my questions. I also want to tell him how much it touched me that in those brief seconds before losing consciousness in the OR, I remember him holding my hand and helping me visualize that I was going to go rest on a beach in the Dominican Republic. For four days after surgery, he texted me to make sure I was doing ok. I’ve never had a doctor who is so accessible to his patients. His tenderness is something I won’t forget.

Even though I’ve been through a lot since August 2016, when all of this began in full swing, I feel incredibly supported. I have resources and a support structure that is available to me all the time.

One more thought: I have some people in my life who are all about “positive thought.” “You’ve got to think positive,” etc etc. It’s a well-meaning sentiment, and the power of the mind is strong over the body. But this journey is emotional — on so many levels and layers — and those emotions are worthy of being expressed. I’ve found that the people who tell me “just think positive” are the ones that can’t handle my intense emotions. So you know, those people aren’t ones that I bring my tougher emotions to.

This journey is emotional. It’s stretched me farther than I knew I was capable of being stretched.  And I know it’s just another beginning.

4 thoughts on “Another step along the way

  1. I’m so so sorry that you had to go through this. I cannot even begin to understand what you are going through. If I had any advice for you it would be this: You have experienced a loss, and you therefore have every right to take whatever time you need to mourn that loss in any way you see fit.

    You are so strong; I have seen that strength in your writing and in your personal experiences. That strength will help you be a wonderful mother, no matter how you get there. I am sending you so much love.

    Liked by 1 person

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