Saturday, October 17, 2009

Going Through The Motions

This post, in fact this blog, has been very hard to write. I have descended down what I’m calling my “thermometer of hope,” and it has been a hard ride.

Since February, I have been going through the motions of meeting with my OB/GYN to monitor the size of some cyst activity on my ovaries and the fibroids. At that time, I was on the “fading hope” side of the thermometer. I actually was doing more than going through the motions in February due to quite a few problems over the course of a few months that caused the fibroids to grow substantially. Things calmed down this summer and I felt better, which, of course, allowed me to put my head back in the sand.

One day, when I went back for a checkup, the sonographer saw me coming down the hall and said, “Haven’t you taken that stuff out YET?” In her imaging room she leveled with me. “Look, I had my hysterectomy and finally I felt better – if you aren’t going to have kids, just take this stuff out!” My doctor said the same thing – these things aren’t getting any smaller, let me know when you want to take them out. This was the first time I really started facing the fact that - really, no, really - I’m not going to have kids.

I sought a second opinion after searching hard to find a doctor that was GYN only (no OB, hard to avoid babies in the waiting room), female, and experienced in surgery. I found a great doctor who gave me more explanation, more options, a better description of possible outcomes…and essentially ended up with a more cautious, “You are in a gray area, but it would be reasonable if you wanted to go ahead and take this stuff out.” That day I crossed over from fading hope into no hope. But not right away…I first had to go to dinner with my husband to cement that passing.

The dinner marked another turning point for me. I wanted to go out to eat and chat about what I had learned with my husband. Maybe I shouldn’t have had two Texas maragaritas or struck up a conversation with the happy family next to us with two cute girls. Either way, the conversation at our table took a turn for the worse and ended up with me leaving to sit in the car and sob like I had needed to for a long, long time. It had been under the surface for months, bubbling up often at stop lights, listening to the radio, watching other families, etc. It felt really good to have a good sob. I guess I hadn’t had one in…years.

What would any husband do with his slightly intoxicated wife a complete mess in the passenger seat after an argument about the most sensitive topic in their marriage? He left me there and walked home. I didn’t know what was going on until I stopped heaving, but then I realized I was all alone in the car. He did come back and get me after an hour or so (we only live a mile or two from the restaurant), and he apologized the next day once we had another discussion about more appropriate ways to act in situations like that.

My defense mechanism for this specific issue to that date was avoidance. Change the radio station. Don’t look at the family. Don’t drive by the soccer field on Saturday morning. Don’t visit girlfriends with young children. Leave baby showers early. It seemed to be working for me. I normally am very communicative, solve relational problems quickly, vent quickly and move on. In this case I had just been skipping straight to move on. It really wasn’t working for me.

Or I should say isn’t working for me. Nothing has happened as a result exactly, but I am now headed into the “acceptance” part of the thermometer. Acceptance that this uterus ain’t birthin’ no babies. Acceptance that for my husband and me, adoption isn’t an option. Acceptance that if I don’t have surgery soon, I won’t be able to take advantage of the fact that this year’s insurance deductible is met, or take advantage of laparoscopy surgery instead of the alternative. I’m going through the motions and have found a third, very experienced surgeon who takes my insurance. I will probably have a hysterectomy by the end of the year.

This phase doesn't feel like acceptance yet; it feels like resignation. And, I still am a master at avoidance and not sure what to do about that. Today, hubby is out of town and I made myself sit down to write about it. I don’t want to talk about this with friends – I have done some of that and find I get opinions that stem more from their issues with having kids or not having kids than help for my issues. Maybe counseling. Maybe a women’s support group (I’m on Hystersisters and CNBC – but I’ve been avoiding them). Maybe meet with someone at my church.

Maybe I should do something rather than nothing - something other than going through the motions.

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