War and Peace
by Jillian Bogater (Exile From Hysteria)
The argument was about a chair. A recliner I hope to convalesce in after my hysterectomy.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Matt said I was being “fatalistic.” That I didn’t wish to get better. That I wanted to spend weeks, if not months wasting away in the recliner.
What I’m sure was a slight misunderstanding, or perhaps a brewing resentment, exploded into a torrent of angry words and sobs.
“Why are we arguing?” Matt asked.
“I don’t know,” I said, wiping the tears from my chin. “I’m on your side, babe.”
“You know I love you,” Matt said, his face glowing red. “If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be looking for this recliner for you.”
In a moment, when I wasn’t paying attention, the stress and horror of the situation almost strangled us.
I said I felt alone, and Matt said he could tell. In fact, he felt I excluded him from important parts of my fears, of my grieving.
“This affects me too,” he told me.
And Matt was so right.
Losing my uterus would have an effect on our lives, our beliefs on what defines a family. We would need to do this together. Up to this point I truly thought I had included Matt. But in this moment, as I saw his sad eyes, I realized I had fallen short.
The thought of being cut open frightens me. I imagine the incision coming open and my innards falling at my feet. I know this is irrational. In fact, I have not found evidence of one woman to which this has happened. But this image, this fear is stuck deep in my gut. The core of me. Probably exactly where my uterus sits for a final few weeks.
What I do know is that my recovery will most likely be swift. My doctor said if all goes well I should be in fighting shape by four weeks post-op. Time will tell, but I’m hoping Lady Luck is on my side.
What I do know is that many women with endometriosis who have a hysterectomy report an immediate improvement in their abdomen pain. This eases my anxiety.
What I do know is that I plan on starting a workout regimine this weekend to prepare for the surgery. Most women I’ve spoken with recommend getting in shape before the hysterectomy, and report that it significantly improved their recovery time. I also plan to get moving as quickly as possible post-op.
What I do know is that I need permission to grieve, to move slow when I feel like it, to not be a superstar. Although I’m pretty sure I’m rocking this out.
In an unconventional way, this is a love letter to the man I love, perhaps the only person I’ve truly let into my heart.
I am terrified. And I know he is, too. I have to remind myself I’m not the only person suffering a loss in this gig. I may be losing my uterus, but we both are sacrificing dreams, frantically readjusting expectations.
We are not the first couple to run into these speed bumps. It just makes sense that we are stressed. And scared.
I make no apologies. This is raw. Honest. Emotional.
I don’t know another way.
This also is a love letter to myself. A reminder to treat my self gently. To believe that I can do this.
I am doing this.
And best of all, I’m not doing it alone.