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Hysterectomy & Women's History (sort of)


 

This is the first of a 3-part series on hysterectomy. **DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional and nothing in these articles should be construed as medical advice.

 

Almost 5 weeks ago I had a hysterectomy. What I used to think was a "complete" or "total" hysterectomy is not so. What I had is a hysterectomy (removal of uterus and cervix) with a bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy (removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes). That, dear friends, is actually what I always thought a total hysterectomy was.


There is no way to fully prepare for this. Before and after my surgery, I found that almost every woman I know has had the same, or some version of, a hysterectomy. It's so shockingly common which builds on the reason I started The Right Side of Grace. No one talks about it!


Everything that makes me a woman was removed from my body, except my vagina. I still have a vagina. (Joke reference to Meredith on The Office). That face plays with your mind. Fortunately, I'm 50 so I don't actually need those parts anymore, but when you think about the anatomical impact on your body and losing almost everything that I identified with my whole life so far, it's daunting.


Men will never experience what a woman does with hormones, endometriosis, PCOS, cancer of the ovaries, uterus or cervix, adenomyosis, PMDD, PMS, bleeding every single month for approximately 45 years of their life, embarrassment from leaks, debilitating pain, the ability to go from joy to fury in 1.7 seconds, or the ability to form a human being within his body and deliver the ultimate gift of life.


Women deserve recognition for all the incredible things our bodies are uniquely capable of AND the torture our bodies can hand us. In spite of all of it, we still show up. We raise children, we go to school, we go to work, we have relationships and friends, and we're expected to do it all while looking hot in a bikini, with a damn smile on our faces while we're bleeding out from the opposite end, pretending like nothing is happening.


It's time to normalize the functions our bodies were made to perform. When we talk about empowering women, it has to be more than on topics of abortion and equality in the workplace. It absolutely must include empowering women to talk about the struggles we face, the times when our bodies betray us, and the changes we go through to prepare us for next phase of life.


We must start by giving grace to each other. Through gentle reminders to be who we are because a lot of us are convinced who we are is not enough. We are women who are raising and influencing future generations of women. Help them become more kind and gentle to each other because the changes we go through start at a very young age and we evolve over many decades. We need each other.





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