A complicated hysterectomy
by by Jena
Early this past spring I was told by my gynecologist that I needed a hysterectomy. There was a mass of benign cysts causing problems. At first it devastated me because I always wanted a baby boy. I have two beautiful teen age daughters, but never a boy. I felt like someone had died, I grieved like someone had died. My doctor wouldn't do the surgery back at that time due to the risk of PTSD because I took the news so hard. He wanted me to take the next 6 months to level out hormonally on birth control pills and take iron. I had become anemic because of the problems I had. I worked through that grief to the point of acceptance and finally had peace about the surgery. My health depended on it for many reasons.
The day of the surgery arrived, August 30th, one month ago, and it was supposed to have been a somewhat simple procedure with a scope through my belly button. I was supposed to have had a total of two incisions at my belly button. The doctor got in there to take a look and I had a wall of scar tissue that adhered my uterus, bladder, and part of my large intestine together. He had to completely open me up, and I ended up in surgery for three hours to remove the scar tissue and separate the organs. The one day hospital visit turned into three days.
I woke up from the surgery in so much pain and I didn't understand why it was so bad at first. My pastor was standing next to my bed, and I could hear my husband telling him my mom was spending the week instead of going home the next day. I could hear but I couldn't say anything and wake up enough to find out anything. My hands were completely numb from medication, it's a strange side effect, but it added to the helplessness I felt. Finally, late in the day, I was able to fully awaken and find out I had woken up to a train wreck.
Instead of a 6 week recovery time, my doctor said 8 weeks for the physical side of things. That's just to go back to work, and it'll take 6 months to feel right again.
I ended up with some post traumatic stress from the surgery and grief. Grieving over the baby boy I'll never have. I really don't want to hear one more word about adoption - people attempt to encourage in an attempt to make me feel better but it's only a way to facilitate denial of true feelings and struggles. I find myself angry at those well meaning people. I grieve over the loss of my womanly body part. I realize I'm not less of a woman, but it was a part of me, my baby girls grew and were protected there before their entrance into the world.
Many years ago when I began to walk a road of inner healing in counseling, I grieved over a lost childhood, it was lost to a cycle of parental alcoholic violence and co-dependency. I came out the other side of that grief victorious. I've not yet arrived by any stretch of the imagination, but I've experienced incredible healing. I've grieved over the loss of people I love.
But now, today, this is such a different kind of grief than that. I don't want to fall into any denial that I'm okay, which I've done, but to continue being honest with myself. (A hard thing to do!) Being in denial too long is a trap, and I should know, I'm really good at it. Today I'm angry, but I'm taking it one day at a time. This anger sometimes feels like I'm just mad at the world. A few weeks ago I couldn't have said that.
I'm a licensed professional counselor, and I'm seeing a counselor for guidance through this grieving process. Right now I'm still off work and won't go back to counseling until I know I've worked through this.
My prayer is that I'll continue to be honest with myself and face each stage of grief, however they come, knowing it's for the best. In the end I also pray that I'll be stronger, that I'll be more compassionate, and be able to recognize all types of grief in others. There's a lot to learn.