Not Worth The Grief-by Abigail Engel

Hysterectomies are extremely personal and not the same experience for any two women.  I was surprised when I found out that I needed one and fast.  Wow!  It was a shocker.  I was a full time student in the middle of a semester and I fought against getting it.  So many articles talk about unnecessary hysterectomies.  Hardly any talked about the absolutely necessary ones.  The day my Doctor told me that I needed one I cried.  He became sad and tried to reassure me that everything was okay.

I had to stop and tell him that he misunderstood my tears.  They were tears of relief.  I had suffered for so long with undetermined pain.  I really suffered.  Doctors said over and again that nothing was wrong with me.  They convinced me to go to counseling.  I took Prozac as prescribed.  I had to stop taking it against the Doctor’s orders because I had an allergic reaction in which my tongue would swell and it was painful.  Food and water literally hurt my tongue.  My teeth sat loose in my mouth.  I could not even chew bread without excruciating pain.  Still, the Psychiatrist said the benefits would outweigh the side effects.  She was wrong.  It only increased my suffering.  No one had heard of a reaction like this.  It was my reality.  I had to listen to my body.  I stopped going to the Psychiatrist all together.  I am convinced she was more medicated than I was.  She was always glassy eyed.  I was right stopping it helped.  Sometimes, Doctors simply get it wrong.  I had become allergic to several things that would take some time to figure it all out. But, finding out that my pain was real was overwhelming.  I thought I was losing my mind.  No one believed me.  My Aunt suggested that I ask the Doctor to examine me sitting up.  He had a birthing chair in his office so he did. He said it was the worst prolapse he had ever seen. He recommended surgery as soon as possible.

No my tears were not those of other women who wanted to hang onto the dream of more babies.  Or a fear of losing their female identity.  I fully understand all of that.  I have already discussed my difficulties with having children many times on this blog.  I really understand.

I went home and I sat down and thought about it long and hard.  I eventually had these words come to me and they gave me the strength I needed to get through it.  I survived fully sane and fully woman.

Not Worth The Grief

I do not mourn my mutation
into a woman no longer
moved by the repression
of the uterus.

I have impatiently waited for the day
I could discover whom
I would be without the womb.
I am woman with and without it.
I bled the sins of Eve’s past.
Three times I wept
losses from within.
Three times I celebrated
lives that made it out.

My days of demeaning myself
to the dementia of the uterus
have drawn to a halt as
the pressures
of the push and pull pressed
so hard it prolapsed
itself into extinction,
and I get to discover
the me within without
even considering the demands
of the departed.

Abigail D. Engel
11 December 1999

It turns out that I had to completely be reconstructed.  My internal organs had completely slipped loose and dropped.  No clear reason why.  It just happens.  I had to have my uterus removed and my lower intestines and bladder were completely reconstructed.  I remember the day this happened to me after it was all over.  I was out shopping and I remember feeling like everything in me had simply ripped apart.  I went to the ER and they told me nothing was wrong.  Wow, they were wrong!