It’s not every day a woman like me is willing to open up and share her most intimate secrets with her readers. I never thought I’d be willing to give up photos to prove my point too but sometimes, as they say, “a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do.” This week, Red Room gave their writers/bloggers a challenge to write on any or all of the taboo subjects—you know, the big three, sex, religion or politics. Well, I’ve decided to take Red Room up on that challenge. So here we go….
I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like going to the doctor. So I put it off. I especially put off going to the gyno guy. But, sometimes my body lets me know when I MUST go, and I had one of those situations, plus it was time, past time, for my annual exam. Anyway, I finally went and during the exam I explained to the doctor that I had been having some issues over the past several months. He told me I needed to be checked for uterine cancer. Nobody wants to hear that. But, I wasn’t really surprised. I told everyone I felt great, but I really felt tired all the time, and what brought me to the doctor to begin with were the symptoms. The “girl” issues.
The doctor told me that we had to do tests. The tests were the only things that could help determine what was going on, and so there were tests. When I went for my ultrasound I took my 18-year-old daughter Elizabeth with me. She’s a sweetheart. She didn’t want me to go alone. I think my family was expecting the worst. I had lost so much weight over the past three months that I think they had already written me off. Anyway, the tech was all smiles and talk until she came to “it” and then her demeanor changed. She became serious. All business. The room went from chatter, smiles and laughter to silence and the “click, click, click” of the tech measuring the size of the growth in my uterus. She wouldn’t answer my questions when I asked, “What’s that?” It was just, “I’m measuring your uterus.” Not, “I’m measuring this ugly thing that looks like it could be cancer in your uterus. Now please let me do my job.” No, she didn’t say it with words, but she didn’t have to. Her body language did just fine at doing the job.
There was little time between the test and going back to my doctor. Oh, and did I tell you my doctor’s name? Dr. Youkilis. He pronounces his name “You Kill Us.” So, I’m sitting in Dr.Youkillus’ office; they have me in his personal office, not the waiting room or a patient room, and I’m patiently waiting to discuss what’s going on in my disobedient body. I look over to see a Salvador Dali print hanging on his wall. It’s a print of a dead bird and a severed thumb washed up on a beach, and I’m thinking what have I ever done in my life to end up here? My doctor’s name is YouKillUs and he’s about to give me some bad news. I know it. And I’m looking over at a dead bird and severed thumb. All I could do was laugh. The tears could come later.
Dr.Y came in and explained that the growth was about the size of my thumb and was likely a polyp. (I glance at the Salvador Dali.) Polyps are usually benign but they can have cancer on the tip, and if it not a polyp, then the mass would indicate a thickening of the uterus and that could mean cancer. The only real option was surgery. One of the concerns for me and surgery was not only the possibility of cancer, but the surgery itself. I have a bundle branch blockage in my heart so the doctors had to make sure my heart was strong enough for the surgery and the anesthesia. I was really hoping to avoid surgery. I asked how long I could delay the operation and he said only by one week at the most, so we scheduled the procedure and I prepared myself for the outcome.
There are a lot of things that go on in your head when you are not ready to die, or face the possibility of death. I guess it’s pretty much the same for everybody. You just start thinking about your family. The people you love. Your children. I worried about my autistic son Jackson and how he would do if I weren’t here to take care of him. And my old mother, how would she be without me? And what about all the authors who depend on me? So I also did what a lot of people do, I prayed and I read the Scriptures. And I asked a lot of other people from all over the country to pray for me too.
A huge peace came over me. And someone I trust and respect very much asked me to read Matthew chapter 8 in the New Testament. So I did, and there was a part in there about asking for healing. And I asked. And I believed.
The morning of the surgery arrived and I wasn’t afraid. I had come to terms with it. I kissed my children as they slept in their beds. Their beautiful faces reflecting both mother and father…grandmother and grandfather—generations of hope. As we drove down to Lexington on our way to the hospital, I saw the stone fences built by the hard labor of those long gone and I gazed at young horses running in the Kentucky bluegrass fields. It was a beautiful morning. The nurses and doctors came to put me in my sleep, but I hoped, not the long sleep, because I was not yet ready to take my long journey home, and then the surgery was done.
My husband came to my bedside to tell me the news. Tears of joy. There was no mass, no polyp, no cancer, nothing but normal to be found in my uterus that day. My prayers had been answered. The polyp/mass that the ultrasound so clearly showed, the one that caused me months of problems, had simply disappeared.
I asked the doctor if the mass could have gone away on its own, and he told me they don’t do that. It wasn’t a cyst. Not the type to just disappear. So here I am feeling fine with no symptoms and a good story to tell. Dr. Youkilis didn’t kill me after all. In fact, he’s a very nice guy. Although, I’m not so sure about his choice in art.