Hysterectomy.

School goes back today, and because I was obvioulsy was some sort of evil character in a past life, I have been assigned to be on canteen duty ON THE FIRST DAY BACK. So I cannot blog today because I will be too busy telling 5 year olds that they cannot buy anything with 5 cents,  BUT…

Yesterdays post bought about such a discussion on ageing and the like, I thought we should revisit a good friend of mine’s post from a few years back, published here on WoogsWorld. Jo Thornley decided to jump natures gun, and get rid of her ute. This is her story.

AIR_KISS_Jo2

 

Ute free since 2012.

Follow Jo on twitter at @jothornely You are mad if you don’t. Lady is funny.

I never used to drive my car. It sat outside my house, different random parts either rusting or drying out depending on their orientation, the windscreen collecting dust, leaves, and at one point a mistakenly-applied-by-council ‘abandoned car’ sticker. Each year, registration loomed like a shadowy, expensive ogre, rendered marginally bearable by Bill, the World’s Most Forgiving Mechanic. Eventually, though, I realised that my car was more painful trouble than it was worth, so I got rid of it.

Now I’ve decided to do the same thing with my uterus. A reasonably accurate analogy except that Bill has never tinkered with my uterus or given it a pink slip*.

I won’t go into too much detail for risk of making blokes do that she’s-talking-about-lady-parts face that blokes make, but I have a couple of nagging medical problems with my uterus. Nothing serious, but definitely annoying, occasionally painful and everyday-life-affecting. About a third of all women have the same affliction, but I’m just really, really good at it. There are a couple of procedures available for treatment, and I’ve chosen a hysterectomy. I could not be more excited about it.

I’ve told a lot of people about my impending organ-removal – basically I can barely process simple sugars without telling everyone I know about it in detail – and responses vary. All of the responses make me address my own questions about (partly) what it means to be a woman, and (mostly) what it means to have considerably significant bits of human removed and chucked in the bin.

The face.

Most women give you the same face when you tell them you’re having a hysterectomy, and it’s midway between ‘oh my god you poor thing’ and ‘I’m just going to freeze my face in this expression until I find out how I’m supposed to feel about this and if it’s serious, and is she going to go into early menopause or what?’.  Men’s faces pretty much say ‘STOP TALKING STOP TALKING STOP TALKING’. Either way, it’s really quite a lot of fun to pull a leg or two at this point. Hysterectomies aren’t discussed at the pub very often, so it’s a hoot to hint that it might be kept in a snap-lock bag in the freezer afterwards, or would go well with paprika.

The questions.

The answers to most of the questions are: uterus and cervix out, ovaries left in. No more pain, periods, pap smears or pregnancy prevention.  No early menopause. No unexpected facial hair. About the size of your fist, apparently. Yes, I can do that whenever I want, or as my doctor said with a smirk: “seven days a week, three hundred and sixty five days a year”.  A middling-sized incision just along the top row of the paddock. I’m not sure, but as I understand it, they just cut the guy ropes and take the tent away. Yes, I’m sure. Yes, I’m sure. Yes, I’m sure. Yes, you can have my leftover tampons.

The jokes.

Everyone’s a wit when it comes to bits. The jokes are pretty good (although interestingly not hysterical), the most popular of which implies that I lost my virginity but I wanted to keep the box it came in. Or that I’m taking the ute out. Or that I’m getting rid of a bloody nuisance. Or that this is the end, period. Actually, the jokes are woeful, but THIS IS SERIOUS.

The asking if I want counselling.

I’ve spoken to a few women who have had hysterectomies, and one hundred percent of them grinned like caffeinated teenagers before telling me it’s the best thing they’ve ever done. One mentioned that it should be compulsory. Another noted that she couldn’t even tell when she eventually reached menopause  a decade or so later. The word ‘liberating’ was thrown about with heterosexual abandon. I’ve come to the realisation that I’ll be one of a privileged handful of women who get to remove a part of them that causes pain, inconvenience, expense, and regular wearing of unattractive underpants, whilst keeping all the bits that still prompt saucy euphemisms and winking. Yeah. I’ll be right, thanks.

The asking if I’ll feel like less of a woman.

My uterus is just the bag I keep my periods in. Having it removed will make me feel exactly like I’ve had my uterus removed. Does having your appendix removed make you feel like less of a herbivore? Does having a tooth removed make you feel fundamentally less chewy? The only other time that I’ve been defined by my general groinal area is when an ex-boyfriend assumed that I was cranky because I’m on the blob (his words, not mine, and yes, it’s a wonder we’re not still together). I’m not using it. It’s a spare womb. It can go. As a matter of fact, I’ll have a bit more room.

The difference between not wanting children and not being able to have children.

I don’t want children. In a short while (due to the standard lack of uterus and that sort of thing) I won’t be able to have children. In the past, when I’ve told people that I don’t want children, some think that it’s because I haven’t met the right guy, or I’ll change my mind, or that I dislike children, or that I’m stuck in a selfish juvenile fantasy land and should grow up and face life, or that I’m mistaken. I’ll bet fifty bucks (actually make it a hundred, as I’ll be saving money on birth control) that soon, when I instead tell people that I can’t have children, instead of being seen as a self-interested, responsibility-shunning gad-about, I’ll suddenly be regarded as a pathos-inducing wombless martyr, maybe accompanied by a deeply touching arm-rub and maybe a statue. By the women, anyway. Men will just keep on with the Stop Talking Face.

The being called brave.

I wouldn’t be too sure. I’ve already hinted to my surgeon that if the anaesthetic makes me chuck I’ll sue. Surgery is a horrible, painful, mucky business, but that applies to any surgery, and you can guarantee that I’ll be whining like a little bitch once the pain killers wear off. I suppose, too, that I could be just making light of it in order to cover up some intense internal anguish. But I’m pretty sure that’s just gas.



*Remind me to use ‘pink slip’ as a euphemism from now on. Brilliant.

 Have you considered getting rid of your ute?

What are the pro’s and cons?