Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Therapy Poem

So, as a woman we have an extra doctor's appointment we have to make every year.  A couple years ago I had an abnormal pap.  I was treated and recently had another abnormal result.  My doctor's recommendation is to have a partial hysterectomy- removal of the cervix and uterus.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I'm not even 35 yet!  But the more I've thought of it, the more sense it makes.  My mother had uterine cancer which is very hereditary and also difficult to treat and to detect.  So!  With all that in mind and also the fact that I do NOT want any more children, this seems like the logical thing to do.  I don't have health insurance so I'll have to, probably, jump through some hoops to get Medicaid to pay for it.  I think, (again), that it's totally bullshit that I am a working person living in America and I have no health insurance, (and struggle with money daily), but I'll save that for another post.

I'm talking about my uterus here.  I realize to some it may sound strange to have an attachment to a particular organ, but most women would understand.  That's my womb!  Like, my womb!  It's kinda, well, special.  And I realized a huge spiritual reaction to all of this.  Like, the life-cycle of a woman is tied into the three aspects of the Goddess- maiden, mother, and crone.  What does it mean if I give up my uterus?  Can I still call myself mother? (Of course and my daughter will too.) But these are some of the things that have been circling in my brain.  It's scary.  It's scary to have surgery.  It's scary to lose an organ. Now, I must admit that if she asked for my tonsils or my appendix, or even maybe a kidney, I would not go through the same things.  That's not to say I would not be scared.  I'll be clear, I would be terrified.  Again, surgery and loss of an organ- scary things.  But, this is hitting me a lot harder than that would.  I never really thought about it before.  I am attached to my uterus.  (okay, obviously)  But in a very emotional/spiritual way.  So, as I was taking this all in, the night I learned this, I had the urge to write it. 

I don't often deny the muse.  Like, I just don't ever do that.  Whatever I want to write or wants to be written by me, let it come.  I don't edit in my head anymore- I write too much, who am I to decide what's good before it's even on paper?  But this.  This was a difficult write to start.  The first three lines or so popped into my head and I felt the pull toward the keyboard and literally groaned, "I don't want to write this!"  Like, I didn't even want to be living it, let alone did I want to write about it.  But good sense prevailed and I gave in.  I'm glad.  It helped a lot.  And it shows me moving through the emotions.  Dancing in fear and confusion and just a couple steps forward toward courage and an identity that could never reside in an organ.  So, I'm still processing, especially since this is all just talk right now.  I'm very glad about my decision, I only hope it's feasible and will be history soon.  Any prayers would be helpful and appreciated, if you do pray.  But overall, I feel pretty lucky.  I was able to go to the doctor and find out what is wrong.  I will make it through this and one day I'll just look back and say I was brave when it counted, even if I was terrified at first.  And I know, I couldn't be brave if I wasn't terrified first, right?

not surrender

so the doctor says
maybe surrender your womb
but she doesn't use those words
     remove           uterus
like it's an organ
like a part
of my physical body
and not the place
where I grew my daughter
and not the place
where all of humanity
and not the place
that makes me
and she is a woman
but uteruses are her business
her work
like woman's work
working on women
and she maybe doesn't know
what all I hold there
and what we all have in there
and that it's the warm red place
where some secrets hide
and where a goddess sleeps
and it's where I grew my daughter
and I don't want another child
but it's my woman self in there
and even if they don't take my eggs
and even if I get to keep my hormones
that place will be gone
and I look inside to wonder
how things will move
because I'm not pieces
I am a whole
I am a woman

but the body-part
that walking around part of me
she says it's just not fighting
and I think what do you mean
I'm strong
I'm fighting every day
surely if the rest of me will
my body will fight too
maybe no one told her
maybe she doesn't know
those cells don't belong
do you have a phone, doc
an in-there phone
so we could call her
and tell her to woman-up
because it's taken me too long
to get this far
and I know that if I have to
I will surrender that part
and be still whole
and be still woman
because I am

because I am a fighter
and I know no part makes me me
and I know I will move through every fear
and I know where my power lies
it's not in that warm red place
and it's not in a place that can be
it's a part that will always be
that will come with me
even when I leave the body
with or without its womb
or any other parts
that can't seem to fight

because whole doesn't come
from a collaboration of parts
and strength is buried deeper
than the deepest inside me
it rides up through the earth
to fill all the unseen parts
and becomes the essence
of who I really am


  1. Am sending you healing energy and a big warm hug. You are still you no matter what. You will still feel and adapt to the situation. The nice thing is that you wont have to worry about the period!
    Take care

  2. Thank you! It's just another life thing to grow through. Yay goodbye to periods! (and, honestly, as I cram my headphones in my ears to block out the kid screaming upstairs in the library, yay to no more kids!) It's really all good stuff, just emotionally sticky and scary. Thank you so much!

  3. A bit like our breasts, we often view our uterus as the thing that makes us women.

    I hear it so many times and yet I'm always shocked by the need for medical insurance. Thank goodness we have the NHS here in Britain.

    Anyway, good luck. I shall be thinking of you.

  4. I was really surprised by my own reaction. I had never really thought of it before. It's strange how we can put our identity into something we can't even see.

    I'm shocked by it, more and more. I'm so ashamed of the way my country works. It's hard to express that to others here. People always want to believe we've got it better than everyone else. They must be blind. Granted, we have it pretty good. Lots of opportunity and if you're ruthless you can get really rich here. But I don't want to be rich. I just want a simple life and to be healthy. It's utterly shameful that we can't even give that assurance to our citizens. Shame, America, shame on you!

    Thank you so much!