Trigger warning: some minor references to rape
Back in November I had a gynecological ultrasound which showed that my uterine lining was thickening. This put up medical red flags because of my history of cancer and my apparent propensity for cancer recurrence. So I was told that I needed to have a uterine biopsy that could be done in the office. But the doctor couldn’t get my cervix to open, telling me that it was severely scarred. This was something I remember learning years ago when I was going to try to get pregnant. At that time the news had me a triggering PTSD mess but hearing it now just made me a strange combination of sad and angry. I felt like I had made significant therapeutic progress.
I would now have to have the procedure done in the hospital, under anesthesia. Obviously not pleasant but I am the poster child for early detection and I knew I had to plough through this. Unfortunately I had to wait two months for the doctor to be available.
And these two months have been unsettling. I have been struggling with the thoughts of how like rape this procedure would be. Me, incapacitated. Forced open. Pain. I have called upon every trick and strategy my therapist spent years drilling into me. And for a while they worked. But as the surgery date got closer, it became a 24/7 effort. I could function okay. I could even sometimes forget. But most of the time I was a hot mess inside. Not the fetal position rocking terrors that I used to go through. But still, a feeling that my insides were on fire, shaky, weepy and not in control. I was scared. Not of the procedure itself, but of what was happening to my mental health. Scared I was sliding back into that black hole.
I spent two months ricocheting around like that and then this week I had the procedure. Besides from the prep and paperwork, the whole thing took less time than ordering Chinese food. I woke easily from anesthesia and besides from an uncomfortable day of cramps and bleeding, I breezed through it. I won’t know medical results until the pathology comes back but the doctor said everything looked good. It was a lot of mental agony for very little physical discomfort.
I am often amazed at how much my life has changed thanks to my miracle worker therapist. But the healing came so slowly and incrementally I still sometimes forget where I once was. PTSD once consumed my life and now I will have to read back thru this blog to see when my last episode was. (I do try to document them for this very reason) I suppose in many ways, experiences like this keep me humble. Just when I begin to think I have this beast conquered, something comes around to remind me that this will be a lifelong struggle. Well, struggle may be too strong a word for what my life is like now. It is probably more accurate to say that this chapter has reminded me that I have to practice my anti-anxiety drills, to stay alert and focused on the present. Like physical exercise for my body, I can't get lazy. I will always need to exercise my therapy skills so that even when the shaky times come, I can manage (even though it is not pretty) to get to the other side.