Wednesday, April 30, 2008

news from my uterus

did i miss the semester when we learned about the changes in female bodies throughout our lives? for an educated woman, i am embarrassingly ignorant about such things, although being nulliparous i see no need to ever learn what an episiotomy is.

warning: if you are squeamish now may be a good time to leave this blog and check out something milder. a panda cam, perhaps, or a nice game of boomshine.

still with me? ok. so recently i've had a bit of trouble with menorrhagia (aren't medical terms useful for distancing oneself from the messy facts?). look it up (i did). the ob/gyn i was originally scheduled to see is called dr. courbain. pronounced 'korban'. which is hebrew for 'sacrifice'. sadly she was not available the day they rushed me into the office. instead i got the divine dr b.p. i usually get a bit anxious in the stirrups, but dr. b.p. was magnificent. he is a gay ex-mormon with a degree in modern german lit. thus it was that i calmed down as we sang together in german the 'kanonen song' from 'the threepenny opera'. he then gave me a first-hand account of the special underwear that mormons wear and before i knew it the exam was over. surreal.

the gist of it was that the spectrum of possibilities ran from hormonal issues, e.g., perimenopause; through polyps and cysts and suchlike, to endometrial cancer which is 96% curable and relatively rare. cancer is a horrible word. at that moment, perimenopause seemed somehow worse. "WHAT?" I exclaimed. it is hard to accept that i am waaaaay old enough for something like that.

on the way home i saw a car with a bumper sticker that said "crone" on it and thought i might have to get one for myself.

nu. the next step was an ultrasound. that was yesterday's exciting adventure. imagine the situation: a waiting room in brookline, mass. it is full of women, who are full of the 40 oz of water they have drunk in preparation for this visit. There is a door right by reception that says 'restroom'. the toilets in most doctors' offices are nowhere near the waiting room. there is a water fountain next to the restroom. the heating is up, and there is not even an ancient bridal magazine lying around for distraction. they are running about half an hour late. there is two-hour parking on the street. we are waiting. we cannot pee. we must wait. the sense of urgency makes it quite hard to be polite.

when i go to reception, they tell me that my appointment is tomorrow. i say o no it isn't. the computer says yes it is. i say o no it isn't. they are magnanimous and say i can wait and they will fit me in. i go back to my seat full of magnanimosity. and 40 oz of water.

30 minutes later, i go back to the desk and ask, please, just give me an idea how long i need to hold on. the nurse tells me that if i am uncomfortable, "you may release". but what about the examination? she tells me she will give me some more water. if that is how it works, then why have i been drinking all bloody morning, eh? although this is new england, so i didn't say 'bloody'. or anything else. i just went back to my seat.

eventually i was called, and prepped, and in came the doctor. he probed, and we looked at the pictures on the screen. he seemed to find them quite interesting. i thought it looked like snow on a television, but i found that interesting also. i could see a smiling face, and the outline of a cartoon donkey.

the news was that there is a fibroid. good to know. the doc took lots of pretty pics which will be sent back to dr. b.p. i called my friend lldoc who explained that a fibroid is made of muscle. what i want to know is how i ended up with muscle in my uterus instead of my biceps or calves where it belongs? as slb said, did it get lost?

meanwhile, as if i have just joined a new club, older women are now sharing with me many stories of their experiences at this particular time of life. this seems to be the welcoming ritual. and thus endeth the news from lake womb-begone.


  1. Anonymous10:53 pm

    I feel sorry about the news, hope you find better way to save your womb.

    I'll pray for your health.

  2. This is one of those experiences that read far better than lived. Hang in there.