Tears filling my eyes, I turned to my mom and said, "Someone is finally going to help me. I'm going to get my life back."
As I'm writing this post, one week after one of the biggest doctor appointments of my life, I still haven't fully processed these emotions: shock, relief, and sheer joy. After approximately two years of fighting, on April 24th I will be having an endometrial ablation.
I've learned over the years of being sick that I have no control over the quantity of my life, however I do over the quality and my period has been threatening both. I withdrew from my spring semester of freshman year partially because I couldn't continue to miss weeks of classes per month. I have to choose between going to the hospital to get transfusions or taking meds that will slow the bleeding, but cause serious neurovascular events. PMS already does a number on a girl's mood, but for me its made even worse by the intense anxiety caused by the knowledge of what's to come: a five day long scene from a Quentin Tarantino movie, I wish I were kidding.
I'm lucky to have such strong, supportive female physicians on my side. So as much as this is a life-update post, it is also a thank you note to them. Because of the ignorant and thoughtless remarks made by other doctors (mostly men) who do not see me as a patient who has been greatly suffering, but instead as simply a vessel for reproduction, I started to give up hope of ever getting help. And, being completely honest, I began to feel like horrible person for not wanting to just accept that as my destiny. (Stay tuned for an upcoming post on the problematic way society views womanhood in relation to pregnancy - news flash, my worth as a woman is not tied to my ability to have children!!) Hearing these four wonderful physicians - my hematologist and her fellow, my endocrinologist, and lastly my gynecologist/surgeon - assure me that I am in fact doing what's best, that this is a last resort and that I have done everything in my power to avoid the unavoidable has been so validating.
As I've discussed in my previous posts about my fight for adequate reproductive care, "You Never Know What Could Happen in Ten Years" and "But That'll Make It Harder To Find A Husband," this was by no means an easy decision, but the right choices never are. And in the end, this isn't really a choice anymore, it's a necessary, potentially life saving surgery.
So, here's to the next chapter in my journey, the one where I get my life back and regain power over periods.