content warning: medical issues and infertility
For the second time in my life, the psychic was right. The first time happened in the late days of August, 1998. Recent college grad, student loans hovering, remaining days to land a teaching job ticking away. Desperate for a solution, I went to a local psychic, who – I am not making this up – pulled out the phone book and suggested I contact a local school for students with learning disabilities. I had never heard of it, but I took a chance and gave them a call. No teaching jobs this late, the woman on the other end told me, but we do have an opening for a teaching assistant if you’d like to come in for an interview?
One week later I started my first salaried job. I loved it there and would have stayed if not for the whole marrying a naval officer thing. But that’s a whole other story.
Fast-forward to August, 2022. Hubby and I venture out to the annual Steampunk festival (our first time going, but definitely not our last – so much fun!) and are called by sweet smelling incense to the tarot card tent. There we meet two psychics and decide to have our cards read. I go first. It doesn’t start well – something about my kids that doesn’t align with them at all – but then she flips a card, looks at me and says, you have health issues? Sure, yeah, I mean, who doesn’t? I try to play it off with a not really, but she isn’t buying it. She flips another card. Another look, this one more intense. Great. If you don’t handle your health issues, she says, they will handle you.
Ha. What do psychics know?
A fair amount, apparently.
Two weeks ago today, an amazing surgeon removed my uterus, which weighed nearly 6 times more than a normal uterus and contained 9 fibroids – the largest of which was about the size of a navel orange – two ovarian cysts, tubes, cervix, and endometrial tissue that was basically growing everywhere, including on my bladder. (This, my darling youngest son who complained when we had to stop every two hours on our road trip, is why I needed to PEE. ALL. THE. TIME.) Needless to say, the psychic was right. The past several months have been a struggle. Debilitating pain, anemia, and oh yeah, that pesky bathroom problem (which was leading to dehydration and kidney issues). I suffered from shortness of breath due to the orange-sized fibroid pushing up against my diaphragm, which made exercise basically impossible. My swollen belly prevented my from wearing regular pants and sent me into an emotional tailspin. I was never able to conceive but now I looked four months pregnant. Not funny, universe.
[Side note: I decided to name the largest fibroid “Bad Brad” and the smaller ones his “associates”. Upon reading my pathology report I immediately texted my sister to tell her that Brad had way more associates than originally thought (first diagnosis in November showed three total fibroids) and that there were also several “interns” too small to be picked up on the ultrasound.]
After years of hopping from gynecologist to gynecologist, hoping to find one who actually listened, I was referred to the above mentioned surgeon who changed my life for the better. I am in the early stages of recovery, which is a lot of bed rest (translation – a whole lot of binge watching and book reading) and mini walks around the neighborhood. It’s incredibly lonely, but I am thankful to feel a little better each day, thankful for my husband and kids, for friends and family who have stopped by with food or flowers, checked in via text or sent get well wishes, for my big sister who is coming in to take me to my post-op appointment and distract me for a few days. And very thankful for my feline nurses, who have sat by my side faithfully and kept me company day and night. (Seneca is going to be a mess when I return to work next month!)
Never take your health for granted, and do not ignore pain. It is not normal. It is not noble to grin and bear it, as I have for years. The surgeon told my husband that she didn’t know how I was walking around. If you don’t feel listened to, or validated, find another doctor. I am so, so grateful for mine, but I wish I had found her sooner, before things got this bad. Before my health handled me.
Oh, and listen to the psychics. Call it intuition, magic, whatever you want. Two out of two – that’s pretty good odds.