I’ll never understand why in Irish culture there is so much emphases on the womb and not on the woman. Everything about going to a gynecologist for me, as a young women has been nothing but arduous met with little to no understanding of my concerns or my families concerns. All because I don’t have a baby in my uterus.
I’ve had ongoing issues with my periods since I started having my periods and all the reassurance and dismissals of “You’ll grow out of it.” or “There is nothing we can do because you’re too young.” These are statements that have plagued me and continue to plague me now that I’m nearly in my mid 20’s.
For those who don’t want to know the details; skip ahead as nothing about the following is n’t in any way nice, and funnily enough, no one, not even doctors, which to discuss it with me in excessive detail. From passing alot of blood so young, to the pain being intolerable to the point that I would often pass out in school and having to have strong pain medication available for me during my secondary school years. This would continue well into my adult life with much of the same, being put on various tablets that would alter my psychological state then being taken off them again. I presently have a Coil in and where I’m at now were my body is not only flooding, but producing large (and very painful to pass due to there size) blood clots from the lining of my womb not shedding properly. It interrupts my life significantly, to a point where I have genuine concerns about my ability to be employed due to my illness. Also the psychological impact of being in my early to mid 20’s and being unable to be independent during those 1/2 weeks. While I’ve a very supportive network of family and friends who support me during these times, but I’m not naive as to what it is doing to my mental health.
I have been told by many doctors (due to my many times being hospitalized due to pain and other complications) that there was no definitive answer to what was going on with my body; so from various retrograde menstruations, to potential endometriosis, to there being nothing wrong with me at all.
I’m frankly, unconvinced, as I’m left taking a silly amount of pain medication for my periods which for my age does not feel in any way healthy. I’m also not convinced that what I’m experiencing is normal, as my new symptoms, the clots, have only surfaced in the last 8 months.
I do have a bigger problem, however, with how I’ve been treated for this entire process. I’m not going to name names, because there is very little that could be done now to rectify the damage that I’ve suffered with this doctor. But for the purposes of clarification I’ll be transparent about a few things: I’ve never wanted children. It’s not apart of my life plan, and its not anything I’ve ever wanted. I feel like that is my choice, as well as Splinters and doesn’t involve anyone else opinion. (I also feel like at 25 – I would have some sort of inclining to even being around children by now and I don’t. I still actively try to avoid them) I’m presently unable to have children anyway due to these complications. I also feel, and this is my personal opinion, that if you want to raise children, you should at least try to be in the most optimal health that you can be in order to be there for your child. Presently, me being bed ridden for 1/2 weeks of the month isn’t going to be conductive to raising my hypothetical child. I’m also very opinionated about what I have gone through in these past 15 years, and I’m very conscious of the fact that my fate lies in the hands of someone else – who may or may not have my best interests at heart.
This doesn’t seem to be something that my gynecologist at the time agreed with, and seemed to not take into consideration at all how many years I’ve been suffering with my periods. When myself and Splinter brought up the subject of hysterectomies (mainly because we didn’t know what options we had to get me to a condition in which I could live a normal life) she made comments about my mental health for even bringing it up and had written to my hematologist & my own GP claiming I had some underlying mental health issue for even considering it. (I feel this is mainly due to differences of opinions about my body and the rights that I don’t evidently have as a 24 year old, but also using my history of having depression against me. Having depression does not make you crazy, as a health care professional, I would have assumed she knew this but just goes to show the stigma that still exists.) This was even though when she explained that it might not solve the issues because it might be a pelvic thing – which naturally – if it wouldn’t fix the issue we wouldn’t do it. She immediately closed the case once she had passed us on to the hematologist, and although I had very bad incidents after I’d finished with her- ones of which I was nearly hospitalized for and the other I needed to call family and friends to collect me, as I started hemorrhaging out of my regular cycle while I was at the train station and didn’t have any clotting medicine with me. She ignored Splintors calls, his repeated calls. We still to this day, never received a word back from her. This is not how I want to spend my life.
I can appreciate different sides of the ethical arguments about this, but I don’t believe Doctors should make that decision for me. Let alone the lack of trust they seem to have about being in ones mind about this. The whole “You may regret this when you’re older.” statement is redundant to me, as surely I’m allowed to take responsibility for my own actions. I’m not 12 where I don’t have a truer understanding of the permanency of these actions. After all, you cut off a leg, it doesn’t grow back. Same thing with a womb. Apparently this isn’t a legal thing, if it was I dare say my whole situation would be easier if it was. I do not understand the lack of empathy and the quickness to dismiss someone for these things particularly when they don’t have to live with the consequences of the decisions they make for me.
Another thing I don’t understand, and I’m aware this is going to be the source of the controversy – I don’t believe my womb to be as essential to me living as my liver, lungs, kidneys, legs, arms & head. Am I wrong for thinking that? Maybe. I’m perfectly aware of the emotional and physical trauma women who cannot conceive go through, I’m privy to it as I cannot conceive either and neither could my mother. (I’m adopted – for those who are confused by that statement) I’m not trying to take that away from anyone, or the pain it causes for women and their partners around the world. I’m just saying that for me with what I’m presently going through. That there is more to me than my womb. I am not my womb. I am a human being. My womb is being placed at a higher priority than my quality of life and its something that I’m incapable of understanding.
I can’t help but feel like if this was any other organ in my body that was acting up, I would have a better solution then what I’m presently being given. If you get kidney stones, you take the kidney stones out. If your Kidney stops working, you’re put on dialysis. If you’re kidney has a major issue they take it out. Same thing if you get blocked artery, you’ll get a ballon put up it to break up whatever the blockage is. If you’re heart is still not working – you can get a pace maker or a transplant. Either way, if the problem gets too bad – its removed. When its a risk to someones health and quality of life, its removed. Why is it when I’ve an extensive history of issues with my periods, and indeed, I’m only getting worse issues as I get older am I told its not gonna happen because of my age? You wouldn’t get told by any other doctor in the world if interventions hadn’t worked for any other organ that you can’t make that decision, or you’re too young to make that decision. So why is it the case for me and my womb?
I’m certain I’m not alone in what I’m going through, indeed, only last week I heard about a court case on the radio about a women who went through something very similar to myself who got neglected for treatment because of her history with depression. Which meant that her womb never got internally examined because they thought it was psychosomatic. Lo’ n behold there was a swab that were left unattended that got infected that caused all of her problems. She got awarded compensation, and rightfully so, but it just goes to show that the attitude of Irish gynecologists are very behind in terms of associations with mental health. Article for those who are interested
If I’m honest, I don’t even want my womb out. I’d rather go out of this world with the same bits and pieces I came in with. In saying that though, I want to be able to live a full and fulfilling life. Without having to carry a package in my bag of a series of medications and underwear just in case something happens while I’m out and about. This is outside of my normal cycle. Its not only me that has to carry around the medication. Splintor keeps some in his office just in case, and my family have a set too. Some might consider this to be excessive, but it is presently a reality of my situation.
Similarities can be drawn between things like type 1 diabetes and things in terms of prevention and “just getting on with it”. There may be some truth to that, maybe I haven’t adjusted to my situation for long enough to find the “right” way of coping with it. I can’t help but think this is different though. This feels treatable and not just in the way I’m presently being treated in terms of tablets. It feels like something that if someone took the time to look into my womb, took a few hours and really looked hard that they’d find something that is odd or not normal. Call it a hunch or call it just the solace of being tended to with some care. There is a lot to be said for finding the answers to the problem, there is even more to be said for beginning again when you know there are no real answers to be found.
I can’t honestly say I know what the next step is for me and my family in terms of coming to a proper resolution about it. If, indeed, I ever find one. I don’t think I’ll wind up doing anything for the foreseeable future unless something happens. I’m still only coming to terms with everything that I’ve experienced and I’m at a loss to find a solution that will work, its distressing and can make you feel very disillusioned at to the prospects of living a normal life. I must keep my faith though, and trust that I will eventually get sorted as long as I keep up the fight.