(Day 1 of “Be Brave”)
Vaginal prolapse. You all know what that is? Until not all that long ago, I didn’t. Here’s the short version: there are three vaginal walls, front, back, and top, which hold up your bladder, rectum and uterus, respectively. Except when they don’t. And when they don’t hold, you can start to have problems peeing and you know, the other thing. Also if it gets severe enough, your uterus can fall out through your vagina. I kid you not. Did you know that? I didn’t until I started investigating online last week.
My prolapse is only at stage 2, and stage 4 is when your uterus falls out. This means it’s not urgent but over time it will get worse, so I should probably fix it. Fixing it means surgery. I can choose a mild surgical repair, which could help for now, but I’m likely to have to go back and do more later. Or I can opt for a more complete solution, something that will support all three walls, probably for a very long time.
The more complete solution means I have to give up my uterus.
That should be okay, right? After all, I’m not using it anymore. My boys are pretty grown up. I’m not going to have another baby–I encouraged my husband to have a vasectomy seven years ago. I’m not one to believe that it’s my womb is what makes me a woman. I can get a lot more use out of a healthy vagina than out of a uterus. Still… it’s an idea that takes some getting used to. I will probably go with this solution, but I’m giving myself a few days to think about it.
What does any of this have to do with being brave? Nothing. I started at the end. The beginning was the part where I tried to be brave (for me). I decided to take my husband, including into the exam and the follow-up consultation with the surgeon. A lot of times I shelter him from things that are going with me, physical or emotional. I just give him the cleaned-up “everything’s fine” version. And then I complain about feeling alone. He’s shown himself, time and again, to be trustworthy. I want intimacy, closeness. Lucky guy, huh? For his wife, closeness means he gets to be present when a doctor pokes around in her nether regions.
Here’s the other part of it that challenged me to step up and be brave: I like to avoid things, especially things related to my health or sexuality. But I didn’t avoid dealing with this. Well, I did for a long time, but once I put away the excuse that I was too busy with work, I stopped. I made the appointment. I researched the doctor ahead of time (she is very cool, went into this work so she could improve the quality of women’s lives, did work for Doctors Without Borders in Africa). I researched the problem online and went in with a fairly good idea of what might have to happen. I took some control and prepared myself. Especially when it even remotely relates to any sexual organs, I don’t want to let things just happen to me anymore.
I hope you’re not disappointed–it’s a pretty low-key version of brave. But that’s what I’m up for at the moment. I have to build up to life-changing bravery, starting with small things.