Yes, folks, this is a post about my girly bits. Specifically about my cervix, but my vagina is discussed.
Daddy and Little Brother (and anyone else uninterested in my girly bits), you probably want to stop reading right here. I’m going to be disturbingly frank. Consider yourselves warned.
There’s a good lesson at the end, though. (Tempt, tempt.)
My vagina and I are good friends. Unlike most women, I’m rather familiar with how mine looks and feels, inside and out. This has come in handy from time to time, when something is awry – I can catch it before it gets too awry.
You might already know where this is heading, right? Because why would I be talking publicly about my private bits unless I had damn good reason?
And promptly freaked the fuck out.
I calmly said to Pace, “Honey, get the flashlight and meet me in the bedroom, stat.” (Calm, because I didn’t want to terrify my son, who was setting up a game nearby.) Pace picked up on the panic in my voice and didn’t waste any time getting to me.
After a while of uncomfortable poking and prodding – and the least sexy photographs of a usually sexy place possible (for science!) – she went off to the computer. She was doing the research, as I am forbidden to google medical issues.
(This is because, once, I sprained my ankle and read an article on how a sprained ankle can lead to death and freaked the fuck out.)
After extensive research, Pace said, “Okay, it looks like your cervix.”
It seems to have wandered a bit out of place, don’t you think?
I was, unsurprisingly, still freaking the fuck out. Pace remained extremely calm and helpful and kind, and took excellent care of me. I called friends and they said reassuring and comforting things and gave me good advice. I stayed up way too late because sleeping seemed like a bad idea. I mean, what if my uterus as a whole decided to climb out and run off? Apparently, various bits of me are getting errant ideas! So I fussed and freaked and panicked for hours, then asked the internet what to do.
The internet, in a moment of stunning grace, said, “Everything is going to be alright.”
So I went to bed.
The next morning, I went to the doctor. I managed to find an Ob/Gyn recommended to me my best friend, so at least it was someone I knew by proxy about to shove her fingers up my girly bits rather than some stranger dude in the ER.
I told the doctor about my past (miscarrying and being raped) and that I was extremely terrified, and she thanked me and promised to be extremely gentle and tell me everything before she did anything. I told her the whole story about my bits trying to escape, and she listened (mostly). Then she did prod and poke and I cried a little (because it’s so fucking triggery I can’t help it).
Uterine prolapse. In English (or Kyelish), my uterus is, indeed, trying to escape.
And here I thought we were friends.
But seriously, it means my uterus isn’t in the right place and is collapsing. There are lots of things I can do to mitigate the symptoms. I’m going to survive. I’m devastated, and there are some pretty horrible consequences (more on that later), but it’s not going to kill me. It’s not as terrifying, now that I know what’s going on.
But, here’s the thing.
Had I not known my body well, I might’ve missed it until it became life threatening.
Once I made myself get to the doctor, I had to hold firm and make her tell me that my uterus wasn’t going to actually come out. I needed to hear her say it so I could chill (at least a little).
And wow, did I need Pace there to make sure I covered all the things I needed to cover. I was so terrified and freaked out, I knew I’d never remember everything. And then, on the table, on my back, my cervix (trixy trixy cervix) wasn’t as far prolapsed, so there was much discussion before we were able to get her to really understand that there was a very serious problem. Had I not been so familiar with my vagina, I might not have had the knowledge with which to move her to action – and without Pace, I might not have had the emotional strength to keep trying.
Being able to inform your healer of all your symptoms, being able to provide a complete and clear story, is critical. If you can’t tell your healer for whatever reason (like, me choking up from body-triggers), tell someone you love and trust and then ask them to come with you and help. Or write it down before you go – most healers are so delighted to have a complete picture, they’re happy to read it.
Don’t let your very private parts go ignored. Our breasts, vaginas, penises (penii?), anuses, and internal reproductive organs get ignored the most because they’re the hardest to talk about when things go awry – but if they malfunction, so does the rest of us.
Whole health is about being entirely healthy. Even our pink squishy bits need to be healthy to help complete our picture.
So, to break it down:
1) Know your body. Become familiar with how you feel on a regular basis, so you can get an early sense of something going wrong.
2) Make sure your whole story is told. Tell it yourself, either to the healer or a friend. Write it down. Get it all out, even things you think are unimportant and unrelated – they might be neither.
3) Ask questions. Even dorky questions. (I asked, “Is my uterus going to fall out?” The obvious answer is no, but I needed to hear it from the doctor.)
4) Make sure you feel informed. If the healer acts like they’ve told you everything, but you don’t feel fully informed, keep prodding for more. They almost always have more.
5) If you’re afraid, go anyway. Take someone you know and trust and feel safe with, to offer you comfort and support.
People, I am utterly, utterly terrified of the ob/gyn. Every time I go, I cry. It shakes me up for days. Ever since I miscarried, being put in stirrups is enough to send me right back to that terrible moment and I’m flooded with fear and despair. It’s not easy. It’s why I avoid regular girly-bit maintenance. But this time, that avoision could have cost me my uterus – or my life.
Knowing our bodies is critical to our health. If we don’t know what “normal” feels like, we can’t know what abnormal feels like.