Tomorrow morning I’ll be having my first surgery. In doing so I’ll be kick starting a major change in my life. I’ve always wanted to be a mother and have kids. The details of how and when that would happen have definitely gone through revisions and rewrites over the years as my vision of my life and its reality have ebbed and flowed. But after this surgery, the reality of making that happen will be upon me. (There’s nothing like having your doctors ask you if you have a potential baby daddy to make you look at your life differently). To put it lightly, this isn’t exactly what I planned. In fact, it’s nowhere close to what I’ve imagined.
Nevertheless this time tomorrow me and my wake up call will come face to face. Fibroids. These non-cancerous growths that have decided to take up residence in my uterus are actually quite common in African- American women. In fact according to the Mayo Clinic, we tend to not only get them at younger ages than other women, but we also have larger ones. While it’s not necessary to remove them unless they’re causing problems, because mine is “submucosal”, they could pose a risk to my fertility or ability to carry a baby to term. I know stories of people who have beat these odds, of course, and had babies with ones that are even bigger than the sizeable one I have. But increasingly I’ve realized that I’m generally not the exception to most rules. I’m clear that I’m not invincible and…well hell I could give excuses, but basically I’ve looked at my options and this seems to be the best or most realistic course of treatment for me.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. Despite this being a common surgery that I’ve been told is fairly simple, I’ve been dreading it. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched too many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy & grew up watching ER. But I’m actively fighting being nervous. I asked my Mom to put me on the prayer lists that I could. I’m optimistic but apprehensive. There will be weeks of recovering. Afterward in order to ensure they won’t grow back I’ll need to change my diet- i.e. eliminate a lot of foods from my current diet & eat a high alkaline, low inflammation diet. And being that extra pounds can also make it easier for them to grow back , I have an extra reason to get back on track weight loss wise. Looking good naked is nice and all, but I really just want to get my body to a place where these things can’t come back and thrive (and if they do at least at a slower pace).
In the wake of this I’ve found myself examining my life right now with a microscope lens in a way that I never have before. All I can think about are the logistics of what I need in order to be a mother – because ultimately that’s what this surgery is about: preserving my ability to give birth. I keep thinking about where I live, my job, the people in my life, my career goals, etc. See, I’m a walking stereotype: the over-educated, single Black woman without kids. And on top of that there’s not a prospect in sight. Hell, I actually just got out of a relationship. And yet I’m seeking motherhood in a city far from my family. I’m examining friendships trying to figure out what kind of support system I have immediately available to me because my automatic thoughts of support system revolve people that live hundreds of miles away. I’m thinking about salaries hoping I don’t have to sell out like so many people around here I know have – chasing a salary for practical means because they forgot what dreams were a long time ago. And I’m kicking myself for all the time I wasted on men that were no good for me that I always knew would never fit in this vision of the family I had for myself. I’m wondering and questioning if that vision needs to be put to rest for good in exchange for accepting whatever comes.
All this on the eve of my surgery.
But that’s where I am. All this time while I’ve been enjoying my life and chasing goals, it’s like life decided to tap me on my shoulder with a wake-up call. I may not look my age, but that doesn’t mean that time hasn’t been passing me by while I’ve been doing everything but getting this area of my life straight. Well, the thing with wake up calls and alarms is that you have a choice: either ignore them and continue to snooze, or get up and do something. I’m choosing the latter.