I haven’t had a period since December 2020, and damn… it feels good. No, I’m not pregnant. Actually, I don’t even have a uterus anymore. I had a partial-hysterectomy (everything but the ovaries) at 26 years old.
My mom tried to talk me out of it. Some of my friends tried talking me out of it too. “You’re too young for a hysterectomy.” “You’ll regret it.” “What if you want more kids?” they said.
Now look at me — out here, able to jump up and down in white pants, living my best life.
Do you know how wonderful that is, by the way? To be able to wear white or light-colored pants without having to casually reach around and check for period blood every thirty seconds? To be able to wear them without having to bring a cardigan to wrap around your waist, “just in case”?
I get to wear white underwear, y’all. WHITE. UNDERWEAR. I get to have white sheets that actually stay white and don’t have to be put on reserve as my “period sheets.” If my kids weren’t as messy as messy comes, I might just fuck around and buy a white couch just because I. Freakin’. Can.
These might seem like “whatever” things to the average person with a normal period, but for me, it’s freedom from a monthly burden I’ve carried for 15 years. I’ve had long, super heavy, and very painful periods for as long as I can remember. I was never one to get cramps, but I did get that incessant, pulling and tugging pain that spread from my lower belly, to my back, hips, and down my legs. What great fun.
I can’t remember a time where my period wasn’t an entire event. My life revolved around it whenever I had it, and I didn’t even realize how much it was stealing from me until it was gone. Even with a menstrual disc (tampons only added to the pain and discs/cups are the bee’s knees, just saying) and a pad, I would consistently bleed through. I didn’t have money to be soiling clothes, sheets, and entire mattresses like I was either, so it was always a catastrophe for me when it happened.
It’s hard to say for certain what the tipping point was for me. All I know is that my doctor gave me the go-ahead a full year before I actually went through with my hysterectomy. I’ll spare you the gory details (you’re welcome), but I think it was sometime after I bled for nearly two months that I finally said enough is enough. I remember having an epiphany in my bathroom and telling myself, I am happy with the four kids we have. I have exhausted all other non-surgical options. My uterus isn’t doing me any favors anymore. It’s time for it to go.
Those closest to me who had heard my complaints over the years, in the end, were happy for me. Happy to see the peace I had with saying goodbye to a very important organ with much sentimental value. My friends and I were the weird ones who named our boobs when we were 12. (I know, there’s something seriously wrong with us.) To this day you might hear one of us say, “Madonna is tryin’ to make a run for it” in reference to a big-titty gone rogue. So, to lift my spirits, it felt only right that they would give my uterus a name — Diana. Diana Ross. Because like it or not, she was coming out.
My friends put together a cleaning day for me a week before my operation and helped me deep-clean my house so it would be a place where I could recover without having to look at crayon markings on the wall. What can I say? They are simply the best.
Soon after, I was being prepped for my hysterectomy, and that night, I went home.
I don’t think it matters how ready you are to say goodbye to your uterus or how many kids you already have. There’s a grieving process that happens following that kind of surgery. Knowing you will never be able to have more kids, instead of choosing not to have any more kids, brings about all of the feels.
It didn’t help that a family friend had just had an absolutely adorable, squishy baby soon after my surgery. I remember crying in a happy-for-you-sad-for-me type of way when I saw his pictures online. It made the finality of my decision that much more real. My days of growing, nursing, and loving on my newborn babies had come to an end for real.
I partially blame those meltdowns on my hormones that were completely out of whack after surgery, but I can see now that most of what I was feeling was actually grief. And let me be clear — in no way did it mean that I had made the wrong decision by moving forward with my hysterectomy.
When I finally received the biopsy results following my procedure, it felt like my decision had been validated. The results showed that I had adenomyosis, a condition that causes the endometrial lining to grow into the muscular wall of the uterus. And wouldn’t you know, I had every single possible symptom listed for that condition.
Nowadays, I don’t feel as much of the yucky grief feeling like I used to. Mostly, I just feel lucky. Lucky that I had a doctor who listened to me and took my complaints seriously. I didn’t have to wait an absurd amount of time for a surgery I needed in order to live my life fully. There was no stalling on my doctor’s end because I’m a woman and “women might change their minds and want more babies.” He gave me his informed opinion and left the decision-making up to me. This is exactly how it should be, but sadly it isn’t the case for so many people with a period.
Above all, I’m grateful that my monthly suffering has ended. Moving forward with a partial hysterectomy at 26 years old gave me my life (and white pants) back.
Adios, Diana. I can’t say I’ll be missing you.