Earlier this week, I filled out new patient paperwork for my gynecology appointment on Friday. (It's an annual visit, since my RE doesn't do pap smears.) Looking over my medical history brought up a ton of emotions for me. This will be my fifth gynecologist in two years, not to mention the three different REs and the breast surgeon. I already have a one-inch binder full of medical records, and I'm still missing information from three different doctors.
Sometimes it's hard to believe that before all of this, I was a normal, healthy girl in her 20s who was simply trying to build her family. Now there are so many mental and physical scars, I don't even know where to begin on these stupid medical history forms. Instead, I fill out what I can fit on the lines they provide and attach a separate sheet of paper with my reproductive timeline. I bring the binder, too, like I'm presenting them with a show-and-tell project.
The questions they ask stir the pot even further. Like when they want to know if I prefer a male or female doctor. Does it matter? It used to. But when every RE, gynecologist, and medical assistant in the Central Florida area has seen your vagina, what's the point? Who cares if the person is male or female? It's all the same.
Have you ever been pregnant? No, but I am grateful for you reminding me of that failure. If I feel this way, I can't imagine how people who've had miscarriages and stillbirths write every little detail of those experiences.
And when they ask about prior surgeries, I remember the pain. Not just the pain from the being cut open, but the daily pain. The horrible, stabbing, throbbing of my ovary. The way I hoped daily that someone would just rip it out of me. The way I could barely stand at times. How I felt like I was breaking.
Sometimes I honestly wish I didn't remember it. One of my good friends and I spoke the other day about forgetting. We decided that maybe ignorance really is bliss. To not know what this feels like is to not know that ache. Wouldn't it be wonderful? To rewind time. To be a normal woman, one who has that special moment with her husband, who creates the miracle of life, and who doesn't know or feel anything different than that joy. To never understand that emptiness we all feel at this very moment. Wouldn't that be bliss?
Yet, I'm not sure I can imagine my life without this pain anymore. I can't turn back time, of course, but I don't know how to even begin picturing my life any differently. What's the point of wondering what it's like to be normal? To not have experienced all of this? To claim ignorance doesn't change the outcome. Like people who run away from home to start a new life: you will always carry your past with you. And I may as well own it.
So, for better or for worse, this is who I am. I am a painful, broken image of the woman I once barely was. Diagnosed with infertility just two months shy of my 24th birthday and nine months after my marriage, my womanhood was given to me and then quickly taken away. Just like that. I'll be a mother someday, the way I now believe I was meant to be a mother - through adoption.
But I will be always be scarred.