Hello again, friends and strangers.
Sorry I’ve been away so long, but there’s a good reason for that. This has been the Year From Hades for me.
I’ve had two driving tests (one flunked, one FINALLY passed), a biopsy, two surgeries, a bunch of household emergencies coming all on top of one another, and what feels suspiciously like a mental breakdown of sorts. It seems like I’ve had everything but cancer or COVID (and believe me, I’m NOT hoping to find out for reals what any of THAT is like, because I’ve had enough of sickness and convalescence this past year to last me another five at least.)
So, where have I been? Oh, where have I NOT?
I had to take my driving test twice, both times at a location an hour’s drive away. Which was, in addition to all else, tough to find because the street signs in the town where I took it were, shall we say, lacking. That screwed me up the first time I went to take it, because of course I got lost. No signs pointing me to the DriveTest centre, no GPS, no reliable roadmaps, no driving instructor to navigate and/or give me any last-minute coaching. It was just me in the car, scared shitless the whole way up the two-lane skinny, circling frantically through subdivisions and parking lots and leafing through the useless Google Maps printouts I’d laid on the passenger seat. By the time I arrived at the drive-test centre I was wayyyyy late, and really should have said no when they offered to test me anyway, because I was so flustered that I flunked. I also had to get an extension on my G2, which was a source of shame and chagrin for weeks afterward. I’d had such high ambitions for not only driving over an hour there (and over an hour back), but passing every element of the test with flying colors. Instead, I made all the dumbest rookie mistakes imaginable.
(BTW, none of this would have happened if the drive-test centre in my own town had still been open; thanks a buttload, Mike Fucking Harris, for yet another fine screwing you’ve imposed on this province. I hope you get extra-long COVID, and that even your for-profit nursing home chain doesn’t save your miserable, unnatural life, you motherfucking toadstool.)
Thankfully, I was ready the next time, and everything I needed to do clicked in my brain just days before. Sometimes you buckle under pressure; other times, you just buckle the fuck DOWN.
Meanwhile, something was up in my uterus. Around this time last year, I had what felt like a massive, horrendous period, only worse. It was the second one I’d had in as many years. The previous time, it went on for over a week, and I was miffed because I’d have to set my menopause clock back to zero, after a good year without a period. This time, it went on for over two whole weeks. Again, after a good whole year without a period.
So I made an appointment with my doctor, embarked on a battery of blood tests that showed me to be menopausal after all, and got my first shock of the year in January: My blood pressure was too high! So, I got a prescription for that. Yay! My first official Old Lady Medication.
And while I was thankful that the pills worked well and without side effects, the Two (Postmenopausal) Periods From Hades were still very much on my mind, so I raised the issue repeatedly with my regular physician until she referred me to a gynecologist. He ordered tests. First an ultrasound, which determined that my uterine lining was unusually thick, which may have been the cause of the bleeds. Then, an endometrial biopsy, which I feared and dreaded but needn’t have; it was far less crampy than even a normal period for me. That test was inconclusive, since not enough endometrial tissue was aspirated to test. So then I had to have a hysteroscopy/D&C, which was the first of the two operations. It turned out to be a polypectomy as well; the scope had shown a growth on the uterine wall. Culprit found and eliminated! Or so I thought.
Well, a biopsy showed the polyp to be precancerous. While I was absorbing the good news it wasn’t cancer just yet, the gyno sprang his next little surprise on me: I was going to need a total laparoscopic hysterectomy, with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. (Try saying THAT five times fast. Drunk or sober, you simply can’t.)
If I’d been younger and still hoping for kids, this treatment might not have been recommended, but due to my age and the fact that I never wanted kids anyway, that horse was long out of the barn. In fact, my tubes were tied 20 years ago, so there was also that. And in any case, I’m not a believer in feminine martyrdom or anything else that falls under the rubric of “let God decide it for you”. If I could forestall cancer by getting rid of some non-essential organs which had been a source of grief to me for four decades, then damn it, I was going to. So I signed the consent form and made hasty preparations for my recovery at home.
Three weeks later, near the end of September, I was in surgery. Again. And after a couple of hours, I was out — sans uterus, cervix, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Tired, but hopeful. The garden had already been dug over and tarped just days before I was due to go in. All I had to do now was recover, and hope that the coming winter wouldn’t be too snowy. So far, it hasn’t been. My recovery has been considerably less eventful than the weather.
As for the household emergencies, I’ll spare you the details. I’m not out of the woods there yet, anyway.
So. Here I am, looking at another year, this time with some things I didn’t have this time last year (a full-fledged driver’s licence, blood pressure medication) and minus some things I did have (all my reproductive organs, right down to my tired, retired ovaries). Probably the first order of business in January (which starts tomorrow!) will be to call my doctor and get checked out mentally, and ask for either antidepressants or estrogen, I’m really not sure which. Maybe one, maybe the other, maybe even both. Won’t that be fun? Yep, I’m SO looking forward to that.
Anyhow, happy New Year! Let’s hope it’s better than this one’s been. Even as low as I am, I’m still thankful to put it behind me at last.
It could all have been so much worse.