"Why didn't I bring my husband?" was the thought running through my head. My Dr. stared at me, waiting for me to respond.
"Did you hear what I said? I am going to cut you from hip bone to hip bone to remove the tumor. The MRI shows that the tumor is growing in your abdomen wall. You will lose your belly button in the process. My colleague will then come and perform a tummy tuck and close you up. Do you understand?" I nodded my head, not trusting my voice.
"I thought he was going to tell me I had a hernia... a tumor? How did this happen?"
For two months after this conversation with my Dr., I had prepared mentally for the surgery that would make me have an alien stomach. No belly button? How would that look? I told myself that everything would be fine; I've had surgeries before and they went great. The morning of the surgery, my hubby and mother watched me take deep breaths as I waited in the hospital bed for the two and a half hour surgery. I was expecting the anesthesiologist, who would show up momentarily to put me to sleep. What I wasn't expecting, were the permanent changes that took place afterwards.
With a groggy brain I awoke to hear bits and pieces of what my Dr. was telling my hubby and mother. The one phrase that stood out the most was "She won't be able to have any more children. The tumor was deeper and longer than we expected." I blacked out after that. Several hours later, when the anesthesia was finding its way out of my system, I awoke to my mother standing over me with a solemn look on her face. She didn't know I had heard the Dr. say I wasn't allowed to have any more children and she wasn't about to deliver the bad news. After seven long hospital recovery days and two drain tubes removed, I was able to go home. Back to normal, so I thought. So what I didn't have a belly button anymore or that my dream of having another child was no more, I wasn't going to let those few changes bother me. The tumor was gone and I was alive.
Over the course of the year, when I was supposed to be "healing" I discovered that the tumor was diagnosed and that I had endometriosis, running and speed walking caused "giggling" in my stomach that took a minute to stop, and because I am anemic, the bleeding from the endometriosis is causing me to become tired more often. So goodbye to the stressful high energy full-time job and hello to the slower pace part-time job. My primary sent me to my OBGYN to receive birth control to treat the endometriosis which stopped the bleeding but also messed with my sex drive at the age of 32!
As I sat on my patio, tears rolling down my face, asking God why did He make me a woman? My awesome hubby placed his hand on my shoulder and said, "Don't cry hunny, everything will be alright." I looked at him, while the thought of punching him in the face quickly passed. Here he was, this MAN, who doesn't have to worry about PMS, periods, pregnancy, labor, or early menopause. How do I explain to him that I haven't been "in the mood" since I received the depo shot or that there is a good chance that I am in premenopause at the age of 32 and I will be dried up like a prune? "You are the strongest woman I know. I've seen you go through tougher things and come out on top. You are a tough woman, let me hear you roar!" I looked at him to see if he was serious. Yes, he was. He wanted me to roar. I stretched my lungs with as much air as possible and gave the best roar I could. "Now let me hear you say it." At first, I was confused at what he wanted to hear, but revelation hit me... "I am Woman, hear me roar!"