Hysterectomy Grief

It has been 5 years since my hysterectomy and yet I still have moments of grief. the words above came to me during my morning yoga. In tears, I lay on the living room floor thanking and grieving for my entire reproductive system.

I struggled many years with endometriosis, unbearable pain and bleeding so heavy I couldn’t leave the house. I took all the pathways my state insurance required, suffering immensely the whole way. I didn’t want any more children but it still took a few more years, until I was finally granted surgery. First they took my uterus lining, endometrial ablation.

I didn’t do well with that procedure, continuing to bleed and awful pain brought me back to the doctor, where she was perplexed and almost angry that I was having trouble. She reluctantly wrote out a prescription for a few more pain pills and had nothing else to offer. I was disgusted with how she treated me and sought out a different OBGYN.

Finally I was heard, really heard, from a wonderful doctor and she scheduled me for a complete hysterectomy. After the surgery she told me we were just in time. She explained how much of a mess it was with many precancerous fibroids and how lucky I was.

Lucky I did not feel, spending my 48th birthday recovering; but I knew that I did what I had to do to move forward. I was grateful that the potential cancer was removed, but sad to hear how “how much of a mess it was”, my poor reproductive system. It held all that disease. I visualized it returning to the Earth and being free.

I had been working out in therapy that metaphorically my womanhood was holding trauma. I learned about the connection between rape and vaginismus. and other effects rape can have on you. I never did EMDR for healing this like I had planned, I simply do not want to relive these experiences. Though my prior EMDR had opened pathways in my mind and memories came anyway. I am still working on healing this area of my life, body, mind and spirit. (Which is probably why I still have these moments of grief).

I wonder how many other women share this journey. According to NCBI, one in nine women in the United States will have a hysterectomy. How awful. Are their wombs holding trauma too? How do you heal from the trauma? And how do you heal from hysterectomy? Besides the physical healing, there is mental, emotional, spiritual and energetic healing that must accompany the process. Feelings of less than, broken and dysfunctional.

Instead of thinking I am empty and can no longer bring life into the world, I choose to focus on the fact that I still have energetic womb space and as a woman who is caring and creative I can and will give life to new projects.

I am ever so grateful for my physical womb for bringing my daughter to this planet, for holding and carrying the pain and trauma for me, and for understanding what I had to do. I will continue to heal and create from that healing.

Life and Love are always stirring in my womb space that nobody can take away! I AM WOMAN!

Bark Reflection

I started my Intermediate Sacred Gaiian Herbalism Apprenticeship a few weeks ago with Blackbirds Daughter Botanicals via Zoom. One of the things we studied was the bark of a tree and how it compares to our own skin.

The purpose of bark on a tree is to protect that tree’s essential living system from temperature extremes, storms, diseases, animals and insects. The bark also conserves water and transports food and water throughout the tree. The five layers (heartwood, sapwood, cambium, phloem/inner bark& rhytidome/outer bark) continuously work together to not only survive but live in a state of renewal and harmony. A tree also sheds it’s bark much like we shed our skin.

Part of our homework assignment was to write a reflection of how our own bark serves us. The following words came flying out of me.

bark2 (2)

Rape Trauma and Vaginismus

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I have been waiting to heal from my hysterectomy before beginning EMDR therapy again for my rape traumas. I have been putting it off because I know it’s going to be difficult work. It feels scary and dark. There are big chunks I don’t remember and EMDR will take be there to retrieve the fragments of my memory and emotions. Like it did to retrieve the abuse from my grandmother.

I have endured these horrible traumas early on in life and then spent a lifetime burying them with alcohol and drugs. From being a young teen into my early twenties, I was often sexually assaulted and raped. There is a large history of abuse that I have to visit.

Despite my fear, I recognize how necessary it is to heal. slide_32

I want a healthy life, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and sexually. These traumas need healing in order to get to where I want to be.

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I shared in my post Preparing for Surgery, that I had I come to the awareness of my vagina clenching as I read about the vaginal hysterectomy. I made the connection that I have often clenched when threatened, whether it was a pap smear exam or making love.

I googled ‘psychological trauma to the vagina’ and found vaginismus.

Vaginismus is a disorder that occurs when the muscles around the outer third of the vagina contract involuntarily when vaginal penetration is attempted during sexual intercourse.

There’s not always a reason for vaginismus. The condition has been linked to past sexual abuse or trauma, past painful intercourse, and emotional factors. 

I have clenched so tightly it feels like I am bruised. It is very painful and I surmise it is associated with the trauma of being raped and forcefully entered on more than one occasion. I believe it is why I have recovered a little more slowly with my hysterectomy and the ablation I had last year.

If my body is holding that much trauma still, I can only imagine where else those memories lurk.

Healing is hard work but so worth it to get to the other side,

survivor-teal

Darkness in the Labyrinth of My Mind…

            In the labyrinth of my mind
                                                          I’m running down a blackened hall                        
                                  Searching                              
                                             fearful of what I may find.                                                                     
                                                                            I see a little girl                                                         
                                                            rocking in the corner                           
                                                                                           trying to calm her world.       
She’s bruised and beaten,                               
                            yet she smiles.               
                                                      “The hitting only lasts a little while”           
                                                                                        she whispers,                         
                                                                                                                   and retreats into a  closet.                 
             Darkness envelops her.                            
                                                                             Demons stir.                                               
                                                                                    Suddenly, I hear laughter echo,        
                                                                                             I turn to go                                          
                                                               A teenage girl                                   
                                                                               is fighting for survival.
                                                      It’s a bloody battle.                
                                                                       She screams, then laughs again                     
                                                                despite her pain                           
                                                                                 and drinks and drugs it all away.
    Monsters hover over her,                       
                                    smelling and probing her.          
                     Their insatiable appetite
rapes her.                                                                 

                                 Her innocence feeds them,
                                     and they suck her dry.        
                                                  She looks to me and smiles,  
                                                                   “It only hurts for a little while.”
                       There’s a candle lit            
                                     far down the hall.            
                    I investigate.    
                              There sits a young woman,                                                                            
                                                                                             up straight and tall 
         consumed by pain and hate.                      
                                                    Her light is a tiny spark of a dying flame.             
                           She performs her duties 
      and sheds her soul.              
                                            Her heart feels empty and cold.
                                                                    She downs a handful of pills               
                                                              chased with vodka,                                         
                                                                                  and mournfully wails,
         “Please, make it all go away                
                    just for a little while.”                   
                                               I’m running to find another passageway.                            
                                                            An exit out of here                              This is too sad and dark.                                              
                                     I can’t stay.                 
                           I hear screaming and crying                          
                             from afar away
                                         No one is there.          
              I fall to my knees.    
                                              I cry
                 and pray,
            for the light to set me free,
                                           heal these wounds of mine! 
                          I open my eyes and find          
 I have awoken   
                        from and to                          
                                                  the darkness                                 
                                                                 in the labyrinth of my mind.              
                                        
Pictures found on Deviantart and Google Images, Click pic for link