Whenever I think of the phrase "women's right to choose" I think of abortion.
Maybe sometimes I think of birth control. We've pretty much got that one down, except for a few insurance providers who don't cover it. To me, that sounds judgmental and repressive, especially in cases where people are using the birth control pill to control for things like painful cramping and excessive bleeding. Sometimes a lady needs to adjust her hormone levels for reasons other than getting some carefree booty.
Six months ago I was talking with my gyno-oncologist about a partial hysterectomy. I was tired of being biopsied and gouged and cut and sewn up so many times. The mental stress was eroding my brain. The physical stress of having pieces of my ladyhood removed on a regular basis was horrifying. Neurological problems that may or may not be related to the cancer and the treatment and the lack of research surrounding all of this ("we just don't know enough about this to give you a definitive answer, maybe in a few years...") taking a toll on my sex life- hell- on my entire life. Nearly six years of going back and forth with this issue was wearing thin. I wasn't getting better. Every time I went to the doctor the cancer spots would spread or move or hide or mutate. I didn't understand why they couldn't just take out my tumory parts for once and for all and let me live like a normal healthy person.
"Because," she said. "Because what happens if you want another baby? We can't just take out your uterus and cervix in case you decide to have another baby. Your records say you are married, what if he wants another child?"
She said it like Bay-EE-bee.
"I don't want another baby. I want to be healthy for the one I have."
"Well, you are too young to be considered for this operation and you only have one child. If you had two maybe we could talk. If you were closer to 40, it would be an option."
"I'm quite sure I don't want to have another child. I'm 32. I've been told by two doctors that if I were to get pregnant again, it would likely be a high risk, bed-rest pregnancy. I'm not willing to go through that. I'm not willing to sacrifice almost a year of my life and my son's life just to have another baby."
"If you are interested in paying out-of-pocket for a hysterectomy, it might be negotiable."
And so on and so on and so on. I had this conversation with three other doctors and an insurance rep.
So, because I'm just a spring-like 32 years old and I've only spit one brat, I am not eligible to HAVE A CANCER-RIDDEN NON-VITAL ORGAN removed. Unless I wanted to pay for it.
But the single 29 year-old healthy-as-an-ox yet childless man who works in my office, who carries the same damn insurance card that we all do here, is able to walk into the same hospital and get a vasectomy. No questions asked. He has a consultation, he talks to the girl at the front desk, he comes back in ten days, and he walks down to a taxi stand 45 minutes later with an ice pack and a pat on the back and doctors orders not to cum inside anyone for two weeks.
If I had a spot of melanoma on my arm it would be taken care of without question. If I had breast cancer it would be no problem. Anything anywhere else, and it would be gone and forgotten six months after it was found.
This is bullshit.
So I'm not allowed to decide I don't want a uterus anymore, but I can chose to take a pill every day to render it useless? Yes.
And if I forget that pill and I get pregnant I can chose to come to you and you can suck out the pregnancy with a vacuum on a straw? Yes.
But you can't take out my uterus because I might decide to have a baby but I can always decide to terminate that baby or I might be able to take a pill the next day after having unprotected sex so I won't have to have a baby that I don't want and I can do it all again and again and again provided I keep giving you $200 every time it happens? Yes.
And I can have my cervix and uterus removed on my dime? Yes.
But not on yours, and you are willing to pay so that I can have my reproductive organs nickled and fucking dimed until they are shredded into nothingness just so you can't say 'I told you so' if I get some sort of hormonal maternal surge in my late 30s? Just in case I want an eleventh hour child you say you are doing me some sort of favor? Yes.
What is this about, fundamentally?
I don't really understand all this. Six years brings probably over fifty office visits, dozens of painful biopsies, and one out-patient anesthetized surgery accumulated. Prescriptions filled. I can't imagine the total monetary cost.
But, cue the bluebirds and bring in the sunshine. Run a kitten across a field. Is that a bunny? Let's go horseback riding. Through a meadow of daisies. With ice cream cones for desert. Double scoop.
In better news, I've had two clean biopsies in a row. That's never happened before. I go back next month, and then in January, and if those are clean I can start living like none of this ever happened.
Three cheers for normal annual gynecological visits.
A girl can only take so many trips in those stir-ups before she gets a mite bit angry at the system.