Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for August, 2010

What does one do with a potential uterus?

I’ve been keeping myself from thinking all that much about the possibility that I have a uterus. First off, I guess I’m still skeptical that it is, in fact, a uterus. It’s stretches credulity to believe that I would have a uterus and no one would notice that fact until now. And yet, the only CT scan I’ve ever had on my pelvis says that I have a uterus, and the tech may have said that it didn’t look completely like a normal uterus, but they also said it didn’t look like male anatomy.

So, I’ve been purposely keeping myself from dwelling too much on it. I even just mentioned to the Darling Boyfriend that I’m not even sure if I’m allowed to refer to it as “my uterus.” I feel disconnected from my body at the moment in a way that’s unusual for me nowadays. How can I talk about, or even think about “my uterus?” Do I have that right? I don’t know. It’s funny, when people express doubt that I might have a uterus, I get defensive, almost as if they’re trying to take something from me. But when people act like it’s a good thing that I have a uterus, I’m equally ambivalent.

Weird.

And the reason I’m being so ambivalent was articulated by a friend last night. We talked about my test and the results and all that. And she basically said that I should have it hooked up to my vagina and throw an embryo up there and see what happens.

Would that it were so easy.

Of course this is something that I would give my right arm for. But even if I do have a uterus, I can’t see any way in which it would be physically useful to me. This is the tease. This is the thing that I can’t let myself think. I can’t let myself get caught thinking that this potential uterus is a path to pregnancy. That’s what I’ve been afraid to think about. I know me, and I know my potential to get caught up in useless thought-loops. I’m really trying hard to not let that happen with this news.

Who knows? Maybe it is possible. Maybe in a couple years I’ll have a baby in my belly. I’m very skeptical at the potential, and in this moment I think that’s the right attitude to have. What I mean is that anything is possible, and I will ask the question of doctors, but I’m not expecting to be pregnant in six months (or ever, really).

But damn, why couldn’t I have had a test when I was 20 that mentioned a uterus?

So, I think I’m still pretty detached from the news. I don’t want to let myself get caught up in it. Indeed, if my friend hadn’t said what she said last night I probably wouldn’t be writing about it again now.

But she voiced my heart’s most desperate wish, and I guess those deserve to be voiced.

(I just now went and searched for uterus and prostate CT scans on Google images, and they look sorta different – seems like an expert should be able to tell the difference. This was the first time I’ve done this since my doctor appointment last week, which surprises me. I’d have thought it would be the first thing I’d do, but I guess I just couldn’t do it immediately. It was informative, I guess. Maybe now I’ll request a copy of my scan for myself so I can have a peek. Maybe the only way to know for sure is for someone to go cutting around in there, and unless they’re gluing an embryo in there on their way out that ain’t happening.)

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I might have a uterus – insert dramatic music here…

I found out today that I have a uterus. Maybe. It’s something I’ve gotten used to, this not really having any definitive answers about my this body of mine. One of my earliest memories if being in the hospital when I had my first surgery. It’s just a flash of a memory, but I remember being in a room and having a little cart for me to be pushed around in. The memory is from after the surgery. To catch anyone up who doesn’t know, the surgery was ostensibly to remove an undescended testicle, though once the surgery was completed the doctors only told my mother that they removed a mass and that they didn’t know exactly what it was.

As I’ve written about, I’ve wondered for quite a while about what, exactly, that mass might have been. Was it a malformed testicle? Was it a lump of undefined flesh? Was it an ovary?

The truth is that I’ll never know. And I guess that’s okay.

But it means that part of my history will always be sort of vague.

Today I got the results from a pelvic CT scan that I had a few weeks ago. The scan was for an unrelated test, and I was actually a bit surprised that I even had a CT scan. I had a physical today. I wasn’t as anxious as I’ve been for some of doctor visits lately, because I feel good and figured it was just going to be an “all is well” kind of thing. I was expecting to have an appointment be normal for a change. As we were going over the results of the scan, though, it became apparent that this was going to be another stressful doctor visit. My eyes quickly locked on the statement:

The bladder, rectum, and uterus are within normal limits.”

…uterus…within normal limits.”

~What!?~

I have to be honest; my first reaction was that the person who read it just saw that I’m a woman and assumed that I have a uterus. But my doctor said that shouldn’t be the case and ~would not~ be okay. We both sort of sat there for a minute, not completely sure what to make of this incredibly heavy piece of information. She decided that she should speak directly with the person who read the scan, and that she should do that right away, so she went to put in a call to the person who had read the scan originally.

As I waited for my doctor to make that call I sat in the examination room in my johnny and I was alone with my thoughts. What does it mean if I have a uterus? What does it mean if I don’t? Wishing, for some reason I can’t fully understand, that I do have a uterus, and yet simultaneously hoping that the surprises my body has thrown at me are finally over. What could it mean about my early surgery if I have a uterus? What complications might I have in the future if there’s a uterus hiding inside of me? Could this finally be the answer? All that filled my brain in those long minutes were questions. What the true state of my body could be. Not too long ago I actually started wondering that I might have a uterus, but now, presented with the actual possibility all I could think was, “No way.” I’m still processing the initial emotions even as I write this. I think the word is “shock.” I think it will take a while for the news to sink in. As I sat there I felt myself invoke one of my most tried-and-true defense mechanisms: my emotions shut down and I withdrew. I guess I really am used to this kind of question and pain, because as much I withdrew, I didn’t go near-catatonic as I can sometimes do. I’m writing about it and talking about it. And I was able to stay present in the moment, which helped me deal with what came next.

After about fifteen minutes, my doctor came back, having left a message to be paged when word came from the other doctor. We talked, and she told me that she finally got a glimpse of what it must be like to have so many questions about my body and my history. We talked about the “whys” of things, and I told her that I’m basically at peace with the “whys” of my life, though I do still have that conversation with God ever now and again. But I am concerned with the realities of my body and my history.

During this point she did my yearly exam down south, and said that my surgeon had done an excellent job and everything looked great. So, at least that’s good news (of course, I knew that already, but it’s nice to have confirmation).

After several minutes, the beeper went off, and my doctor returned the call. She made the call from the examination room with me sitting next to her. The same physician that had originally read my results was reading the scan again. The conversation went on for several minutes. It was one of those awkward conversations where I was the subject but also had to just eavesdrop on one side. I heard my doctor ask how the scan looked compared to a male, and ask a couple other questions, but most of the information was contained on the other end of the phone line.

When she got off the phone my doctor explained about the soft tissue in the pelvis. She told me that the person reading the scan had gotten out a magnifying glass and had someone else give them a second opinion. They said that it didn’t look like a normal uterus, but that it also did not look like a prostate. There seemed a general sense of “we don’t know.” I find it interesting that when it was initially read, whatever is there looked enough like a uterus to generate the comment that the “…uterus…[is] within normal limits.” It didn’t stand out enough to generate a “whoa, something’s amiss here.” And now they don’t know.

So now, here I am, more questions floating in my mind than have been there in quite some time, needing to sort out yet another part of my story. And it’s all right. I’m used to “we don’t knows” when it comes to my body.

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