“Just wait and see,” my mum keeps telling me, anytime I speculate about what exactly is going on with my uterus. For a while it’s been a really annoying command. “I need to know now,” my brain disputes. But finally, it’s not long until the waiting is over and the seeing can begin.
This week I have my long awaited diagnostic laparoscopy. For those who don’t know this is, or should be, simple keyhole surgery to determine if endometriosis is the cause of my pain and other issues. If there are any lesions (sticky bits of endometrium in the wrong place that can potentially bind organs together) they’ll remove what they can and then discuss possible treatments with me. A possible treatment, other than repeated surgery, is likely to be returning on the pill, an idea, you now know, I am not a massive fan of.
Instead of going off on one of my usual tangents about how unfair it is that female health has been neglected, making common problems like endometriosis seem harsher in a world of medicinal advancement (still got it in there though, didn’t I?), I want to talk about what I worry is the most likely outcome of the surgery.
“Nope, nothing wrong Ms Webb, off you pop!” The words I fear Dr M is going to say to me after the surgery have started to give me nightmares. I know it is a reality for so many women seeking enlightenment about their reproductive health but I am terrified that I’ll be joining the gang. There’s not a conspiracy here but there is a lack of understanding. When I’ve discussed pain during sex Dr H has been great but other doctors and nurses who I’ve mentioned it to, while also mentioning my lack of desire to return on the pill, say nothing. But in the nothing, I can’t help getting a vibe that says “shut your legs, harlot”. I think it’s highly unlikely, and unfair of me to assume, that they are actually thinking or suggesting this, but once all other options have been exhausted there’s not much left except abstinence from penetrative sex. They know this and so do I. It’s become an elephant in the room. While many people tell you to anticipate descending towards a new chastity at the very end of your life, it’s not something I want to be facing at twenty-two.
So call me disturbed, but I really hope that after the surgery I hear that, in fact, there is something wrong with me (ideally something that they’ve fixed). At least if I have a condition with a name, I won’t feel like it’s all in my head and I’ll have somewhere to direct my frustration.
But until then, let’s just wait and see.