Photo Credit: Gardner Edmunds
At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.
– Alan Alda
It’s my hysterectoversary.
A year ago, I had major surgery. They opened me, took my womb.
Let them open me, I had thought. Let them take a piece of me out. It will heal all that is wrong in my world, the pain will be physical. And then it will finally be healed. I will be healed. Not whole ever again, but free from the persistent sensation that my parts and pieces were scrambled up inside. I had been feeling this way for years, diagnosed with a disease of the uterus called adenomyosis. It creates a heaviness. A fullness. Pressure. The options were to have surgery, or wait till menopause. I jumped into surgery, desperate to make things feel light. In order. Pressure free.
The surgery did not go well. It was supposed to be simple. Heal internally. There would be no knowing of the scars, no way so see the damage. Just the emptiness. They went through my vagina, to reach the uterus, the offending woman part. They took it out, and repaired the damage, and my body still bled. Not a dangerous, life threatening pace, but a slow, persistent trickle. I laid on the operating table for two more hours. They stitched and cauterised with no avail. Finally, they felt they must take a more drastic step. The bleeding was not threatening my life, but could not be ignored.
They opened my belly, exposing the tiny bleeding wound they could not find without light. And stopped the bleeding. I woke up with the internal wounds and a big, long, ugly cut. Visible. A constant reminder of my missing pieces. A permanent talisman of the persistent trickling damage.
Once at home to heal, I burrowed deep into the dark of my room, wallowing in the cushy leather recliner. I tried to hide from the funnel cloud of emotions that had moved into my space with me. The pain of recovery and healing was a place to focus. But I felt so… betrayed. Visible scars were not what I had bargained for. I did not want a sign, written on my flesh that stated,
“Someone took out your womb. You gave them this power, and you knew it would not heal you.”
It is true. I ran towards surgery at a determined speed. I made the appointments, I talked to the doctors. “There is more,” she whispered. My intuition. I did not want to hear her. So I locked it away. I carried that intuitive knowledge around, smothered under a thick blanket of denial and simplicity as I slipped on paper gowns. Endured ultrasounds. Vaginal exams. Blood work. I met with the surgeon, and walked out, turning the music up loud in the car to drown out the doubt, the voice that began speaking louder, “get another opinion. She is not experienced enough. This will not heal you. It is more.”
I clung to the diagnosis. It felt good to have something with letters and sounds to define my experience. A name. Adenomyosis. Simple. There is a physical discomfort. There is a name for it. We will surgically remove the offending part. We will sew you back together. You will experience great pain. And then you will heal and it will be over. I loved this idea. It needed to be true. I would make it true by going through with it.
Wounds heal. I wanted healing. If I had to give away a piece of me to do it, so be it.
In my desperation for wholeness, I willingly ignored my screaming intuition…the deeper pain, the slow bleed that surrounded womanhood, hurts that needed much more than the scalpel of a surgeon.
For weeks after the surgery, I laid in a recliner, listening to the sounds of my family downstairs, their lives marching on as my layers of skin grew back together. I slept. And my dreams were filled with holes. I woke and thought about what my body must do to shift and sift and fill the hole within me. What my surgeon had to do to stop the slow, persistent bleed. The belief that it would all be worth it, the pressure would be gone, the pain would heal, and it would be a distant memory was like holding water in my cupped palms.
Eventually it all ran out.
It’s been a year. My parts have shifted, the hole filled, the bright purple line has faded from an angry purple to a more relaxed violet. I have spent every day of this year healing. From the hysterectomy.
From the betrayal of my inner voice.
I was taught as a young child, that this inner voice was a gift from God. A women must receive this gift from the priesthood powers of men. I was taught that I must earn my worthiness, and that worthiness would be determined by men in the church. There were definitive measurements of my worthiness as a girl, before I could have this gift of the Holy Ghost within me, the still small voice. And I was taught to use this gift as my most precious possession to guide me throughout my life. I was also taught with great fear that I would lose this cherished gift if I did not receive guidance that matched those of my church leaders. I could ask within myself, and their answers would always come to me.
I have always been aware of this pulse inside me. The throbbing, persistent boom-boom-boom-boom of my heartbeat in my eyelids, my fingertips, the base of my throat, the top of my scalp. The sensation is a drum beat, calling me to my truth.
My intuition is not a sleeping beast, needing poking and prodding to come alive. It is a roaring beast, tantruming inside me, fighting to be heard.
My intuitive voice has never been hard for me to hear, but almost always terrifying to acknowledge. Because the whispers, and persistent shouts of my inner voice have been in opposition to the voices of those that claimed to bestow me with this great spiritual gift.
Herein lies the bleed. The tremendous heaviness. The healing process is long and repetitive. I am learning, ever so slowly, and not without pain, that ignoring my own intuition has brought me into my darkest moments, and finally being brave enough to do what I feel called to do inside has been the light to guide me out of those dark times.
I signed the consent forms, I put on the paper gown, I laid my head on the hospital gurney, and I allowed a surgeon I did not fully trust take out my womb. In the end, the adenomyosis was confirmed, and the offending part, the center of my womanhood, was taken out. But in the process, I ignored the loud, intuitive voice that begged me to find a more experienced surgeon. So I could avoid the myriad of complications that have arisen since. And I denied the voice that was begging me to stop denying the knowledge that there was already a slow, trickling bleed inside me. A wound that no surgeon could heal. There are emotional and spiritual wounds that I was tired of addressing, so I chose to ignore them.
And now, I have the outer scar to remind me. And maybe, that is what needed to be. A tattoo, calling me to this healing:
We all have the tremendous, powerful gift of intuition.
-I am a woman, and women are powerful.
We are all worthy of this gift. Always. Worthiness is an inherent birthright.
-I am worthy. I have always been worthy.
The ability to connect with one’s inner knowledge gets stronger with consistent practice.
-No one can give or take away this ability from me.
No other person can provide you with answers. If you are seeking to only confirm what others have found to be their truth, you are denying yourself access to your own inner wisdom.
-I can trust myself. The answers are within me.
One must be open. It is easy to be blinded by desire, or the need to be safe, or the need to please others. There are many ways to be dishonest with one’s self.
-Living in defiance of my inner compass will leave me lost in the dark.