Déjà vu in the OR

I’m a little behind, but: Happy New Year!

2021 has been off to a strange start so far (to put it mildly). It’s been something like science fiction. After being told by my doctor back in November that I “probably” had cancer, three biopsies later, it turns out that I probably don’t. What I do have, though, is an abdominal wall endometrioma, which is the medical way of saying there’s a piece of uterus growing where it shouldn’t (my abdomen). Turns out, the stomach pain I’ve been having for over a year was actually a piece of tissue that had been accidentally, unknowingly transferred during my c-section. Over the years it grew (which I guess is par for the course with uteruses). So, I had to get it removed before it got any bigger and more painful. I wasn’t particularly thrilled about returning to the operating table again, especially for abdominal surgery (see my previous posts on birth trauma, if you’re interested).

But the timing was certainly uncanny. When my daughter was born, just over 4 years ago, we were discharged from the hospital on election night. It was surreal. My first night home with my newborn daughter, all bandaged and bruised, sleep deprived and traumatized, I vaguely remember watching the election coverage. But I wasn’t paying much attention. I have a hazy memory of getting up at all hours of the night to feed my daughter; each time my husband would check the election results on his phone and give me updates that I only half-listened to. As the night went on, he told me Trump was doing better than expected. Sometime in the early morning, he told me Trump won. I just went on feeding my daughter. I barely processed the news.

This time around, my abdominal surgery began just as people were storming into the US capital building, stirring up riots and insurrection. I didn’t know it at the time, but when I got home and heard I felt a similar sense of disbelief. Like, what kind of world have I woken up to? And it was the same sort of feelings: exhaustion, confusion, a kind of deep but muted sadness. And it’s all woven in with these feelings as I experience them in my body: pain, of course, deep in my stomach, but also at least the hope of recovery and healing. This time around, especially. Here’s hoping to some brighter days ahead.