I am still kind of numb about my diagnosis of cervical cancer. Because cervical cancer often shows very little in the way of symptoms, I feel physically much as I have every other day of my life, and so it is difficult to pair my conception of myself and the life I lead with the big C cancer.
I look at myself in the mirror every time I go to the bathroom and mouth I have cancer at myself in the mirror above the sink. It's not the happiest exercise, but I feel this strong need to identify it as mine. I can probably stop this regular confrontation with myself in the mirror, because the world is finding no difficulty in coming up with its own reminders for me every couple of hours, anyway. I am like a baby seal being clubbed to death by reality with a giant bag of uteri.
Here is a list of some of the events and circumstances that continue to remind me that I will, in all likelihood, be uterusless within the next month:
- When my gynecologist told me that I was being referred to another doctor and would likely have a hysterectomy (in my head I like to say They're going to ectomy my hyster), my gynecologist was hugely pregnant and I had my period. I was peeved, to say the least, that our uteri were both so busy with uteric activity right when I was being told that some of my lady parts would be hitting the road. It was as though our uteri were thumbing their noses at me.
- There was a young woman in line in front of me at the bookstore, and she looked like she was keeping her hipness intact despite the new baby she was pushing, but then I noticed that she was buying some feelgood Oprah book. I silently snickered meanly at her mother-induced brain-melt until I realized that I was misdirecting my anger at my own rebellious female organs toward her obviously healthy and functioning ones.
- Grandmothers shopping with grandchildren looked like some sinister display of lobotomized happiness bent on showing me that I would never be one of them.
- I counted down the days to when my next period is due and realized that it was likely the last time I would ever do that. Weird.
- I changed the sheets on the bed and saw an old period stain on the mattress. I want a new mattress.
- Does anybody need any OB regular tampons? Because mine scream at me every time I open the bathroom cupboard. There's also an unused pregnancy test in it for you that insists on eying me sarcastically.
- Several times, upon telling people that I have the dreaded cervical cancer and may be hysterectomied, the response has been to tell me stories about other women's miscarriages. In case you feel that urge, don't do it. Telling me about other women who have intact internal female organs and are capable of choosing to make homunculi but have fallen into that sometimes sad but relatively common 25% of pregnancies that end in spontaneous abortion does not actually apply in this circumstance.
- On my walk home the trees were proudly sporting their vaginas.
- Mother's Day made me hatch bizarre thoughts related to heteronormativity and how women are often basically treated like baby-baking appliances akin to breadmakers. I invented for myself a group of cultural elite called the Uterati (yoo-tuh-rah-tee), which is a hegemonical organization with its tentacles in higher levels of government and the baby products industrial complex. I have fallen prey to their Holier-Than-Thou Department, which is responsible for my I'm-a-baby-seal-being-clubbed-by-a-bag-of-uteri experience. The Uterati know when you've been breeding, and they know when you've managed to traverse a wide circuit around that misadventure. Watch out.
Like the people you meet for the first time who start showing up everywhere you go, representations of the female sexual and reproductive organs are popping up all over the place. I know that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but in this case it is hard not to make the symbolic connections.
For the time being, while I am very busy sticking my fingers in my ears and yelling La la la la, I will make every effort to avoid looking at older trees, eating fish, being anywhere that families with children are, and avoiding pub trivia night when the theme is sex.