Friday, February 10, 2017

Vagina 3.0

i. This is a story about the anatomy between my legs.
ii. I am telling you because I've sworn off blogging about the shitstorm that is the USA because I've had two panic attacks in twelve hours. 
iii. Okay let us talk about my bits.

I realized that, in the funniest observation I think I've ever made about my body, that this is Vagina Mark III.

I've been meaning to tell the whole story of my many birth defects here, since Monica Orosz interviewed me about my rare diagnosis way back in 2012. Because the word 'vagina' doesn't tend to appear in the then-Daily Mail, they were a bit vague about the reproductive organs.

So, at birth, my vagina and uterus were divided by a wall of thin skin called a septum, like in a nose. I had an operation to remove it, because I wanted to have penetrative sex and though at the time I was very unconcerned, it later enabled me to conceive. (Molly's difficult birth was due to the scar tissue that surgery left in my cervix and uterus.) There is a long version of the story of this but it's for another day.

And now I've had a total hysterectomy, which included removal of my ovaries (the actual priority because their hormones were the PMDD crazymakers) as well as my uterus and cervix. Those we decided should go too because I've had pre-cancerous lesions and HPV and family history of cancer.

When the cervix is removed in an everything-must-go hysterectomy, the end of the vagina is sealed off and this new post-operative structure is called the vaginal vault. Or, The Vaginal Vault. It deserves caps.

I find this sublime and fabulous.

Upon learning of this term, I immediately pictured a gloriously appointed classical Roman cathedral, resplendent with gold and gleaming marble work. I cackled as I explained that my new vagina was a Holy of Holies, to be regarded with reverence and awe. And possibly gold-plated.

image by Catalina Villamil

Some point after learning that came the realization that yes, this is the third iteration of my vagina. I wonder how many people can make this claim.

Healing is going strikingly—even frustratingly—well. I feel really well and have since maybe three or four days after surgery. I do get a bit achy (like mild menstrual cramps) if I'm on my feet too long and sitting for too long aggravates my magnificent new cathedral a little. It's strange that the sensation of "twinges of healing vagina after a new construction" is familiar to me.

But it's all far less painful or restrictive than I'd expected. I never really felt like I've had major abdominal surgery. The sitting thing has been an annoyance; this post's been in draft form for more than a week and I haven't touched my sketchbook.

My menopause symptoms have been few; but I immediately started hormone replacement therapy so it wasn't a jarring shock to the system. I have been moody at times and had a couple of bad night sweats, but the hormone shift too has been much milder than expected. I'm definitely in a surge of depression and anxiety, but it's a situational thing. I've got a very sick mom-in-law and we're getting a brand new constitutional crisis every goddamn day so my micro and macro worlds are not fertile soil for a peaceful state of mind.

So that's my news. Upgrades, y'know. Same shit different surgery and all that. After this heals up it's time to have my spinal cord stimulator replaced.

If you miss me, I've largely been hanging out on Twitter because 140 characters is my attention span lately and I just can't fucking look away from the surreal shit show that is this new reality. So hit me up there or I'll see you the next time the cosmic forces align and my mood and physical wellness allow me to write.

Be well, be badass, and fight the power, Boners. I love you.

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