~the following is part of “Prompted Prose,” a series of posts from the prompts I’m working with during my Spring 2016 online writing course
I went for my first, routine gynecological exam at age 18. Dr. M was soft-spoken, with gentle hands. He explained everything he was going to do before he did it. But when he felt something on my ovary that he could not explain, he ordered an ultrasound right away. Within days, I was scheduled for surgery to remove what had been determined as a dermoid cyst on my left ovary.
Dermoids are bizarre. Beginning from a single cell, which holds within it, full potential, these morphed formations may often contain hair, teeth, skin, or pieces of bone. Cells busily attempt to fulfill creation, unawares that they are only a confused distortion of anything that will ever become human. These (usually benign) tumors endeavor authentic growth, but are mere conglomerations, misdirected. Their fruitless efforts can often endanger their host. And their cause? No one really knows.
Dr. M patiently took the time to extract the cyst, saving both ovaries. This was a first in experiencing the mystery of my womb. Doctors couldn’t say what caused the cyst, nor could Dr. M guarantee I wouldn’t have another (though he assured me a second dermoid would be quite rare). The only way of dealing with any more misguided cells, should they get too large, was surgery. These determined frauds that feigned reproductive intelligence, posed an ultimate threat to my long-time dream of motherhood.
During the years that followed, I continued to quietly long for a family. I wanted to clasp a plump, soft-haired baby to my hip like a koala bear. Sometimes I would dream of a little blond boy. I would be holding him, swaying to music, our hearts beating, chest to chest. I did not know if he was truly my destiny, or just a dreamy hope.
Then, another dermoid cyst formed, this time on my right ovary. Big, heavy, and full of foolish confusion, the cyst’s weight was causing torsion at the fallopian tube. Emergency surgery ensued, and I lost the entire ovary.
Grappling with the loss of a precious organ, I grieved, bewildered why another cyst had manifested. I didn’t want to blame myself, but because I believed that my body was a reflection of my deepest thoughts and beliefs, I couldn’t help but think that I must be doing something wrong. It seemed as though my uterus revealed some fundamental flaw in me, one that could possibly hinder ever having my dream of motherhood realized.
Why was my body creating these masses of futile fulfillment?