“That’s what your ovary sounds like.”
The technician administering my ultrasound has the volume turned up on the monitor, and I can hear the blood flow through my uterus in a heartbeat-synced rhythm. Above me on the screen is the land of mystery. A fuzzy, sepia-toned display of an upside down triangle, housing hazy organs that shift in view every time she moves the wand at my womb.
I listen and study. Realize that I’ve been investigating this hub my whole life. From my first gynecological exam at age 18, when the doctor discovered a dermoid cyst on my ovary and ordered surgery to remove it. After that, I was always checking in with the land of mystery, the place that could promise me life, or surprise me with loss.
At 23 it was loss. Another cyst on the other ovary, a surgical removal, the cyst, taking the ovary with it. With a life-long desire to be a mother, I feared having only one ovary may jeopardize my ability to conceive.
Doctors reassured me that one would be sufficient, and they were right. I was gifted a beautiful, healthy son the year I turned 30.
Moving into motherhood, diapers, toddling, and kindergarten, the woes of my womb from the past seemed behind me. I was a healthy, strong woman in my prime. One child was enough. I maintained my yearly check ups with the doctor, but I no longer worried about the invasion of my uterus by another growth.
However, at 38, I heard a whisper: “Go get an ultrasound, it’s been a while.” I had no pain, no sign of anything amiss, just a hunch that I should check in on the land of mystery. With the history of my chart, the doctor agreed to order one. It revealed that yet another (most likely) dermoid was on my remaining ovary. The doctor suggested I have surgery to remove it.
For anyone that may have been reading the Archives five years ago, you’ll have been privy to my ponderings on that discovery. Though I was aware that my repeated cyst issue was not life-threatening, it still pained me to be dealing with pesky invaders that were settling in where they didn’t belong. I didn’t want surgery. I didn’t want to potentially lose the last ovary I had.
Deeper still, was the lingering question- the one ‘they’ say is futile to ask: why?
But I couldn’t help it. Why was my womb so prone to misdirected growths? How could I stop them from happening? What was I doing wrong?
This took me on a soul-searching journey, from which I explored the concept of “No Enemy,” a philosphy/life-perspective I’m still seeking to master.
I asked the doctor to give me three months before we finalized surgery plans. He agreed, and I began journaling. I had actual dialogue with the growth. Asking it questions, making peace. Honoring its existence but asserting that it was out of place.
I worked with energy healers. I made adjustments to my diet. I contacted holistic doctors, who basically told me there was nothing they could do to help me, that this one was all about me figuring it out for myself.
Three months later another ultrasound. The doctor read the report and changed his tune. It didn’t look like surgery was necessary after all. The growth seemed stable. Another ultrasound was ordered in sixth months. That report indicated the same. The cyst was still there but holding steady. No indications for surgery. No need for another ultrasound anytime soon. That was 2012.
In 2016, I’m lying on the table listening to my ovary. At 43, I’m reflecting on my lifespan living with the land of mystery. There is a deep tender place inside that feels the yearning of all-things-possible, golden, light, expansive. It collides with the vulnerability of potential destruction, black, dark, overpowering. I, the vessel, lie at the crossroads, subject to the whim of forces unknown.
“You know I’m not allowed to tell you anything. The doctor will call you with a report on this in a few days.” The technician parts the curtain to exit the room, and kindly says, “Good luck.”
What the tech doesn’t know is that I was watching. And when she measured the black mass on the screen, I memorized the numbers that automatically calculated dimensions in the lower, left-hand corner. Again and again in my head…”1.89×1.64…1.89×1.64…”
I had the 2012 report in my files at home, and if my calculations were correct, it appeared that the growth had only grown by .3 centimeters in four years. That didn’t seem so bad. This possibility took the edge off of the next couple of days of waiting to hear the official news from the doctor.
Besides, I was distracted with other things. I’ve been tackling sun damage on my face, and treating it with a daily dose of cream (a process written about in my last post). So there’s been a waiting for the inevitable breakout of sores to appear, while trying to navigate the world from beneath the floppiest, biggest brimmed hat I’ve ever worn.
In terms of the doctor’s call, I was seeking simple, and gratefully, that’s what I got. Uterus good. Blood flow good. Cyst stable. Most likely a dermoid. About the size of a “fat grape.” If it worried me, I could remove it surgically. But if it wasn’t bothering me, no need to do anything. I confirmed there was no pain, and I wanted to avoid surgery. His response: “Ok, then. See you next year.”
I know there is something foreign lingering in the land of mystery that doesn’t want to let go. I’ve made peace with that for now. At this point, if it’s not causing any trouble, it can stay.
I’m turning full attention to my face now. Dealing with this physical body and trying to heal it up. I’ve got the ‘all clear’ from the doctor on my womb, and now I’m watching 40 some-odd years of too much UV, bubble up on my face. Anything but clear, here. I want it all to rise to the surface, slough off, and start anew.