It’s been hard to come back to writing here. So much is going on for me right now but I’ve never wanted this blog to just be a newscast of my life. I’ve wanted it to make people think or relate in some way. To write that way though, I have to be at a point where I’ve gleaned some lesson or at least have an inkling of the lesson to be learned, and lately it’s been really, really hard to get there.
To recap, once I managed to stop hating Korea, I had a fantastic time and wanted to go back for a second year. That didn’t work out. First I couldn’t find a job, then I found out that I had two large-ish (11 and 6cm) uterine fibroid masses that needed removing. Knowing that by the time I recovered from surgery, it would be nearly a year before I could go back to Korea, I gave up that dream. It wasn’t something I was thrilled about–part of the reason I wanted to go back was to continue a relationship with a man there–but I also felt like it was time for me to restart my life here.
So I needed to find a job here, because while I was grateful to be living rent free under my sister’s roof, that arrangement had an expiry date on it. I found a job and given my two interviews, one of which was four hours long, I figured this was a company I might really grow with. Let’s just say it might not be turning out that way. So that’s been both a disappointment and an area of real stress. I love most of my coworkers and the vibe of the place is cool (think six packs of beer on Saturday shifts), but the work is stressful, I don’t make enough money and there’s that age old disconnect between the department head honchos and the front lines.
In the midst of moving to live with a friend for a couple months until I could find my own place, my ex in Korea stopped speaking to me. We’d had a really amicable break up. He knew about my upcoming surgery and the difficulty I’d had in resettling in Canada and fully supported my not returning to Korea. He wanted to remain friends, blah de blah blah. Maybe I should have known better, but he had always, always been such a stand up guy while we dated, that I really didn’t think this would go sideways. But it did. A mere week after all those promises to keep in touch, radio silence. I wondered if his phone had been stolen, if his computer had been stolen, if one of his kids was in a coma, if he was in a coma. I sent a zillion texts and then after confirming casually through a tutor I set up for his kids that all was well, I concluded that he just didn’t want to talk to me anymore.
I probably knew from the outset that he wasn’t the one. Or even one of the ones. But he had been good experience, something I really needed after all the bad ones. And I felt confident he wasn’t going to repeat what has been an ongoing pattern in my life, with men–that they just go away. It was understandable with former lovers who weren’t boyfriends, that they would just go away at some point. In those situations I was perhaps setting myself up for hurt. But this time I thought it would be different and so it was a blow to have the guy I’d just sent this beautiful letter about how he’d shown me how healthy a relationship can be, just go away.
It was in the first week of January that I finally took the hint (the radio silence had started mid-December) and I just thought “what a fucking awful way to start the new year.”
My one victory was that I found a place right in my price range for rent, walking distance from work, relatively quickly. My joy was dramatically dampened though when my new home showed up on the Toronto Bed Bug Registry. The reality is that I can’t afford any more rent and I didn’t have the time to keep looking because I had to move before my surgery, so I bought caulking and a bed bug proof cover for my mattress and hoped for the best. So far it’s been fine; hopefully it will remain so.
And so we come to the present, two weeks after the most useless surgery ever. When the surgeon opened me up, she found another larger (18cm) fibroid mass playing hidey-hoo down around my cervix; this mass had never shown up on my ultrasounds. The surgical team tried for a while to get it out but eventually another gynecologist was called in for a second opinion and it was determined that to get that fibroid mass out, my uterus had to be removed. We hadn’t anticipated anything like this so of course my doctor didn’t have my consent to go ahead. She spoke with my sister and mother who were on hand and the decision was made to close me back up without removing anything for the moment to avoid blood loss, since another surgery would be necessary anyway. So I woke up to an incision, from which I have to heal, for virtually no reason. In June I’ll have all the fibroids and my uterus removed.
It is utterly surreal to realize that I’m having a hysterectomy at 37. I feel like I’m too young for that, but I guess this is actually the age when this sort of thing happens to a lot of women. I opted for a more invasive surgery to remove the fibroids initially because I wanted to leave myself the option of kids, but I’ve never felt like I wanted to have kids at all costs. Case in point; when the symptoms from my fibroids had me thinking I was preggo during the summer, my first thought was not, “start a family,” it was “end this pregnancy.”
I’m okay with losing my uterus. I’m okay with not having kids of my own. I’m less okay with having to go through another surgery in two months. I’m less okay with the hit financially and the uncertainty around my job (my employer is not obliged to keep me on in this situation and I won’t know for sure what’s going on there until later this week). I’m significantly less okay with how my lack of control is being rubbed in my face.
I’ve been trying to see the silver linings. When my family doctor only gave me a two month prescription of the pill I was pissed because it meant I’d have to go in and see her during my recovery time to get another prescription since I was on my last pack. As of three days ago I’m off the pill forever. In fact I’m on a drug right now that’s supposed to put my body in a menopausal state ( so as to shrink my fibroids a bit ahead of surgery).* When I picked out my Ikea bed frame I was going for cheap and cheerful; I never anticipated how having a massive wrought iron head piece would help me pull myself up in bed while I regain my core strength. As a perfectionist I like to get everything right; with a second surgery I get a chance to do everything “right” the next time around. Also, thank goodness for Canadian healthcare.
More silver linings: I’m absolutely getting my money’s worth on my cable TV and internet right now. I have time to read and write and think about what the next step will be when I’m past both of these surgeries. In fact I have that time twice over. If I did have my dream job right now, being off for 12 weeks in my first eight months on the job would likely have been a problem; so maybe it’s for the best that I’m not an indispensable wunderkind right now. I haven’t lived in the same province as my parents since I was 15 years old; having my mom here round the clock for three weeks has been eye opening in many ways, but significantly health wise. Her health isn’t great and it’s been a bit of a warning that now is the time to really get my ass in gear taking better care of myself so that I don’t end up with a bag o’ meds like she has to carry around. And of course, it’s been fantastic to see friends and family rally to support me during this time; you know who your friends are in a crisis and not one of the people I told about the surgery has disappointed.
So lots of silver linings–but it’s still pretty damn cloudy. And to be honest I’ve been surprised at that. I think after breaking out of my rut and running off to Korea and just working so hard to make so many changes personally, I figured I was in the clear now. I’d paid my dues and it would be off to the races fulfilling my potential now. But instead it’s been this. Not getting to go back to Korea, a job that’s less than awesome to make ends meet, not one, but two surgeries in three months and continuing shite in my love life. I met some friends for dinner recently who I don’t see but maybe three or four times a year. Whenever we meet I always feel keenly that I am constantly the single one. While their relationship statuses float a bit, they’ve mostly been in long term relationships in the time that I’ve known them. When I saw them in the summer, I remember feeling like, for once, finally, I wasn’t the single one, even if my boyfriend was 6000km away. Seeing them again a few weeks ago it felt like I’d regressed to a place that I thought I’d gotten past.
See, for a long time, my unhappiness and my situation in life seemed to be entirely about my own decisions or lack thereof. Right now though, my struggle is almost entirely about things over which I have very little control. And I’m having to fight to find the happy in the midst of it. I guess I figured that if I stopped making bad decisions or letting my indecision be my decision so often, life would get less shitty. Apparently I was wrong on that score. That’s been a pill much harder to swallow than anything else. This was supposed to be my time. This was my summer of George.
Somehow I have to make it my summer, maybe even my year, obstacles and all. While sitting on the toilet crying the other day, I whispered to myself that if I wasn’t strong enough to handle this, it wouldn’t be happening to me. That’s what I’m going with right now; that and silver linings. Somehow, some way, something good will come of this.
*Fun facts about the drug I’m on to shrink my fibroids. It’s called Lupron, it’s an injection and it costs $400 per injection. Luckily this is being covered in various ways since I’ll be getting the shot two more times before my June 4th surgery. Woweee!