There is a good chance, that at some point, I will completely lose my mind. And I mean, put it down somewhere and never find it again.
A little over a year ago, I had a total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. In layman’s terms, a complete removal of all of my female abdominal inner workings. I was 42.
Oophorectomy, the removal of the ovaries, pre-menopause has been found in some studies to increase the risk of future cognitive impairment by 50 percent - while dying has been found in all studies to increase the risk of death by 100 percent. And although it isn’t perfect, I love my life. I love the people in my life. I love the spouse in my life. I love me in my life. I made a choice to stay.
I also made the choice to use the mind that I still have for the time being to examine the possibilities of all that I might be facing. The good, the bad and the ugliness of uncertainty.
On the one hand, I had two grandmothers whom I loved dearly. Both of whom struggled with their sanity towards the end. One battled Alzheimer’s slowly forgetting and failing to function in the life she had forged. The other had an oophorectomy in her twenties and became bipolar with ever increasing bouts of mania where she painted the dining room emerald green in the middle of the night and once kept me up until all hours at the age of four filling every available surface of the kitchen with batch after batch of gingerbread men because we had read a story and she already had all of the supplies and why not?
Fun? Yes! Normal? No.
I have to admit, my antenna are up and rightly so. We all sprout from the same family tree and one of them had the exact procedure I did, only 14 years younger. It does make me take a heightened notice. There are days right now, when I stop and wonder did I just forget or did my mind fail me? Am I just being creative or am I going into overdrive? And, that could very well be me one day. All of it! All manic and moony and mixed up. But then again, it might not.
I also made a choice to do what I should to keep what I could for as long as I would. I walk every day. Eat relatively well. And wear what we jokingly refer to as my disposable ovaries. And so far so good. Except for the first day of hormone replacement when I stuck the tiny, nonthreatening, dime sized patch to my abdomen, then casually went to Target to run an errand when suddenly and without warning I was hit by an overwhelming, savage sense of hunger so severe, I had to fight the urge to run across the store, rip into a bag of Bugles and start fist slamming them into my face. And I can't stand Bugles!
Hormones don’t mess around! And neither do I. But that doesn’t mean I don’t face my possible fates with humor. It’s my future to do with as I will. And what’s the point of sticking around if I can’t find a little funny in it?
Ultimately, I can only control so much. I choose some, I inherit some and have some surgically arranged for me by saving my life. But at least I’ll be around to see how this whole thing plays out. And I’m pretty sure that was the whole point in the first place.
About the Author
Laura Becker is an essayist who currently resides in Redondo Beach with her screenwriting partner/husband. Born in Missouri. Raised in Kansas. Adolescence/young adulthood in Iowa, which, according to Walter Neft in Double Indemnity, makes her a native Californian. She writes, quips, muses and laughs about almost anything…almost. Read more at www.TheLauraBeckerBlog and find her on Twitter at @TheLauraBecker.
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