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It’s been 9 days since my hysterectomy and so many people have been sweet and kind and concerned, asking me, “How are you feeling?”

I don’t usually illustrate my blog posts, but I hope the picture above can give you some insight into the true answer to the question posed to me lately regarding my recovery. If the picture doesn’t quite translate, let me break it down for you.

Physically

I have 4 puncture wounds in my stomach from my robotic surgery. They haven’t hurt at all. No, they have just felt like I took a roll in some poison sumac. In fact, a good portion of my body has felt like I rolled in sumac and I have scratched myself raw in places, up to and including near my incision sites so I’m sure I’ll catch hell from my doctor but when I tell you I itch, I mean rolling around on sandpaper sounds like a good time to me right now.

In addition to the itching, there’s been some really classic insomnia. A good bit of it, I’m sure, is due to the fact that I have been off work, not doing much, and my body itself just isn’t all that tired. And the other bit of it would probably be the….

HOT FLASHES

I have heard about these legends of menopause all my life but until you experience it, well, there’s just nothing quite like it. I would describe it as feeling like someone lit a furnace somewhere in your body and it immediately spreading to every extremity. It’s an internal heat that fanning yourself or sitting in the frozen tundra just wouldn’t quite cure. No, it makes me want to inject myself with ice water. But, see, the FUN part of my hot flashes is that eventually I DO feel like I’ve injected myself with ice water because sometime after the flash is over, I feel like I need to wrap up in a thousand snuggies. Good times.

Mentally

I have dealt with mood swings, depression, and anxiety at many and various points in my life. But I’ve never actually felt like I was going to really and truly go NUTTERS – like institutionalize-me-now-in-a-padded-room crazy until this week. I have laid here in my bed this morning going from thinking about what kind of fall/winter shoes I need to how I should trade my car in for a more fuel efficient model to how I’d get a dog for Reagan if I could afford to fence in the back yard to religious complexities to my back to work to-do list, etc. etc. and so on. Who needs the fair? My brain is it’s own damn amusement park right now.

And that’s another thing. The very closest people to me in my life know that I cuss. I’d like to say that I don’t cuss a lot, but well, that’d just be a lie because I do. I don’t think I’m going to go to hell for it and the ability to express myself with some colorful adjectives has probably saved me from jail on more than a few occasions. And if the fun physical and mental symptoms of this hysterectomy aftermath don’t improve really soon, probably most EVERYBODY is going to know all the words I know so if obscenities offend you, you might want to end whatever relationship you have with me right now.

Which leads me to

Emotionally

I pretty much feel like a train wreck. I have cried and screamed and given up and started over and just flat out not given a crap – all in the last 12 hours. And most of those incidents were kept entirely to myself. Women are VASTLY unappreciated for what they can keep internalized. More is expected of women now than at any other juncture in history. We are expected to be physically fit, profesionally successful, extensively educated, socially involved, parentally superior, household superheroes, and to do it all with a smile on our face and always a kind word on our lips. And until you’ve BEEN a woman and known the kind of physical crap we put up with from puberty until death, ALL while being expected to be 1000 things to 1000 people, well, you just don’t get to judge. And even if you’re another woman and you feel like you’ve got your shit together so everyone else should too, YOU aren’t allowed to judge either.

So, how am I feeling?

I feel like my entire world has been turned upside down since the day I was diagnosed with endometriosis last summer. I feel like I’ve only just begun to understand that my “new normal” after this life-altering surgery isn’t going to be as great as I’d hoped. I feel like I’ve been through a big freaking deal and very few people understand or care. I feel like, sometimes, crawling under my covers and never coming out. I feel like things will eventually get better, but I’m scared they won’t. I feel one thing one minute and can feel entirely the opposite the next.

But you know what?

I’m feeling.

There are a lot of people out there that don’t seem to feel anything. At all. And since I haven’t turned into one of those people yet, I guess I’m doing ok. So thanks for asking.

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