I’m a Hyster Sister

I’ve been debating writing this piece and putting it out there.  For all my talk about being honest and real, I still wrestle with when and how.  Is this too much?  Is this too personal?  Is this too intimate?  I started actively sitting with these questions this January when I began having chronic pain in my lower pelvis and back.  I am no stranger to pain in that area.  I am no stranger to painful, lengthy, and challenging menstrual issues.  What I am a stranger to is stopping and listening to my body.  Slowing down and going to the doctor.  And then continuing to ask questions and speak up until I am heard.

What I am also new to is sharing this part of my life.  Those who know me most closely have known the pain, embarrassment, and struggle I have lived with since starting to menstruate at 11.  Most people don’t know.  Because like a good girl, I haven’t said anything.  I’ve swallowed more than my share of ibuprofen, plastered a smile on my face, and kept on keeping on. 

This winter I stopped that.

This spring I stop the silence.

The reality is in less than two weeks I will be having a hysterectomy to treat fibroids and a myriad of other menstrual issues.  Even as I type, I find myself wondering where the “whisper font” is.  This is not something we talk about in polite company.  We can mention knee replacement, heart surgery, and gallbladder removal.  But hysterectomy…shhh. 

Mention this and there are a million images projected onto the emotional screen in your life.  Maybe it’s the secrecy.  Or the assumption that women aren’t women without a womb.  But the assumption is devastation.

And in my case, that’s true in part.  It is devastating…a loss.  Truly closing a door to the life that I always thought I would have…the one where I birth a baby of my own.

But on the other hand, it allows another door to open.  The one where my body can finally heal from pain that has tormented it for years.  The one that proclaims to the world that womanhood is so much more than a part of anatomy.  And motherhood is larger than birth.  For me the loss of a womb feels a little bit like the fear and joy of the empty tomb.  A place where Mystery just waits to be resurrected.

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12 thoughts on “I’m a Hyster Sister

    • Thank you, Kate. Honestly, it has affected my ministry and my personal life. There have been things I haven’t done, times I’ve come home after “pushing” and missed being present with family. I also realize in this process with doctors, how MANY women suffer in similar ways and how we keep silent. And to be honest how it seems women’s experience of pain is minimized by the medical profession!

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  1. Megan, I don’t think it is too much information. I too had a hysterectomy for that same reason… (however at a much later age). I shudder when I think of how many times my heavy, painful periods influenced my life and ministry. I tried to hide It or ignore it. If I could have felt free to speak the truth, the kids in one of my youth groups long ago would not think I was such a “party pooper” at a ropes course! Yes! It is time for hystersisters to come out of the closet and share our stories!

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  2. Thank you for sharing this Megan. Thank you for the courage to slow down and listen to your body, when so many things in life seem to push against that listening. I pray that your final paragraph will become more and more true to you over time. Grace and peace to you.

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  3. Megan,
    In the short time that I have known you, I have known you to be a strong, capable, sensitive, and intelligent woman. In this moment, you make me realize that even for what I have known of you, there is still so much more to learn. God bless on your surgery and healing, and may you find a wealth of strength and love in the places where you need them the most.
    Peace always to you . . .

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  4. Hi Megan, I am just coming up on the one year anniversary of my hysterectomy. In my case I went to get checked out after my older sister was diagnosed with uterine cancer and my younger sister had previously had a pre cancerous condition. When I had the operation, it was considered somewhat preemptive but they did find the very begining of cancerous cells so they said I was very wise to have the operation when I did. I think as women we need to more alert and sensitive to our bodies and any indications we may need to seek expert opinions. My 2 sisters and I had the hyaterectomies and at this point are cancer-free. There are many women around us going through the same challenges. We just need to be more supportive of each other.

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  5. Beautifully written, Megan. I feel for you. My two daughters have both experienced some of what you describe. I hope your openness will give you a sense of relief and freedom, and your surgery will give you a life of less pain and more joy.

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  6. I needed this right now. I am scheduled for my surgery in 8 days and I thought I was fine until today. I am angry and scared. I feel like I am loosing a friend. Its a death in a sort of way. She has been with me a long time, given me my children and now I feel a void. Even now I feel my body detaching from her. UGH

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  7. I hope you will head over to the HysterSisters website – lots of women in the community forums, articles, videos and Hysterectomy Checkpoints that help each step along the hysterectomy timeline. And if you are so inclined, would be great to share the website link with others finding your blog – and wanting support.

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