“Amanda, I don’t want to worry you, but I have just been diagnosed with uterine fibroids.” This was the beginning of a slow process that seemed to be, for me at least, done in what was a matter of seconds. It seemed like I was just processing the news of my mother’s disease when she was going to the hospital for surgery.
I didn’t know much about uterine fibroids, nor did I know what they did or where they came from. All I knew was that the woman who gave birth to me had them and was facing surgery. I hate hospitals, always have, but when I saw how much pain my mother was in, how even though she had supposedly gone through menopause, she was still getting heavy periods, and how difficult it was for her to go to the bathroom. I had thought that the disease was caused by C-section deliveries, but my mother had all four of us naturally. It didn’t make sense to me how she could have gotten them.
After doing some research, I found out that nearly every woman can get them so long as they are within the child bearing years of life. However, though they range in sizes, my mother’s would not decrease in size at all. They kept getting larger and larger, and as such she was facing surgery to remove not only the fibroids, but also her uterus as well.
I had just delivered my first child when she went under the knife. We had celebrated Christmas by taking my daughter to her first Christmas parade. My mom spent nearly the entire time going back and forth to the bathroom in the store behind us. The week after the parade, she was going into surgery. At first, I was going to be strong about it. After all, surgery is surgery right? I waited out in the waiting area, kept the baby entertained so she didn’t bother anyone there. I fielded questions from other family members, but when it came time to go back there to see her, I felt a lump in my throat and my stomach went on red alert.
Seeing my mom laying there on the hospital bed was eye opening. Yeah, she wasn’t a great mother, heck she wasn’t there for us nearly 80 percent of the time. But she was still my mom. The woman I relied on when things got tough. While I grew up knowing I could never rely on her for support, I knew I could when it came to advice. Though she used a lot of her religious beliefs to support her reasoning, behind her words the intent was still there. She was barely awake, her hands moved as if they had a life of their own. She asked about the baby, and I told her that her grandchild was fine and taking a nap in her car seat under the watchful eye of my uncle’s wife.
I wasn’t allowed to take her home, mostly because the family didn’t trust me since I wasn’t of the same religion they were, but I got to see her at least. They couldn’t stop me from being there for her, though they made it as difficult as possible. Now, seven years after having the surgery, I am pleased to announce that my mom is doing much better. Though she has pain from growing old, she no longer complains of pain in her lower stomach or not being able to use the bathroom. Of course, with no uterus she also has no more periods and she is just as she was before she had uterine fibroids.