I’m talking about vaginas. And it’s very swear-y.
I’ve uhm-ed and ahh-ed a lot about doing this post. It’s rather personal and I had to pick apart why I didn’t want to talk about it and that was because I was embarrassed about talking about my ‘princess parts’. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that if this page of ramblings helps just one other person get checked out, then it’s worth it.
In my mid-teens I had anaemia really, really bad. At my worst I was fainting and on around 7 tablets a day to control blood loss. I was tired all the time, horrendously moody and just having a not very good time. Fast forward to 2018, and whilst the blood loss isn’t as bad, (or it is, and I’ve just gotten used to it) the pain is a lot worse and I decided enough was enough and that I needed to get it checked out. There have been days where standing up hurts because of the pain in my hips and legs, I’ve felt sick and blood is coming out fast from every orifice. EVERY SINGLE ONE.
Naturally, myself and Dr. Google came to the diagnosis that I was dying. I organised to see a consultant who specialised in gynaecology. Nearly crawled up my own arse talking to him about it and what was happening. He asked me why I hadn’t seen a doctor sooner given my severe symptoms. I didn’t have an answer. Embarrassment isn’t really a currency in a hospital, is it?
My consultation made everything very real. Words like ‘infertility’, ‘surgery’, ‘hysterectomy’ and the worst, ‘ovarian cancer’ were bounded about, and truth be told, I completely blanched. I was told that because of my previous blood disorder (anaemia) I wasn’t the best suited for exploratory surgery. Well Jesus be Joseph, man, I didnae remember asking for it.
The consultant asked about the removal of my reproductive organs. This hit me like a truck. I’m 24, I’ve not been out of full-time education a year yet. I’m not entirely sure what I want from the chip shop let alone if I want kids in the near future. It’s always something I’d just assumed I could do, should I want to, at some time in the vague future. I gave him a firm ‘no.’
The next thing to be tested was cancer. Jesus fucking Christ. I’d pride myself on being quite hardy but the triple whammy that this consultation brought, took me to my knees. I left a broken girl and with an appointment for an ultrasound scan the next week.
Ultrasound scans. They’re a funny thing aren’t they? Are you picturing a baby ultrasound scan like I was? Let’s take that idea and put it back in your pocket because holy fuck, was I mistaken. The correct term was a ‘transvaginal ultrasound scan’. Fuck my entire life. I mean, credit to the nurse and doctor that did it, they were great. I think my eyes nearly popped out from aggressively not making eye contact with the doctor as what can only be likened to a submarine’s periscope went up me whilst my stomach was moved about moving ‘the bowel loops’ out the way. My joke of ‘are you going to put them back?’ went flat. It wasn’t as invasive as what I was ready for. I’d heard ‘it’s like a big dick’ and thought that maybe my weekend would be starting early. But that wasn’t the case, it’s more like a twig with a lot of lube on it.
He told me pretty much straight away that it wasn’t cancer and the sense of instant relief was what I can only imagine taking heroin would be like. I’d hadn’t been sleeping properly the entire week before, lost my appetite, emotional and just a bit of a hot mess. I could have cried has his hand not been a good 5cm into my vagina. Idk, I just feel like it would have been weird if I’d have cried then.
Cancer being struck off the list left us with one culprit, and that was endometriosis. I hadn’t heard much about it either. After it was suggested that this is what it could be I became a leading UK expert on it within a week. It fucking sucks. It means that the lining of my womb is attaching to other parts of my body. Weird isn’t it? Obviously, I can’t feel that happening it just really hurts (think white heat). To cure it, you have to whip it all out. As appealing as it would be to pickle my princess parts and put them on a shelf. I feel it’s a bit premature. It doesn’t mean that I can’t have kids either. It just means that I’d have to try harder and be more careful. Every cloud.
The week where my own imagination was left to worst case scenario of ovarian cancer has really resonated with me. We all know to check regularly for breast cancer or any irregular moles/bumps. What do you look for with ovarian cancer?
- feeling constantly bloated
- a swollen stomach
- discomfort in your stomach or pelvic area
- feeling full quickly when eating, or loss of appetite
- needing to wee more often or more urgently than normal
- persistent indigestion or nausea
- pain during sex
- a change in your bowel habits
- back pain
- vaginal bleeding – particularly bleeding after the menopause
- feeling tired all the time
- unintentional weight loss
These were taken from the NHS website. It’s probably nothing, but if you’re having a few of these symptoms just bring it up with your GP. Endometriosis and ovarian cancer don’t discriminate based on age, ethnicity, size, health, whether or not you wear crocs. If you’re having extreme pain, it can be managed. If you’re bleeding so much you’ve gone through 5+ pads a day and would laugh in the face of a tampon, you can get it checked out. You’re your own makers, ladies, and you don’t have to suck it up all the time. I also think you’d be surprised at exactly how many other women this happens to.
As always, if you have any questions or want to talk to me about it more, just ask.