“You took away my hopes and dreams of a family. Who’s going to want me now? What if they want children and I can’t have any more?” These are the accusations and questions I presented to God before and after I had a hysterectomy years ago. My fibroids and bleeding were so bad when the nurse called me after a blood test she asked, “My God! How are you still standing? Your iron level is so low!” Coming in after the test it was determined I had fibroids. However, as a black woman, I had to FIGHT doctors, particularly white male doctors, to take me seriously. It wasn’t the first time. But, it’s not just white male doctors, it’s doctors of cultures that see black women as less or women as less. (I often wonder why the hell are you a doctor if you can’t care for patients across the board?). It was a white woman that had a traumatizing childbirth that taught me to advocate for my health. I took care of her and the baby for two weeks.
Going from specialist to specialist they finally saw the fibroids. I had no choice at the time but to have them removed. I was devastated. I wanted to have more children IF I were to marry. It wasn’t going to happen. I went in fora surgery that was supposed to take 4 hours but it took much longer. When I woke up, the room seemed to be shaking, jittery. I could not focus my vision. One of my lovely Indian doctors grabbed my foot and said, “Mrs. Jackson, we almost lost you. You lost a lot of blood and this is why you may not be able to focus right now. Just close your eyes and listen to me.” I felt her still holding my foot. “We started off trying to do laser surgery but, where you had a C-section, the skin was so thick, we could not get through. We had to cut you and remove the fibroids. We also found another unseen fibroid underneath. You will need a blood transfusion.
Recovery was an ordeal. Here is how my gratitude for LIFE itself, breath itself, was watered: When I thought about how I could have died on that operating table and left my daughter, my family, my friends, I was so, so appreciative of life in a deeper, greater way than I had ever been before. It made every problem around me, including not being able to have more children and who would want to be with me, pale in comparison. I was beyond happy and beyond grateful to JUST EXIST. To see my daughter’s face and to feel her tiny hand after the surgery. I was happy to hear her voice and to see my parents. They were all there during the surgery.
Many times, after healing from that surgery (as I was still dealing (and healing) with not being able to have more children or grappling with life’s issues), I would recall how I could not have been alive and my problems seem to shrink some. I breathe and say, “I am grateful to be here. I am still here. I have many purposes in this life. I am grateful. This too, (whatever I am facing) will pass.”