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The Last Surgery and Minipause

I had an oophorectomy on September 22, the "last surgery" as it has loomed in my psyche for, like, ever. The surgery itself, not the date, and the date I struggled with. When it would be, when it would come, when it would be the right time, when it would feel right. And the problem was, it never felt right. There did come a time when it felt more right than not, but it was never really in the way I wanted or expected. It was difficult in an unexpected way. With my mastectomy, there was no decision; it's just what had to be, and then what was.

I put it off; I needed more information. I felt guilty for making some power play against God, stealing from the world, from Him, and me and our family, any chance of letting a life come to be by the will of God alone.

Was it right, the surgery I mean, morally? The philosophy of it was utterly ridiculous, insurmountable, for weeks. I finally was able to accept that this can be God's will, too. Science. The study of nature, the gift of what God created us to be and think, to heal one another, but this seemed so unnatural. All of it, really.

To have a baby in the midst of cancer has been an escape for me in a way. Knowing that's out of the equation, just me and my own life, and death, and the lives outside of me now. It's "what's next?," unknown and elusive, magnified.

I work in cancer science; I edit cancer science, and my job can feel so far removed from God. This keeps me up at night. The blessing and miracle of science, a "cure," ultimately. There are my girls to think about, always. My mom, my sister, my friends, people I've never met. There is that.

My surgery was nine months ago, and on the upside, my menopause has been a minipause. I have had hot flashes, and they're annoying but not nearly as crazy as they were when I was getting chemo. My skin, however, seems to have aged a bit overnight. I am having thoughts that I never thought could be, rhymes with "go fox" and "tasers." The thing I was most scared of was not wanting to get my freak on with my husband, but I do, want to anyway, so that's cool. And frankly, no one could really give me a good answer about that when I was asking before surgery. The docs need to get it together on that front. Is there really much difference in 40-year-olds and 60-year-olds when it comes to the flava of love? I kind of doubt it. The jury's out on that one, and it's a jury of 60-year-olds. Do tell! Inquiring minds want to know.


Face the Foliage