Let me explain the tumor…

I haven’t been too specific about the recent surgery and realize many of you are both concerned and curious. Actually it wasn’t fair for me to mention a “football-sized” tumor in my last blog post without being more specific so here’s the deal: My girlie parts were involved along with a few medical terms which are difficult to simply blurt out. We should re-think many of the words science uses to describe procedures don’t you think? Seriously…hysterectomy is just an icky word. Any word ending with “ectomy” never sounds good and the whole “hysteria” part is plain unfair. Then there is “morcellation” and “tumor.” The word tumor is not actually offensive in itself but it does plant fearful creepy thoughts (no pun intended) and morcelation means just what it sounds like – to cut into small pieces (think “morsels”). Double ick.
The tumor was benign; common actually… just a big o’l fibroid. Except the fibroid kept growing inside my uterus for seven years while I tried to eliminate the bugger with a combination of alternative medicine, an “anti-inflammatory-tumor-reducing” diet, and pure stubbornness. I have always been very attached to my womb and believed I would have children; held onto luck and my uterus despite the pain. lithograph2 text I lugged “Fibee” to plenty of mountain tops.  I climbed rock and ice, biked mountain trails and rafted rivers.  I made art.  Initially and for many years the tumor was grapefruit size – my uterus the size of a 3-month pregnancy - hardly enough to slow me down but definitely noticeable in spandex biking shorts. Notch by notch my belt-size increased. Sometimes the tumor did shrink – spiking my faith and deepening my determination to rid myself of the pesky painful bugger holistically.  During the past few years when the tumor grew to the size of a football and my uterus equivalent to a five month pregnancy I increased my efforts. However, the depth and frequency of the pain increased exponentially. Since early spring the pain became constant with varying intensity. Often it struck in cramp waves which could knock the wind out of me while I stopped in my tracks or doubled over. According to girlfriends who have given birth, the pain I described sounded just like labor pains and they were wearing me out.  The hard mass affected my balance and decreased my flexibility. I sought several opinions and researched thoroughly. Once I acknowledged and accepted my inability to conceive or carry a baby everything else fell into place.
I love my surgeon. Dr. Haugen is a small spry spunky gal who looks like she just graduated from high school but talks with passion, experience and intelligence. Her hands expressed their own intelligence when she talked…something I have seen captured in photos and film footage of my own hands (am honestly always rather struck with astonishment when I view my hands on film). I  trusted Dr. Haugen and set a date for surgery.  The surgery involved removing my uterus along with the tumor and cervix. My ovaries were healthy and left intact thus we avoided an unnatural instant early menopause.
The image of Susan Taylor Glasgow’s sewn glass sculpture titled “It’s Always with Me” just happened to cross my path via cyberspace the day after I set a surgery date. I can’t begin to describe how much the image of this piece touched my soul.  The sculpture is a perfect visual rendition of how I felt.  Delicate, tippy, weepy, broken, flawed, and attached.  My soul and heart were drawn to the sewn together parts and the oozing femininity.  The sculpture speaks to me on so many levels…deep and personal.  I have even equated pink roses with both my mother and grandmother; they have occurred in my sculptural works (i.e. Grandma Smells Like Roses”).  The china, the glass, the visceral rope-y parts, the slump, the spill…even the teapot is womb-like…a connection to my health and psyche.
Sewn Glass
Through a cyber-connection, the visual poetry of this sculpture perfectly placed archival pieces and parts in front of me which entered my soul, touched my inner girlie parts, and struck a chord beyond the artist, me, my mother, and my grandmother. 
The journey goes on. I continue to be inspired and plan to explore with art my emotions and revelations. I lost some important girlie parts.  A seriously large hard fibrous blockage has been cleared from the center of my body.  A new chapter has opened, and even this quiet healing time feels ripe with potential.