DISEASES OF THE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM is a complex topic in the Russian-speaking space. In a patriarchal society, the role of a woman is considered motherhood by default, and the desire to get rid of excruciating pain, if this affects the ability to have children, is perceived as selfishness. A woman’s feelings and desires, her health and her ability to think critically, are depreciated – although decisions like removing the uterus are usually not made spontaneously, and certainly not easy. Marina K. told how it is to live with uterine fibroids and get rid of it forever after numerous operations.
At the age of seventeen, I started taking contraceptive pills and felt great: my periods were like clockwork, no ailments. When I was twenty-one, once the bleeding somehow prolonged, it became more profuse, and I went to the doctor. The doctor decided that the drug over the years, apparently, has ceased to suit me, and more modern means have already appeared, and changed the pills to others. Almost immediately after that, we moved to another city, the connection with the doctor was interrupted. Once I was taking a shower and was horrified – some huge bloody lump fell out of me. The next day I had an ultrasound scan and found a uterine fibroid the size of an eight-week fetus.
At first, the doctors decided to simply observe – and the fibroids continued to grow. The bleeding did not stop, it prevented me from living, I continued to go to the doctors. I was prescribed an operation, but since there was no immediate threat to my life, it was due in almost eight months (this is how state medicine works in Israel, where I have been living since childhood). In addition, when the date was already approaching, the operation was postponed again for some reason, such as a doctors’ strike.
I was worn out by pain, bleeding and preparation for the operation, I was given absolutely terrible injections. There is a drug that, in fact, introduces the body into an artificial menopause; it is also used for repeat offenders to destroy sexual desire. You can imagine how terrible this medicine is. It is believed that a maximum of three such injections can be given, and they were given to me. Imagine: I am twenty-two years old, no children, my husband (then still future) and I just rented a separate apartment – it would seem, have sex from morning to evening. Instead, my husband bought me several packs of pads every day.
In the end, I waited for the operation, myoma was removed – it was August, and in September bleeding began. It was even more powerful than before. The doctor couldn’t believe his eyes: the myoma had grown to the same size in a month. It all started anew: preparation, three more injections (remember, it is believed that no more than three in life, but I did six), a new operation. When I regained consciousness after anesthesia, it turned out that it was not possible to remove the tumor: during the operation, severe bleeding opened up. Often in such a situation, the uterus is removed, but the doctor understood that then I definitely would not be able to have children, and decided to keep it.
I felt terrible, lost a lot of weight, due to constant blood loss, hemoglobin was twice as low as normal. At the same time, I studied at the institute, tried to earn money, live an ordinary life, we were planning a wedding. I was already scheduled for the third operation, and then something amazing happened. As I remember now, I just went to a wedding dress store, and then got on the bus and felt that some kind of unreal flow was pouring out of me. Trying to restrain him, I rushed to my husband to work and flew into his office shouting: “Give me some package.” A huge pool of blood poured onto the bag on the floor, and we rushed to the hospital.
They examined me, and it turned out that the myoma, which was held on some kind of “tail”, suddenly fell out by itself – in fact, “was born”. After that, she stopped growing, and for several years this story was completely forgotten. We got married, thought about pregnancy, and went to the doctor. The doctor explained that I was completely healthy and told me to come if I didn’t manage to get pregnant within a year – but the pregnancy came in a couple of weeks.
I gave birth, then got pregnant again and gave birth, and now our children are 15 and 12 years old. In general, we dreamed of four or at least three children, but after the birth of my youngest daughter, my career took off, and I decided to postpone my next pregnancy for now. When she was two years old, we left for Russia for a while, I had an excellent contract, and the family went on the basis of my visa. Then my husband offered to have a child, since the conditions were good and the insurance would pay for everything, but I decided that it would be unfair to my company. If the contract was his, and I would give birth – another matter. Well, or if he could get pregnant and give birth! So we decided that we would think about our third child when we return to Israel.
All this time I have been using reliable contraception: at first it was a regular spiral, and then hormonal. But at some point, bleeding appeared and it turned out that the myoma had returned. I underwent the third operation, and she grew up again, at the same rate. Bleeding again, terrible pains in various places where the tumor pressed down. We continued to think about the third child, but I became scared. From what I read about myoma, it turned out that either the pregnancy would end, or the birth would finish me off; at that time I was thirty-nine years old. I went to the doctor again, and he said that since I still don’t dare to have the next child, it’s time to stop the torment – and a decision was made about hysterectomy (removal of the uterus).
I know that some women face misunderstanding from relatives or husbands, they are afraid to talk about such operations to their partners. My pedicurist says that her husband left her because of a similar problem. Everything is different in my family: we have been together for twenty-five years, and during this time I never went to the gynecologist without my husband, he always knew about my diagnoses and everything. Of course, he was present at childbirth, and at operations. And we also go to his doctors together. Even when there were no children, I said that maybe it would be better for him to find a healthy woman who will definitely give birth – but he replied that he loves me, and if we want a child and we will not succeed, then we will adopt.
I underwent the operation to remove the uterus easily, I generally was then insanely loaded with work that did not leave my thoughts. I remember I was dealing with the problem of one group that had flown in – their luggage was lost. All day and evening in touch, and at six in the morning, when we arrived for the operation, I also sat in the hospital and talked on the phone. And so they call me for an operation, and I automatically say to my husband: “Go for me, I have an important conversation.” And then, when I regained consciousness after anesthesia, the first thing I did was ask for a phone to continue doing my business.
It took me a while to realize that my torment was over. In the first week and a half, I was generally worried about only one question – whether the orgasm would disappear. I remember barely waiting for the stitches to be removed to masturbate and make sure everything was in order, the orgasm did not go anywhere. Of course, it hurt for a while, it was still an abdominal operation, there was a scar on my stomach, but this cannot be compared with how much better life has become. Three years later, I feel great, ride a bike, run, go to the gym. Sex – every day. There are no monthly periods, so there is no need to plan anything and look at the calendar before traveling. I recovered a little, but perhaps it would have happened anyway. And sometimes I dream that the third child was born.