In September, I had a total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy which was the total removal of my uterus and cervix, however, during the procedure, it was discovered I had endometriosis, a condition where cells like ones in the lining of the womb are found elsewhere in the body. Neither I or my surgeon knew I had this and it resulted in the removal of my left ovary and fallopian tube.
I first discovered I had gynae problems after miscarrying in 2015, the same day I got a positive result, was the same day I began bleeding. Deep down I knew this was probably my last ever pregnancy and it was more difficult because I was with someone who I wanted to have a child with. I felt like a failure, this wasn’t the first time I questioned my fertility, I could get pregnant, I just couldn’t carry and there was always a plausible reason, my age, defective eggs and stress. I spoke candidly to my doctor, who for the first time delved into my gynae background ‘Had I miscarried in the past?’, YES, ‘Were my periods heavy?’, YES, ‘Painful?’, YES, ‘Problematic?’, YES, ‘Something doesn’t feel right’, she said, as she referred me to the gynaecologist. I nodded in agreement, something didn’t.
For the first time, I went through my, family history, pregnancies, painful periods, and all that stuff ‘down there’ as my mum likes to say. Answering the gynaecologist’s questions made me realise that despite doing tons of spiritual work; steaming an assortment of herbs for optimum womb muliebrity, attending courses on releasing womb trauma, kegel breathing, tapping into my pussy power, I had never had a full physical gynae check-up. Hearing the words ‘you have fibroids’ stung liked I’d been slapped in the face. Both my mum and maternal aunt had fibroids, as did my six parental aunties of which three have had hysterectomies and more worryingly my parental grandmother died at 36 of cervical cancer and we hadn’t even touched on cousins and siblings. Tests revealed multiple fibroids spread across my womb including one measuring 4cm on my left side. A range of treatments was discussed and I initially went for gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues, to trick my body into a menopausal state, starving and hopefully shrinking the fibroids. However, due to my consciousness and many spiritual awakenings, I felt it would be best to heal myself naturally. I changed my diet and drank lots of green juices and bathed in selected yoni herbs. I maintained the mantra that as a Woman of Colour, I wasn’t going down the route of big pharma or early surgery, NO! And for a year or so I was good, life was hectic but my ‘down there’ was ok.
However, over time my periods got progressively worse, for the first three days, the pain was excruciating and I flooded and leaked everywhere I sat. I read or heard somewhere that sanitary protection could also be a problem, so I opted for a healthy and spiritually conscious moon cup. I drank Yogi Woman’s Tea and listened to carefully selected womb music. My bathroom gave Azealia Banks a run for her money when I tried to take the thing out, I could have easily slain several goats and possibly a chicken with the amount of blood splatter left behind. So, I went back to the paracetamol, Always Finesse and Tampax Super plus with a sense of shame, although I wasn’t sure if it was internal or external. I used mainstream products because they were cheap and accessible. Natural health products, unfortunately, were not as accessible and somewhat time-consuming. Had I had the luxury of living in Bali, with endless resources then maybe there would be no issue but I didn’t. Buying regular products meant avidly defending myself against my natural moon cup, napkin, sponge wearing sisters. Clearly, I was of ‘little faith’. In the Black Community, our wombs are our everything, they’re how we identify ourselves as women, we give birth to creation; we are GOD and we are either having children or priming our wombs for conception to produce the fruit of the Black Love union. Sometimes, I’d get this knot in my stomach, as a head-wrapped, twenty-something sister preached away at me with her perfect complexion, perfect teeth, perfect locs and perfect womb. I was becoming resentful bitter and extremely…angry.
Fast forward to 2017 and I wake up on a Saturday morning with pain on my left side, wincing around, I collapse on my bedroom floor. Fifteen hours, two x-rays, a series of blood tests and lots of prodding later, I’m told it wasn’t surgical, I was constipated (laugh here). This most likely due to a gynaecological ‘issue’, caused by fibroids. A scan revealed that my largest fibroid had grown from 4 cm to 6.7 and two more had developed measuring 5 cm each. They were all on my left side, causing constipation and anaemia. I was referred to my GP. I remember walking into her surgery and bursting into tears, that defeated feeling overwhelmed me, ‘how had the fibroids grown? Why were more developing?‘. I did everything right, I ate right, I meditated, I yoni steamed my soul away, I did yoni rituals to clear out all that bad energy, I did the nine sacred gateways, I even sat in baths of herbs and hope, praying that they would magically rectify years of unknown damage and trauma. My GP suggested that surgery would be in my best interest and as she booked my surgical consultation I felt that familiar kick of defeat. I’d listened to lectures and theories on why Black women were the targets for this DIS-EASE and how we could heal ourselves and our wombs; from Dr Jewel Pookum, Queen Afua to the awesome Dr Delbert Blair.
I knew that the truth was linked to our collective consciousness, diet and clearing of historical trauma passed down from generation to generation. Having been on just about every Hotep committee going I knew the causes of destruction of the Black woman and her womb; sexual abuse, rape, abandonment, sickness, oppression, discrimination, processed foods, lack of spirituality to white supremacy and all the whacky conspiracy theories including the robbing of our body parts for research purposes on why we are so enduring and magical. My mental chatter was singing like a Gospel Choir ‘NO! don’t let these wypipo, steal your body parts, this is the westernized way of doing things, you CAN heal yourself where you won’t even need the operation’. I spoke to a few friends and they immediately prescribed, Milk thistle supplements, a raw vegan diet, regular use of Dong Quai and Black Cohosh, with orders that I must not give into these White doctors, as ‘what did they really know about ‘us melaninated Black Women?’. Shame sat like a perched monkey on my shoulder for even considering something like surgery, so, I did a new moon ritual and manifested a pain-free vision for myself. My next period was even more vicious than the last, this time I spoke to my aunties, who were like ‘Sara, do what is right for you!’.
My consultation was bleak, my womb was the size of someone at sixteen weeks gestation. I gathered that when my hairdresser gave me a ‘congratulations you’re expecting’ salutation. My consultant and I talked through options, I kept saying I just want the cycle that I was now living in to stop. No more bloodbaths, with bits of my insides floating around, looking like a scene from Carrie. And I wanted to wear white with confidence, with no fear I might leave a sigil of my holiness behind, and as it was likely that the fibroids had created fertility issues, there was no physical reason for me to keep the…sac. I began to disassociate myself from my womb, I felt betrayed. I had my surgery scheduled for late November, I planned to mentally and emotionally prepare for it by coming offline and cleansing. Honestly, I’d been harbouring stuff for years and it just so happened that it took up residency in my womb and when it outgrew it, it took over my other reproductive organs, killing my hopes & dreams softly from inside. I’d accepted and acknowledged, the past for the hundredth, hundredth time but still, I was stuck. I got a call from my surgeon, ‘Sara’ he said, ‘I have a cancellation and I would like to get you in as soon as possible’. I put the phone down not really knowing what I just agreed I got a call from my surgeon, But I knew enough was enough, I knew this wasn’t just a physical operation something spiritual was going on too. I couldn’t fix or fight away, this was transformational healing, me surrendering and letting go of control and allowing the universe to do what it needed to do. I woke up from the operation, feeling liberated, free, unashamed and untangled, I don’t mind if I’m judged for surgery I did was right for me.