The last two memories I've shared have been frightening and negative. I thought I would skip ahead about fifteen years and share something that fundamentally changed me. Literally saved my life. It is very positive. Prepare to have warm and fuzzies.
My husband and I have two children. When I had my youngest my husband and I decided no more children and he chose to have a vasectomy.
At the time they were eight and ten. My youngest had entered second grade and my oldest, fourth. I was missing my babies and felt an almost compulsive need to have another child. There were a couple of obstacles. First was my husband's vasectomy. However, I was confident that I could talk him into a reversal. I'd noticed he was missing having a baby/toddler around as much as I did.
Second was more complex. You see I had never had regular cycles. I could (and did) get pregnant easily. I was on the pill when I got pregnant for my second (NO I DID NOT MISS) and we were using condoms and spermicidal gel with my first. Somehow I managed to get preggers.
However, at that point, I hadn't had a cycle in about three years. The longest I'd ever not had one. I'd been for my annuals and had no obvious problems, no hormonal deficits or issues, I simply did not slough and bleed. I declined the drugs they wanted to give me. I'd been through every recommended treatment at least three times. Provera made me bleed for MONTHS the last time I took it. BCP made me morning sick and I would randomly start gushing. I have contact dermatitis - anything stays on my skin too long and I get open bleeding sores. I have absolutely no desire to try to imbed something INSIDE me.
I went to the doctor to talk to him about what I needed to do to ensure I was still fertile. During the exam, he found large cysts on my ovaries. They hadn't been there seven months previous. He was also concerned with other physical symptoms I was having. He actually recommended a hysterectomy.
I lost my composure a bit. I was there to ensure I could safely carry a baby, not hear they wanted to make me sterile surgically. I got a second, then third opinion. It didn't strike me as strange at the time, but looking back, it should have been impossible for me to get in to see ONE specialist in a week, but two? I spoke to my kids and husband over the weekend about what the specialists had said. They were supportive and caring, but really it was my decision.
Anyway, I was still clinging to hope. I wanted another baby, I did not want to be spayed. I took two weeks off from work and tried to make a decision. I'd been home four days - it was a Thursday - when I finally made my decision. I had been reading about the surgery and the life changes involved and I just... I got so frustrated and angry. I wanted my baby. I did not want to be cut open and have parts of me removed.
I took a bubble bath and tried to calm down. I read the brochure one more time, then threw it in the trash, still pissed and determined. I was having a baby, I was NOT going to go under the knife. I was fine, I wasn't sick, it was just growing things, not even cancer, just softball sized sacks of water. I'd deal with them.
Decision made, I was at peace. I got out of the bath, dried off, slid into my robe and went to sit on the couch. I was sipping some water when a movement near the bathroom caught my eye. I looked up and saw my older brother Cliff standing there. Please remember I have four brothers, of whom only three are living. My brother Cliff died about three years before this happened.
I was not frightened, upset or in the least bothered. It never occurred to me that Cliff was dead, that he'd died before I bought my home, and that he should not be there. He just looked at me calmly, and then turned and walked down the hall.
I followed of course. He was my brother and I hadn't seen him in so long. He went into my bedroom and I was only a few steps behind, but when I got there he was gone, although his scent lingered in the air. No he didn't stink - everybody has a distinctive scent. I recognized his scent is all.
I didn't see him, but laying on my pillow was the brochure I'd throw away in the bathroom. Remember, I had not been in my bedroom. I slid on my robe and went to the front room. I didn't really need another hint did I?
I picked up the phone and called the surgical center. She answered on the first ring and when I gave her my name and why I was calling she laughed and said, "Wow you have great timing. The lady scheduled for tomorrow just called and cancelled. If you can be here at six in the morning we can fit you right in."
I'm not a fool. I don't believe in that much coincidence, so I took the offered time, called my boss to let her know I'd be out for six week, then called my hubby and told him what was happening. He came home early and we got everything ready.
There were some complications after the surgery and I ended up back in the hospital because of internal bleeding and infection, but I pulled through okay. About three weeks later we got a call from my GYN. The pathologist had contacted him. They wanted me to sign something to release one of the samples - I'd specified all my stuff needed to be disposed of properly. I didn't want little bits of me hanging out somewhere in some freezer.
On examination of my uterus, I had a rare myometrial growth, the very beginnings of leiomyosarcoma. The cells of my myometrium had just started to mutate. Pre-cancerous, and although I was tested every few months for years, nothing like that developed elsewhere. It was very - extremely - rare and they wanted to use it for study to help women with this form of cancer. TODAY Leiomyosarcoma has a 63% survivability rate and endometrial cancer has a 99% survivability rate. Back then it was significantly lower, as to be non-existent.
Had I gone ahead with my plan to try for another child, I likely would not have conceived, and I would have developed what was back then a death sentence.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of my brother and thank him for helping guide me.