The day before yesterday, I shared on Facebook that I’m struggling with a bout of depression.
It’s largely situational, and I know what has brought it on.
Marital and financial struggles continue to challenge me, and so I’ve kind of been riding the depression fence. It wasn’t going to take much to cause me to lose my balance.
Then this past week, two things happened to push me over into the abyss.
One is kind of a big deal. The other not so much.
The first wasn’t really a surprise, but now that it’s official, it’s something I’m really struggling with.
A couple weeks ago I shared my recent diagnosis of stage 3 pelvic organ prolapse.
Millions of women experience prolapse every year. But nobody really talks about it because when you start talking about your vajajay and internal stuff, people get shy or grossed out or embarrassed or whatever.
Stage 3 pelvic prolapse is defined as when your “pelvic organ(s) are beginning to bulge to or beyond the opening of the vagina.”
You can have bladder, uterine, or rectal prolapse.
I have all three, and last week I went to Yale to have some urodynamic testing done, basically to find out how messed up my bladder is.
It’s pretty messed up, and part of it is now on the outside of my body.
My life is not in danger. But until I have surgery, I can’t do anything strenuous. Any pressure on my core makes things worse. You know what puts pressure on your core?
Basically anything that isn’t whispering.
Going to the bathroom is fear-inducing at this point.
After the testing, I met with a urogynecologist to schedule my reconstructive pelvic surgery, and on February 26th I’m having four internal procedures done.
I’m having a hysterectomy. My cervix will be left intact, and a mesh material will be attached to it, and that will be pulled up and attached to my tailbone. That’s called a sacrocolpopexy. I’ll get a midurethral sling which basically means they’re gonna pull my bladder back up where it belongs with a mesh material. (I already had this surgery once, and it came undone in the last two years, after I was sick twice with a really bad cough that lasted for a couple months each time). My vaginal walls will be reinforced with more mesh. There are tears in the tissue on my rear vaginal wall, and those will be, as the doctor described it, “pleated like a curtain and then stitched together through an incision in the vagina.” He will make other “vaginal repairs as needed.” And then, while he’s in there, he’s going to remove my fallopian tubes as that reduces your risk of ovarian cancer by 40%.
So my quality of life kind of blows right now, and while I’m anxious to have the surgery so I can resume exercising, I’m also semi-terrified of going under anesthesia and not ever waking up again.
My body beginning to fall apart is a big, flashing, neon red sign reminding me of my mortality. And I’m struggling with it.
My days of marathons and triathlons may have come to an abrupt and unexpected end, and I’m having a hard time coming to terms with that as well.
The second thing is seemingly no big deal, but for some reason, it completely derailed me. As much as the prospect of having my insides reconstructed.
As you know, last November we started eating all our meals in the dining room. This was a really big accomplishment for me because my dining room is a beautiful room but it’s always been a dumping ground for laundry and basically everything else.
After seeing how this new new habit improved the quality of all our lives, I committed to getting the rest of the house decluttered and organized. And I’ve been busting my butt to do that, and I’ve managed to keep the mudroom, the laundry room, the dining room, and the kitchen pretty neat for a few months now.
I have been busting my ass to keep the atmosphere in the house more calm for the kids. Because when the house is less of a disaster, everything runs so much more smoothly.
Last weekend the little guys slept over at my parents’ house. They love going there.
And then, this past Monday, Number 6 was talking to his sisters.
And I overheard him say, “I wish our house was clean like Grammy and Papa’s house.”
He didn’t say it to be mean. He didn’t even know I was within earshot, I don’t think. And even if he had, I think he would have said the same thing. He was just being honest.
But I was literally devastated by that comment from a seven-year-old.
Hadn’t he noticed a difference? Haven’t things improved noticeably? Drastically, even?
Everything just seemed futile in that moment.
I realize the fact that a comment from a second grader completely crushed me is an indication that perhaps I’m not operating on all cylinders.
Nonetheless, it was the proverbial straw on the camel’s back and it sent me into a tailspin.
So I spent two days being completely useless.
I spent a third day pulling my head out of my rear end and determining what needed to be done.
And on the third and fourth days, I started making changes.
I stayed away from Facebook and all social media, and I slept. I binge watched season 4 of Grace and Frankie because it makes me laugh.
And I needed to laugh.
I refocused on gratitude.
I took a shower, put on mascara, and I washed some of the dishes I had allowed to pile up in the kitchen in defeat two days earlier.
And I am coming out of the fog.
I’m not where I want to be, but I’m getting there.
Plus, today is my seven month sober anniversary.
And regardless of anything else going on in my life, that is something to feel pretty darn good about.
Oh man. I’m so sorry for your medical troubles. My mother in law had that and I remember just hating to ask her how she was doing because I was afraid of hearing details. I really, really regret that now. Thank you for sharing.
The abrupt end to your running routine is rough as well, and as a runner, I sympathize. I appreciate how determined and strong you are and am sure you’ll find a new routine that challenges you and helps keep your spirits up.
As for the clutter in your house, I can sympathize with that as well. I see other people’s homes and wonder how they keep things so tidy when I feel like I live in a hurricane. Your kids ARE seeing and appreciating your efforts, I’m sure, and reaping other benefits as well. Perhaps your house isn’t always in pristine condition, but you’re targeting your efforts where they make a difference – making eating together a priority, teaching them to be self reliant and discouraging asshole-ism, coaching them to get the most from their potential. They’re turning into great humans because of you. Yes, there’s clutter. There’s also SEVEN children (I know not all of them live with you, but still). That’s a lot to expect things to be tidy and perfect all the time.
Keep going on the path you’re on. You’re doing great. You’re enough. And congrats on the 7 month anniversary.
I needed to hear your words, too.
Thank you Penina!
I am so grateful to you for sharing all your “stuff”. Knowing that you are struggling makes my struggles easier 😉 Twisted, I know.
I wish you physical health and and mental wellness! May you have a speedy recovery. Sorry I live too far to send food over.
A friend of mine tells me, “It will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end!”
My prayers are with you!
How are you doing? Even a short update would be great!
seema sikka says
Susie, you are a really brave lady. Have not heard from you for so long, Hope everything is fine. Such diagnosis is really very challenging for a active lady like yours who is juggling on so many fronts and handling so many lives beautifully. Best of luck for your surgery and recovery!!