Published on [Permalink]
Reading time: 4 minutes

The B Word

Tomorrow I’m undergoing an endometrial biopsy. I’m feeling pretty good about it! So far, most of my stress has come from lackluster communication.

I had a pelvic ultrasound in October to investigate irregular bleeding (two periods in one month, yay!) and they found a small fibroid and no other irregularities. My PCP asked if I wanted to talk to a gyno (it sounded very optional, the way she put it), I said sure, and that department followed up with a generic letter inviting me to make an appointment.

By the time all was said and done, a month passed between my ultrasound and the day I called. Then the appointment scheduler casually dropped, “Oh did they tell you they want to do a biopsy?”

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I wanted to yell, No! If they had, I wouldn’t have sat on my hands for almost a month before making this appointment!

It wasn’t the scheduler’s fault, but I was pissed. We booked the appointment three weeks out, at the next available opening. That is, tomorrow.

When I hung up the phone I still had no idea who “they” were, or why I was getting a biopsy.

To the Internet!

With the help of my hypertext friends, The Mayo Clinic, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins, I was able to suss out what’s up. Irregular bleeding is a possible warning sign for endometrial (uterine) cancer. And the risk factors describe me quite well. I had my first menses early, I’ve never been pregnant, and so on.

So I quickly went from “WTF” to “Oh, this is a screening test, and one I want!”

Still, that first day of surprise was kind of awful.

The “B word” is scary!

MOAR Internet

I’ve learned a lot about uteruses on the internet. If they find suspicious cells in my endometrium, the standard response would be to yeet my uterus right out of me. That would be inconvenient, but not a tragedy for a childfree chick like me. And even if my B word were to become the C word, that type is usually quite curable. So seriously, I’m feeling fine. 😌

Huzzah for the mysterious “they” who requested my biopsy.

We’re All Dying

Mortality is a thing. And while I don’t expect this specific kerfuffle to end me, it’s been interesting to reflect on my responses. Most of us receive mental practice runs before we die, and this is one of mine.

First, I was surprised by my immediate reaction to tell no one except for my husband. Why? I didn’t want to deal with other people’s worry or drama. At this point, there’s nothing to worry about, and I won’t know more for weeks.

Second, I felt like “what will be will be.” A calm kind of feeling.

I was proud of myself for calling the nurse line on the first day of my weird second period. I got that ball rolling, didn’t I? Even with that hiccup in the middle.

Lastly, I was so relieved that this was happening to me and not to P. It would be way scarier if he were getting a biopsy. Also, it would be objectively weird, because he doesn’t even have a uterus!

Although, as I like I say to him when I’m PMSing, it’s a uterUS, not a uterME. 😂

The Unknowable Future

This is what we do, right? We project possible paths into the future, assigning probabilities, preparing ourselves mentally for branches in the path. But we can’t control all the turns.

Because I’ve written about this, I’ll be sure to post an update later. It helped to write it all out, so thanks for reading.

In the meantime, if you or someone you love owns a uterus, be aware that changes in menstruation should be discussed with a doctor. Yes, even if you’re creeping up on menopause age. Yes, even if you suspect it’s no big deal. And bleeding after menopause, even a small amount, should always be investigated.

Embrace what comes, friends, but when you have a chance to steer onto a safer path, take it. That’s what I learned when P’s mom died of colon cancer twenty years ago. Too many people die of embarrassment or of not wanting to be a bother. I’ve carried that lesson for a long time. And who knows? Maybe someday it will save my life.

May we all be assertive in the pursuit of more time with the people we love.