Today I went back to the local clinic for the saline ultrasound.  This is a pretty ho-hum procedure at this point, although it does involve speculum, catheter and apparently about a gallon of water.  My uterus hasn’t caused me much trouble in all this, so I wasn’t stressed.  I do, however, hate the speculum.  So much.  I have gotten a little bit panicky in the past while the speculum was In There, and felt like it was going to start tearing me apart, which doesn’t make me anything but more tense and tight.  Yeesh.  After my last IVF, I had just about decided that I was going to have to get valium or some kind of trank every time I have to face the speculum.

But I’ve been on antidepressants since October, and at some point, maybe November/December, I started taking an anti-anxiety drug called Buspiron.  I didn’t think I was the anxious type, but I was spending too much time in the land of All the Bad Things That Could Happen.  So I said yes when They (my mental health people) said I might want to try it.

I think the anxiety is better, although I still have to grapple with negative and fearful thoughts.  But there has been an amazing change that I didn’t dare to hope for.

Because I experienced trauma at an early age, I have always struggled with various “stress ailments.”  For a while, I had panic attacks.  When I was a teenager I had a few migraines.  A few years later, I had irritable bowel syndrome, and that was horrendous.  I was a little bit clueless about my stress back then… I would go to my job at 6 pm and within a half hour I had what can only be called “foreign country diarrhea.”  Every day.  My doctor at the time asked “is there something that happens every day at that time?”  and I thought… “Oh.  Work.”  Duh.

Some things have stayed.  My sleep has been very iffy since I was 35.  I have TMJ and had constant neck pain before it was diagnosed.  And I’ve just generally always had tension in my body, even when I don’t feel stressed.  Even as over the years I worked a lot on all this crap in therapy, my body just insists that there is still danger.  I hit a wall in working on my singing voice because of this tension, and that wall is always there between me and physical intimacy.  It’s like I had to grow an extra skin to survive, and now it’s too tight.

A couple of months ago my singing voice started feeling … looser.  This is huge for singing technique, and when I was in graduate school, an army of voice teachers couldn’t help me get there.  Some other… inhibitions have dropped away, too, and let’s just say that my husband is really happy about it.  I have also begun to experience an odd sensation that I think is “flexibility,” when stretching.  I never stretched much because it was always so painful.  I’ve been stretching religiously after every workout, and actually gotten somewhere with it for the first time in ages.  I was starting to think it must be the medicine, and then I went in last week for my first ultrasound in a few years and I thought, wow, this nurse is so gentle.

Then the other day, I had the saline ultrasound deal and not only was there a speculum, it was being cranked open inside me by a male doctor I had just met three minutes before.  He said the usual crap, which is so irritating coming from a male doctor: “This might hurt a little… try and relax…” and as always, I tried to relax, knowing I wouldn’t be able to.

Wonder of wonders.  I did.  I relaxed.  The speculum still didn’t feel wonderful, but I was able to let my mind wander a bit, and it was fine.  It didn’t hurt, and they had put everything but the kitchen sink In There.  Finally I understand the women who kind of shrug about their pap smears.  I always thought they were lying or denying, and that it was supremely horrible and painful for everyone.  Maybe not.

This is more wonderful than I can describe to you.  I am getting various parts of life back that I had given up on.  And this is not a tranked-out, sleepy relaxation; this is in the midst of feeling very energetic and awake most of the day.  To feel up, and strong, and alive, and still be able to chill and relax the part of my body that needs to, is beyond amazing.  It would be like if you woke up one day and could figure skate or something.

Because of this, and because of some work I’ve been doing about liking my body better, the insecurities that came floating up from my last clinic appointment are sort of gone.   I had no idea how huge it would be to not feel so violated from a medical procedure that nobody else seems to feel violated from.  It feels like my body is in alignment with my mind, more than ever before.   Before I went on these meds, I thought it would be a compromise, possibly a betrayal of myself, to take them.  I thought it was a kind of giving up on true healing.

Forget that.  This is more healed than I’ve ever felt, and I’m finding strength and insights to invite still more healing.  It rocks.

As if that weren’t enough, the ultrasound revealed some things.  I have always had endometrial cysts on each ovary; they wax and wane, but there are always one or two on each.  I have always had a fibroid attached to the back of my uterus that has been described as “good -sized” or “huge.”  Ultrasound techs always say “oh, did you know you have a..” or “I’m seeing a…” and I always say “Yeah, huge fibroid and cysts, we know about that.”  This doctor said, “well, no.”

Then he said “You’ve got a couple of follicles, 18 and 22 millimeters on one side…” and I was confused.  Follicles?  Eggs?  I’ve always assumed I ovulated, but my ovaries were weighed down with so much endometrial garbage, who knew for sure?  Then the doctor said “You’ve got great ovaries!”

WTF.  I laughed, with the speculum in there and everything, and said “Well, I guess I beg to differ.”  And the doc said that to have that kind of follicular activity was unusual at my age.

I felt a little whisper of “maybe I can get pregnant… ” but it died quickly.  Can you imagine having a pregnancy from a 47-year-old egg?  I am way past hoping for a miracle in that department, and the idea of waiting for the miscarriage or the troubles that might come… that I feel would surely come… I just do not hope for a pregnancy with my own eggs.

But I just stood a little taller at the idea that I have “great ovaries.”   Even though they didn’t exactly come through when I hoped they would.  Maybe they are just having a little bit of Indian summer down there.  It’s foolish but it makes me feel good.

It’s just amazing for my body to do what it’s meant to do, and it’s such a gift to feel that it can heal, and surprise me.  I know that we aren’t ever really whole in this life, but it’s nice to get a little bit closer.

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