Childhood, Hysterectomy, Summer, Uncategorized, Writing

Johnnycake Road Chapter 3

Queen Anne’s Lace and Goldenrod

It is finally spring here in Southern New Hampshire, only a month late, and for all we know the snow may not yet be done with us. But, today dawned glorious, not a cloud in the sky, and no pesky wind to slip its icy fingers down our collars. Nothing but sunshine and (for us) warm temperatures in the high fifties, possibly sixty!

I started my latest chapter of the book based on my childhood experiences living in the country in Upstate New York. It’s rough and unfinished but I feel like sharing it. Let me know, do you think this interesting enough to keep going? I will anyway, because it brings me great joy to pull out memories, dust them off and relive them in my imagination. How fun it is to elaborate and fictionalize them a bit and to use them to entertain myself and hopefully others.

It is the eve before I go for my hysterectomy surgery. The process of opening myself up, with my writing and my thinking and my intentions, somehow seems to have coincided with the advent of the surgery, which is a quite literal way of opening up. Somehow, these two are connected in a profound way I haven’t quite sorted out yet. But, I welcome it all. I have learned that opening up and sharing your deepest thoughts is a requirement if you wish to write truthfully and authentically. I am grateful for the people and the beauty that have come through the doors and windows I have thrown open with complete abandon. Or at least what is for me, complete abandon! With that, I share the unfinished work of Chapter 3. I have six weeks of physical recovery ahead of me, and I think this will generate a lot of writing.

Please send my your healing and positive thoughts as I journey through my surgery in the early morning hours tomorrow, April 23rd. Thank you!

Chapter Three – The “Crick”  (unfinished draft)

“Maaaa, I’m BORED!”I hung over the back of a kitchen chair, vulture-like, as my mother sipped coffee and worked a crossword puzzle. The vinyl stuck to my sweaty arms as I dangled them over the back. It was a triple H day in Upstate New York: Hazy, Hot and HUMID. The mild and breezy spring had run smack into a wall of thick, cloistering air that heralded a New York Mohawk Valley summer. It hung in a yellowish haze over the rolling farmland. Cows lolled under shade trees in clusters at the very edge of the pasture, and refused to go home at milking time, prompting the farmer down the road to phone a request that we kids chase them down to the cow paths at dusk. My brother and I were thrilled to oblige, bringing our collie Shepard mix, Poochie to assist. We’d return home panting, our shiny, red faces dripping with grimy sweat mixed with the dust kicked up by the panicked bovines. “I’m surprised those cows could still give milk by the time you kids are done scaring the bejesus out of them,” my mother would remark before she ordered us into the bath tub. We’d had a close call one evening, and it toned down our exuberance just a hair. The second-to-last heifer took acceptance at the unfortunate last in line bovine, who had scrambled up her backside in a panic in an attempt to get away from the deranged,whooping gang of child and pup. The angered cow stopped dead in her tracks and head butted the offending little bossy, resulting in a domino effect of tumbling cow, dog and kids. My brother and I hit the deck and rolled out of the way in the nick of time to avoid a “cow crash” as we came to call it later on. Of course we never told our mother.
“Go watch cartoons with your brother,” she now suggested. From the living room, strains of “Captain Kangaroo” floated into the kitchen and sparking a surge of irritation through my body. My brother and I had just had a fight over which station to watch, and who sat where. Fists had flown, and he had won, and then had triumphantly stretched out with his favorite blanket to watch the babyish show. For a few minutes I sat at the edge of the couch and halfheartedly exchanged kicks with him, but it was too hot to continue the fight.
“Bore-Ring!” I said, in a sing-song voice.
Mom sipped from her mug and without looking up said,”If you’re bored I can give you something to do.”
Ugh, she always said this. Plenty of dishes to wash, tables to dust, rooms to clean. I did my inward eye roll and flounced out of the kitchen before she could assign me any equally boring tasks.
“I’m going outside,” I pushed at the screen door.
“Don’t go any further than you can hear me call you!”
I grunted and let the door slam behind me.
Outside in the blinding morning sunshine, the beauty of the summer day eclipsed any discomfort resulting from the heat. The corn stalks wore their early July dark, green color, and their usual whispering was laid low by the humidity. Whisps of ghostly mist rose in fingers of steamy vapor from the tall grass of the fields. Snowy white Queen Anne’s lace dotted an expanse of mustard yellow goldenrod. I grabbed one of the delicate blooms and examined a lone ladybug clinging to one of the tiny blossoms.My body surged with the realization I was free as the red winged blackbirds sitting on the stalks of milkweed in the field. Their lyrical call “Chereeeeee! Cheereeeeee!”beckoned.I was completely unencumbered by pesky little brothers, blaring television sets, crying baby sisters and irritable adults looking to hand out responsibilities for my own good. My dog, Pooch, looked up briefly from her shady spot where she lay next to the cornfield, then dropped her head in disinterest and closed her eyes. So I was on my own today. The world was my oyster, and I did not have to share it with anyone else. I decided to slip under the barbed wire of the pasture fence and explore the shaded dark cow paths that bordered the edge of the hay field adjacent to our back yard. I always wondered what lay at the end of the paths, which we never really got to see once we chased the cows into the murky depths. That was the point where we usually turned back for home, since it was getting dark and we knew the cows would keep going. Cows were like that; once they started moving, they usually kept going to their next destination, as long as nothing too daunting crossed their path.


Hysterectomy, Uncategorized

Farewell to U(Terus)

On the Impending Loss of my Female Parts

I have recently been advised I need to get a hysterectomy. Because I have had two episodes of post menopausal bleeding, and ultrasound reveals a thickening of the endometrium, and a polyp. Ordinarily this would require a hysteroscopy, biopsy and a d&c, but these were impossible because I have severe adhesions on my cervix, preventing the doctor/surgeon from getting in to perform the procedures. So, because they cannot biopsy they cannot determine if I have uterine cancer. The chances are very low and they don’t think I have it, no family history, less than 6% chance. But, since I no longer “need” the organs, the surest way to prevent cancer is to remove them all. There are ways of doing the surgery that are less invasive than previous times. But it is still surgery. And, I don’t trust doctors, plain and simple. I wish I could. But in my experience they have made mistakes that for one thing have led to me having this adhesion problem. So, for me this is a big deal and it’s frightening and I really can’t stop thinking about it. In two weeks, I will go for an opinion by a gynecological oncologist. A writer friend recently advised me to write about how I feel about my uterus. I’m not one to get all crunchy granola about my body, so it’s kind of an uncomfortable thing for me to write about it. I tend to be sarcastic and crack jokes when things get too close to pulling my mask off, so to speak. So I started out by putting down the facts of the situation. (See above) It is easier for me to start that way. I have tried to think about how I feel about my uterus. Frankly I don’t give it a lot of thought. Does anyone? Aside from housing and growing my babies, I don’t have a lot of use for it. It has given me nothing but trouble most of my adult life, really. From cervical cancer (pre cancer) in my late twenties, a miscarriage that it didn’t expel like it should have, to peri menopause, and bleeding 3 out of 4 weeks of the month for several years, it really has not been my friend. I once had a breast lump that had to be checked out, and the doctor at the time told me it was benign, and a result of my “hormones having a war with my ovaries and my breasts getting caught up in the middle of it all”. She really did say that. I actually mourn my pre-puberty days when I had the stick figure of a boy, and could run like the wind, unencumbered, and without drawing any undue extra attention to myself while doing so. I could just be out in the world, as I was. Free to be myself. After adolescence I lost any sense of self I had. There were too many changes, in my body, in my life, and in the world. I didn’t know how to be, or who to be. Now I find myself at the same kind of junction in life; all kinds of changes in my body, my life, and the world. I think I know who I am, and who I want to be, but I am encumbered by so many things getting in my way. And I am now being asked to make a major decision and remove body parts, to stop everything for weeks while I recover. I just about got to full recovery from my back fracture in 2014. Healing is not an easy thing to accomplish these days. So, how do I feel about my uterus? Nothing but trouble, frankly. I am grateful to have had it so I could have my beautiful children. In that way, it did change my life for the better, so it was useful for 18 months out of 40 years of being active. Thank you Uterus, and I am sorry we couldn’t have been better friends. You made me grow up and I probably have never forgiven you for that! And no, I can’t end this exercise without some sarcasm: How like you it is to be a pain in my butt right up to the bitter end. So thanks, thanks a lot (end sarcasm)