(or why pregnancy is truly brutal)
In information that no one wanted to know, but I am going to insist on sharing with you anyway, I recently immolated my uterus.
Well, some of it anyway. I paid many-many-many dollars to a now-very-wealthy surgeon to surgically destroy my endometrial lining with radiofrequency. Ablation is both the correct term AND a respectably gory name for a grindcore metal band.
I had good reasons, other than the sheer brutality of it. I have had 2 kids in the last few years, and it turns out they came with a bonus bunch of post-pregnancy medical issues. Pregnancy has destroyed my thyroid, cut my abdomen open (twice), and I now have at least 2 auto-immune conditions so that’s fun. But that’s not all, folks. I also got frequent heavy uterine bleeding (blood is very metal) to the point where I had severe fatigue and anaemia (not so metal, more pale and goth) and was in danger of fainting every time I tried to stand up (possibly emo?) and in permanent low-grade pain (yep, emo).
We tried to fix it the easy way, but it turns out my stupid body doesn’t absorb iron in food because of course it doesn’t. I don’t know why. Perhaps I needed to chow down on a lump of iron, rather than eating copious serves of red meat. Perhaps I should have got it direct from the blood of my enemies. Perhaps iron is not heavy enough a metal and I should have gone for plutonium. Why should anything be easy? You’re never going to write an anthem called “Took my iron tablet once a day (got some constipation now I’m fine)” unless you are Fall Out Boy, who are very good but not metal as such. (I have very strong opinions on calling bands that are clearly rock “heavy metal” and WILL FIGHT YOU. Or anyone.)
After we tried the supplement/diet approach, I had a couple of iron infusions over a couple of years. This is where they literally inject the metal INTO YOUR VEINS. It both worked well and sounded hardcore. I felt way better, and my plan was to wait until my uterine lining died messily at menopause.
But then we decided to move to Ireland where apparently injecting yourself with metal is not a thing so my gynaecologist recommended just setting the whole bloody thing on fire and cackling madly. (Note: she did not use this phrasing, but I could tell behind the words “simple day surgery” and “controlled radiofrequencies” and “easy recovery”, she was dying to get her Stratocaster on and the old flamethrower out.)
They used radio signals to do the deed (fire-y nets are another option) and I like to imagine Dethklok screaming black metal murder in the depths of my uterus. This is the clinical description of what happened, and I think sounds pretty hardcore. “A flexible ablation transmits radiofrequency energy that vaporizes the endometrial tissue in under two minutes.” Under two minutes, people. If that’s not speed metal, what is?
Generally it was a complete success; no more periods, no complications, and my iron level is inching back up slowly. There are some big consequences. Given we have firebombed my uterus – like that opening scene in Tropic Thunder – I can no longer have children. As I already have 2 – and am currently charging into my mid-40’s with nothing to show for my 30’s except for a host of medical issues, an expensive concert habit and some very nice boots – this is all good.
Having 2 kids already also makes it WAAAAAAY easier to get sterilised. As many medical professional inform you (often without you even asking!) women should really have some kids to persuade people they don’t want any. When you have none, it’s all “you may want them someday and how bad is chronic pain for 20 years, really”. As soon as you pop a couple they are all, “yeah, pregnancy is completely shit and will break your body and organs, and caring for toddlers is the worst, LETS TORCH THE BASTARD”. You are required to indicate your disinterest by sacrificing several years, most of your money and sleep, and – in my case – a functional thyroid and pancreas, before they will listen to your argument.
People do tell you – repeatedly, usually while spruiking various products – after having babies you won’t get your body back. You don’t, but not how you expected. It’s generally assumed this means putting on weight because society tells us that body fat on women is the WORST THING EVER. And it’s lies. I am the same size, but now have auto-immune issues I will be blood-testing for and medicating for until the day I die. And I got lucky. I avoided hemorrhages and infection, incontinence (fecal and/or urinary), depression and psychosis, pelvic trauma and prolapse, and also divorce and redundancy, which are very common and super-fun when you are already dealing with the bullshit above.
Why am I sharing all this with you?
Maybe it’s because I like to overshare. Lordi knows I love a good rant. More likely it’s because I’m angry about how womens’ pain is routinely minimised and ignored. I know a lot of women in a lot of pain who have been told – for fucking years – it’s just period pain, deal with it and don’t talk about it. Be ready to have kids even if you don’t want them. Can’t you just suffer in silence? You know, you’d be prettier if you smiled more.
Well, screw being silent – shout. Howl it into the mic. Smash that guitar and go full scale metal on it. I’m listening and I’m ready to scream along with you.
Yeah, I’m pretty cantankerous. Must be all that fire in my uterus.