I’d really like to know why someone searching the term “rectal exam butter” was directed to DoctorDi…. and then I’d like to know if there is such a thing. Or, on second thoughts, perhaps not. Sounds vile. Anyway, a bit late in the day, sorry chaps, but I had my post-op appointment with Dr. F, the obs/gyn specialist this morning, and since then I’ve been slowly piecing my MS back together (breaking briefly to stew some rhubarb from Saturday’s farmers’ market), or at least starting to. It’s going to take a while.
I now have colour photos of my endometriosis. They’re not what I would call happy snaps, but it is interesting, and in case you’re wondering, yes, I look thoroughly gross on the inside – really monstrous if you want my honest opinion. Dr. F was nice as ever, he’s really a very kind man, but I went to pieces. As I said to him as he started trucking tissues my way (and it was cartoonish the way he kept passing them to me. I felt eventually I should knot them all together and make my escape out his window), I don’t even know why I was crying. All things considered, the prognosis is fairly good. The impediment – endometriosis (which Hilary Mantel had too, it turns out, except at the age of 27 she had really drastic sounding surgery and was unable to have kids, so let’s not focus on that for now) – has been removed, and Dr. F thinks there’s no reason to suspect I’ll never get pregnant. But when I put it to him that we went to an IVF evening and were regarding it as the next step, he didn’t talk me out of it. No, he said, “You’re asking me if I think you should do IVF, and I’d say yes, but keep trying on your own in the meantime.”
For some reason, having him endorse the IVF idea really set me to crying.
“That’s what I th-think,” I sobbed. “I mean, we s-started trying nearly three years ago, but now I’m on the end of their ch-chart. Honk.”
“Yes,” Dr. F conceded, “it’s probably time to make tracks.”
Time to make tracks. Part of me wanted to lean across his desk and scream in his kindly face that I’ve been trying to make tracks for three fucking years, and he was one of the eminently qualified people who assured me that tracks would indeed be made in due course and without interference from professional track makers. I could lay my own tracks, he told me. And I had plenty of time in which to do it. Now, of course, the track work is running dangerously behind schedule and the budget has been blown right off the lines and everyone who told me it’ll be fine, it’ll be fine, it’ll be fine has done this shocking about-face whereby suddenly it won’t be fine unless I call for reinforcements. And it’s such an easy thing to revise, one’s historical advice. Since I first saw Dr. F more than a year ago, he’s been telling me there’s nothing to worry about, plenty of time, relax, and I think that’s why I became such a blubbering mess this morning, because he’s certainly changed his tune.
“Well, you’ve got endometriosis,” he said. “But we knew that.”
“I didn’t know that,” I said.
“But we suspected, which is why we did the laparoscopy.”
Well, yes. But only because a year of waiting and taking medication had failed to produce even a fourth early miscarriage.
“And you’ve got a very retroverted uterus,” he continued. “Here’s what I wrote immediately after the op. Retroverted uterus, plus plus.”
“Plus plus? What’s that mean? Mine’s more retroverted than a standard retroversion?”
“A retroverted uterus is not unusual, it’s quite common. Here’s what a normal uterus looks like.” He handed me a diagram. “And here’s what yours looks like.” He drew what looked like a badly wilting flower. “It’s facing the wrong direction, see?”
“Yes. That’s very clear. Thank you.”
I put the diagram in my bag with the wad of used tissues.
“But a retroverted uterus won’t prevent a pregnancy or my ability to carry a pregnancy to term?”
Dr. F shook his head.
“No,” he said. “Shouldn’t do.”
“Well then,” I said. “That’s that. Off to IVF.”
I dissolved into tears. Dr. F waited patiently for me to get myself under control, occasionally offering small, soothing phrases like “you poor little thing” – he’s Scottish, so he can get away with it.
“You’re looking very pink today,” he noted as I finally shrugged into my coat. I glanced down at myself.
“Oh yes,” I said. “This is my wet weather outfit. The cars can’t miss me.”
“You’re a good girl, Di,” he said, and I instantly welled up again. “Let me know how you go. And I hope I get to see you for the fun stuff. We’ve had this other stuff, but I’d like to help you with the other.”
We shook hands.
“Thanks, Dr. F,” I said, hanging my head as we entered the Baby Zone near reception, averting his and everyone else’s gaze. “I’d like that too.”
Then I dashed into the elevator and really broke down.
All things considered, I’m kind of impressed with myself for coming home, stewing rhubarb, and going back to work.