I had an appointment this morning, way too early to my taste but when it comes to your lady parts, there’s no schedule.
My lady parts! I’ve realized how much I needed to love them and the rest of my body when I still could. It is so messy these days that I dread every ‘normal’ situation, any social encounter or meeting is a big thing. It’s tiring to put up THE face when your inside is slowly but surely being suicidal.
I have an enlarged uterus because of a fibroid or maybe more. I have never ending periods but most amazingly I have these wonderful rushes where I lose a pint of blood in a few hours. I did the whole blood transfusion, iron tablets and healthy food stuff.
I’m not me anymore, I cannot go hiking, biking or even swim till exhaustion because my body reacts violently. I feel that I really need to accept that I won’t have kids, because medication might not work and that I’ll get rid of the fibroid along with my uterus.
But all this mourning is not about a thirty something woman who should have been more into the norm. It’s about our society and our healthcare system that still treat vaginas as seeding grounds for babies. I was told about periods when I was seven by my extremely pleased dad who thought it was important for me to know. I still think the same of it, ‘yuk’!
My friends were not as lucky; most of them learned that it was completely natural to have blood coming out of your body the day it actually happened for the first time. Until recently I remember the lady at the local shop near my parents’ home would wrap items like tampons and sanitary pads. I also remember my first night in the gynea section in the hospital laughing out loud because my neighbor never talked about sex with her mother, she was a beautiful 42-year-old mum.
I know that not every family talks openly about sex but sharing information is crucial when it comes to saving lives. Very few women know for example how much blood they are supposed to lose during a normal period. Symptoms of cancer, endometriosis or other related diseases are very often dismissed by family doctors as ok. That is what happened when I went to check for my first benign breast tumor at 18. The old private doctor said it was nothing to worry about unlike the public doctor a year later. In a country when women of less than 25 died of breast cancer, it is just astounding that girls are not educated properly about something lurking in their age of discovery.
Sexual education is not just about contraception, it’s about learning how a body works, how to monitor it and record symptoms in a rational way. Women make up for more than 50% of the population but still their lady parts dysfunction is whispered about and rarely discussed openly. So whatever the giggles or disapprovals, young people need to know about the basics beyond the biology class for the sake of our population.
We need to stop having these ‘women’ policies and have human policies. When looking at figures, discrimination is laughing at your face. But pushing the problem aside as a gender issue is an issue!
For example why not impose gender neutral toilets that would suit women, transgendered and men. Last year during our summer university, I realized that not only people knew about discrimination but went along with it because they felt the government just did not care!
Whatever your gender or your marital status, you must be able to use your body as you please; this is a human right principle. But when as a married woman, you are told that you need your spouse approval for contraception related surgery, you feel like you’re in macholand. The policies that people came up with were more about logical steps for a better society. They asked for human rights education for all genders, legal abortion, same access to opportunities, parental counseling, accessible healthcare… and ways to make things better than just complain.
For sure, doctors are humans but they have ethics they need to abide to. I am actually at war with the doctor I was assigned to. I love facts, they help me rationalize and I am not the only one. So when a doctor looks at my hands to tell my iron levels rather than make me take a minute blood test, I do feel singled out.
When you’re a doctor, your personal views cannot interfere, you’ve got to be direct but also supportive enough for a patient to tell the truth, especially when it is related to sex. I cannot count the endless number of times when women in the gynae waiting room told me they lied to the doctor because they ‘felt’ he or she did not approve. Of course, that might just be guilt stemming from a cultural stigma but still whatever choices a person makes cannot be commented. Sex workers very often don’t say what really happened because they feel that they are being judged. Knowing how often they get raped, it just outrages me. The thing is that doctors have this religious halo, what they say is accepted as the truth. I’ve seen over ten gynecologists the last few months and every time they actually look closely at the ultrasound imagery, I heard different things but almost always I heard the judgment, ‘oh you don’t have children, you should…’
Gynecologists must stop treating the vagina as a baby breeding ground because it is meant for pleasure too!
So you OBGYN out there, it is ok to say orgasm instead of veiled terms. Of course, I am a biased person with a long medical history of breast tumors, hormonal imbalances and fibroids who persists in not rushing to make a baby despite medical advice!