I first felt her as I was laying in the field of Valley Forge Park under the eerie dim sky of the solar eclipse. Everything had fallen silent in the confusion, the unveiling, as though a portal had been opened to our dazed eyes. The pain grew for days. Orion and I retreated to the cabin and dove behind the veil. I was lost where I couldn't hide. A wasp stung the sole of my foot as I looked at a withering mushroom, and the radiating fury of its poison was a welcome reprieve from the dizzying discomfort in my stomach. My insides shook me to tears with every step I stumbled. By the time we came home, I was doubled over holding the hurt. He drove me to work and I taught a class from the floor distracted by thoughts of dying the way my Grandmother had.
When I walked through the hospital doors, uninsured, I never expected it to cost $12,000, but it didn't matter. It was a pain I couldn't bare backed by fear that pulsed venom through my blood and sent me pleading for help and answers.
Six hours in the ER, an MRI, and 2 ultrasounds later, I had been introduced to my Grapefruit.
My uterine fibroid, a benign tumor mass that grew between my uterus and ovary, had been pressing its frustrations against my diaphragm, stomach and low back. I know now that the intensity of the pain was partially exacerbated by GERD. I had been so ignorant to my body's messages that it needed to attack from multiple angles before I'd pay attention.
Having an ultrasound brought me to tears. Women having babies get ultraounds, but I was there in pain getting measurements of the muscle my uterus built around itself. If had been pregnant, the fibroid would have allowed no space for a baby to grow.
A year later and my Grapefruit is still there, still twice the size of my uterus. I used acupuncture, Chinese herbs, diet changes, DIM supplement and a whole lotta self-love to manage it and I don't feel pain anymore, but I still feel it's presence. I'm okay. We are managing well.
A friend said to me the other day (and I'm paraphrasing immensely), "I think you love it too much. You've let it become part of you and you don't really want it to leave." He's right. My Grapefruit, she was born out of my hatred for everything that made me Woman, then she taught me how to love being a Woman. She made me aware of my gifts, my ability to create. I learned to love her and kindly say thank you. My Grapefruit would never allow space for a baby, but it was okay because I didn't want it. I didn't hate it.
It's a tough one for me to make sense of, and I still haven't quite wrapped my head around the depth of this lesson. My Grapefruit. I love it for they way it taught me to listen, to love, to care for myself, to appreciate my natural gifts. I love it because I feel shame for having created it out of my hatred. The way I felt my community rise up to support and comfort me. I love it because it is uniquely female, and mine.
But, as all things I love, I must be willing to let her go. Decay, shrivel, and die. A martyr, a memorial, a memory. I must be willing to let my uterus release its anti-baby muscle so I can empower myself with that decision, even if that means letting the space stay empty.
I loved my Grapefruit for this past year, but I'm ready for her to go.