A little not okay. Upon returning from California, real life hit. One of the big parts of real life lately was that my labiaplasty* was fast approaching once I returned home. Anxiety and fear tried to take over my life. I had a couple of very not present sessions with MT (my therapist). All I could think about was how that part of my body that had, in the past, been so damaged by abuse was going to hurt so much again. The adult me knew that this big pain was going to relieve lots of uncomfortableness, but the little parts of me were scared silly. I knew I had to be strong for this surgery and I had to be able to be present so that my younger parts were not traumatised again. But, I could not seem to get myself to be present. At my session on Thursday, the day before surgery, I arrived in the same state of mind. I’d been having lots of flashbacks and I was not very present. MT took a different approach to my state of mind and asked me why I was having this surgery. I came up with three different reasons. I want to be comfortable in my body and my clothes, I want to want to keep exercising, and I want to be as healthy as possible. So, those seemed like valid and reasonable reasons for deciding to let a doctor carve up my delicate parts I replied, but this is really hard. MT asked me what else I’ve done in my life that has been hard. MT started listing the things and it tickled my fancy for some reason and I could see where we were going. I asked to continue the list. I had lots of answers. Survived all of the abuse. Attached myself to people who could parent me, however temporarily. Learned to be strong even when I was almost dying. Came out as gay. Married my wife. Worked to have a good marriage. Fostered 32 children. Adopted my children. Went to therapy. Told my story. Started my blog. Traveled to Ireland by myself for a month. Had gastric bypass. Totally changed my eating habits. Lost 172 lbs. None of it was easy. Lots of it was way harder than this surgery. I chose this surgery. it will in the long run relieve a painful and embarrassing problem. I will survive. I will be fine. This would make me better and help me to reach my goals. MT asked me what I thought about this conversation. I said that it certainly made me more present and mindful and able to feel my warriorness. MT asked if I was terrified of this surgery. I said no, that it was really younger parts of me. She asked what I could do to help those parts. I said that I could talk to those parts if necessary and MT nodded towards the footstool where I often imagine the younger me sitting. I said that I woukd talk to them later if it was necessary, that there was nobody on that footstool right now. MT rolled her eyes and said, oye ve. I laughed. I knew that I was going to have to talk to those parts before Friday’s surgery, but I also knew there was something that I had to say that I wasn’t aware of yet. Driving home, it came to me what I had to say. I chose this surgery. The adult me chose this surgery for lots of good reasons that the younger parts could not necessarily understand, and it was the adult me that was going to have this surgery and feel the pain. Those younger parts of me felt the pain of all of the abuse, but this surgery pain was not their’s. it was going to be mine. so those younger parts could stay home and play or sleep or listen to music or draw or write…..but I, the adult, would be the one to show up for surgery.
So. That’s how it worked. That’s how I figured it out.
I had a nice surprise when I got home from therapy on Thursday. My 23 year old niece called to see if she could come that afternoon to visit for a couple of days. I explained to her the surgery I was having and she immediately offered to be here to do whatever we needed. Yes. I took her up on it. The younger parts of me could not have done that. My niece is a nurse and is also very good with her young cousins. What a blessing to have her come. So, she got here in time for dinner and went to the gym and aqua yoga with me. Then, she made sure I woke up in time in the morning to get my last drink in. My niece met the kids off the school busses in the afternoon so my wife could be with me for the beginning of my surgery.
When I got to the hospital for my surgery, I noticed that I was feeling very strong and confident and strangely happy about getting this surgery done. I joked with the lady who registered me and with the med tech who told me I had to give a urine sample for a pregnancy test. I was very pleased to see that the cubicle where I got ready for surgery was the same exact one where I got ready for my gastric bypass and that a male med tech who had assisted me then was standing there. I was happy to see my doctor and I went over my needs for lots of anti nausea medication with the anesthesiologist. I went off into surgery with no qualms. I woke up with a,really nice nurse sitting next to me and she gave me lots of good drugs. Then I moved to a recliner and I got a snack of Graham crackers and diet Pepsi. A very non bariatric friendly snack that made me feel like I was getting away with something, and therefore, made me really happy. My wife and niece had traded places and my niece came in to see me, chiding me about my snack. I laughed. I came home. Things still hurt. The younger parts are still off doing their own things. Life is okay.
* for those who might have missed this, I have lost 172 lbs in the past year. I’ve been finding out that strange places lose weight. My labia majora basically withered away with my weight loss, leaving my labia minor a to protrude and rub on my clothing in a most painful manner, especially when exercising. This is what led to my labiaplasty.