It’s How Big?

I was preparing for another several months out at sea, and with that preparation comes extensive medicals.

I was due for a pap smear and gynecological check as well, so I was knocking all the birds with one stone, so to speak. The only thing is that I was in South Africa.

Shouldn’t be a problem though, I “lived” there. I had just decorated and furnished a beautiful home, I was getting to ride around in a recently purchased Range Rover, and a little pup named Jeffrey was waiting for me nearby. I was adjusting and adapting to a new life very, very far away from my comfort zone.

The reason the majority of this occurred in the first place was because the person I was engaged to was denied entry into the states.

And when that happened for a second time, we just succumbed to the fact that the majority of our lives and time would be spent in this location.

I never minded doing anything medically or dentally in South Africa, because it is MUCH easier and cheaper to get things done there compared to the States.

I went to the OBGYN for my tests and check ups, as per usual, and he begins to ask me about my sex life.
I immediately scoff to myself, what sex life?

In my youth, getting asked this question made me uncomfortable, because I was either having pre-marital sex or because I was being probed (no pun intended) to speak openly about it in the first place.

This time I was embarrassed for completely different reasons.

I looked down at my engagement ring, and did my best to remember any good thing I could about my decision to put it on in the first place.

I met the doctor’s gaze and told him that even though I had one partner and have had the same partner for over 3 years, we didn’t have much sex at all.

There was always some reason: “I’m too tired”, “Let’s wait until we get married”, “You’re not on birth control”, “Maybe if you lose weight, I’ll be attracted to you” or… we’d have to be drunk. And I hated what would typically play out when he drank, so we weren’t often drunk at the same time.

The doctor’s response was very doctorly: “Well, if you’re doing it at all, even if it’s not frequent, you should be protected from unwanted pregnancy.”

At that time, I had already made the decision not to procreate.

When I mentioned that any pregnancy would be unwanted at any point in my life, he suggested an IUD. An IUD is a form of contraception that is physically inserted past the cervix and can prevent pregnancy for up to 5 years.
I told him that I would think about it.

Which I did.

And even with the wasteland of intimacy and the deserted sex life I had, I still decided to go for it.

Really, I was miserable in my relationship. I knew it then and I’d known it for a long time. Unfortunately, I kept thinking of those early moments of incredible passion and connection, thinking that they would come back someday, and when they did, our sex life would be reinvigorated, and I wanted to be prepared for that.

A week or so later, I had the procedure to have the IUD inserted.

Two weeks later, I was due for a check up, so the doctor can ensure that it settled in the right position and that my body wasn’t attempting to reject the device.

I undress, robe up and lay on the cold, paper covered table.

A few minutes later, the doctor comes in, instructs me to do the usual “ankles in the stirrups” move while he and the nurse get the vaginal ultrasound machine ready for action.

Frigid lube to hard plastic contraption. . . insert and voila. . .

“Oh, well, that wasn’t there before.”

*Doctor snaps picture and asks nurse, “Do you see what that is?”*

I wait patiently, knowing that when it is my turn to know, he will tell me.

“Okay, Ms. Martinez, have a look at the screen. Do you see this mass here?”

He digitally draws a skinny red line across the circular image.

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, Ms. Martinez, that wasn’t there during your last ultrasound two weeks ago. It is more than likely an ovarian cyst that was already present before the insertion of the IUD, but due to the increase or change in your hormones, it’s now 6cm wide.”

“I’m sorry, it’s how big?” I say, clearly not registering the foreign metric unit.

“It’s about the size of a softball,” he clarifies.

“Wow. Um…. okay. So, what does that mean?”

“Well, due to the size of the mass and how quickly it has grown, I recommend you have it removed as soon as possible.”

“I am flying to join a cruise ship in 10 days. I don’t think there will be enough time to take care of everything in that time frame. Is it possible to do the procedure later?”

“Ms. Martinez, if it has grown to this size in such a short amount of time, you run the risk of rupture. With the pressurization that occurs during flying, that risk is increased. If you do not go into surgery soon, you run the greater risk of it becoming lethal.”

LETHAL. Okay, that registered. Lethal. . . Not good. Must fix.

Dig deep into the rest of this piece in SN10: The Green Issue
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