Sterilization at 22 (Part Three)

I had a mental breakdown today. I was irritable, I took personal offense to everything, and I cried. A lot. About everything. Was this directly related to the fact that I’m having my surgery next week? I’m hoping to explore that a bit. 

I had my pre-op today. For both anesthesia and the procedure itself. It’s all a go. Surgery is clear for April 26th. I am thrilled. Thrilled isn’t even the right word. 

I think the reason I was so edgy today was that this entire time, since a month or so ago when I first got approved, I was expected to be met with resistance. From all sides, I expected this to be a fight. In fact, I’ve been preparing for it. 

There has been no fight. None, from any party. A few parties telling me they regret their decision to have theirs done, on several platforms of social media, which is annoying to be sure, but not a fight. 

My mental breakdown today might have honestly been one of relief. I’ve been so heated up to defend my choice, and today I realized that I didn’t have to. Nobody has challenged it. It could be that they know arguing with me is pointless, and I will go rounds and rounds before becoming so fed up that I just quit. I didn’t need to constantly be on the edge anymore, and when my defensive walls come down, I tend to crumble with them. 

With the procedure only nine days away, I feel like it’s time I explain my choice in a bit more detail. 

I am ill. I have SLE (a form of lupus that targets organs), and mine was so severe I almost died in 2014. My kidneys went from faulty to almost completely dead in a short time span of three months. By the time I received a diagnosis, my kidneys were almost completely shut down and my stomach was starting to go. 

Looking back, it feels sort of like a bad dream. But it is not. This is my reality. I fear nothing more than I fear death. Even thinking about my own mortality causes me to have a full blown anxiety attack. 

No, I never wanted children. But the idea that I could potentially pass this life threatening genetic mutation down to a child, I don’t think I’d want children now even if I had. Kidney function drops during pregnancy (hence the swollen feet and ankles) and that’s not something I ever want to experience again. Selfish? Maybe. 

I am also mentally ill. Major depressive. Anxiety. PTSD. Borderline Personality Disorder. These things, I think, would keep me from being a good parent. Please don’t think that I’m saying people who are mentally ill don’t make good parents, but I truly think it would prevent me from being a good parent. I am selfish. Incredibly so. A fair bit of that is a result of mental illness. I’m extremely cautious about things that could potentially making my mental health worse, and I regard them with disdain and avoidance. Children cause issues in both anxiety and PTSD both. Loud noises, certain things children say that they’ve picked up from television, make me panic. A child of my own would be no different. 

Health issues aside, I have never felt a shred of maternal instinct. I do not get baby fever. A crying baby does not make me want to take care of it, it makes me unbelievably angry. I don’t like children. They are loud, they are sticky, and quite frankly, I don’t like the idea of having to take care of something until I’m dead. Children grate on my every nerve. I don’t treat them differently, I just don’t care for them. 

This is what I want. This is who I am. Child free is not the best option for everyone, and I understand that there are some women who might regret this decision. 

But I have thought long and hard about this for ten or so years. There is no changing my mind, there will be no regret. 

The next time I update my sterilization journey, my ligation will have already been done. This is my reality. 

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Moving In With Lupus

I’ve spent a few hours now thinking about how I want to word this. In the last two and a half years, lupus is nothing new to me. I’ve become familiar with it, and I’ve learned to recognize when my body does things that it (normally) shouldn’t. I can recognize swelling before there’s even any visible signs, and I’ve gotten pretty good at determining whether or not I have enough spoons for an activity.

I am almost 22 years old. I have had to change my degree from a BA to an AA, and even still, I probably will not be getting that AA, despite the fact that I have just one semester left. Lupus is hard. Lupus as a young person is harder. My grades have slipped almost entirely beyond me, no matter what I do to keep them up. Brain fog makes that 600x worse. My University, while wonderful in many ways, claims to be one of the most disability friendly Universities in the state of Pennsylvania. I will argue that statement until I am dead. They are only disability friendly if you are visibly disabled. And even then, that could be debated, too.

I am almost 22 years old. I live my life in constant pain. Some days are better than others. Some days are not.There is no pain management for me. I am almost 22 years old. I should not feel that kind of pain. “Take some tylenol and target the areas with icy hot.” How does one target the inside of their bones with muscle rub? I am almost 22 years old. If I use it sparingly, a bottle of tylenol might last me longer than a week.

I am almost 22 years old. The world is supposed to be at my feet, my great playground for all the good I have the potential to do. Instead, the world is at my fingertips, with help from the internet, because I am literally trapped in a body that does not know how to function the way I need it to.

I am almost 22 years old. Sometimes I use a cane because I can’t walk on my own.

I am almost 22 years old. Sometimes I don’t shower for days because I can’t stand that long, let alone get out of bed.

 

I am almost 22 years old, and I am disabled. I work a part time job, two days a week, as a secretary for a private investigator. I like my job. It does not require strenuous activity. But I get tired easily.

“Y’know what, I don’t want to hear you’re tired. You only work two days and it’s only for four hours. You even get to sleep in.”

You’re right. But I am almost 22 years old. I cannot do the things that you can do.

I am almost 22 years old. And I am hopeful.

Because at almost 22, I live with the man I am going to marry. I love him more than I could have dreamed of loving anything, and he loves me in return. He is patient and kind, even on the days where I am not. He is everything I wish I could be and more, and I am honored that he calls me his.

We have lived together for over a year now. We are moving again in five days. To what will hopefully be our forever home. There’s a dishwasher in the kitchen. Which means no more excruciating pain while trying to do the dishes. Just loading them up and running the dishwasher.

There’s also a flight of stairs, but at the top of those stairs? A bathroom with a tub.  But before things get a little bit easier on me, they’re going to get harder. Because we still have to pack. And move. And unpack and settle in and clean. There aren’t enough spoons on earth to provide a spoonie with the energy to make that happen in a timely fashion. But I’m going to do it anyway.

 

Because I am almost 22 years old. And lupus is not who I am.