Friday, March 18, 2011

a postponement silver lining

According to my dream from December and tentative scheduling from the hospital, the transplant was supposed to be this coming Monday.

I've been coming to terms with the delay and not having any idea whatsoever when the new date is.

This morning, as I noticed my body feeling achy and tender, I realized this postponement has a silver lining that will save me untold angst.

A quick note for those who know me just from here—I co-wrote an exhaustive (as well as stunning and fun to read) book about menstruation that came out a little over a year ago. Should you not feel comfortable reading about periods, I suggest you stop here.

I won't get my period during surgery. I won't have it while lying in recovery, not able to get out of bed for hours. I won't have to worry about supplies, leaking, how to get to the bathroom when I'll be barely able to walk.

This was actually a real concern of mine. My period's been regular for years, showing up every 23 days or so. I'd prefer more in between time, but I'm grateful it's still here and is relatively reliable. For me, it's a sign my body's healthy and working the way it's supposed to. And so, based on years of experience, it was going to kick in a day or two after surgery. For the past few years (it coincides exactly with the writing of FLOW), it starts off with a day of cramps that often double me over and flow so intense it seems like something's tragically wrong. I couldn't imagine how I'd deal with post-surgery pain while uterine cramps ripped through the same general area.

So, should we be rescheduled on the soonish side, menstruation won't be part of the equation.

It left me thinking though, as I so often did when writing FLOW, what do women actually do? In all my research I never came across the issue. It's yet another menstrual-related topic that just doesn't get discussed often.

I just did a search. There wasn't very much out there. The most informative site mentioned that a nurse would change your pad during surgery should need be.


I'll take that one step further. What if you can't wear underwear during surgery? One of my incisions is going to be right above my pubic bone. I doubt the surgeon will want to contend with a pair of boy shorts while slicing in. I'll leave the graphic imagery out here but I will say that while being put under, I would hate the what ifs swirling through my imagination.

And so, today I'm grateful for the delay, while hoping the next date occurs mid-cycle.


  1. Although I certainly understand why this might make one squeamish, I have to say that I think this is something modern medical science has covered.

    I had 2 c-sections, where the incision precludes wearing underwear, where I was bleeding far heavier than a period. Immediately after surgery, some combination of super large pads and hospital chux got the job done. Later when I was moving around a bit more, hospital supplied mesh panties (compatible even with the c-section incision) were just fine.

    Best of luck!

  2. Thanks for writing about this. I wondered about this, too. I have horrible, horrible cramps for the first 2 days of my period and am planning on scheduling surgery around it. I DO NOT want someone changing a pad for me. Yuck.