Why I Heavy Metal Firebombed my Uterus (maybe you should too)
No one asked but I am sharing anyway; I decided to immolate my uterus.
So I recently paid many-many dollars to a now-very-wealthy surgeon to surgically destroy my endometrial lining with radiofrequency, or as I prefer to say, to flamethrower the fuck out of my uterus. Ablation is both the correct term AND a respectably gory name for a grindcore metal band.
I had good reasons, other than the sheer death metal brutality of it. I have had 2 kids and it turns out they came with a bonus bunch of post-partum medical issues. Pregnancy broke me; it destroyed my thyroid, cut me open (twice), and I now have at least 3 auto-immune conditions so that’s fun.
People do tell you — repeatedly, usually while spruiking various products — after having babies you “won’t get your body back”. They are right, you don’t. But not the way people usually expect it.
It’s generally assumed this phrase means putting on weight because society tells us that an increase of body fat on women is the WORST CONSEQUENCE EVER. And that is an epic lie. I am the same size, but now have auto-immune issues I will be blood-testing for and medicating for until the day I die.
And I got lucky. I avoided hemorrhages and infection, incontinence (fecal and/or urinary), depression and psychosis, pelvic trauma and prolapse, and also divorce and redundancy, which are very common and super-fun when you are already dealing with the bullshit above. Pregnancy is hardcore. Birth is truly brutal.
My two pregnancies left me with frequent heavy uterine bleeding (blood is very metal) to the point where I had severe fatigue and anemia (not so metal, more pale and goth) and was in danger of fainting every time I tried to stand up (possibly emo?) and in permanent low-grade pain (yep, emo).
We tried to fix it the easy way, but it turns out my stupid body doesn’t absorb iron from food because of course it doesn’t.
I don’t know why. Perhaps I needed to chow down on a lump of iron, rather than eating copious serves of red meat. Perhaps I should have got it direct from the blood of my enemies. Perhaps iron is not heavy enough a metal and I should have gone for plutonium. Why should anything be easy? You’re never going to write a metal anthem called “Took my iron tablet once a day (got some constipation now I’m fine)” unless you are Fall Out Boy, who are very good but not metal as such.
(I have very strong opinions on calling bands that are clearly rock “heavy metal” and WILL FIGHT YOU. Or anyone. I’m pretty angry.)
After I tried the supplement/diet approach, I had a couple of iron infusions over a couple of years. This is where they literally inject the metal INTO YOUR VEINS. It both worked well and sounded very hardcore. I felt way better, and my plan was to wait until my uterine lining died messily at menopause.
But then we decided to move to a country where apparently injecting yourself with metal is not a thing so my gynecologist recommended just setting the whole bloody thing on fire while listening to death metal. (Note: she did not use this phrasing, but I could tell behind the words “simple day surgery” and “controlled radio frequencies” and “easy recovery”, she was dying to get her blackest t-shirt on and the old flamethrower out.)
They used radio signals to do the deed (nets of fire are another option) and I like to imagine Slayer screaming murder in the depths of my uterus.
This is the clinical description of what happened, and I think sounds pretty hardcore. “A flexible ablation transmits radiofrequency energy that vaporizes the endometrial tissue in under two minutes.” Under two minutes, people. If that’s not speed metal, what is?
Generally it was a complete success; no more periods, no complications, and my iron level is inching back up slowly. I love my new period-free uterus. I haven’t had to talk a disinterested and condescending doctor about in a year. It’s like it’s just part of my body now, not my actual function as a human.
There are some big consequences. Given we have firebombed my uterus — like that opening scene in Tropic Thunder — I can no longer have children. As I already have 2 — and am currently charging into my mid-40’s with nothing to show for my 30’s except for a host of medical issues, an expensive concert habit and some very nice boots — this is all good.
Fun fact for women out there who have ever looked into taking control of your own fertility — having 2 kids already makes it WAAAAAAY easier to get sterilised. As many medical professionals inform you (often without you even asking!) they believe women should really have some kids before they decide don’t want any.
When you have no kids, it’s all “you may want them someday and how bad is chronic pain for 20 years, really”.
As soon as you pop a couple they are all, “yeah, pregnancy is completely shit and will break your body and organs, and caring for toddlers is the worst, LET’S TORCH THIS BITCH”. You are required to indicate your disinterest by sacrificing several years, most of your money and sleep, and — in my case — a functional thyroid and pancreas, before they will listen to your argument.
Why am I sharing all this with you?
Maybe it’s because I like to overshare - Lordi knows I love a good rant. Maybe it’s because I’m angry about how womens’ pain is routinely minimized and ignored. I know a lot of women in a lot of pain who have been told — for years — it’s just period pain; deal with it and don’t talk about it. Be ready to have kids even if you don’t want them. Can’t you just suffer in silence? You know, you’d be prettier if you smiled more.
Well, screw being silent — shout. Scream. Howl it into the mic. Smash that guitar and go full-on death metal on it. I’m listening and I’m ready to howl along with you.
Yeah, I’m pretty angry. Must be all that fire in my uterus.