March 1, 2017

An Ode to the Lost Ovary.

I’ve been set free from a large, ticking time bomb inside my ovary.

It measured 16 centimeters, by 10 centimeters, by 8 centimeters.

It weighed 500 grams—yes, almost a pound.

It was an ovarian cyst.

It could have twisted, ruptured and spread all over my pelvis. It could have gotten bigger. But instead, it behaved itself—it allowed me to co-exist with it, even though I didn’t know it existed.

It let me motorbike through the Son Tra Peninsula in Central Vietnam.

It allowed me to play badminton four times a week.

It let me do Ashtanga yoga, as well as I physically could with a bulging belly.

It allowed me to savor bánh mì and shawarma with equal delight.

But it also deceived me.

It released estrogen in my body in copious amounts.

It made me gain 10 pounds.

It made me bloated and gassy.

It made me feel depressed, anxious and insecure.

It put me at risk for cancer.

It pushed me against the wall, forcing me to see things for what they truly are.

It made me realize that my relationship with a single person is not more consequential than my relationship with several others. It eventually gave me courage to look beyond that and accept the warmth I received from unexpected corners.

It was a huge reality check, as I was abandoned by a guy who I had been dating for over a year.

It made me separate the wheat from the chaff. (If I may take creative liberties by calling my friends “chaff”—the ones who knew, but never reached out.)

It made me overly competitive, insecure and temperamental. It made me keep my guard up constantly, as I was unable to separate myself from issues, emotions or situations. I took everything extremely personally.

It wrecked my waist, making me feel like I was six months pregnant, even after a great workout.

So yes, I am happier now that the tumor and the ovary are gone.

However, the day I woke up in the hospital, I was hysterical with anger and sadness at having lost my ovary.

I felt cheated. I felt like I had no say. I screamed at the poor hospital caregivers who only meant to be helpful.

I felt like I had no choice—that my fertility was at the mercy of the white coats, which it is. No stack of consent forms could make me feel like I had a real choice. Nothing could.

Nonetheless, I am happy now. I am calm.

I am in a parachute, slowly descending toward earth, and I’m enjoying the view.

Things could have been much worse.

The endometriosis could have spread outside the ovary, making it extremely difficult to even hope for retaining my other functional ovary or my uterus. It could have been cancer.

So, dear ovary, I am sorry you had to go—but trust that I am better off now.

Thank you for not bursting on me.

Thank you for your service all these years.

I’ll miss you, but you truly had to go.

If it’s me or my fertility, I choose “me.”



Author: Pranjali Deshpande

Image: Flickr/richie graham

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina


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