Breaking silence and sharing my experience.

Yesterday, I posted the following on Facebook:

“This experience affected me greatly, and I recognize that I have not fully or openly acknowledged it here. So here goes:
Two years ago,
I had a serious health issue. I ended up having open abdominal surgery for what turned out to be a borderline ovarian tumor (also known as low malignancy potential – it had both both benign and malignant characteristics). In mid November, my surgery got expedited due to the tumor’s rapid growth and the possibility of cancer. I had surgery on November 25, 2013. At the time, I tried to just focus on what I needed to do. In retrospect, I recognize that the experience was draining and scary. Luckily, surgery and followups were the only treatment I needed. I still have regular screenings, and my last ultrasound showed no signs of recurring tumors.
Today, I am grateful for my health, and my body and spirit’s ability to heal.”

The post got many “likes” and several comments.  Beforehand, as I was sorting out what to post, I looked back to my posts from that time. The most I posted then was “going to the hospital for surgery” and something like, “I’m out of the hospital!”  I also had a few friends post on my wall that I made it through the surgery and was doing okay, but other than that, I didn’t describe what I actually was going through.

Last night, when I saw the number of responses, there was part of me that was like, “I denied myself the support at the time of my surgery by not sharing.”  I am deeply sad that I didn’t say more at the time.  I know why I didn’t, why I thought I couldn’t, but I no longer identify with the reasons.  I also know that it’s not something to blame myself for.  I am glad that I shared:  it breaks the wall of secrecy I held around me at the time, one I kept to follow the guidelines of a position and to protect a specific group of people.  In the end, I think my silence hurt more people than it helped or protected, including me.  Silence can create shame, and I believe that it affected my overall healing process.  I feel like I can breathe a little easier now that I’ve shared that piece.

In the future, I don’t want to compromise my values and my right to ask for what I need.  I deserve to ask for support.  I deserve to be as open as I wish about what I am experiencing.

I’m doing my best to allow myself to grieve, be grateful for the support in my life, and appreciate where I am at now.

For my surgery story in more detail, go here:

My surgery story, part 1.

My surgery story, part 2.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. brave of you to share your story. i too had surgery to remove ovarian cysts which were huge the size of melons. i also had the ovaries removed at the same time. a cancer scare is terrifying I know I’ve been there too! XX

    Reply

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