Real People, Real Women, Real Stories
I interact quite frequently with many of my readers, either through the comment section at The Perimenopause Blog, or on Twitter, Google+, or at my Facebook page. It makes for some very interesting discussions sometimes, helps to blow off a little “menopause steam” as it were, and almost always provides fodder for a blog post.
This past week was no exception.
A young woman reached out to me (who was quite timid I might add) and asked if she could join my Facebook page. Since my page is open to anyone who wishes to join, I told her it was not necessary to ask for permission, but to just jump in and join the conversation. I wasn’t prepared for what she told me next.
She’s only 30 years old, and she said she was going to be having surgery for a complete hysterectomy, and that she was also going to have her bladder removed. I was stunned. I mean, I know that women have hysterectomies all the time, but rarely at her age and rarely complete, but her bladder too?
I couldn’t fathom what her health issues were which would require such drastic measures. She didn’t offer those details, and frankly, I didn’t ask. We chatted back and forth privately for a good half an hour or so. She shared her fears with me, her isolation, and the hurt she feels from the lack of support of her family.
It made me terribly sad for her.
Not only is she losing her entire reproductive system at the age of 30, for crying out loud. But since she does not have any children, she is also losing the opportunity to become a mother, and have a family of her own. I didn’t have my first child until I was 34 years old, and I had my third at the age of 43. So, this really resonated with me. Thirty is awfully young to have your dreams of a family stripped away from you.
Yes, I know. She can adopt, and truthfully, I hope she does. She struck me as a very loving and kind woman who would probably make a really good mother. God knows there are plenty of children in this world who need a loving mother.
She was actually sweet enough to send me a message just prior to her surgery to tell me she was “going in.” I told her I would pray for her – and I did. She thanked me for caring, and for “taking her under my wing.” So I don’t know exactly why I’m telling you this, except maybe because it touched my heart in a deep way. Also because it is a poignant reminder to me that real people with real health challenges read my posts.
As much as I love all of the amazing technology we live with in the 21st century, it tends to isolate us. I also think it tends to desensitize us to the fact that human connection, compassion, and empathy is still a basic, fundamental need for all of us. Without it, we can despair, and life can feel like a meaningless burden.
It took a lot of courage for this young woman to reach out to me and share her story. But, I’m glad she did. She touched my heart, and made me realize that the work I do has value. So though she may have thought that I was only helping her, she’s wrong. She helped me, too.
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.