It was yet another Tuesday night, and yet another visit to the ER.
As I’ve experienced many times before, I was having severe ovarian pain. I drove myself to the hospital with my partner in the passenger seat, panicking for my safety. I, on the other hand, was used to such a fuss over my ovaries–a part of my body which I detest for more reasons than one.
I’ve always had many painful, irregular periods and ovarian cysts in the past. And while, as a trans man, I spend a lot of time trying to forget that place between my legs, I’m forced to give my vagina and reproductive organs endless amounts of my time and money. I’ve had to track my irregular periods with journals the hospital would give me; I’ve had to take birth control to regulate my cycle, jumping from type to type to find the one that doesn’t give me migraines (that never happened); I’ve had ovarian cysts grow and pop explosively and agonizingly with a simple sneeze.
That night, the terrible build-up of pressure and sharp pain on my right ovary only worsened and worsened with no painful (but relieving) pop-ending in sight. So, like I had done many times before, I drove to the ER for pain meds and an ultrasound.
Right away, I’m made to feel terribly uncomfortable about my body thanks to the ER doctor. All the talk about my menstrual cycle, about whether or not I use condoms (assuming I use my vagina for penile penetration), and about the fact that my pregnancy test came back negative makes me dissociate so hard. I’m asked relentlessly about doing a transvaginal ultrasound, something that is beyond uncomfortable and horrible for me, and I completely zone out. I feel like I’m distanced from the situation, watching the scene and staring uneasily at a body that’s not mine. I get lost in the fantasy of transitioning, of finally ripping out and away the parts between my legs that don’t fit me. But for now, I have to be in this cold, bright hospital room, waiting for the ultrasound technician to fetch me with a wheelchair (I was in too much pain to walk) to ensure that my ovary isn’t going to kill me.
Luckily, everything was fine. Not even a cyst this time! This is good news, except I don’t know what’s wrong with my still-aching ovary. And though getting to the bottom of this is essential to getting me out of pain, I don’t want to figure it out. I resent the idea of continuing to put so much attention on keeping my ovaries going if I don’t even want them in my body in the first place.
I’ve wanted a hysterectomy for a while now, to precede gender-affirming surgery of my bottom half and to erase any remaining semblance of my womanhood. I don’t plan on having vaginal sex or childbirth, so continuing to suffer through my monster (and money suck) of a period doesn’t make much sense to me. And every time I find myself in an emergency room with severe ovarian pain, I consider begging them to just get it over with then and there.
Many folks I’ve mentioned this to have thought that it’s rash to get such a procedure done, especially if the reason is to forego a period (pain women are just expected to endure). Though the reason behind why someone wants a hysterectomy shouldn’t matter (hello, body autonomy!), this decision-making isn’t difficult for me as a man. As a trans guy, I get nothing out of my reproductive organs and have no concern about buyer’s remorse once I’m unable to conceive a child. I’m not a straight cis woman that adheres to cisnormative and heteronormative ideals. And since children and my vagina are probably not in my future anyway, I’ve really got nothing to lose.
In the meantime, before I begin the process of getting a hysterectomy, I walk around every day aware of my ovaries at all times, as they ache and ache. And as they ache, my body and my heart aches over the incredibly disorienting experience of feeling body parts that my mind knows is not my own, that simply doesn’t belong. And while I’d like to just keeping taking Advil after Advil and ignore the constant reminder of a womanhood that never fit me, it’s not always enough. Time after time, I’m forced to care for the enemies in my lower abdomen with greater concern and another swipe of the ultrasound wand, bitterly confirming their wellbeing as I plot their disappearance.