My male GP offered to do my pelvic exam. Since he and I have established an appreciation of each other’s forthright manner (when I told him I was fat because I eat poorly and rarely exercise he was struck dumb from the shock of having a fat patient own that fact.) I wasn’t suprised when he said, “Look, I know how to do it. I’ve done it for 20 years. I mean, I’d be happy if I never saw another one (splayed vagina) in my life, but I can do it.”
Having just written a big article pronouncing the end of men fiddling with women’s bits, I could have explained the rationals in the national movement away from male ob/gyns. Attitudes like that, for instance, don’t help. Instead I just wrinkled my face at him and made “go. go away. ugg.” waving gestures with my hands. I mean I know they’re thinking “Oh god this is disgusting I can’t believe I ever sneaked that first Playboy Jesus if I had KNOWN!!!” but hearing it out loud is so discouraging.
So Dr. Julia, a beautiful young blonde woman who dresses like a man right down to the tasseled loafers, did my exam today. When I showered this morning I lathered everything with a rough washrag and my kid’s shampoo. It smells like watermelon. As a courtesy.
We are going to start testing me routinely for ovarian cancer. My mother had it in her mid forties. At least I think she did. As was her way, she put unpleasant things away from her as soon as possible, and when I asked her years ago whether her cancer had been ovarian, cervical, or uterine…she appeared to be completely unaware those parts were different than each other.
“They took it out. Whole Magillacutty.”
So my mother had cancer of the Magillacutty in her mid-40s and I am greatly concerned that my own Magillicutty may try to kill me someday. I was assigned a permanent routine of bloodtests and ultra-sounds, which, Julia assured me, are next to useless.
“Lots of false positives. Scares a lot of people. But a lot of false negatives and boy, those are worse. That’s why we have to keep doing it.”
But…last week my daughter asked me to stop eating my frozen yogurt (which everyone knows is just the unflavored unguent necessary to hold the whip cream, blueberries, cheesecake bit, sprinkles and pie crust together) because I was chubby and she didn’t want me to die.
I’d nothing to say to that, which was rare. Usually I can propose a different aspect she hasn’t considered, or take the body acceptance route, or just tell her to shut her little mouth that I bought a damn treatie for and may never again…but none of that rose in me. My parents died of fat. They just did…hearts weary of pounding blood through miles of extra little vessels, hard yellow sludge choking their arteries. I know it. I morosely finished my pie crust, unable to shake the words that had come out of my own mouth, directed at so many loved ones, so many times.
Fat doesn’t help cancer any either, I hear tell.
I will never be thin. And I refuse to be miserable for vanity, or even for an extra three years of life. All I can say is this. Those irritating health inspiration posters on Pinterest say the hardest part is putting on your running (off-balanced pigeon toed trundling) shoes. So yesterday I bought the ugliest, easiest-to-put-on walking shoes I’ve ever seen.
These are specifically made for heavy hitters to manage their way off the couch. My future has never looked so exciting as it does now, with my children growing, my writing resonating; a handcrafted life. Potential for reward and joy is everywhere. But I’m too slow and tired to chase it much. Maybe all I need is a pair of ugly-ass shoes and facing up to all the macgillicutties, whiz-bangs, dealie-bobs, and stuff & bits that are waiting to catch me if I keep holding still.