.atomic number 79.
july 19th. the day had been ingrained in my head for years. i was not allowed to forget it no matter how hard i tried. it was almost ten years ago this year but still i remember. the first couple of years i would fearfully glance at the upcoming summer months in dreadful anticipation willing the days to just skip over the 19th. In the last few years i was granted a small emotional reprieve that would absentmindedly allow me to glide to july 19th without much of a thought. a few noted july 19ths were devastating after the initial one. a few were glorious. days that shone brightly in my mind.
yesterday was not one of those days. yesterday was not july 19th. yesterday was march 23rd. just a few days after the spring equinox. flowers are finally starting to bloom in the dark grey and gloom of the pacific northwest. but still i panicked in that same manner as july 19th. it really took me a few hours to figure out the source of absolute and shockingly strong fear towards such a simple appointment as was yesterday. i am no stranger to doctors. to sterile offices. to needles. to tests. to more tests. to just one more test. to tell me how you feel. to diagnosis. to assessment. to second diagnosis. to repeat.
but this. this was simple. this procedure was nothing. tiny. 5 minutes of time and two advil. in and out with the click of my debit card. many women i knew had been here before and were never to return until the clock ticked five years past. i was not alone in what i was doing.
this is not what my body heard. my body heard a quick nod back to the first july 19th. and it all changed.
when i realized that it was the memory of july 19th i began to feel a little ashamed of the whole process. which worsened my fear to unbearable. i had always dealt with july 19th in a very proper and intellectual manner. i grieved but i grieved into a pretty little box for a small amount of time. i couldn’t bear to consciously give any time to july 19th that was already being ripped unconsciously from me.
nothing felt fair all of sudden. i had not accounted when i chose yesterday’s procedure that it was going to be the first time in almost ten years that my body was going to be entered in the same format as july 19th. there is no way to change body memories that are that intimate. the motions are the same. the rooms are the same. and to my complete disbelief the procedures felt the same as well. the only difference was that one procedure was taking something out of me and one procedure was putting something in me. same spot. same place. the body never forgets.
there were many other similarities. i started bleeding on a day that wasn’t my period. i was sent home wearing a pad and i never wear pads. the doctor talked sweetly to me but with a tone that assured this was completely normal. i felt severe nausea after wards. the only prescription they gave me was advil and that worked like a placebo. i went home alone. a friend came over for dinner. i fell asleep on the couch crying silently.
so innocently the same it was disturbing. i was .0000002 ounces heavier yesterday while on july 19 i was .0000001 lighter (copper is heavier than flesh). the tears felt the same. heavy and wet. like they were covering me in a thick coating of protection from everything in the world. still ten years later all i wanted as i closed my eyes was for someone to just hold my hand.
i know what i chose to do yesterday will ultimately guide me in the direction of a healthier life. i have no doubt about this. but it was out of necessity that i chose yesterday’s procedure not out of desire. this was a last road on the left dead end no turning around kind of choice. i felt the same way on july 19. i can’t say yesterday was a positive move forward or negative step back. its hard when the two lines jump around all over the board. one day a negative can seem positive and one day a positive can be ten paces back to ten years ago.
as i write this i am in pain where i sit. the body never forgets and still i cry old tears i never had the chance to properly shed.