Chronic Illness Helped Me Justify Keeping Trauma a Secret

By Britanny Foster: For the Entire Post, Go Here…

Trigger warning: This column discusses sexual assault and rape. If you need assistance, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

I left a procedure last week feeling shaky, unwell, anxious, and upset. The procedure, draining an ovarian cyst, unfortunately was unsuccessful. I found out shortly after waking up from sedation that it was impossible to drain it because of the density.

Getting a procedure done is always physically and mentally exhausting. The physical discomfort of my procedure slowly improved after a few days of rest. The emotional difficulty, however, is something I am still working through. It triggered thoughts of a trauma I have kept hidden.

Chronic illness has taught me to hope for the best but prepare for the worst, especially when it comes to surgeries. It always seems as if preparing for the worst lessens the blow when something goes wrong. In my mind, I have gotten good at convincing myself I “knew” the negative outcome would happen. This mindset works for a short time because it allows me to hide my feelings of emotional upset and anger.

Having OB-GYN procedures is upsetting and emotional for a number of reasons. Often, it takes time for me to recover my mental strength in the following weeks. After losing my fertility when I was 20 due to the removal of fallopian tubes damaged by scarring and endometriosis, seeing an empty space on ultrasounds where my ovaries and tubes once were is never easy. Knowing that I will never be able to have a child is a pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

These types of procedures and surgeries also are difficult due to a history of sexual trauma and sexual assault, which is what I’d kept inside me for so long.

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