Pink sunsets remind me of the evening we poured my adoptive grandmother’s ashes into the Gulf of Mexico.
Stop reading this post if gynecological mysteries make you want to run down the street with your hair on fire. If the blurred region between propriety and TMI makes you anxious, move along. But if you are a SWEATY MENOPAUSAL LADY or past that (not at all embarrassing) stage of life, please continue.
Punchline: if you are post-menopausal and have bleeding, GET YOUR VAG TO THE GYNOCOLOGIST.
The genetic mystery due to adoption invaded my life at a recent doctor’s visit after I mentioned spotting. My beloved adoptive grandmother passed away from untreated uterine cancer. When I told my doctor she spotted silently for 8 years, he rolled his eyes and said her premature death was preventable. Condensed story: testing, ultrasounds, biopsy, uterine cancer screening, minor surgery. All ended well. No cancer. Just a shaggy uterus and a small benign polyp. While my story had a cancer-free ending, it made me heartsick for the thousands of women diagnosed yearly with uterine cancer.
Traveling through this experience brought me to the perimeter of all my emotions – feeling like my world was suddenly Middle Ages flat, with me on the edge where the pink sky meets the ocean, braced to roll off into the next Universe – wishing I had the familial tether of medical knowledge to anchor me. But then I remembered years ago, I turned down an endometrial ablation because it eliminates bleeding – an early warning sign of uterine cancer.
Ablations are medically necessary for some women. However, in my case, my adoptive grandmother’s premature death due to her (avoidable) uterine cancer influenced my decision. Her biology somehow saved me. And while I yearn for a Korean biological knowing, ultimately, she guided my actions – as responsible ancestors often do (a belief held by many Korean-Koreans).
This Adopted-Korean believes.
As I sit on my balcony gazing at the gorgeous sky at the edge of the earth, I picture my adoptive grandmother having tea with my biological grandmothers in the pink clouds – watching over me and my daughters as we navigate this life into the sunset.