The Belly, She Swells

There is this HysterSisters-coined word, swelly belly*, and I have it in spades, thanks to my hysterectomy earlier this summer.

According to the HysterSisters website, this swollen belly is not due to being fat, having weak muscles, or overeating but is due to trauma during surgery and can last for weeks or even months afterward. I am guessing that I have the months-long variety of the condition, because it has been more than two months now since my surgery, and it still swells up and down from day to day depending on how much I have been standing, sitting, walking around, or cleaning the apartment. I am now starting to understand why some older women wear those ugly, elasticized pants, (but this understanding in no way means that I will resort to such a measure, because, and I do not mean to insult anyone here, ew.** Stop it. There has got to be a better alternative).

illustration of muffin topWhen I wake up in the morning, I am relatively slim for my frame. My underwear fits, my pants fit, and I can do up my coat. In truth, I have lost six or seven pounds since my surgery, so prior to twelve noon, I feel pretty darn svelte. The afternoons and evenings hold a different body in store for me, though. If I have walked or bent over or lifted too much, which really means any amount of work more than your average eighty-five-year-old could handle, my gut expands. If it made me curvier in a way that I found attractive, I wouldn't mind so much, but that is not what happens. I get the nasty muffin top, and sometimes I can look like I am in the early stages of a second trimester pregnancy, which is really one of the last things I want now that I am uterus-free and my eggs just float about inside my abdomen without a purpose in the world.

I spend my evenings sitting around the house without any pants on, parading my bare ass and protruding stomach throughout the apartment for all two cats, the Palinode, and probably several neighbours to see. I look like I am in the midst of having myself potty trained. Sadly, no one in our apartment has that particular fetish.*** I figure that, despite this particular fetish lack at home, it is far better for me to feel free and easy than to mentally battle the fact of a swollen muffin top and my lack of a belt to fit my new evening size.****

I think if I looked a little less like my great aunts, I would find this part of my recovery much less bothersome.



* Swelly belly is far too cute-sounding a name for my tastes, and I only mentioned it here for the sake of linking to HysterSisters' description of it. I think that there is nothing cute about abdominal surgery and its after effects, and there need be no application of feminity's infantilizing silliness. The cutesification of a subject belies the sincerity of its experience and makes me feel as though I am being patted on the head.

** My father once bought a pair of light yellow Sansabelt pants*****, and when he asked me what I thought of them, I stated quite bluntly that they made it look like he had given up on ever having sex again. After that, I only saw him wear the burgundy ones.

*** Hello, all you infantilization fetishists who googled your way here!

**** Scratch that "evening size" comment. Today, it is choosing to start up the puffiness over lunch. I should take bets on how sizable I might be by nine o'clock.

***** Sansabelts pants are not all that bad as pants for older individuals go, but honestly, baby yellow/blue/pink slacks of any kind make anyone look like a health professional. I have long wondered why so many people over fifty-five go for the nurse's uniform look.

Elan Morganbody, cancer12 Comments