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Out With It: The Diary of My Hysterectomy


Out With It: The Diary of My Hysterectomy


5 out of 5 stars =    A Rare Look at a Common Occurrence

“Raindrops had frozen from branches, like suspended motion.
The day is suspended too, between winter and spring.”

Pg. 144

There are rare and beautiful books and this is one of them. The author moves from a deep winter of the soul to a spring where she can again appreciate life, the love of family and the feeling of just being alive.

Through the pain of her loss, Carolyn Kent Bailey learns that even the Tulips come back into bloom after a long winter. That in the spring, there is renewal and hope.

When Carolyn decides to undergo a hysterectomy she never imagines what will occur months and even years down the road. She has no idea how depressed she will feel or how she will have to cling to every shred of happiness just to make it through another day.

Through writing in a journal, taking action to heal herself through her own research and by surrounding herself with loving friends and family, Carolyn survives. As the years go by, she heals. Not just physically, but emotionally.

This book is in itself, very healing. It is a journey into the most secret thoughts of a woman who has had a total abdominal hysterectomy. She is blunt in her honesty and yet even as you are crying along with her, you start laughing moments later. I felt emotional when reading the first page. I think she captured my heart in one sentence and from there I went on an emotional roller coaster throughout the entire book. Laughing at the uniqueness and genuine wit of the frivolous moments and empathizing and contemplating the emotional upheaval, the panic attacks, the depression.

Even in her emotional pain, she somehow manages to conjure up a child-like joy. Even in the depth of her depression, she worries about the animals having enough food in the winter. I laugh to myself as I read: “I lie to myself when I need to but there are only ten occasions.” The list makes complete sense to me.

There is a delightful story of how she raised a squirrel and there is even a poem about how to enchant a squirrel. There are thoughts of pure delight balanced by worries and thoughts about how life changes vividly as you age. This is set up as journal entries.

There are poems that are highly relevant to the moment. Carolyn’s thoughts inspire her to create poems. From her pain comes great beauty. I found her poems to all be deeply meaningful because I understood the context. After all, she had just told me the story that went with each one

Everyone was unique and yet had a definite purpose within the complete process of her inner discovery.

When the Sun is a Peony

Dip your fingers in the green sea
and write a love letter in my hair.
Trace the words that tell of a plunge to coral gardens
where the flowers are parrotfish
and the sea surrounds us like music,
of how we lie in the silk of the sun,
how your hand on my skin ripples like water
and the scent of the air is yellow.

Pg. 171

Then, there were quotes, delicious quotes sprinkled through the pages in places where they became a natural part of a sentence, of a thought, of a moment. I want to share so many things about this book with you, but it is best experienced in a few hours, reading it alone, maybe in bed.

I found the first part of the book was mainly about the surgery, but then Carolyn’s writing could really be for anyone who wants to have one of those silent conversations with an author who we know would understand everything we are feeling. Strangely, her natural wit and love for life comes out most boldly when she is in the most physical pain. When she moves into the stages of depression, her creativity seems to bloom like a field of flowers and yet there are dew drops or tears on the flowers. And then when the wind blows and she is refreshed by a moment in time, the flowers laugh.

I cannot tell you how many times I laughed out loud and then went right back to crying! Part of me was emotional because of the beauty of her writing and part of me was empathizing with the moments of pain, frustration and the depth of her depression.

I hope gynecologists will also read this book so they can empathize with their patients emotional needs. Too often it does seem that we find doctors who are simply viewing the physical symptoms and have forgotten their patients have a soul.

I can recommended this book to every woman because you might have to make this choice. I personally had no idea this was the most common surgery performed in the United States! I can think of so many people I want to share this book with because parts of this book touched me so deeply. I felt that some of the author’s words have now become a part of me.

In losing a precious part of herself that enabled her to give life to two children,
Carolyn Kent Bailey has given birth to a book from her soul.

What a beautiful gift!  

~The Rebecca Review