2018: Our Hysterectomies

 

Detail of Book: Surgical Recovery
Detail of Book: Surgical Recovery

Our Hysterectomies is an eBook containing the illustrated first-person accounts of 16 women who have had hysterectomies, oophorectomies, myomectomies and more. The downloadable book contains animation, as well as printable DIY papercraft including reproductive system coloring book pages, pop-ups, paper cuts, and more.

Conference Presentations:

  • 2020 Comics & Technology. Presentation: “Sharing Secrets: Our Hysterectomies”, Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas (Presentation accepted/declined due to COVID-19)
  • 2020 British Society of Aesthetics Conference: Art, Aesthetics and the Medical/Health Humanities. Presentation: “Sharing Secrets: Our Hysterectomies”, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK
  • 2019 Queerying Graphic Medicine: Paradigms, Power, and Practices. Presentation: “Instagram and the Birth of Our Hysterectomies”, Brighton UK

Exhibitions: 

  • 2020 Embodied Histories, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Project Art, Medical Museum, Iowa City IA
  • 2019 The Examined Life Conference at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. Exhibition: “Our Hysterectomies Project”, Iowa City IA
  • 2020 College Book Art Association, Woldenberg Art Center, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
  • 2019 Women Forward, Part 2: Innovative Women (WAH Center, Brooklyn NY)

Libraries: 

  The Maine Women Writers Collection, Abplanalp Library, University of New England
  New York University LitMed Database
  The Wellcome Collection
  The Harvard Medical School Countway Library 

Publications:

  2019 “Inside the Margins”, NYU Langone Health, LITMED: Literature & Arts Medicine Magazine


Obtaining a copy of the eBook:
The book was originally made available for download through Crowdrise with all donations going directly to Planned Parenthood. Contributions receive a copy of the eBook from me, regardless of the donation amount. If you wish to donate, here is a link to the campaign: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/our-hysterectomies-a-fundraiser-for-planned-parenthood

As of September 1, 2019 the eBook is available free for download hereIt is available as both an ePub and Interactive PDF file. Papercraft files are also located within the directory.

Free to Libraries, academic databases, and more:
The book is also available free through various academic databases and libraries. If you wish to have a copy included in your library or for students, please contact me.


Print copies of the book can be purchased directly as well!

Receive your 74-page fully illustrated a soft-cover copy of Our Hysterectomies. $22.50 + $7.50 (tax + shipping + handling. please note that these are US Domestic shipping rates only. I am happy to send internationally. If you wish for the book to be sent internationally, I am very happy to do it, but please contact me so we can recalculate shipping costs. Thanks!)

$30.00


 


Background/Story:

On March 14th, 2017, I underwent a total abdominal hysterectomy. The procedure was performed through open surgery and left behind a 6” vertical scar.

Upon waking up from surgery I felt surprisingly great. I hopped off the gurney and walked to my bed, ate two dinners, and walked laps around the ward. While I am typically rather private, I decided to be open about this. I had access to good health insurance, excellent medical care, and the support of three work communities—privileges many women don’t have. I felt no reason to remain silent other than a sense of shame brought on by a cultural stigma that I wouldn’t have had my appendix been removed instead.

And so, in an uncharacteristically public political act, I posted an image of myself from the hospital on social media. The outpouring of support was overwhelming but even more surprising, 17 women I knew reached out to tell me that they had been through the same thing, some only weeks earlier. I was stunned and began to reflect on the stories that induce our silence and the fictions we present instead.

Facts: According to the Centers for Disease Control, Hysterectomy is the second most frequently performed surgical procedure for U.S. women who are of reproductive age. Approximately 20 million American women have had a hysterectomy and approximately 600,000 hysterectomies are performed each year. By the age of 60, more than 1/3 of all women have had a hysterectomy.

Goal: All women need access to high quality affordable reproductive health care services. As a result, I am using this book as a tool to increase awareness and support access to services.

Post-Surgical Hospital Recovery
Detail of Book: Surgical Recovery
Detail of Book: Preparing for Surgery
Detail of Book: Preparing for Surgery
Our Hysterectomies
Detail of Book: Anatomical Coloring Book Pages
Our Hysterectomies
Detail of Book: Anatomical Coloring Book Pages

Articles / Conferences / Interviews / Press
I was interviewed by the New York University LITMED (Literature and Arts Medicine Database) Magazine this spring. You can read it here:  https://medhum.med.nyu.edu/magazine/?p=34613

Wrote about it in an article entitled “Fairy Tales and the Necessity of Discomfort” for NYU’s Adjacent Online Journal of Emerging Media. You can read about it here.

Cover of Adjacent Magazine

Presented at the 2019 Graphic Medicine Conference: “Queerying Graphic Medicine: Paradigms, Power, and Practices.”

Queerying Graphic Medicine: Paradigms, Power, and Practices.

And will exhibit it at the at the upcoming Examined Life Conference at the The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

The Examined Life Conference