About 4 years ago I had an ovarian cyst burst. It was a painful 24 hours. At my primary care provider’s suggestion, I went in for an ultrasound to make sure there were no other problems with my ovaries that we should know about. My ovaries were fine. But we learned that I had 4 small fibroids growing on my uterus.
At first they were small and seemingly inconsequential. Over the last four years, 4 small fibroids turned into 9 fibroids of varying sizes with the largest one weighing in at 10 cm x 11 cm. My uterus is now the size of one 4 months pregnant.
I have experienced many unfortunate symptoms while these benign tumors have grown in my womb. They are often painful—a high frequency pulsating pain. I developed hemorrhoids because of them. They’ve caused certain sexual positions to be painful. They take up a fair amount of abdominal real estate, so frequent urination is not uncommon. There were a few times when they were pushing hard right up against my urethra, pinching it so I could not urinate. I remember rushing home and running upstairs having to pee really badly one day and nothing would come out, not a drop. I had a moment of panic and thought about what could be happening. Thankfully, I know my anatomy. I got in the bathtub, reached inside my vagina, and moved my cervix with my fingers, which moved my uterus away from my urethra and the floodgates were opened. Holy relief! This happened a couple of times in public places and let me tell you, that was not cute in public restrooms.
The worst part has been my extremely heavy periods and tremendous blood loss each month. This blood loss culminated with 13 days of heavy bleeding in June that left me at my edge, and it was then that I made the decision to take these suckers out. And I mean suckers. They are sucking my blood, my life force, my energy. I have been so depleted and am now anemic. I decided that was it. I’m done with them. I’ve tried dietary changes, avoiding hormones in my diet—do you know how hard that is? I’ve tried herbs and acupuncture, castor oil packs, visualization, energy work. I gave it a really good go. I do believe there is a place for Western medicine and the other stuff didn’t work and I’m tired of living with them so now I’ve got a surgeon I feel confident about.
What has been astounding to me is how many women have fibroids and how little we know about them. Women don’t talk about them. Once I started sharing that I had them, so many women said, “Oh yeah, me too.” “I had the surgery last year.” “I hate my periods.” It seemed like everyone around me was affected. It is estimated that anywhere from 20% to 80% of women will get fibroids. From my little friendly poll, I’m guessing that 20% is a tremendous underestimate. And if it is close to 80%, that’s epidemic. Women usually get them in their late 30s and 40s and they still can’t figure out what causes them. WTF?
We don’t need to be silent about our health. We actually need to speak openly about it so others can learn, get information and so that we can get the support we need. I’m having a myomectomy on Monday morning. Feel free to send your healing energy. I’ll share more next week about how I’ve approached my care because I believe I have done it well and many of us need to learn how to ask for what we need when we need special care. It is a skill I have really worked on developing.
Good bye fibroids. Thanks for coming to teach me some important stuff. Now you can go. And take all the old crap I’m shedding emotionally and spiritually with you. Please. I don’t need it anymore.