How Fibroids Almost Killed Me And Saved My Life

 

Maui B Of PHAT Girl Fresh

Photos by P. Dillon Photography

Fibroids are currently trending, and I couldn’t be happier. Conversations on platforms like the Today Show, XONecole, and Essence are helping to shed light on the health issue among women. For years, women have silently suffered from fibroids because according to society, women aren’t supposed to have personal conversations about our bodies. Thank God that we have evolved and been empowered to speak because this conversation is vital. Without dialog about fibroids, I never would have known that I wasn’t alone in this fight or that nearly 80% of women (mostly black women) have or have had fibroids.

 

For so long, Women have denied one another and the world access to our stories and experiences. This access was denied because women are taught at an early age that we aren’t supposed to openly discuss our bodies, sex, or anything female specific such as our periods. This silence has proved to be damning, leaving many feeling alienated and afraid. However, with the influence of women (especially women of color) at an all-time high, and with us understanding how our truth connects us, free us and heal us we are ready to use our reality to save women and girls.

 

I got my period at the very young age of nine years old. However, it wasn’t until after I had given birth to both of my children that the thing that makes me great, womanhood, started trying to kill me. I had always been regular with a combination flow, heavy three days, and medium to light four days. Then things changed, I begin bleeding and passing clots so bad that I had to take measures to stop my period. So, after having a Tubal Ligation (tubes tied), I found myself receiving the Depo Provera every three months to avoid the wrath of Mother Nature.

 

Back in 2003, when I was told I had fibroids, it was explained as if it were solely due to my weight. I was never told that my diet or any of the other contributing factors could have caused me to develop fibroids, just my weight. Of course, me being fat had caused fibroids, being fat onset’s all illness or at least that is what medical professionals tell plus-size people. At that time, my gynecologist stated that I had nine fibroids, four of which were abnormal in size. However, they offered no resolve other than me losing weight because again, I was fat, which meant my fibroids were a fat thing and not a woman thing.

 

As time moved on, so did my issues with fibroids. My periods were heavier, the number of fibroids increased, and my belly was getting huge. Yeah, I know I’m fat, but an Oncology gynecologist explained that my stomach was so large because the fibroids had caused my uterus to expand. This took me back to both my pregnancies because each time doctors ordered additional ultrasounds to assure, I wasn’t having multiples because my uterus was so large. All of this made me question if the fibroids were there and unaddressed during my pregnancies.

 

Now if you follow the blog, you know that I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (blood Cancer) in December of 2017. What you didn’t know is that the cancer was found while trying to get a handle on low blood and iron level caused by excessive bleeding due to fibroids. So basically the thing that was killing saved my life in a sense because had it not been for my low blood count and need to see a hematologist, I never would have known that I had cancer and we all know how far left that could have gone.

 

What’s crazy is that two years later, the cancer is smoldering, and the fibroids are still trying to kill me. In 2018 I was hospitalized four times; I received 15 units of blood and eight units of iron. I was advised by several doctors that I didn’t meet the requirements for a hysterectomy, and in my opinion, a myomectomy is a waste of time due to the possibility of the fibroids growing back over time. Since I had been advised so many times that I wouldn’t find resolve without losing weight, and due to my cancer diagnosis, I decided to have weight loss surgery.

My Gynecologist informed me that once got my weight down to 250 lbs. (which I have done), I could have a non-invasive hysterectomy. However, yesterday while in the office for a follow-up visit after having a failed endometrial ablation last Thursday, I received even more bad news. I now have one super fibroid living inside of me. This fibroid measures more than 15 centimeters and can only be removed via a much larger incision under my FUPA. Oh, and the doctor who knows I’m losing weight is asking me to lose at least another 30 lbs. in the next six weeks before scheduling the surgery. Honestly, this is upsetting, and it feels like another set up for a letdown plus I am afraid to be cut open and nervous about the recovery process.

 

So here I am, again, attempting to navigate through another health issue while representing two communities of women who are underserved, black and fat women. It is scary, and it is confusing, but to live a quality life, I am doing what must be done; educating myself, listening to the doctors, and telling my story. I hope that my truth saves some women and girls from living the same nightmare. God forbid another generation of women to have to live with anxiety surrounding their periods.

 

Are you a woman living with fibroids? If so, what are you doing to address the issue? If not, have you been checked recently? Are you educating your daughters about female issues like fibroids? Let’s talk ladies!

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7 Comments

  1. Kiki
    May 16, 2019 / 4:06 pm

    I’m having the myomectomy….only because they don’t want to take away my chances of having children just yet….but I agree, take it all out! What I find interesting is I had not heard of fibroids until my mom told me to tell my doctor to check me for them! Having a heavy full 7 day cycle since 13, no one thought to check for fibroids and because there were no posts like yours, I didn’t even know to ask myself.

    This experience has taught me to read more, ask more questions, and share more. Since I found out about my fibroids, I’ve talked with lots of women and they are so willing to share their experiences. If only this sharing had started years ago!!

    Thank you for sharing yours!!!

  2. Shannon
    May 16, 2019 / 7:41 pm

    Yes, when I was first diagnosed, my GYN said it like it was no big deal & it wasn’t for a while. So, I did nothing. Over time, I began to experience the same symptoms the writer detailed. I’m currently participating in a study using a drug being considered for treatment. No luck so far, but I’m hanging in there.

    • May 30, 2019 / 7:39 am

      WOW! These doctors have to do better!

  3. May 16, 2019 / 10:10 pm

    I had the embolization and I felt better. The last four months not so much. They make my body ache and I feel so much pain it makes my blood pressure go up. At times I feel like I have the flu it hurts so bad. I just did the ultrasound and wand where they confirmed the fibroids are still there. I see the doctor in a few weeks. I am praying for you @phatgirlfresh

    • May 30, 2019 / 7:37 am

      I wasn’t a candidate for the embolization because of the size of the fibroid. However, at this point, I just think that my only option is a hysterectomy. Lord knows I couldn’t take other fibroids growing back. You have my prayers as you continue the fight.

  4. Lesa17
    May 19, 2019 / 1:17 am

    Great article! I too suffer from fibroids, and I have found no relief from the remedies offered up by the medical community.