Friday, August 4, 2017

Women's Health: My Fibroid Story

2 weeks post-op at my follow-up appt

This is something I have wanted to talk about since having my own experience with fibroids and surgery to remove them in 2015. I put this post off, because of the fear of getting too personal. I'm a pretty private person but sometimes things need to be shared to help the next person. God keeps putting this on my heart to speak on, and I know so many women are struggling with this in silence (especially African American women like me). I recall feeling very alone and scared when I was dealing with this. I ended up having to have an open myomectomy to remove an 11cm uterine fibroid, and had to lean on a Facebook group for support. Sometimes, it really helps to hear from someone who has been through it and could give details so you know what to expect. So, here is my story.

Around 2013 is when I first learned I had a fibroid during a routine gyn exam. At that time, my doctor had me get an ultrasound/sonogram to determine the exact size and location. It was smaller then, around 3cm. So, my doctor said she'd just keep an eye on it and make sure it didn't get bigger. At one point, it degenerated and became smaller. But in 2015 in grew with a vengeance.

From about 2013-2015 I had discomfort and pain with my menstrual cycles. I had always had cramps, but they became very intense, and the bleeding was very heavy. So heavy that I started having accidents (so embarrassing). I didn't understand why this was happening, I'd gone my whole adult life with no issues until now. I initially thought it was because I was getting older and my body was changing. June of 2015 I went to my doctor for another yearly checkup (this was a new doctor) and she told me it felt pretty large. She sent me to get another ultrasound and they determined it was about 11cm. I wondered why my stomach was protruding a bit and my pants were tighter, but again - thought I was gaining weight due to age. She strongly recommended surgery, especially if I wanted to have children in the future. The fibroid had caused my uterus to enlarge to where I appeared I could be pregnant (it was located on the outside of my uterus and at the top).

I decided to see a holistic doctor for another opinion before I made any decisions, as well as another gynecologist. I had never had major surgery before (was only sedated once to get my wisdom teeth removed), so this wasn't a decision I wanted to rush into. Also, the previous doctor wanted me to start a hormone drug called Lupron, and I didn't want to take that unless I absolutely had to. After researching it and hearing the side effects, I really wanted to make sure it was necessary.

The holistic doctor and the 2nd gyn agreed that surgery would be needed to remove it, but that Lupron wasn't going to be needed. (The 1st doctor suggested the Lupron because she said it would shrink the fibroid and prevent excessive blood loss during surgery, making it easier). Not only did I not want this hormone, but the 1st doctor's lack in confidence when I was asking my questions is what made me also seek the additional opinions and do my own research. When I went to the 2nd doctor, who I found online and read so many positive reviews about, she was very confident and reassuring and took time to answer all my questions. I felt really good about her, and that's why I decided to go with her to do my surgery after one meeting. I just knew she was the one.

Fast forward to October 2015. I was scheduled for surgery, super nervous but praying that God worked it all out for me. The surgery I had to get, due to the size, was an open myomectomy. It's a major surgery, and they give you a C-section-like cut in your abdomen. The surgery took about 2 hours, and recovery was 6 weeks. Only immediate family and my closest friends knew, I didn't tell anyone at the time. And of course, my managers at my job.

The surgery went well. I had no complications, the fibroid was removed with no problem. My doctor and the nurses were amazing. I was in the hospital for 3 days, and my mom and now-husband alternated between the 1st and 2nd week to care for me. I was on pain meds and slept a lot that first week. I needed help getting my meals and my mom made sure I got up to walk periodically. At 2 weeks, I was slightly sore, but in a lot less pain and given the OK to drive. 2 weeks is also when I had my follow up appointment. My dr checked my incision to make sure it was healing well and asked me a few questions. The follow up went well and I was healing well.

After about 4 weeks post-op, I started my next menstrual cycle. It was so much lighter, the cramps were so light I didn't need to take anything, and it only lasted 3-4 days!! It was so amazing, and I am so glad I went ahead and had the surgery so I could feel normal again. I'm still feeling great and just want to encourage anyone who is dealing with fibroids, to get the situation taken care of as soon as you can. It is worth it to live a normal, healthy life and just improve your quality of life.

Do your research. The surgery I had isn't the only option - there are less invasive procedures. They just didn't happen to be the ones that would work for me because of the size and location. Doctors tell us that they don't know why fibroids form. As much as I appreciate doctors for what they do, I have to say I don't believe that. I've found they grow due to estrogen dominance (look that up when you get a chance - very interesting!), and our diets affect growths more than we know. Hormones are in so many of our foods!! And African-American women have a higher rate of having fibroids than any other group. We have to educate ourselves to stay healthy and be aware.

I'm now enjoying a much better quality of life and no monthly pain without that little monster in me. If fibroids is something you're suffering with, you don't have to. Removing mine was the best decision I could have made.

1-2 days after surgery

3-4 weeks after surgery, feeling great


  1. Thanks for sharing your story with others that deal with this!

    1. You're welcome! Want people to know they aren't alone if dealing with this. <3