Many women have experienced the wrath of fibroids which can result in miscarriages, premature deliveries, anemia, infertility, frequent urination, perpetual bloating, and pelvic and back pain to name a few. In the past, it seemed that hysterectomies were the solution for fibroids. Hysterectomies are money making procedures for doctors and the only “cure” for fibroids since the uterus (where the fibroids reside) is completely removed.
Research has shown that African American women are disproportionately affected by fibroids than other races. Over the years very few women have told me about their issues with fibroids, but as I began to share my experiences very candidly, more and more people have been opening up. I realized now why some of my family members have had hysterectomies. After sharing my experiences, I got to a point where several women in my circle told me they had undergone the same procedure I was about to get done. I was relieved to know that I didn’t have to go through this alone. Fortunately, with advances in the medical field, I had several options other than getting a hysterectomy. Due to the size, location, and my desire to have kids, my options were limited, but they extended beyond the dredful hysterectomy.
As I got closer and closer to the surgery I had so much to do I couldn’t be nervous about getting surgery nor could I get excited about the fact that I was only a few weeks away from moving to England. On August 19, 2010 I gave birth. Several fibroids were removed from my uterus by way of an abdominal incision similar to one made when a woman gives birth by Cesarean section. I had 4 known large fibroids. One measured 9cm (approximately the size of a 3-month old fetus). The procedure was routine, but with any surgery there is room for error or complications. My biggest fear was that I would lose my uterus or ovaries in the process. Thankfully, I woke up with everything in tact and working relatively well (the healing process is a long and painful one).
While I was in the hospital, I gained a greater appreciation for nurses. They worked relentlessly around the clock caring for strangers. For the first time in a long time, I felt a complete sense of helplessness. Although I was ambulatory after the first day, many of the things I took for granted on a daily basis were challenging. Activities such as going to the bathroom, putting on clothes, sitting up and down, etc. The hospital provided a much better haven to go through these struggles as they provided around the clock care. I could simply push a button and someone would come to my rescue. Coming home was a bit of a challenge. The bed didn’t adjust to a comfortable level where I could get in and out of it without help. The bathroom didn’t have handrails, and there were no nurses.
I do have the help of my parents and I am ever so grateful. I’ve been home only 4 days now and I’ve found myself crying on several occasions because I was unable to get comfortable, climb into bed, or perform my normal activities. In the middle of one of my crying fits, my mother reminded me that my temporary setback is a snippet of what she goes through on a regular basis battling Multiple Sclerosis. I began to think about those who can not walk at all or those individuals who don’t have family and friends to take care of them and I immediately had to pour my self pity down the drain.
I have to remind people that my surgery was optional or elective. I choose to have this surgery on the eve of my leaving for England because I wanted a better quality of life. I equate it to a nagging toothache that if not worked on, just gets worse and worse and we are reminded of the pain every time we take a drink or bite of something.
But the major reason for the surgery was to increase my chances of fertility. Hold on tight…I have quite a few words about fertility in Part III.