Fibroid · Hysterectomy · Uncategorized

How It All Began

Let me start by saying that this story ends (spoiler alert) with a hysterectomy. If you are a woman in search of alternative methods of fighting your fibroid and looking for stories of success in that area, I encourage you to continue your search but also to continue reading – because, I WAS you. I get it. My story did not end the way I had played it out in my mind but my fate was decided for me. I’ll get into the how’s and why’s of that later.

It all started in February of this year. I went to see my OB for a regular well woman exam – complete with Pap Smear, Mammogram, and Pelvic Exam. I’m a healthy 44 year old woman, proud Mama of a beautiful 2 year old daughter, and lucky wife to an amazing woman. I have always had heavy periods. Oh wait. Let me stop here and add that if you get squirmy by reading about, hearing about, or talking about, menstruation, menses, Aunt Flo, periods, cycles, “time of the month”, etc then this may not be the blog for you. I feel like that’s ALL I’ve been talking about for the past 8 months.

My OB is a talented, sweet, funny, and charming man as well as an excellent doctor. He delivered my daughter safely via C Section when my wife suffered from Complete Placenta Previa. Complete Placenta Previa is when the mother’s placenta grows over the cervix forcing the mother to have to birth the placenta before the baby comes which significantly increases her liklihood of hemorrhaging during childbirth. To avoid this, we had our daughter at 36 weeks and 4 days via C Section. I appreciate all my doctor did to make sure my wife and baby were safe during delivery and recovery.

At my well woman exam, I found myself giving the same old speech I had been giving for countless years. I have regular periods ~ 29 days apart to the letter but they’re heavy, painful, and usually end with large amounts of clotting. I often times have to wear a tampon AND a pad to fully protect myself (and other innocent onlookers) from the disaster that has always been my period. No doctor had ever batted an eye at my monthly predicament before now.

My doctor asked me if my periods were interfering with my quality of life. I agreed that they were and had been for years. It was then that he looked at me and said “You know…we can reduce your periods to 4 times a year”. In that moment, he became my knight in shining armor. I mean, what was this magic he spoke of? Only having my dreadful period 4 times a year? Sign me up for THAT plan. It was then that he put me on a method of estrogen based birth control called Lutera to begin the process of making my life better. Or so I thought.

About 2 weeks into the birth control pills, I noticed very heavy breakthrough bleeding. Breakthrough bleeding (I’ve learned) is a term they use so you don’t freak out at the amount of blood your’re bleeding on a pill that’s supposed to be stopping your bleeding. I wrote to my doctor to inquire about what I should do. His nurse responded to my email and said “Doc says it’s normal to have some breakthrough bleeding as your body adjusts to the pill. Go ahead and double up on the pill for 3-5 days. That should help the problem.”

Awesome. I had a new plan and for 5 days, I took 2 pills a day.

Worst. Mistake. Ever. Two and a half months into my pills, my bleeding got heavier and heavier and more uncontrollable. I began having terrible pelvic pain until one night I passed 3 blood clots that were each the size of my fist. Terrified, I decided to stop the pill. I wrote to my doctor to inform him of my decision and fill him in on what was happening. I received a response from the nurse who asked me to come in for an internal ultrasound due to abnormal uterine bleeding. Cue fear. What? Abnormal Uterine Bleeding? What did this mean? What were they looking for? Was this cancer? What in the world was happening to me? This was worse than any period I had EVER had and now I was worried there was something bigger going on.

Well. There was something BIG going on and it was called a fibroid. A fibroid that measured 7 cm in size and was the size of a tennis ball just setting up camp in the top of my uterus. Fibroids are benign tumors that usually begin their growth in a woman’s uterus during her most fertile years. They are incredibly common and they affect women differently. My fibroid was probably the reason behind all my years of heavy periods but we hadn’t known of its existence until now. They are typically A-symptomatic and my doctor described them as “very bad neighbors”. I also learned that estrogen FEEDS fibroids. So these pills I had been taking were feeding my fibroid and when I doubled up on the pill for those five days, it became an all you can eat buffet for the insatiable and gluttonous beast living in my uterus.

I felt defeated but little did I know what a journey and a battle I was about to go on. This is where my story begins. In my upcoming blogs, I will talk about everything from the vast amounts of hormones and drugs I was put on to my fear and avoidance of my doctor recommended hysterectomy to my incredibly severe case of anemia, two hospitalizations, blood transfusions, and my eventual emergency hysterectomy (which I’m currently at home recovering from now).

My hope is that this story will help anyone who is dealing with fibroids now. If you are scared; If you are facing a hysterectomy; If you are trying desperately to fight this fibroid (or fibroids) naturally to avoid surgery, I get you! I am with you! I know that I was amazed at the amount of women in my own life who were suffering with this affliction and just weren’t talking about it. We are taught to hush about our cycles but when we find others who are suffering the way we are, we become empowered in numbers. Knowledge is power and I have personally enjoyed hearing so many stories about how other women fought or are fighting their own battles with fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and other uterine issues. They gave me strength and a sense of support. But the truth is that at the end of the day, the battle is a private one. Between you and the invaders in your uterus. This is my battle story.

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35 thoughts on “How It All Began

  1. So proud of my smart, beautiful, talented daughter in love (law!) For her brave journey and her wanting to share her journey to help others. Also, her writing is just as amazing as her Mom’s! Also, neither is lacking in wit!! Love these two.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Reblogged this on From Cave Walls and commented:


    As many of my followers know, I made an emergency trip to Florida because my daughter was rushed to the ER. What you do not know is her story. I am pretty public about my own life, but when it comes to my family, I leave it to them to share their stories.
    My daughter started a blog today to document her lifelong struggle toward a hysterectomy. She wants to share information with people who may be suffering the way that she has.
    These stories and symptoms are stories that women rarely share except in the close confines of other women. Her hope is that by sharing, this very common story will come out of the shadows and into the light. She is telling it like it is.
    I encourage you to share her blog with anyone you think it may help.

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  3. Well and clearly written. I am glad you are sharing this to let other women know about these issues. I am well past menopause, survived placenta previa hemorrhage myself with c-section in 1975 when there was a huge flap about unnecessary c-sections, and had fibroids which grew and waned on their own without too much trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness. We haven’t met too many women who have had placenta previa. I am grateful you came out of it okay and that your fibroids didn’t give you much fuss! I was praying for menopause but my hormone panels showed that to be but a dream at this stage of my life. 😂♥️

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    1. I appreciate that so much! Today I sit in gratitude (a lot of sitting after surgery 😃). I just remember feeling lost and looking for other womens’ stories to resonate with mine. I hope to do that for others in the telling of my story. Thank you for reading. ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is my journey too, from the painful periods, to the excessive bleeding, to the severe anemia, before discovering what was going on down there. It wasn’t until my stomach started bloating because my uterus was filling up with fibroids that I got alarmed. I had massive fibroids and no other conclusion was reached but I needed a hysterectomy.
    I thought about writing about this for a long time, so I’m glad someone else is doing so. So Thank you for this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. You are a warrior…and we are a sisterhood. I am so sorry for your suffering, too. I hope you follow and tell us more about your specific situation so that others who are where we were can read it all and that it helps them to make the best choices for their own health. ♥️

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  5. Reblogged this on beetleypete and commented:
    I am reblogging this important post about female health. If you are a woman, have a wife or daughter, sister, aunt or even a grandmother. A female friend or partner, girlfriend, best friend or a neighbour you know well, then please bring their attention to this. If you are a blogger, please reblog it so more women can read it. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, please share it on those platforms too.
    Once you have read this, please follow the rest of Melissa’s story on her new blog. She almost wasn’t here to be able to tell it to us.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your story. I am 44 and also recently had a hysterectomy.
    My journey seemed to go quickly. I have quite a few health issues so when I started having severe stomach pain that would come and go, I thought it was probably IBS. However, this pain was unlike any pain I’ve had. I went to the hospital on my daughter’s 18th birthday by ambulance and after some tests, they found I had two large ovarian cysts. One was approx 13x16x15 and the other was 9x10x10. They sent me home and told me to see my gynecologist.
    I hadn’t seen a gyno in quite a few years. I hadn’t had a period in over 3 years at this point but for some reason, I just wasn’t concerned. I assumed I was in early menopause. I saw the doctor and we decided to try hormones to see if it would shrink the cysts. A wait and see approach. She made an appointment for me to have another MRI in six months. Unfortunately, I didn’t last six months. The pain kept coming and going. One doctor said it might be ovarian torsion but other than the pain I didn’t have other symptoms. Two days after that appointment, I had to go to the hospital by ambulance again. It was awful. They could not get the pain under control. Long story short after a few days in hospital and tests they could see it was ovarian torsion from the larger cyst and scheduled surgery for the next week. Thankfully they got the pain under control and I was able to go home for the days in between. I guess it kept twisting and loosening (hence the coming and going of the pain).
    I had the hysterectomy that next week and they left my right ovary behind as it tested fine during surgery. Seven weeks later they advised me there was no sign of cancer in the cyst.
    I still feel like it all happened so fast. Looking back I wish I had learned more about what was happening and definitely shouldn’t have ignored the fact that I hadn’t had a period for so long. It’s not an excuse but with my other health issues, I was just sick of seeing doctors. You are right…knowledge really is power.
    Thanks again for sharing your story. I’m sure it will help many.
    I look forward to reading more of your posts and wish you the best in your recovery and future.

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  7. As we’ve discussed, so many of us suffer in silence and continual pain. You’re a rockstar. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for your awesomeness. The more we talk about these things, the better we as women will be.
    You deserve a cape, a theme song, and some rocking shoes. 😘

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  8. You have been sharing your Mama with me for about 17 years now, through many losses, health issues, joys, and triumphs. It was by her sharing your Facebook post that brought me here. I’m so proud of you for sharing your story although I hate that you have this one to share. I have my own invaders in my lady parts in the firm of Ovarian Cysts….PCOS to be exact. When I was 27 I was told that I would never get pregnant and if I did I wouldn’t be able to carry to term. In that instance, the doctors were wrong. We celebrated Phaedra Jayne’s 9th birthday yesterday. She was the best surprise I’ve ever gotten and I was able to make my own mama a grandmother for almost a year before she died. Although, since I’m now 40, it looks like it was my only shot.
    It’s important, as women, for us to share our stories to give other women the strength and courage to get the help they may need and to even make the men in our lives more comfortable talking about it and supporting us. You don’t see women getting skittish talking about prostate problems with the men in their lives but a little menstruation sends most guys heading for the hills.
    Keep resting, enjoy Mama Maggie taking care of you, and let sweet Mia be your medicine. I’ll be thinking of you. 💜

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    1. Oh yes, sweet Brit. I have heard so much about you and your mom from my Mama. Thank you for taking the time to read this and for sharing some of you’re own story here too. You are right. Only our words and openness on the subject will shake the “hush hush” mentality behind the ever changing female reproductive system. Congratulations on your daughter’s 9th birthday. What a joy! ♥️

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  9. Did your doctor never mention Norethisterone, the progesterone based mini-pill? I took it for years for PMT, but it also helps with heavy periods. I suggested it to my friend who has heavy periods, and it worked for her. I was told that fibroids often shink with the onset of menopause.

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    1. I’m so sorry, your comments seem to have bounced to my spam folder. My apologies. Norethisterone was never brought to the table for me because I simply ran out of time. Everything that promised to take away heavy periods made my bleeding heavier and I had my hormone panels tested PRAYING to be in menopause because (as you suggested in your comment) Fibroids shrink during menopause. Unfortunately, I was far from menopause. On top of that my doctor informed me that fibroids only shrink about 25% in menopause and I’ve read countless stories of postmenopausal women having trouble with fibroids ending in a hysterectomy. I guess it’s just different for everyone but I’m glad you got relief from Norethisterone and I thank you for the information. Someone may find it incredibly helpful. ❤

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  10. I dealt with endometriosis for 13 years, all while being told to ‘quit whining/take some tylenol and get over it’ – and, even once diagnosed, tried everything – and in the end, opted for hysterectomy – – ONLY to find out in 3 short years, the underlying ‘issue’ was affecting my joints now – sigh – – ended up at acupuncturist for pain relief, got treatment for underlying issues and went forth from there – and even worked for my acupuncturist for awhile and the number of women who came in and received real treatment, with good results, astounded me – I always figure, IF I had known her, when I was 14, my life would have been different….. 🙂

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story with me here. You are now the third person who’s come forward with tales of endometriosis and it sounds painful and debilitating. I’m sorry you had to endure that –and am especially sad you were told to quite whining and take tylenol. What a joke. I have a strong belief in the power of acupuncture. I’m glad you were able to find some relief there. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The ‘still shocks me’ part of the story, for me? I tried a new doc, finally, one more time, who, asked me 2 questions, in the first 5 minutes of visit, left room, came back and said, “I think this is what it is and a colleague of mine said they will see you right away, Can you do that? They are about 10 mins away” – and I went, spent 20 mins with that doc, who said, “I thinks it’s this, but we need to do laproscopy to know for CERTAIN – and if nothing else, we will know more – can you do Friday? (it was monday or tuesday) and I said yes, (I was that desperate for some pain relief from the years, that was getting worse…) and by the follow-up visit – (the following Monday?) He said, “Yup, it’s endometriosis – I really don’t know how it was missed all these years with that many different doctors, we’ve known about it since the 70’s – – ” – – it was 1993-1994 – So, with ‘medical term’ in hand, spelled right, I stopped by library on way home and researched – – yup – information everywhere – along with the ‘cautions’ to doctors – from journal articles in the 70s/80s that said, “this is ‘all in the mind’ or working woman disease’ and read the cautions about WHAT not to say to patient and what questions to ask – – LOL – – information around for decade+ and I managed to find every doctor for 13 years who was unaware of it ….:D
        Thanks for telling your story and giving space for voices to be heard both mine, and others – Appreciate your courage, your writing and your kindness – 🙂

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      2. WOW. Just….wow. That is just unbelievable. I’m so glad you got someone who would finally listen to you and diagnose you appropriately. Working Woman’s Disease? What in the world?? I’m so glad you felt safe here to discuss this. I look forward to hearing more of your story as we go on. ❤

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      3. Long ago – most of my recent blog deals with stroke recovery – when I was ‘too young’ to have, no ‘test signs’ to indicate, even though I asked for ‘what gives?” help the 6 months before it actually hit – so see? Why I speak up on all this stuff? It has been my personal experience that Practicing Medicine on ourselves is just to durn important to be left up to ‘the experts’ – solely – and yet, so hard for anyone to truly listen/believe you when you say, “um…yeah…this ain’t right – I tried what I know to do, help….!” – :). ANY TIME, On Any topic regarding our health, i’m ‘in for the conversation/share’ – just so it’s known – ‘no silver bullet answers, usually, find what works and keep looking till you find someone who really listens’ – and don’t settle for less – it’s hard to keep ‘going/trying when you are worn out, already, but, in the end, it does pay off, one way or another and as our medical system gets more pricey with less service, even more important to remind folks – don’t settle – if you don’t have the energy to fight for yourself, ask for help in fighting to get answers – 🙂

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