In 2004, after more than a year of urinary urgency episodes, I felt a lump in my lower abdomen. My primary care physician referred me to a gynecologist who ordered a pelvic ultrasound. I had two large uterine fibroid tumors and multiple ovarian cysts.
After diagnosis, saving my uterus was my main concern. I still wanted to have children. The gynecologist suggested that I consider Lupron injections to try to shrink the fibroids. My insurance situation at the time kept me from starting the treatment and even from having follow-up appointments with her. In 2009, I went to a different gynecologist who started the injections around 2010 in anticipation of surgical removal of the fibroids. I wasn’t able to finish the Lupron injections because I was hospitalized in May 2010 for bilateral pulmonary emboli. While in the hospital, I underwent a uterine fibroid embolization to cut off the blood supply to the fibroids. I later experienced excruciating abdominal and pelvic pain and passed some necrotic tissue (dead parts of the fibroids). In December 2010, I underwent multiple gynecological surgeries on the same day, including a total hysterectomy.
If I could give tips to other women who have fibroid tumors, especially large fibroids, they would include the following:
Be cautious with alternative treatments. Natural remedies that stem bleeding may be dangerous. Determining the correct “dose” is tricky. I tried an apple cider vinegar “remedy” during two different periods of prolonged bleeding. Everything seemed fine the first time. However, I used to wonder what role, if any, apple cider vinegar played in the development of the almost-fatal blood clots. Ask yourself if it’s worth it.
Keep lots of feminine hygiene products on hand. I think that’s all I need to say about this tip.
Take an iron supplement if your doctor says so. I had problems with anemia while I had fibroids, leading to a blood transfusion at one point. Try not to let it get to that point.
Don’t risk your health to spare your organs. I’m childless. I’ll never get pregnant. I no longer have a uterus, cervix, ovaries, or Fallopian tubes. I only have one breast now. I’m still a woman. When it comes down to it, those organs didn’t define me. If a hysterectomy becomes inevitable, I wouldn’t put it off. It won’t change who you are.