This post is overdue to update you on my health but my life has been a blur since learning I have fibroids that require surgery. Here’s the update!
I was faced with one appointment after another and one event after another since learning I have fibroids – I went from having to coordinate my health, to changing jobs, to coordinating my husband’s health at which point everything in life just completely shut down to giving a friend emotional support because her mom had a stroke, to going on vacation to just being flat out tired. Sit back, grab a drink because this is a lengthy post.
When I first complained of bloating, I was scheduled for an ultrasound. This procedure was very uncomfortable. It’s the procedure where you have a full bladder and they use a wand to scan for abornmalities. The ultrasound didn’t hurt but having the wand press and poke around against a full bladder did. This test concluded I had fibroids although it was not certain of what mangnitude.
Fibroids: MRI with Contrast
I am both claustrophobic and needle phobic so you can imagine how I felt when hearing I needed a MRI with contrast. There were many times during the procedure where I felt two seconds away from hitting the panic button. In total, I had to lay there for about two hours just listening to that stupid machine grind and knock as it imaged my body. My arms were going numb while lying still. They now have it where you can listen to satellite radio during the procedure so that helped some. It was a mess but I got through it. I was drained after the procedure and to make matters worse, the contrast made me very sick. Yuck! This test concluded I have 1 small fibroid and 1 large fibroid the size of an orange.
Fibroids: Uterine Biopsy
There are not enough words to express my discomfort during this procedure. I have never given birth but I’m pretty sure what I felt was contraction-like pain and discomfort. The little swab of numbing cream did nothing and I felt every poke, prick and movement in my southern region. This procedure left me hurting for days. Days I tell you! Days! *sigh* Thankfully, the results showed the fibroids are not canerous. Praise God!
All Procedures Done, Now What
My Gynecologist was pushing for embolizaton but I opted to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist before making a final decision. This doctor specializes in fertility which includes fibroids and myomectomy.
Endocrinologist Visit & Recommendation:
The visit with the specialist was everything I had hoped for and more. He was patient and kind and explained how fibroids work. He showed me photos of my fibroids and explained they are growing away from the uterus which is why I am not having classic symptoms.
He presented the following options:
Since they are not cancerous and I’m not having major issues, wait it out until they shrink or until I have issues.
Contrary to what many believe, embolizaton only shrinks fibroids, they do not get rid of them totally. Embolization is the least invasive option and the option many choose to relieve major symptoms (heavy menstrual cycle, pain, discomfort) if they are not quite ready for hysterectomy.
Side Note: I met with the radiologist that performs the embolization. He was encouraging and reassuring that he could shrink the fibroids but the side effects were a bit much for me to accept – pain, discomfort and nausea for a week or two. I just cannot see why I would trade no symptoms for that. The radiologist confessed he has never had a patient to opt for the procedure that wasn’t having issues. That made me pause and really think, then why should I.
The specialist recommended a hysterectomy over myomectomy because myomectomy is a risky procedure when looking at the pros and cons. He would only recommend a myomectomy if we wanted kids and the fibroids were causing fertility issues.
Fibroids usually stay benign and usually become smaller as we age and enter menopause but for some, they can turn into cancer. Hysterectomy is the only sure way to avoid them from turning into cancer.
The specialist was really was leaning toward do nothing and wait. Meaning, get tested every 6 months to make sure the fibroids are not growing. If they are not growing, keep waiting it out. If they are growing, move to action with opting from one of the procedures detailed above.
The specialist also recommended embolization to hold me over until I decide if I want kids if I was uncomfortable with waiting it out. As it stands, I am comfortable with waiting it out so I am opting for just monitoring my health for now. In the end, however, I will choose hysterectomy because I’ve had a cancer scare of my own in the past so I don’t want any issues down the line.
I want to thank each of you for supporting me on this journey. I will keep you posted should there be any changes!!
And ladies, make sure you are taking good care of yourself and getting yourself checked as needed. You only get one life so make the best of it. I say this as I prepare to support a concerned mother through her daughter’s cancer diagnosis…to anyone reading this, don’t put off that dr. appt any longer!