Three weeks ago I was on an operating table looking up at the ceiling; saying a prayer for grace, mercy, forgiveness, and divine guidance for the surgeon and his staff. My mind released all of the feelings of anxiety that had built up during the weeks prior, I said thank you to the Universe and closed my eyes. I don't quite remember when I drifted off to sleep. Nor do I remember the exact moment when I woke up from anesthesia. What I do remember is seeing my husband standing next to me, holding my hand in the recovery area, talking to the nurse about my eventual transport to a hospital bed. My first memory out of surgery was of my partner caring for me in my time of need.
But this wasn't our first time at this rodeo.
In 2013, I tried to donate at a blood drive. After taking a sample of my blood to measure the hemoglobin levels (the amount of red blood cells in the body) the phlebotomist gave me a t-shirt and turned me away, saying "You almost need a transfusion yourself! Go see a doctor." My iron was so low that I could not give blood to anyone, as I was extremely iron-deficient. I attributed my constant fatigue to lack of sleep and being out of shape, not knowing that I had a real medical issue brewing inside. After several years of experiencing debilitating menstrual cycles with no relief other than lots of Aleve and sick days, I dumped my previous OB/GYN and sought a new physician to help me figure out what was going on with my body. I found a young OB/GYN in my area that I was instantly comfortable with. Upon starting our first exam, she placed her hand on my stomach and immediately looked concerned. "These fibroids need to come out," I remember her saying with a serious look on her face. And that was that... I had fibroids, my surgery was scheduled, I was to have my first myomectomy.
When the day came, my mom and then boyfriend (now husband) accompanied me to the hospital for uterine fibroid myomectomy surgery. To make a long story short, the size of my fibroids at that time were about the size of a 6-7 month pregnancy. After about 6 weeks of recovery, I was back to normal for a while, feeling better than I had before. However, after a few months I started to have the same issues that I had prior to my surgery. By then I had moved to a new city, started a new job, and was planning a wedding. So I put off going to a doctor for a while, but when I finally went, the news wasn't good. After several imaging tests, it was determined that my fibroids were back, were growing larger, and that I would need another surgery. It was also resolved that in order for us to be able to minimize complications during pregnancy, a myomectomy would be the best thing.
Although I really dreaded going under the knife for a second time, I felt (and still feel) that I should do all I can to increase our chances for a successful pregnancy. We really want children, and at the end of the day, I didn't want my fears to get in the way of pursuing that dream. So now as I recover at home, I am thankful for many things; thankful to the Lord for giving me life and healing, my husband who has been the best caregiver and supporter ever, my surgeon and the staff who have been awesome, and for all the prayers and well wishes that have come our way.
Though uterine fibroids are not fully understood, they can come with challenges and can have a domino effect on the health of the person who carries them. Though this condition is not widely discussed, many women have this condition and have stories of their own. I will share more information about fibroids in future posts, but in the meantime, let's have a discussion.