In 2008 when I was diagnosed with fibroid tumors, it seemed like the world was coming to an end for me at first. And I really felt, to be honest, that the health care system had failed me because I was never warned of the risk for long-term use of birth control pills. The truth is, it was also my responsibility to arm myself with as much information I could to have avoided having gone through that experience.
Arming myself with as much information I could about fibroid tumors and the many procedures that are available to treat them was enough to educate me on what to expect for the long haul. The importance of getting a second opinion made things a little more easier to deal with — having gotten through the crying phase of it — and alerting my family of what was to be expected made things easy for them, too.
Since my surgery of a total hysterectomy in January 2009, the same day as President Obama’s inauguration — as my daughter continues to remind me because that was a tough day for her, too — I can honestly say I have not had any side effects from the surgery or any of the medication I was on post surgery. I refused to go on any medication for menopause or hormone replacement — didn’t need it, and I lost weight throughout the process. I healed faster than they expected, and was back to work on time in three weeks. But I must that admit, which it took me a long time to tell others, that I was angry that I did not have my second child, and that no one supported me or shared in my decision to want a second child. Talk about feeling alone. So you can imagine the horror I felt when I was diagnosed with the tumors and that I needed surgery to remove them — I refused to have them remove via a laser procedure because I read they could come back, and I refused to have my life complicated with getting regular birth control shots and ultrasounds. Hell no, was I going through that nonsense.
I visited many forums, talked to many women on online chat forums, and saw daytime talk shows on Dr. Oz about women who had gone through horrific experiences — had a hysterectomy and didn’t need them and have been scarred for the rest of their lives because their birthing days have taken away from them. But I looked at it as they didn’t arm themselves with the right information, didn’t ask the right questions, didn’t seek second, third and fourth opinions, they basically went with what they were told and pretty much rolled with it and now their lives have been damaged by the mistakes they made in not seeking additional answers from various resources.
My heart went out to those women who appeared to have spent many days crying. Apart of me wants to reach out and hug each and every one of those women when I think back about it. And every time now when I hear a woman prepping for a hysterectomy or was diagnosed with fibroid tumors and don’t know what to do or what to expect, I want to just sit with them, talk with them, and help ease their mind. Because I know what I went through, and what two of my closest friends went through. It’s a life altering experience and if you’re not ready for it, it can take you down mentally and emotionally.
I am putting The Fibroid Awareness Group back on the grid because I am hearing some alarming things taking place in our medical field. Using machines to perform a delicate procedure just sounds horrendous to me and leaves too much room for putting patients at critical risks. It’s one thing for women to be diagnosed with having fibroid tumors, it’s another thing to have to hear, “oh, this mega machine of a monster is going to be performing the procedure.” While opting for the use of the machine may seem like an option, but is it practical? Why not just go with the traditional way of doing things? It’s all about money that is continuing to drive our health care through the roof. Somebody’s got to pay for it so where do you think they are sticking the cost?
The Fibroid Awareness Group will serve as an open forum and support outreach for women who need to ease their mind. You are not alone. If you have concerns about going in to have a hysterectomy, or you need someone to talk to pre and/or post surgery, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a struggle that no woman should have to bear alone.