Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Battle with Fibroids

Today I thought I would share my story on "Awareness Wednesday".  I normally don't get this personal on the blog but the more I share with others about my health challenges from 2012, I realize it's a common battle that several women face.

My journey began on January 1, 2012.  I distinctly remember being positioned on my mom's couch in the fetal position.  The position helped to minimize the pain I was feeling on a day when I should've been out catching the final hours of New Year's day shopping.  For some reason, my monthly feminine occurrence was heavy and the stomach cramps were brutal.  I wasn't quite sure why a monthly occurrence was different this time around but it was noticeably different.  With each passing month, my symptoms became worse.  I didn't take the time to see my gynecologist because I just figured it was the result of getting older.

By October of that year, I'm sure my sister was tired of hearing my complaints.  I wasn't getting better and I felt like the excessively heavy flow and stomach cramps were just my new norm.  Finally Roslyn insisted that I visit the doctor.  I finally agreed.

I wasn't prepared for the information the doctor was getting ready to share.  After several exams, she confirmed that I had several fibroids.  They were causing my discomfort month after month.  I'd heard about fibroids, but I didn't know much about my condition.  Here's 6 quick facts:

  1. Fibroids are non-cancerous (benign) tumors that grow from the muscle layers of the uterus (womb). 
  2. They affect at least 20% of all women at sometime during their life.
  3. Women aged between 30 and 50 are the most likely to develop fibroids. 
  4. African American women are at an even greater chance of developing them.
  5. Hormones released during a woman's reproductive years are normally the culprit for fibroid growth. 
  6. When estrogen levels are high, especially during pregnancy, fibroids tend to swell. When estrogen levels are low fibroids may shrink, e.g. during menopause.

My choice to delay visiting with my gynecologist necessitated the need to have a hysterectomy.  (If you missed the post about my surgery experience, here you go.)   I really didn't have any other options.  At this point, I didn't care. 

I just wanted my life back.  I was tired of being in pain.  Tired of looking pregnant (due to increased uterus size).  Tired of wearing black in case of an accident.  Tired of being a prisoner in my own body.

I'm fortunate that I'd already given birth to my beautiful babies and we were confident we didn't want anymore.  Some ladies find out this information early in their lives before they even have a chance to get pregnant.  If fibroids are found early there are several options. This link shares some valuable information about various treatment alternatives. 

I have three (3) goals with this post:
  1. Let you know that you're not alone.
  2. Save you from making the mistakes I made.  Don't wait to share your condition with your physician.
  3. Declare that God is your healer!

What if the woman from Matthew 9:20-22 (NIV)  had a blood issue caused by fibroids? Whether she did or not, she provides a perfect example of God's healing power.  Read her story below.  

20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
God's not only able to heal, He's willing! (Posted by Renee)

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