Hello. I am going to tell you a story about how non-malignant tumors had a such a negative effect on my life. Fibroids controlled where and when I went to work, school, Church, the grocery store, and even to visit loved ones.
Early Years – Pre-op
Most of my life my menstrual cycles were always heavy, even in my teens, but they got progressively worse as I got older. In 1992 and 1993 I suffered miscarriages in a span of 11 months. I thought it was just not meant for me to be a mom at that time. It never occurred to me that I had fibroids. I have always worn thick overnight sanitary napkins. I just thought that that was normal for all women. My periods would last anywhere from 4 to 7 days back then, but mostly 7.
The first time a doctor said the word “fibroids” to me was during a routine physical. As he was examining my abdomen he said “You may have fibroids tumors.” When I asked him to elaborate and tell me more, he casually told me not to worry about it. I knew very little about fibroids then, but I felt like since the doctor thought it was nothing to worry about, then the matter wasn’t that serious. But that day I did do a little research what could be the cause and the effects they had on a woman’s body. I knew very little about fibroids then so I didn’t do extensive research.
Winter 2000 – March 2010
In March of 2010 while having a pelvic exam the word “fibroids” was mentioned again. The OBGYN performed an ultra sound and confirmed my fears. He said that he would monitor them for a while and see how they progress. I went back in July and before he even began examining me, he said it would be best if I had a complete hysterectomy. I told him that I wasn’t in any pain, nor had I ever been. Naturally, he wasn’t pleased, so he tried to scare me by telling me that because my iron was so low I could get into an accident and bleed to death. Still, I refused. Leaving his office determined never to go back and to find a doctor who wouldn’t try to bully me into having a surgery I didn’t want or need. I wanted a doctor who listened to my fears and had a desire to see me remain whole.
During these 10 very frustrating years my body went through a lot of changes. I felt bloated ALL the time. I was unable to even drink an entire glass or bottle of any liquid. I was always rushing to the lady’s room at work. I would go to the rest room no less than 4 times during my six-hour shift. Even a few sips of water would send me running. My weight escalated from 155 to 275. I always felt tired and weak. I thought it was due to the fact that I was working so much and becoming a full time student in 2004. I was told by the doctor in 2000 that I was a borderline anemic. But because of fibroids my iron sank lower than than it had ever been. So low in fact that I was turned away when I tried to donate blood. My skin was sallow and the serious case of pica I developed only made matters worse. I started eating ice because it tastes so good to me. I could eat a 10 lb. bag of crushed ice in two days.
My periods began to get EXTREMELY heavy during this time. I would have to change sanitary napkins at least 6 times before 12p.m. and my day usually started at 7:00 a.m. If I didn’t have to go to work or school I would stay home, because I was always afraid of having an accident or TWO. I always wore black and never went out to barbeques, birthday parties or any other type of social gathering with my family or friends. If I had to go anywhere I would avoid sitting down if possible. If sitting down was unavoidable, I’d put something like a black jacket or towel in the chair to keep anyone from seeing my shame and to ensure that I wouldn’t have a mess to clean up. 2004 was when overnight sanitary napkins were no longer adequate enough to handle my heavy flow. I would use 20 pads in less than a weekend and I would always run to the store to get more.
So one day my sister suggested wearing adult diapers to see if they would help and they did. At this point I was really desperate for a solution. I would still have to carry about 4 of them with me, but I felt it was a lot better than carrying 8-10 sanitary napkins. Fibroids affected how I shopped for clothes and how I accessorized my outfits. As a matter of fact, more than half of my underwear and wardrobe was black because it masked blood better than other dark colors. I never carried a small purse. All of my handbags had to be large enough to accommodate the adult diapers, baby wipes, THREE extra pairs of BLACK cotton underwear, plastic grocery bags to dispose of sanitary napkins and put soiled clothing in and sometimes an extra pair of BLACK pants. I needed all these things, because there was never a time when I didn’t have an accident.
Fibroids even affected how I bathed. I had to start buying red, dark gray or black towels to mask blood. All of the white towels in my home were ruined by stains and bleach trying to get rid of them. On top of all these things my periods lasted anywhere from 17 to 28 days.
Fibroids affected how I slept. The longer these tumors were with me the longer it would take me to get to sleep. I had insomnia because I would stay up to keep from laying down because I felt as if someone or something was sitting on my chest. I couldn’t sleep on my back, stomach or my sides.
Fibroids affected how I walked. In 2009 I noticed that my right leg felt heavy, like there were weights on it. And I started dragging it involuntarily. It was getting more and more difficult to walk or exercise without falling or stumbling. I went to see two orthopedic specialists that year. One for my back, the other for my leg. After an MRI they both they both informed me that my bones were not my problem. The back specialist told me that the mass that he saw in my pelvic area liked like fibroids and he was guessing that they were my problem and told me to see an ObGyn.
Buying adult diapers and sanitary napkins was really expensive. So in order to save money I only wore the adult diaper outside of home on my heaviest days and the overnight sanitary napkins on my “light” days. My mother, who was born in a small town in Pickens, AR in the 1940’s made a suggestion: Use rags. Yes, I used rags. Old t-shirts and all those ruined towels became my home back-up plan. I gladly divulge this most embarrassing detail if it will help other women.
March 2010 –March 2015 Dr. Lee!!!
In 2012, I discovered what I could and couldn’t eat. My fibroids loved to take action against me whenever I ate sweets, caffeine or pre-packaged foods. So I modified my diet to exclude these things. I started eating mostly foods that I prepared myself. And that helped shorten my periods from 17 to 28 days to 7 to 10, dropped more than 40lbs, and some of the indigestion I’d had for more than 20 years had also subsided. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven, however those were still very heavy days. So one day in April 2015 I was packing to relocate to California while watching the T.V. show The Doctors and saw Dr. Lee perform the Acessa procedure on a patient. I was so happy and excited I made an appointment for a consultation during the commercial break.
On May 12, 2015 I met with Dr. Lee and he took his time explaining the procedure to me as well as answering all of my questions. He didn’t sell me a dream. He was very honest about what my result may be. By the end my consult I believed in Dr. Lee’s abilities and I trusted him. And set my surgery day for June 10th. The day of my surgery I was so happy I cried tears of joy because I’d been looking for a doctor like Dr. Lee for so long. And while I was being wheeled in the O.R. He asked me if I had any last minute questions. I had none because he’d already answered them. I just said three words…”Get them all.” He assured me that he would. I woke up from surgery without pain. I cried again on the way home because I couldn’t remember being that happy since before the fibroids took up residence in my uterus.
September 2015 – Post op
Having this surgery was the best thing I did for my life and my body. I had my 3-month checkup a few days ago and Dr. Lee said I have progressed very well. He told me the day after surgery that I had 28 medium and large tumors. My uterus was the size of a 25-week pregnancy. Now it has been reduced to 16 weeks, and my body has changed so much for the better since my surgery.
All of my symptoms are gone:
• I am no longer bloated
• My September menstrual period was 7 days with ONE heavy day
• I can sleep any way I want to
• I don’t have indigestion anymore
• I can hold my urine MUCH longer
• I can now eat or drink whatever I want
• Caffeine no longer causes excess bleeding
• My iron has elevated
• I no longer have the desire to eat ice all day
• My limp has gotten better
• I’ve slimmed down from 230 lbs. to 186lbs
• I’m able to exercise without stumbling
This is what Acessa has done for me!!
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