I touched on this previously but for a few years now, I’ve been suffering with fibroids. It’s been a long, infuriating road and before all this, despite having endometriosis and ovarian cysts, I had never heard of fibroids.
The thing is, a lot of coverage of fibroids says that they’re harmless and most people don’t even notice they have them. When you do notice though, they’re not harmless, they can actually be debilitating and I’ve felt so very alone in this journey because they’re so rarely thoroughly spoken about.
So, while I’m still going through this and waiting for more treatment, I thought The Fibroid Diaries would be a good place to let off steam but also, arguably, more importantly, help others in my situation.
So, here it is, The Fibroid Diaries!
At the moment, I’m waiting for my next consultation which is when I’ll hopefully start on short-term menopause for a short period before I undergo a myomectomy.
What are fibroids?
According to the NHS website, fibroids are “non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb (uterus).”. According to me, my fibroid is a giant alien that has been living off my body for a good few years now. A leech, if you will. A prick of a lump. In my case, I have a subserosal fibroid which means it has developed on the outside of my womb and has, now, grown fairly big. I can’t lie on my front because of it. Really fun stuff.
Fibroids are mostly symptomless but when they’re not, they can cause:
- Heavy periods
- A frequent need to pee
- Pain during sex
Because of the sheer size of mine, I think, mine also comes with:
- Heavy, irregular bleeding that can come after doing something as simple as walking for too long (over 30 minutes)
- Bleeding during sex
- An inability to sit still for too long or I start getting cramps (too long being over 30-45 minutes)
- An extremely bloated stomach. My fibroid is now around the size of a 5-month foetus and man, it looks it. This feels heavy ALL THE TIME
It’s been an ordeal, to be honest. The NHS is stretched so the waiting times between appointments are obscene but a lot of my appointments have been fruitless and without any sort of resolution. I was told initially that it may be another ovarian cyst and that they may have to remove the ovary entirely. Then I was told it could be endometriosis flaring back up and only after a scan and an MRI, was I told I have a very sizeable fibroid. This took 18 months. Whilst I was ping-ponging between polite appointments about my ovary, the fibroid grew and grew.
Much like my resentment towards how reproductive health issues are treated.
The myomectomy (the surgical name for fibroid removal) will be the end of it and it’s very soon. I’m not sure this is always the case but for me, this won’t be a laparoscopic surgery but instead open surgery with a 4-6 week recovery time. Prior to that, in order to limit further growth and gradually reduce the size of the fibroid, I’ll be undergoing temporary menopause. This essentially “switches off” my uterus which stops the little prick of a lump from growing any further.
I just need to lose 2 stone before then.
What to do if you think you have fibroids
I hate to say this but in my experience, being diagnosed with anything gynaecological is arduous as hell. It takes a lot of convincing a bad doctor or, if you’re very lucky, a consultation with a good one. When you’re offered painkillers, say that you want it to be investigated, not just masked. Painkillers are very helpful but they don’t get to the root of things like this. I’m often offered painkillers and nothing more. I used to accept this but I now refuse.