Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Knowing.

Began writing on 2/13/2016

If you weren't able to read my last post start HERE that way you are not confused with the way I start my next sentence.

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My ER doctors were concerned because the blood clot was massive and could have easily broken loose and traveled through my blood stream; lodged itself inside of my lungs, blocked blood flow and resulted in a pulmonary embolism. The concern was because a pulmonary embolism can be fatal. I was immediately placed on Heparin (blood thinner) and since they could not do the procedure I needed I was rushed via ambulance to another hospital to be treated. The ER doctors at this time had an idea what caused the DVT and it was a big surprise to me AND my doctors; those damn fibroids.

Before I go any further, I think it's time to get into a little history of these fibroids. I mentioned it a couple times on the blog but I may need to go into more detail.

In 2007, I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids but at that time they were very small and not an issue. My gynecologist at that time explained that many women have fibroids and go their whole lives without any problems. Since I was not having any issues I went about my life and literally forgot about the fibroids. They did not bother me at all.

Fast forward 5 years and the fibroid conversation re-entered my life. This time I was older but not much wiser. Difference is that in 2012 I actually noticed a change in my body (abdomen felt heavy, felt really bloated during the time of the month and heavy bleeding - sorry if this is TMI but we're all women here) but if you read the previous posts it almost sounds like I'm not really taking it seriously. Almost like I didn't understand and it is because I didn't really understand.

I did ask a lot more questions this time around and learned that uterine fibroids are mostly non-cancerous tumors, it was most common in African American women but my gynecologist was quick to point out that any race could have them. Mine had grown bigger than they were in 2007 but were not more than average and again was told that many women go their whole lives not even knowing they have them. She advised me not to be alarmed; that this was perfectly normal. However, in the future if I tried to become pregnant and could not or if I did get pregnant and began to suffer miscarriages then we would explore the more invasive options. She gave me a prescription for a higher dose Midol and said it would help with the heavy bleeding and bloating issues. I obviously was OK with that.

There is no answer on what causes the growth of fibroids. The cause is actually unknown. Isn't that scary? But yeah. They "think" that it has something to do with estrogen, obesity, family history of fibroids and not having yet given birth. SO BROAD! This is not a good enough answer for me anymore because I'm not obese and have no family history of fibroids. I'm the only one! So estrogen? Well duh! Women have estrogen. And not having given birth? Um?!! I'm not even going to get into that because of the population of women who haven't yet given birth. Good news though, if you have them they do tend to decrease in size after menopause. High five! I might sound bitter but I promise I'm not. I am, however, very angry.

I think because they are mostly a benign tumor there aren't many studies about uterine fibroids. If it affects so many women why isn't there a significant amount of study? I guess women will have to start dying a lot from it for it to become important but I digress.

Ignorance is bliss. It really is. Because you believe that what you don't know can't possibly hurt you. Well in my case, not so much. That silly saying we learned in school, you know the one. Knowledge is power. Well, come to find out it's not a silly saying. Only issue is that knowledge is often gained by trial and error. At least in my case it proved to be such for me and the doctors who treated me prior to January 18, 2016. They will never know what their lack of knowledge did to me but I don't blame them. Not one bit. Because the doctors who began treating me on January 18, 2016 had no idea that this could happen either.

I know it's their job to know but they're human and so I personally can't fault them for not knowing. My doctors say I am a "unique" case. That stuff like this just doesn't happen. Fibroids don't do this. In fact, even when the ultrasound of my abdomen proved the truth one of the gynecologist said to me, "Listen, tell them to do more tests. They can't possibly think that your fibroids caused your DVT". Well, I proved them and her wrong, unfortunately.

The ultrasound of my abdomen proved that my fibroids had gotten so big that my uterus began to shift. It shifted so much that it was able to compress a vein which resulted in the DVT (deep vein thrombosis). Riddle me this. I got a DVT, not even in the normal way one gets it and fibroids that are usually not life threatening had gotten so big that I was now fighting for my life.

You're probably wondering so I'll tell you. Yes, my belly was bigger but not so much to cause me too much alarm. My thought frame was that this happened to many women and was not a serious health concern. I mean, I watched my mother lose her battle to cancer. My issue was not serious. I also thought that it was age weight and my love for certain foods that contributed to a little belly growth. Also, when you're getting bigger over the years, you sometimes don't realize or see it right away, so that could have been it too. Again, ignorance is bliss. I told Sean that I wish I were vain because I believe if I were I would have requested the fibroids be removed years ago. I mean, why didn't I want a flat belly?!!

Since this is getting long, I'll stop here and continue again shortly.

Words of advice: If your doctor tells you something you do not agree with or like seek a second, third or even more opinions from other medical professionals. In the end, if the majority of doctors are saying the same thing it is very likely it is what they are saying. Your body knows when something is wrong. It speaks to you. Not being healthy is scary so often times we would rather avoid or ignore the signs. If you know something is wrong, if you feel something is wrong, it usually is. Don't wait because sometimes the time we were given to help combat a medical diagnosis runs out.

12 comments:

Nylse Esahc said...

I'm so surprised by the misinformation you were given regarding fibroids. I know so many women, mostly Black who have suffered from fibroids and have gone through the necessary steps to have them removed or reduced. I was even mildly insulted when my White gynecologist suggested I might have fibroids because I'm black. I don't have fibroids.

Having said that, I'm glad you're here and that you survived.

Law_Fal said...

Wow. Im just so happy you went to the hospital the day this all began. My God. I'm just so happy for that aspect of things.

Cece said...

Wow. You would like to think that if one in a million wins the lotto it could be you and not an unusual medical occurrence. Fibroids run in my family. My mom, my sister, myself. The doctors said the same exact thing yours did. Nothing to worry about too much.

Sharon Staggers-Moss said...

Faith, 24 years ago I was told that I had fibroids. At the time, I was trying to get pregnant and was told that this condition probably led to the miscarriage that I had suffered. I had reduction surgery and my gynecologist monitored the growth of my fibroids every year. I too was told that they were harmless and caused few problems. The only thing I noticed was that I bled far too much during my periods, and my periods seemed to never come to an end. I feel fortunate that something like what you went through didn't happen. I am so sorry that you had to go through something like this.

southurnprincess said...

It wasn't until I started getting my medical records did I take note of how a few doctors I went to, not only lied but made matters worse. One doctor told me my fibroids had been removed. Medical records stated otherwise.

I was told they weren't really that big of a deal, although they were causing me to have miscarriages. Multiple surgeries later only to end up with scar tissue and a bad case of adhesions which left me with a frozen uterus. Lets just say my insides were a hot mess.

After seeing a fertility doctor for one more shot (after 7 yrs. of dealing with infertility) and being told I'd need a surrogate, I needed to make a decision to have a hysterectomy or deal with the heavy bleeding and severe pain which seemed to get worse the older I got. I couldn't get out of bed sometimes let alone go somewhere even though I wore multiple pads and a tampon at the same time (sorry if TMI)

I decided to have a hysterectomy last year. I was 45 at that time. Best decision ever - aside from the hot flashes. Be proactive when it comes to your health. Ive had to deal with doctors telling me everything was n my head, yada, yada, yada. Nobody knows your body better than you.

Im so sorry this happened to you. Huge huge hugs.

Desiree Macke said...

Holy smokes. Faith, I'm so sorry you went through all of this. And, even more sorry that things got to the point that they did, when clearly they could have been prevented early on.
Thinking of you and sending hugs and prayers.

Emily Jane said...

I'm just so unbelievably glad, they could pin point what caused it. You are one of the strongest people I know and I know you're getting better & better every single day.

"seek a second, third or even more opinions from other medical professionals" <--- YES!

Carolyn said...

OMG. This boggles my mind! I'm so glad that you're on the mend!

Pegster said...

OMG Faith, my mom had a serious condition with fibroids and ended up having a complete hysterectomy when she was only 42 years old. She had countless of biopsies and countless of procedures to reduce the size but they kept growing back.

This is so crazy. Those fibroids are so common amongst us, black woman. Definitely trust your gut even when the Dr doesn't.

This is such a crazy thing to happen to you, so young.

Dana said...

I hope that you are getting better. I had a similar experience, but not to this extreme. Those darn fibroids.

Max g said...

This is just crazy. Glad you are feeling better and are more informed. I am also the only one in my family with fibroids. I did not have issues with them till 2013 when I started having pains and had to get them out. I was told my uterus was like I was 5 months pregnant. They only took the huge ones and left the tiny ones out n when I got pregnant found out that the small ones were growing as well. So far, they are not causing issues but it is crazy there is not much information out there for the fibroids.

Nancy said...

What a blessing you are ok. And all of this information is so needed as women...you are sharing your story and could truly help save someone's life.