They say 40 is the new 30, but I sort of feel like I turned 40 (nearly three years ago now) and everything really went downhill fast. Just when I think I’ve come to terms with one big, life-changing diagnosis, another one comes along.
I thought the next time I wrote, I would tell you about something I learned last year, right around the same time we learned we couldn’t have children. But that story will have to wait. Yesterday, I went to the doctor to learn what was causing me so much pain over the last two months and found out I had three uterine fibroids.
I have always had regular menstrual cycles. Because we were trying to get pregnant for years, I haven’t taken birth control pills in years. I tracked my periods every month on my phone, for fertility reasons, and I knew my body so well I could tell (almost to the hour) just when my period would be coming. Last month, my period was over a week late. When it finally came, it lasted ten days. This was very abnormal for me, but one wacky period didn’t seem like a cause for concern. Nine days later, my period came back and lasted another seven days. Now I was worried. I had one week of not bleeding before I began bleeding again? What is happening here? I again let this one go. I just wasn’t sure what could be going on. Ten days later, you guessed it, I started my period again! This period is still going and I’m currently on day nine. So, if you’re keeping track, I have been on my period for most of the last two months!
I realize menstruation isn’t something we really talk about. The most I’ve ever really talked about my period is to one of my good friends, who has terrible day one or two cramps like me and we sometimes bail on planned events together when one or the other is feeling the monthly blahs. The thing is, I really have some stuff I’d like to talk to other women about, but I’m not sure you can just post on Facebook, “So, anyone I know have uterine fibroids?” I don’t know, maybe I will. I have so many questions now about these three benign growths in my uterus.
From what I’ve learned many women never even know they have fibroids. Oh, to be so lucky as to never know. Aside from bleeding for nearly two whole months, I was in excruciating pain. It wasn’t all day, everyday pain, it sort of comes in waves. But the pain was so bad a few nights ago, my husband was ready to drive me to the ER. I went to see my OB/GYN the next day, yesterday.
Baby Making Central
Do you know how hard it is to go to the OB when you had hoped to one day need one, but all you will ever need is the GYN part of her job? It’s a crowded waiting room full of pregnant women, children tagging along, baby pictures plastered on every wall, and anxious Dad’s-to-be holding the hands of their pregnant wives. The last time I was in this baby making central office I left in tears, scared about the next steps in the fertility struggle we were in the midst of. A kind woman at the scheduling desk was listening as I tried to schedule the next tests and a procedure my doctor was recommending to try to help us get pregnant. She felt badly for me and was trying to offer a glimmer of hope. She had the procedure they were recommending I have, and she was now very pregnant. Soon after I left the office that day, before having the procedure, we learned Bryan has azoospermia and the procedure wouldn’t be necessary.
So, of course, to go back into baby land, for nonstop bleeding, and sit amongst the pregnant women is painful. I was thinking, maybe there should be some OB/GYN’s who are just GYN’s. Or the office/practice could have a special wing or area for women like me? Those of us who aren’t ever there for anything joyful. That would sure be nice.
I had a pelvic exam (uh oh, more words we don’t dare speak in conversation), some bloodwork, something they call a “complete” ultrasound (you can use your imagination, this one might send some readers running) and all while still in pain and bleeding. That was just a joy. They called a few hours later to give me the news. The doctor put me back on birth control pills to try to stop the bleeding and get my periods back under control. She said to give it two months to see if that works. My husband said, “So, you could be bleeding for two more months?” Yep. I am hoping they work, because from what I’ve read since yesterday, fibroids don’t go away on their own. These growths in/on my uterus are here to stay unless I have some procedure to get rid of them, and even then they apparently often come back.
If you’ve been following along, this is another extra helping of you will not bear children. See, irregular periods = fertility issues. Fibroids on the uterus = problems with implantation and miscarriage. So, even though we already know we can’t have children, this was like driving a nail in the coffin. It feels cruel and excessive. I get it, universe, you can stop now.
I’m really hoping the birth control hormones get me back on track and I can be one of those gals who doesn’t even remember she has fibroids. In the meantime, I am researching all sorts of things to try to help me shrink them naturally. If you’re reading this, and you have fibroids or know something that helps, please don’t be too shy to talk about it. I’d sure like to hear from some other women who are in the same boat.