July is Fibroid Awareness Month and it’s also been almost a year since I had my abdominal myomectomy in September 2021. As I’ve been having more discussions with the women in my life, it’s dawned on me just how much we do not know about our bodies, and the signs and symptoms we should be looking out for. I want to highlight a few ways in which my quality of life has improved since my surgery.
- I lost weight: During my surgery, my doctor removed 10 fibroids the largest being 20cms or the size of a mango. She said that it was about 10 pounds worth of tissue that was removed from my body. I had started exercising regularly and watching my diet, so I had lost almost 10 pounds prior to my surgery. Within the weeks following my surgery, I lost an almost additional 30 pounds. My uterus which had been distended is now back to normal, and I’m truly amazed at how my clothes fit me properly and just how more comfortable in my body I feel.
- I can sleep through the night: It was maybe 4-6 weeks after surgery that I noticed I was sleeping better because I was no longer getting up to use the bathroom throughout the night. It never occurred to me that the weight of my fibroids was pressing down on my bladder which caused me to wake up pretty much every night and go to the bathroom. Not only was I able to sleep through the night, but I could sleep on my stomach. Prior to surgery, laying on my stomach was painful and uncomfortable due to the size of my fibroids. This is probably the best I’ve slept in years.
- My period is regular: Before my surgery, my period was so heavy that on the heaviest day, I would have to change my menstrual cups every hour. At its worst, it would be every 45 minutes. This means I couldn’t sleep through the night, and I would always be worrying if my period was going to start during a trip or a long car ride. I had to plan my entire life around my period. I could never be far away from a bathroom. I was always self-conscious about what I wore because I would bleed in between my cycles. This has stopped. My period starts, it’s not heavy, and it ends. To all my people with a uterus and a period, please note, if your cycle is affecting your life this drastically something is wrong. It might not be fibroids, but it is something. Please discuss it with your doctor.
In terms of what comes next, I don’t know. I want a family and children of my own one day and hope to be able to share that journey with you. Fibroids will impact 1 out of 3 humans that have a uterus. This number increases to 80% of all Black humans with a uterus. Scientists do not understand what causes fibroids, yet so many of us will deal with them in our lifetime. So, it’s up to us to share our stories and help those around us who might be suffering in silence.