I find myself pausing often and staring at my children in a daze sometimes…still wondering (but thanking God) that I’ve gotten to this place in my life. At one point, my optimistic dream of becoming a mom was quite bleak.
During my college years, I began to experience intermittent pain and cramping, beyond the extend of what felt normal for a period in any given month. I also experienced extended cycles, where my period would last for a couple weeks in any given month.
My doctor at the time was whoever was on call at the student health center so no consistency to any extent in my care at the time. Prior to graduation, I was casually told I had a couple fibroids but had nothing to worry about by an OBGYN in the student health center. I was in my early 20s, I think 21 to be exact, and this information went in one ear and out the other.
As my 20s pressed on, I would casually check on my fibroids during routine appointments. They were slowly growing, and I continued to be lackadaisical in my approach to do anything about them besides barreling through the pain that came and went. Every other annual exam for the next 10+ years, I waited and basically watched them grow over time. Sigh…
Fast forward to my 30s…I vividly recall waking up one day and my pain had become progressively worse. I was using sick leave at work and missing out on social activities as I suffered in silence, just trying to make it through the day.
After several consultations with various providers, I learned that a surgery to remove my fibroids was necessary if I wanted a slim chance at trying to conceive one day given numerous fibroids impacting my fallopian tubes, as well as the interior and exterior of my uterus. I was devastated and couldn’t help but to think of all the “what if” scenarios had I acted sooner, or took it more seriously while I was younger, and the fibroids were significantly smaller. “How did I get here?” is the question that I kept replaying in my head. Eventually my mantra became “This too shall pass” ….and it did.
After tons of researching and speaking with trusted friends, I was referred to a phenomenal minimally invasive surgeon that understood my hopeful reproductive future and promised to do what he could to save my uterus while removing the fibroids.
What I thought was 3 fibroids ended up being 13, varying in sizes, which resulted in lasting damage to my Fallopian tubes even after removal of the fibroids via a laparoscopic myomectomy. For those who may be unfamiliar, a myomectomy is a surgery to remove fibroids while keeping the uterus intact.
As I awaited follow-up tests regarding my tubes and their viability, I found out I was pregnant! As you might imagine, I was in complete shock, and it’s definitely the reason why I always interject with but God when sharing my story. Despite all I went through, God still saw it fit to give me not one but two “mini me’s”’ who I lovingly refer to as my miracle babies.
There are so many things I wish I knew
…like asking about the size and location of my fibroids early on in my diagnosis. Like many post-college young adults, thinking about having kids and starting a family was not top of mind or a priority for me then either.
I also wish I had been braver, sooner, to share my story but I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and in due season. That being said, my journey unfolded exactly as it should and the one takeaway for anyone reading this is to be your own best health advocate, whether you are dealing with fibroids or another critical health issue.
The good news is there is so much more information available to help and guide women these days, and definitely more than I had when researching several years ago. The more we talk about it, the more awareness and we continue to bring to the issue for all women who may still be suffering silently.
Wishing you love and light,
Rashetta is a member of the “White Dress Project;” which highlights the journeys of women who are battling fibroids while bringing worldwide education.
Read another blog about the effects of fibroids on pregnancies here.