My fibroid story_ struggling with anemia and fibroids

Disclaimer: For privacy purposes, all information including names of patients and dates have been changed or summarized. Direct quotes were shared with us specifically for awareness purposes. Every woman’s experience is unique; therefore, symptoms and recovery times may slightly vary.

The Beginning

Leia, 32, sits down with us to share her experience of living with fibroids for over five years. “I felt tired all the time,” shares Leia. “It was the kind of tired that made me skip everything imaginable, work, class when I was going to school, my kids’ recitals, it was awful.” Many women with fibroids have similar experiences to Leia’s of dealing with chronic fatigue. “I didn’t know why I was so tired, especially when I was getting eight or nine hours of sleep every night,” says Leia.

What Leia didn’t know at this time was that she had uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids — which are also referred to as uterine leiomyomas or myomas — are benign tumors that grow in or on the uterus. Fibroids vary in size and can grow in multiple parts of the uterus, including both inside and outside the uterine wall. Fibroids affect more than 70-80% of women before the age of 50.

Managing My Period Became Difficult

Leia had been having trouble managing her period for some time; however, she initially thought that it was just a part of life. Many women share the same thoughts as Leia, thinking that their heavy, lengthy periods are something they have to learn to endure. “Some months I had my period for like fifteen days straight, but at that time I didn’t really think about it being a big deal,” shares Leia, “I had a really rough time with it though, like when I went to work or out with friends or family I had to bring like 10-12 pads to get through the night.” It has been found that the average woman with fibroids uses 2-3 times the amount of feminine hygiene products than a woman without fibroids.

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It Controlled My Life

“My exhaustion made my friends and family upset with me. I kept telling them I’d come see them another time when I felt better,” says Leia, “They thought I was just making up excuses, which was the worst part for me.” It’s often difficult to understand what people go through on a daily basis. While it may look like your friend or family is cancelling plans with you, or making excuses, the real reason may be hidden. “I didn’t want them to worry about me because I was already worried myself,” says Leia, “I was scared that my tiredness was something serious, it made me not want to find out.” Like many women, Leia was nervous about her diagnosis and what this could mean for her health. She knew there was an underlying issue; however, she chose to wait until she couldn’t any longer.

“The last straw for me was when I was at my daughter’s soccer game. She was so excited for me to be there because this was her final tournament of the season. I packed my purse with pads and extra underwear even and we headed out for her game. Halfway through, I could feel the rush. I ran to the bathroom but the blood kept coming and coming. It leaked through my jeans and even onto the bathroom floor. The first thought was that I was stuck, I couldn’t leave the bathroom. I called my sister and she had to drive over with extra clothes for me to change into. That was it, I had to come clean that this was not just a normal period, this was something else. My sister made me promise that I’d see my doctor the next day…so that’s what I did.”

Many of our patients have shared with us that they similarly had a “last straw” event that motivated them to find treatment. It’s understandable to think your period won’t always be this bad or this long, because periods can often be irregular. However, it is important to get help when bleeding becomes difficult to manage or begins to limit your daily routine.

Diagnosis

“I was basically shaking in the waiting room before seeing my doctor. I was that scared,” says Leia, “I was just hoping that it wasn’t something serious.” Leia was worried because her mother had had endometriosis and uterine cysts. She knew that uterine conditions can sometimes be hereditary, so this made her even more nervous.

“I went into the office and my doctor had me lay back while she felt around the area by my belly button. She felt my sides and back as well before telling me that she thought I may have fibroids.” Pelvic exams, just like the one Leia’s doctor conducted, are one of the most common ways fibroids are diagnosed. Leia’s doctor felt she needed a more expert opinion, so she referred her to our centers to get a more accurate diagnosis. “She told me that she wanted me to schedule at this place nearby that she had referred other women to before when she thought they had fibroids too,” explains Leia. This is where we had the pleasure of meeting Leia.

Finding Treatment

Leia shared with us that the main reason she did not want a hysterectomy was because she felt she was too young to make such permanent decisions. Leia had a friend who underwent a hysterectomy for endometriosis and she was worried about taking hormone replacements after the surgery. Leia was relieved to hear that our centers offered a non-surgical alternative to invasive procedures. “I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders,” says Leia, “I wanted to try embolization before turning to a more drastic choice.”

“It all went by so fast,” Leia shared, “I went to my first visit, I got an ultrasound done to confirm my fibroids, and then I was scheduled for my treatment. I was glad I didn’t have to wait any longer, I couldn’t wait any longer than I already did.” Our doctors make it their number one priority that all of their patients feel comfortable at each stage of their treatment. We understand that fibroid treatment can be overwhelming and confusing; that’s why we make sure our patients are as informed as possible from start to finish. Leia explained, “The procedure actually went really smoothly. I went in, they put me into a little sleepy mode, but definitely not completely out which I liked. Once they were done, I hung out in one of their rooms until my sister picked me up. It felt good to be able to go home and chill, that’s all I wanted to do after.”

One of the many benefits of Uterine Fibroid Embolization is that patients are able to return home immediately following treatment. Recovery is relatively short, only 7-10 days, compared to invasive surgeries that can take up to 6-8 weeks for full recovery.

My Life After UFE

“My period was a bit delayed after treatment, but once it started up again about a month and a half after, it was a 180 difference. I was using only four, normal-sized pads a day, I wasn’t doubling up on underwear, and I felt like I had so much more energy,” shares Leia, “Even my kids noticed how much more upbeat I was, which was pretty cool.”

Everyone’s experience varies in how long they start noticing differences. For Leia, it was only a month a half and she could already tell that her periods were lighter and more manageable. “I had to call the doctor because I was just that excited about the change,” exclaims Leia, “It was actually pretty great. I felt much more like myself again and that felt really, really good.”

Our doctors are passionate about helping their patients live a healthier, happier life. They want to help women lift the weight off their shoulders and be able to put their worries aside.

Don’t Make The Same Mistakes

“The one thing I will say is that I waited too long. I worried and stressed over this way more than I should have. I could have been having normal periods months before, but my fears and worries kept me from going through with it.”

If you’re ready to take the next step, call us at 855-615-2555 or schedule your appointment online today.