In a few hours, I will be checking into the hospital for surgery. I didn’t think I’d be here again because a little over 5 years ago, I wrote a similar post about my breast reconstruction surgery and I vowed no more surgeries. Well, sometimes despite your best efforts things don’t go as planned. So my life is on a temporary pause as I do what needs to be done to take care of me.
I now understand why cancer patients are referred to as warriors. I do think this applies to other patients too. I didn’t embrace this concept for a long time after my breast cancer diagnosis because I thought I didn’t have a choice but to fight. And it is most definitely a fight and a choice. For me, at times it’s a reluctant fight…a fight to stay postive, a fight to face fears, a fight to face the needles, a fight to heal, a fight to rest, a fight to get up, a fight to advocate for myself, etc. I’ve had to fight to live the life I want.
Do you remember the kid in elementary school who got so mad right before a fight with another kid that he started crying? Maybe you were that kid? Were you thinking this is the time for fighting NOT crying? Well, I think crying doesn’t necessarily mean you’re weak or you’re going to fail. I prefer to look at is as summoning up the courage for what’s about to happen. It’s the realization that you know what you’re facing. You know you have to gather up all of your weapons so you can be armored up to fight for your very life. And my therapist told me that crying is actually good for you. It helps cleanse you.
A few years ago when I began having problems with heavy bleeding during my menstrual cycle, my gynecologist presented me with options, one of which was a hysterectomy. At the time, she let me know it was my choice based on my tolerance for the symptoms. I decided I was not interested in undergoing another surgery ever again, especially after my lumpectomy and breast reconstruction surgeries in November 2016. I could live with this considering it occurred sporadically. I did have a couple of fibroids but they were not overly large or troublesome. My primary care physician also agreed surgery wasn’t necessary.
In about June 2019 (approximately 6 months after the visit with my gynecologist) my oncologist, with a very concerned look on his face, said my blood work indicated I had become anemic and asked me if I experienced heavy bleeding. I said yes and explained the situation. He prescribed iron pills that I’ve been taking every since.
Over time, the periods of heavy bleeding became worse in terms of being more heavy and occurring for longer periods. This was affecting my quality of life tremendously. At my gynecologist visit in December 2020, she told me a hysterectomy was my best option because the fibroids had multiplied and had gotten very large. One was pressing against my bladder. She said my uterus needed to go. She acknowledged I had tried other methods including an endometrial ablation two years after giving birth to my daughter. At that time, my periods were long, not necessarily heavy and I had a few fibroids then. However, the outpatient laser procedure was effective and I had normal periods again for several years after.
Fast forward to March 2021…I received a second opinion from my primary care physician and she confirmed the fibroids were very large and said the situation was only going to get worse not better. So I made the brave decision to go through the surgery hoping for a better quality of life.
I’ve been doing so much research on hysterectomies and menopause because I will be in a medically induced menopause at 48 years old after this surgery. In fact, I’ve been experiencing menopausal symptoms for months now due to a medication my gynecologist recommended I take by injection for 4 months to shrink the fibroids to increase my odds of the doctor performing the least invasive surgical approach. This would allow for less bleeding and less recovery time. My last injection was in November 2021. I’ve had no menstrual cycle since July 2021.
I’ve also made some lifestyle changes such as changing my diet to mostly vegan and plant based. I look forward to documenting my recovery and what I’ve been learning.
Starting 2022 off with major surgery means there is no where else to go from here but up.
Five years ago, I blogged about dreaming of dancing, flawless boobs while under anesthesia. That didn’t happen. This time I might dream about my dancing beautiful uterus. I’ll keep you posted.