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Sleeping this way tends to help

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Conversations about fibroids are popping up everywhere, with stories being shared by celebrities like Quad Webb-Lunceford, Shay Johnson, and Porsha Williams. For years, women have silently suffered from fibroids due to the belief that women aren’t supposed to have personal conversations about our bodies. Thank God we’ve evolved and been empowered to speak up. Without dialogue about fibroids, I never would’ve known that I wasn’t alone in this fight or that nearly 80% of women (mostly Black women) have or have had fibroids.

I got my period at the very young age of nine years old. However, it wasn’t until after I had given birth to both of my children that the thing that makes me great, womanhood, started trying to kill me. I had always been regular with a combination flow, heavy three days, and medium to light for four days. Then things changed, I began bleeding and passing clots so bad that I had to take measures to stop my period. So, after having a Tubal Ligation (tubes tied), I found myself receiving the Depo Provera shot every three months to avoid Mother Nature’s wrath.

Back in 2003, when I was told I had fibroids, it was explained as if it were solely due to my weight. I was never told that my diet or any of the other contributing factors could have caused me to develop fibroids, just my weight. Of course, me being fat had caused fibroids, being fat is the basis for all illnesses — or at least that’s what medical professionals tell plus-size people. At that time, my gynecologist stated that I had nine fibroids, four of which were abnormal in size. However, they offered no resolve other than me losing weight because, again, I was fat, which meant my fibroids were a fat thing and not a woman thing.

Maui Bigelow's Uterine Fibroid

Source: Maui Bigelow / Maui Bigelow

As time moved on, so did my issues with fibroids. My periods were heavier, the number of fibroids increased, and my belly was getting huge. Yeah, I know I’m fat, but an oncological gynecologist explained that my stomach was so large because the fibroids had caused my uterus to expand. This took me back to both my pregnancies because each time doctors ordered additional ultrasounds to be sure I wasn’t having multiples because my uterus was so large. All of this made me question if the fibroids were there and unaddressed during my pregnancies. I later learned that this was common with women and that reality star Toya Wright had even experienced it.

Now if you follow me on any social platforms or read my content here, you know that I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in December of 2017. What you don’t know is that the cancer was found while trying to get a handle on low blood and iron levels caused by excessive bleeding due to fibroids. Basically, the thing that was killing me saved my life in a sense because had it not been for my low blood count and need to see a hematologist, I never would have known that I had cancer and we all know how far left that could have gone.

What’s crazy is that two years later, the cancer is smoldering, and the fibroids are still trying to kill me. In 2018 I was hospitalized four times; I received 15 units of blood and eight units of iron. I was advised by several doctors that I didn’t meet the requirements for a hysterectomy and, in my opinion, a myomectomy is a waste of time due to the possibility of the fibroids growing back over time. Since I had been advised so many times that I wouldn’t find resolve without losing weight, and due to my cancer diagnosis, I decided to have weight loss surgery.

My gynecologist informed me that once I got my weight down to 250 lbs (which I have done), I could have a non-invasive hysterectomy. However, two weeks ago while in the office for a follow-up visit after having a failed endometrial ablation last Thursday, I received even more bad news. I now have one super fibroid living inside of me. This fibroid measures more than 15 centimeters and can only be removed via a large incision under my FUPA. Oh, and the doctor who knows I’m losing weight is asking me to lose at least another 30 lbs. in the next six weeks before scheduling the surgery. Honestly, it’s upsetting and feels like another set up for a letdown. Plus I’m afraid to be cut completely open and nervous about the recovery process. However, I have exhausted all of my options and the chances of the fibroid decreasing in size due to a change in my diet aren’t likely.

So here I am, again, attempting to navigate through another health issue while representing two communities of women who are underserved, Black and fat women. It’s scary and it’s confusing, but to live a quality life, I’m doing what must be done: educating myself, listening to doctors, and telling my story. I hope that my truth saves some women and girls from living the same nightmare. God forbid another generation of women have to live with anxiety surrounding their periods.

Are you a woman living with fibroids? If so, what are you doing to address the issue? If not, have you been checked recently? Are you educating your daughters about female issues like fibroids? Let’s talk ladies!

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