Hey guys! This is my very first attempt at a blog, so please bear with me!
I’m 28 years old, and on May 16, 2017 I’m having a hysterectomy. I know everyones first thought, “28?! Thats so young, what about kids”? My hope is that after you’re finished reading this, you have a better understanding of how/why I’ve come to this decision.
Disclaimer: The following may be too TMI for some people, so if you’re easily grossed out by the way a woman’s body works, feel free to stop reading.
It all started fall/winter 2016. My periods had started to become heavier, more painful, and last longer. I went to my primary care doctor, and she had suggested I switch up my birth control pill (I had been on the pill since I was 19 or 20). The change in pill didn’t work, in fact looking back, I believe the pill only added fuel to the fire that was unknowingly growing inside of my uterus.
The end of January 2016, suddenly, almost literally out of nowhere I started bleeding extremely heavily, I mean soaking through an heavy pad within 30 minutes. Not only was I bleeding heavily, but I had huge blood clots as well, and when I say huge, I mean the size of my fist, and larger. I went to the emergency room, I was told since I wasn’t actively hemorrhaging that there was nothing they could do for me. I went home, and about 12 hours later it was happening again, and this time I started feeling light headed, and dizzy. I knew something wasn’t right. I went back to the hospital where my blood pressure started bottoming out everytime I stood up from the loss of blood, and at one point my heart rate was 165 from trying to pump what little blood I had left in my body. Once I was finally admitted I had lost almost half of the blood volume in my body. They put me on premarin (a hormone) to slow down the bleeding, and I had to have a blood transfusion. Thankfully, it worked, but not without making me violently sick, and not without a three day hospital stay.
Come to find out, I have uterine fibroids. What are fibroids you ask? They’re masses of non-cancerous tissue or muscle that can grow inside, outside, and in the middle of your uterus. No one knows for certain what causes them, its believed that they are genetic. They mostly occur in older women, its rare for a woman my age to have symptomatic fibroids. A lot of women will have fibroids, but never show symptoms. I unfortunately, am one of the lucky few that have symptoms. As far as size goes, mine are smaller, some women have them as large as a grapefruit.
Taking us to April 2016, after changing my birth control pill again doesn’t work, I decided to try an IUD (mirena). It expelled itself after only four days. A couple of weeks later, in May, the heavy bleeding, with the large blood clots started again. Since I knew what was happening I immediately went to the ER. Now, I cannot express enough how important it is to advocate for your health, and your body. You know your body better than anyone, and it has ways of telling you that something isn’t right. The ER doctors told me again, that since I wasn’t actively bleeding, that I needed to go home. I begged, and pleaded telling them that it was going to get worse, look at my file, same thing happened only four months ago! I was in disbelief as my gynecologist came down and told me that my body was just trying to have an “honest to goodness period” and to just go home and take iron pills. I was sobbing, this was the doctor that took care of me four months ago when the same thing was happening, she authorized the blood transfusion that I had to have from the blood loss.
I reluctantly went home, and again, not even 12 hours later, I was back in the ER. This time they admitted me right away. I had lost half of my blood volume again, and had to have a transfusion. They tried the premarin again, but this time it wasn’t working, I was still losing a lot of blood. One of my clots weighed 120cc! Thats a lot to lose at one time. A different gynecologist decided to do a D&C. That procedure finally gave me relief, but I had to have another transfusion from the blood loss during the procedure. (If you’re keeping count, thats three blood transfusions in a four month period). After another three days in the hospital, I was able to go home.
The gynecologist that performed the D&C recommended going on Lupron injections for six months. I started the injections in June 2016, and had my last injection November 2016. Lupron was originally used as a cancer drug for men with prostate cancer. It also used for children who start puberty too soon, and you guessed it, women with fibroids. What is does is shut down your hormones, and shrink the fibroids. It puts your body into a false state of menopause. I had hot flashes, and night sweats like you wouldn’t believe! No bleeding though, so I was a happy girl! In fact, I didn’t have a period for 9 months! The lupron had worked, and shrunk my fibroids down.
Which brings us to February 2017, my gynecologist suggested the depo-provera shot. I was leary to do another hormonal birth control after everything I went through while on the pill, but the doctor assured me the the shot would help slow down the regrowth of the fibroids (which is inevitable). After only one injection, I had my first period since being on the Lupron. It was horrible, terrible cramping, to the point of not being able to stand up straight, irregular bleeding, and it lasted almost three weeks. I went back to my doctor (March 2017), and told him that I thought my fibroids had already grown back, he said they probably didn’t grow back that fast, but to go get an ultrasound just to be sure. Sure enough, the ultrasound showed that they had not only grown back, but were bigger than before! My heart broke, I cried in the parking lot, wondering why me? It didn’t seem like there would be an end in sight. My doctor suggested going to see a specialist about having a uterine fibroid embolization done. That procedure is where the insert a catheter in though your leg, and into your uterine arteries and inserting these tiny little spheres to cut off the blood supply to the fibroids. Sounds great right? Minimally invasive, no surgery, only a week or two off of work. Heres the thing, it works great in older women because they’re closer to menopause so theres less time for the hormones to work their magic and make the fibroids regrow. However, since I’m only 28 I am way farther from menopause, so theres a greater chance of them coming back.
At this point, I’m just done. Done with feeling like crap, done with the uncertainty, and done with temporary fixes. I just wanted to be a normal 28 year old, and live my life. After talking with the specialist my mind was made up, I didn’t want the embolization, I wanted a hysterectomy.
“A hysterectomy?! But you’re so young, what about kids?” “Thats so extreme, you don’t wanna do that”! “What if you change your mind, and regret it later”? I’ve heard it all, and this is not a decision I came to lightly. In all honesty I started thinking about a hysterectomy after I was hospitalized the first time. Here’s where I will emphasize again how important it was to advocate for your body, and your health! People (doctors included) have a hard time accepting such a permanent surgery for someone my age with no kids. I battled with my doctor for a long time about having the hysterectomy. He has a daughter my age, so he had some personal reservations. It took me finally looking him in the eye and telling him that this is what I want, this is about my health, and not his personal feelings. He finally agreed, and it felt like a huge weight had just been lifted. FINALLY there was a light at the end of the tunnel!
So that brings us to now (April 2017). My surgery is scheduled for May 16, and I have a pre-op appointment April 26, which is when I will be updating again! Thanks for your time!!