To further elaborate from my post Dealing with Depression, I wanted to delve on the topic of the period, and I’m not talking punctuation.
** for anyone who is sensitive, this post may contain disturbing content **
I don’t know about you, but I never got the “talk” from my mom on menstruating, having sex, getting pregnant, giving birth, etc.; I imagine it was an awkward topic of conversation, she wanted to avoid having with her little girl.
But shoot, a heads up would have been nice!
Summer 2014, I noticed a change in my period, which would last more than usual, and turned to lasting 2 weeks… 2 weeks turned to a month, and Aunt Flow began coming and going as she pleased. I thought I was going through perimenopause from my hormones being out of whack.
A few doctor visits and an ultrasound diagnosed me with uterine fibroids, which are benign (non-cancerous) muscular tumor growths in the uterus. Depending on the location (within or out of the uterine lining), the size and how many there are; fibroids cause super heavy menstruation. I was originally diagnosed with 4 (2 big, 2 small), and my stomach puffed out like I was 5 months pregnant.
I had never gotten pregnant before, so I thought it was my body turning against me for ignoring the ticking of my “biological clock”, and just added to my depression.
- I was self-conscious, and lacked the feeling of being a woman;
- intimacy with my hubby was restricted;
- hearing Doctors say a baby wouldn’t survive in my uterus;
- losing the will to decide for myself if I wanted to procreate;
- the disconnect and lack of trust I had with my own body;
- resenting those who asked why I don’t have any children
There were times I had to be carried to the bathroom from being so weak, or being delusional and light headed. I stopped working out, and found it hard to find any energy in me to move. I could barely walk my dogs around the block. I would get winded from walking up stairs.
I remember crying trying to lift two 2lb dumbbells over my head, as I was stricken with anxiety and overall uselessness.
I actually stopped looking at my body in the mirror for months, or barely glanced at the reflection of my face.
During this depressive state, I was afraid to see who was on the other side, because I didn’t want to face that it was me.
Cramps became really painful, as my body went through contractions trying to force out the fibroids.
I was passing large clots which caused anemia due to the blood loss and had edema in my feet, ankles and calves from overworked and failing kidneys.
October of last year, I went for blood work, and woke up to 6 missed calls from my Doctor, who called back urging to get to emergency.
For my height/weight/body type, my hemoglobin (blood level) should be 120 – 160.
I was at 32.
Sooo I needed a blood transfusion.
4 bags later, heart monitoring and hearing “how are you alive?!” from a bunch of nurses, I was released the next day.
I felt amazing. My energy was back, I felt like I wanted to run home, as I waited for the hubby to pick me up from the hospital.
Now you may be wondering how it got to this point?
Well, I refused medical treatment, as the only options given to me by many Gynecologists, were hormone therapy, or a hysterectomy, and having a hysterectomy just didn’t seem to make any sense at my age.
I think for the most part, Gynos “suggested” a hysterectomy to scare me, thinking I would succumb to the medicated route.
After doing research, I came across the Da Vinci Surgical System, a surgical robot that removes fibroids, with a great success rate of being able to conceive.
Searched “Da Vinci Surgical System in Ontario” and St. Michaels Hospital in Toronto popped up.
I quickly called my family Doctor and asked her to send in a referral.
3 weeks passed and I didn’t hear anything. I ended up finding the Doctor on Linkedin, but there was no way of getting a hold of him, so I desperately signed up to the $300 Linkedin Pro account… luckily I found a free-trial coupon!
I apologized for the unorthodox way of contacting him, explained the situation, and he immediately responded and put me in touch with his Assistant to schedule an appointment.
… only thing was, my appointment was schedule in 6 months time (March of this year).
6 months later, and a week just before my appointment, my hemoglobin dropped to 39, and I needed another transfusion. Nurses weren’t too pleased this time around – to them I wasn’t taking care of myself, and mostly because I admitted to refusing to see their Gynecologist 6 months ago.
This guy misdiagnosed this horrible pain I had at the hospital, that lasted 5 days later as “positional”
(whatever that means), which turned out to be gallstones… and he was pushing to discuss hormone therapy options, like I haven’t heard it before.
And little to their knowledge, March was a tough month.
We had been treating our Doberman who unexpectedly became ill and passed away, and I had been menstruating the entire month, as the stress just took a toll on my body and being.
To be honest, (and I am only speaking of my own experience with the medical system in Ontario), but Doctors heavily push for prescriptions.
they think that by giving you enough chemicals to stop an illness, they become satisfied thinking they have succeeded in treating you.
– and they don’t, which is why I didn’t see Gyno # whatever, cuz I knew the options!
Options are always hormone therapy, including this drug that was 2 years old (at the time) and had no data on symptoms or long term side effects – I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be a guinea pig, and play the wait and see game.
Second option was Lupron (also known as GnRH).
This drug has been around for quite some time, and has a long list of symptoms, including depression (cuz I needed more of that!), causes immune and nervous system problems, and is known as the “kiss of death”, due to 1,100 known and reported causes of death.
The Gynecologist who recommended this at the time was happy to say that there was an “add-back therapy” for the symptoms and side effects, which depending on the drug prescribed (I counted a total of 13) have their own messed up side effects, so no thank you.
To top it off, the company behind Lupron pleaded guilty for violating the Federal Prescription Drug Marketing Act, and paid $875M to settle, AND admitted to falsifying and fabricating 80%… 80 effing percent (!!!) of the research data reports for the drug.
Needless to say, that Gyno got the deuces
My appointment finally rolled around to see the Doctor at St. Mikes.
Gave him a rundown of the past few years, and to my surprise, he was annoyed the previous Gynos would even recommend a hysterectomy at my age, and pointed out the hormone therapy suggested is for woman approaching menopause. He explained the drugs are to alleviate the pain and reduce the size of fibroids, before menopause, as they will naturally go away on their own, once estrogen levels drop. However in my case, the fibroids would come back once treatment stopped.
I failed to mention, hormone therapy can only be taken 3 – 6 consecutive months, with breaks in between to avoid osteoporosis (bone density loss), which is why it was pointless to put me on those meds to begin with!
Knowing I am weary on being placed on medication, he suggested Tranexamic Acid, and explained how it works; he was even impressed with my “student-like questions” he called them. So for 2 months, I’ve been taking 2 pills, 3x a day on day 1 and day 2 of my mensies, which has decreased the flow, and has regulated my cycle.
No side effects, no symptoms, no long term surprises.
Just something to treat / prevent excessive blood loss.
Now if you look it up, you may come across side effects, like head aches, and diarrhea, but there is nothing life threatening, however please advise with your Doctor before considering taking it yourself.
As I mentioned in my post, Dealing with Depression, the motto change your mind, change your life deeply resonates with me, as I truly believe and have learned, that by simply changing the way we’ve conditioned ourselves to think, our bodies are capable of healing o their own.
To keep myself in a positive state of mind, I dedicate myself to Kundalini Yoga, I meditate, I chant, I sing, I dance, I smoke cannabis, I vape CBD, and above all, I limit the stress I allow to affect me emotionally.
After needing a second blood transfusion, I didn’t want that blood to go to waste, so I bought a treadmill, and worked my way up from a light jog for 2 minutes, to running for 10 minutes.
I can even run on days when I’m menstruating, which was impossible!
It’s within our divine nature to know ourselves to be whole, to be complete, to be perfect… and loving ourselves unconditionally, because any sort of doubt, creates restriction and dis-ease.
And it’s with this that I’ve learned to accept and connect with my divine femininity. I began moon mapping my cycle which has allowed me to embrace my body and has put me in touch to better understand my Self.
This post doesn’t end on a note on how to treat uterine fibroids, or the cure for fibroids, but I hope to shed light on not giving in and having a hysterectomy, because that is your “only” option.
I have an appointment at the end of the month at St. Mikes to discuss surgery options, so I’ll keep you posted!
Since sharing this experience, I’ve received an out pour of support, and have connected with so many women, who have shared their own stories, provided recommendations, or simply showed gratitude for being so transparent with what I’ve gone through.
The majority of these connections is the feeling of not being alone, and I can assure you my Sisters, no matter how much you’ve given up on yourself, or given up hope, you are not alone!
Light & Love.
Photo credit: Karol Bak - Cykl AUREOLE