So, I’m getting a hysterectomy. Whew! I’ve gone back and forth about sharing this deeply personal news with my audience. But I landed on the fact that I don’t want anyone to be unprepared for this journey (if you have to take it). When I started my blog, I always wanted to educate and look stylish doing it. So, writing about my hysterectomy journey, while planning a ton of photoshoots and social media workshops – seems on par with how I run my life. Also, I wanted to write about having a hysterectomy from several perspectives:
- Being visibly obese (I’m over 250lbs)
- Being single and never married
- Not having had children
So, I’m going to do my best to keep it extremely real with y’all. Also, I’m an artist … and I’m sensitive about my ish! Oh yeah, be warned that I’m not taking any advice other than that of my doctors and close friends who have had a hysterectomy as well.
So how did we get here?
About 5 years ago I found out I had two very dangerous fibroids. When most women have fibroids they have alot of symptoms to let them know. Not me. I had no symptoms. Actually, I had to get an MRI for another health scare and the technician casually said, “Oh, and you have two sizable fibroids. You should get that checked as well.” That’s not the type of news anyone wants to hear, especially when you thought nothing was wrong with your lady parts in the first place. So, I was rushed through various appointments and consultations. Three months later my OB Specialist laparoscopically removed a fibroid the size of a FOOTBALL and one slightly bigger than a golf ball (yay sports).
Upon my 6 week follow-up, the GYNO specialist let me know I was out of danger. But she ended the appointment by saying that I’d probably grow more fibroids in the future. At my 1 year check up, she was exactly correct – I had several pea-sized fibroids growing the walls of my uterus. For the next 3 years we’d keep an eye on the situation. During each Well-Woman check-up with my primary GYNO, those little guys were still there, not getting any bigger, but definitely letting their presence be known.
Aside from being overweight – I’m a really healthy person. I don’t put relaxer in my hair, I’m allergic to beef and pork, eat very little dairy, wake up every morning to drink 32oz of warm lemon water, I take my vitamins, I drink green juice, I very rarely drink alcohol, I don’t smoke cigarettes, and I try my best to move my body. Why say all this? Because I know what some of you think. Yes, it’s true that fibroids can be exacerbated by what you eat and how you live. However, as a black woman, I’m more susceptible to getting fibroids than women of other nationalities. Add my genetics – mom, grandma, and several aunts have had fibroids and/or hysterectomies – it often feels like I couldn’t run from this. It is a weird destiny.
Then, I lost my job in 2018, my period came on and stayed for weeks. That had never happened before. At the 5th week, I went to my PCP. She said I was stressed, asked if I wanted to be put on birth control, and told me to call if it hadn’t went away in another week. It went away. I was relieved. I found a new job, my stress levels lowered, and it seemed like my body was regulating.
But then . . . COVID came. I remember it was March 15th of 2020. My job sent us home to quarantine for ‘2 weeks’ – HAH! When the whole world realized two weeks was turning into two months (now 3 years), my anxiety kicked in and my period came back. This time, she was ready to rumble. I thought it was stress, upped my vitamin intake, read about a bunch of holistic techniques, and tried my damndest to wish that period away. Didn’t happen. Every month it came on STRONGER and with friends: cramping, nausea, migraines, bloating, etc.
I went to the doctor, she put me on birth control as a way to regulate the cycles. But we both knew, it was the fibroids. I would spend the rest of 2020 on birth control while having a period. It was wretched. At least through 2020, I’d get some short breaks in-between cycles – sometimes two or three weeks. But then, in the spring of 2021, it came on and just never ended.
Being on your period SUCKS, try being on it for 6 months!
Oh yeah, you read that correctly. As I am typing this post, I’ve been on my period for almost 6 months. Yup, it’s just as awful as you think it is. My little uterus really TRIED her best to heal itself. But those fibroids weren’t having it. By Fall of 2021, I was going through tampons, pads, and diva cups like the bathroom of a sorority house. I went back to my primary OB. She took me off birth control for a month to see what would happen. Y’all it was hell. The gates broke and I’ll spare you the details. I was immediately put back on the hormones and sent to get several ultrasounds.
You guessed it, those pea-sized fibroids had grown larger and they have friends. One is currently the size of an orange and I guess the rest are like clusters of grapes (yay – fruit). My primary GYNO mentioned another fibroid removal surgery. Then said, “if you don’t have kids, and you don’t want kids, maybe you should get a hysterectomy.” My heart sunk. The kids thing was an afterthought. What I really want is to stop bleeding and to get my body back. But her saying that kid comment got me in my head. I decided to go to my Specialist OB, the one who performed my first fibroid surgery.
It only took Dr. M five minutes to look at my ultrasound and recommend a hysterectomy. Yes, I was bleeding while she did the exam. She pointed to the basket of feminine products, told me to put on my clothes, and to join her in her office. Dr. M is a petite woman with tight brown curls that kinda cascade in her face. She always wears scrubs, she always has a giant cup of water on her desk, and she always keeps it real. She sighed hard and told me the truth, “You are over 40, you are not married, we’ve tried several medicinal interventions, and I recommend a hysterectomy.” She saw my face go blank. She added, “I could do another fibroid removal surgery, but I guarantee we’ll be back in another 3-4 years. I just don’t want you to keep having to have surgeries on the same area. Also, it’s not good for women to be on birth control at your age.” Whew! That hit hard.
I sat in her office for 15mins as she went to finish an appointment with another patient. I looked at all the diagrams of women’s bodies on her walls and the 3D model of a uterus on her desk. I thought about all the anxiety and stress I’d dealt with over the past 3 years. The stained underwear and sheets, the dates that ended abruptly because we couldn’t ‘go there’, the weight I’d gained from being on three different types of birth control. I’d never been 100% about having kids, but the thought of the option being taken away had me shook. But still, I’m in my 40s! I never thought I’d be the person giving birth this late in life. So, by the time she came back, I’d made my decision.
Goodbye uterus . . .
So, on March 29th I’ll be saying goodbye to my uterus. She did her best, she really tried. I’ve had SO MANY thoughts about this process. I was SO close to calling Dr. M and telling her to cancel the surgery. But, as I type I’m still bleeding. My stomach is bloated. I get tired so easily. And, I just want some semblance of a healthy body back. I want to feel sexy again and sexual. I want to rid my body of birth control side-effects. I want a better life. I know I’m not the only woman in the world who is getting a hysterectomy but I have to feel these feelings so I can get to a point of growth.
Over the next couple weeks I’m gonna share some products, services, and plans I’m making to have a smooth recovery. My friends and family are already planning to shower me with love, care, and gifts (my love language).
If you want to be apart of the love train you can add to my MealTrain here. MealTrain is an amazing website where you can arrange to help friends & family after surgeries, births, adoptions, or any event that needs community to assemble and help.
I’ll be back next week with more updates. Thank y’all for reading and supporting me all these years.