Back in December, my period came for what I assumed would be the next few days but it turned out to be longer. I geared up for Italy and Switzerland a bit bummed that I was still on my period.
However this time it was different and it lasted for four months. It was heavy and I could feel my ovaries being drained as well as severe cramping which I never experienced before. I knew I needed to see a doctor, but I was being stubborn. It took me fainting (from too much blood loss and being borderline anemic) to make it in to see my OBGYN for my annual pap 🙄 in early March.
The experience was painful which was not normal so she gave me medicine to stop the bleeding as well as pain pills, but we had to further investigate. The issue was not only the nonstop bleeding, but how heavy it was; I was also experiencing clots the size of strawberries and sometimes even the size of a golf ball causing me to change my feminine product ever hour because of this. Mid March to mid April was pretty awful for me plus I got the flu during this timeframe too. I cried out wondering why this was happening to me, but I remained hopeful that this could be fixed.
After six or so appointments, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (or PCOS) and there were polyps found on my cervix and uterine fibroids found on my uterus (fibroids are common especially for Black women).
I knew the next step was surgery to get everything removed and I was freaking out as I had started a new job in January and having to take time off after already being out for multiple appointments made me nervous to lose my job. I kept communication open and clear throughout the entire process with my boss and was grateful that my time away from work for leave was covered under Short Term Disability which isn’t a normal benefit for a new hire. 🙌🏾
Side note: What I found most liberating about this experience was talking about the health issues I struggled with. I was shocked (yet relieved) to hear about other women that I actually knew going through and having dealt with similar issues. I was blown away and humbled hearing their stories which helped me cope as I continued to write mine.
Earlier this week, I headed out for surgery with my heart racing knowing I would need to get my blood pressure down in order for my doctor to operate. The surgery took about 30 to 45 minutes and a bit longer to wake up from the drugs (my anesthesiologist was incredible). The whole team made me feel welcome yet comfortable and sent me home with personalized signed cards from the entire OR team 😭
My experience was 1,000 times better than I imagined. The side effects from a hysteroscopy are nausea, heavy cramping, bleeding, gas, infection, limited eating abilities, etc. I’m fortunate to say that outside of being exhausted from the anesthesia and normal soreness that I feel pretty damn good and I am damn grateful for it.
For the next two weeks my list of limitations are no lakes, hot tubs, or pools, etc. In addition, no exercise for a week 😉, pelvic rest which entails no tampons, douches, or sexual intercourse, light duty including resting for three days.
As someone who can and does drop things all at once to hop on a last minute flight, this experience grounded me (literally). Last year I travelled almost every other weekend and my first trip of 2019 was not until the end of February and I did not travel again until the end of April with my doctor’s approval (even though this trip had been booked).
I am not one to share details of my personal life and live under the radar as far as my privacy, but this experience perhaps has made me a new woman 😂. I really am grateful because life is too short to be so stubborn (did you hear me, Sue?) and to not take care of yourself whether that is eating better, seeing a therapist, getting out of that relationship that you know deep down is not working, working out, or simply seeing a doctor (and if it is too expensive, they can work out a payment plan). Plus sometimes sharing what you have gone through may help someone too.
Here’s to Self Care all 2019 and then some.