Part 2 of this series should really be titled, "if you don't know, now you know!"
In part 1 of , "Natural Hair, Fibroids, and Me" - I stated that I never had the traditional symptoms that fibroid sufferers have. My cycle was like clockwork, no swelling in my abdomen (that I could see), no pain or cramps, and no spotting. Even with my past 'well-woman' check-ups, my doctor never felt any rumors or abnormalities. By all outside accounts, I had no issues with my lady parts. But, there were other symptoms brewing - not normal for fibroid sufferers but definitely an issue.
Let's talk about how I got a colon infection on THANKSGIVING! Oh yeah, let's not forget, my hair was shedding like an ugly Christmas sweater and my edges my edges were so sad. The colon infection was the key to me finding I had fibroids. On thanksgiving day I was struck with (what I thought) was a bad stomach virus. After preparing a delicious meal, I could barely eat one bite.
Cramps were ravaging my stomach coming as quickly as labor contractions. I had a fever accompanied with chills and I was sweating like I ran a marathon. I suffered for three days waiting to get an appointment with my doctor. When I got my examination, my primary care doctor was puzzled. A physical examination didn't show much in the uterus or in the colon; she sent me to get an ultrasound.
During the ultrasound the tech nonchalantly said, "I see you have two fibroids. Their placement shouldn't warrant the issues you had though." I was so surprised. She looked at me like I knew I had two alien creatures growing in my abdomen. I looked at her like she was an alien creature. The tech sent me to get a CAT scan to see more. The doctors weren't concerned about the fibroids, they thought I had colon cancer!
The CAT scan showed I had diverticulitis. The scan also showed I had a tumor growing on the OUTSIDE of my uterus. It was 6cm big - about the size of an orange. It's position, pedunculated, was pressing on my colon causing the slow movement of waste - therefore worsening the diverticulitis symptoms. It was a big issue! However, I still had no traditional fibroid issues (cramps, pain, or awkward periods) my doctor didn't think I should have the tumor removed. But the tumor had other plans.
As the doctors helped my colon recover, my tumor continued to grow. My nails were brittle, my hair continued to shed, I was getting leg cramps, and I started getting more fatigued. The tumor was sucking the life out of me. Taking all my good nutrients. A blood test showed my vitamin D levels were sickeningly low and my potassium levels were the same. Low vitamin D was the reason for my fatigue, brittle nails, and shedding hair.
The doctor prescribed me vitamins. At this point, I'd seen more doctors in four months than I'd seen in four years! I had a specialist's appointment every month. I was tired all the time, still my cycle was great. I was scheduled to see a new gynecologist/specialist concerning the fibroid.
The new doctor did another ultrasound to check on the growth of the fibroid. On the screen, I saw a huge mass that I thought was my uterus. No, it was my fibroid. It had grown another 3 cm completly obstructing view of my uterus. Did you know your uterus is really small? I mean! I can't believe kids come out of that thing!
Most times, women are given hormone treatments, like birth control pills, to attempt shrinking the fibroid (source). But my doctors didn't think this was a good deal for me. Why? Because my tumor was growing way too rapidly. The placement, on the outside of my uterus, was more effecting my digestive system than my actual uterus. Oh, and, she found another friend - growing in the muscle of my uterus. At this time, April 2014, the second one was the size of a small pebble.
My new specialist doctor was very concerned. She started talking about surgery options and give me all types of reading material. Do not pass GO, do not collect $100 - I was getting ready to have MAJOR surgery. The feelings came so quick. I went from being healthy to having people looking at me as if I was gonna die. On top of that the tumor was growing too quickly. She measured it at growing 2-3cm every month. The longer I waited, the bigger they would get. WHOA!
I guess - I had to have surgery . . . Part 3 coming next week
"Diseases and Conditions: Diverticulitis", www.mayoclinic.org, Mayo Clinic Staff
"UTERINE FIBROIDS - Treating fibroids non-invasively", www.uterine-fibroids.org