Part I of this medical journal details the symptoms of uterine fibroids and how I finally went to a doctor only to find out that I had several fibroids, one of which was very large.
Part II details the symptoms of uterine fibroids and the options my doctor gave me for dealing with them which were Hysterectomy, Myomectomy or, since we wanted to have a baby, get pregnant anyway and deal with the fibroids later.
However, as you see, none of those options included the procedure I eventually had which was uterine artery embolization or to be exact in my case, uterine fibroid embolization or UFE.
This post is going to detail my issues with the female reproductive system. If you are in any way squeamish about this sort of things, I promise, you will NOT want to read this. You have been warned.
I have never asked and will probably never know if the doctor simply did not know about UFE or if, like many gynecologists, refuses to inform patients about it. It seems many gynecologists will insist that the only way for women to deal with their fibroids is through hysterectomy or myomectomy. And their reasons for withholding this information seem ridiculously self serving and selfish.
Some gynecologists say they are simply seeing things from a doctors point of view. What will give the best outcome medically, which is to remove the fibroids and ensure they never return. The only way to absolutely to ensure this is hysterectomy. And myomectomy, they consider is only the next best thing.
But both of these procedures are major surgery. Not only do they require a large incision and at least six weeks of recovery time, they are expensive - the procedure, hospital stay, time off work, prescriptions - these costs mount up and you best believe the gynecologist has his hand out for his fees.
There also seems to be a bit of pissing contest taking place between the gynecologists and the interventional radiologists, with the gynecologists being the decided antagonists. Even though thousands of women have successfully undergone UFE since it was first done in the 1970's, gynecologists still tend to regard it as a new procedure and not a "good option" for women.
But it's not just about getting rid of the fibroids and for some women, it's not even about future fertility options. They simply want to stop the symptoms that are keeping them housebound or severely limiting their quality of life.
But we did want to have a baby and so we chose to try to get pregnant with the fibroids.
It was the worst advice I was ever given, that I have ever followed and that caused me to lose more than I ever thought possible.
I'd been cranky and listless all summer but hadn't figured on pregnancy. My father had died that spring and I'd lost my job that June. I was still working part time at a second job I'd picked up, but finances were tight. If anyone had reason to be depressed it was definitely me.
One night, I woke up in hellish pain and vomiting. Somehow, I knew that this wasn't a normal illness. I woke up Ye Olde Matey and he woke up Little Arabella and we all went to the nearest emergency room.
Unbeknowst to me, I was given a pregnancy test. It was positive. We were so very happy for such a little while. But the pain, the vomiting. The nurses already knew but took to me to ultrasound to be sure.
As it turned out, one of the larger fibroids was blocking my left fallopian tube. Sperm was small enough to get through, but the fibroid would not allow the larger baby to move down to the uterus.
When they did the ultrasound, I could hear the baby's heartbeat. I thought that meant everything would be all right.
But I was wrong. I would have to have surgery. They would have to remove the fallopian tube and the baby. If not, it would rupture and I would bleed to death.
I wailed. Ye Old Matey and I cried. The surgeon came and had prayer with us. Ye Olde Matey called my mother who called a family friend to come and get Little Arabella.
There wasn't much time then to mourn. Before I knew it, I was prepped for surgery. I woke up later in recovery it was all over.
My baby was gone.
But the hole in my heart remained.