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Daily life had begun to be unlivable for me. I had constant stomach pains, bloating and I needed to urinate all the time. My periods kept fluctuating, I’d first miss my period and then get one that lasted over 4 weeks!
I had mood swings, I was depressed and I couldn’t see the point in waking up each day. But I suffered as long as I did because I have a phobia of hospitals, and I was worried that seeking medical help would land me in one.
Finally one day after finally ending a 3-week long period I decided that something had to be done. I couldn’t live like this.

Being diagnosed

I mustered up my courage and went to a gynecologist. I told the doctor what I’d been going through and how sure I was that something was wrong. So I had a pap smear, pelvic exam and an ultrasound.
The doctor told me that he found several large fibroid tumors and wanted me to have a hysterectomy. I was shocked at how quickly he expected me to have such a major surgery and without even explaining to me what I had!
I told him I needed a second opinion and I left. I was still reeling from the shock of the news - not only was something really wrong with me but I might have to face my biggest fear and have major surgery.
I called my friend and broke down in tears. She was equally shocked at my doctor’s callousness and was very comforting. She then scheduled me an appointment with her gynecologist whom she said was very nice and would help me through this.

The second opinion

My friend’s doctor was very patient and understanding of my fear. He explained to me that fibroids were non-cancerous growths arising from the muscle wall of the womb and is one of the most common gynecological conditions. He also told me that about 20-30% of all women suffer from fibroids.
He also said there is no definite cause of fibroids but they seem to be generally influenced by the hormone oestrogen. Thus, they tend to appear during a woman’s middle years when oestrogen levels are high and stop growing after menopause when the oestrogen levels drop.
At my request he ran more tests, blood work, an MRI and another ultrasound. He concluded that I did have several very large fibroids, and because of their size he recommended a complete laparoscopic hysterectomy.

My surgery

Because of my fear he took the time to explain the surgery to me. He told me that a laparoscopic hysterectomy was a newer and better option. It allows the uterus to be detached from inside the body by laparoscopic instruments while the doctor is viewing the uterus, tubes, and ovaries through a camera attached to a flexible tube.
After the uterus is detached, it is removed through a small incision at the top of the vagina. The advantage of laparoscopic hysterectomy is that the incisions are only 1/2 an inch and much less uncomfortable than a regular abdominal hysterectomy.
Not only would there be much less blood loss, the downtime would be much less and I’d be able to resume normal activity in about 2 weeks, a comparatively shorter time than an abdominal hysterectomy and slightly shorter than for vaginal hysterectomy.

In the end

My surgery went smoothly. They removed my uterus and both my ovaries. Physically I was fine. But the biggest ordeal was dealing with the fact that I would now never have children. The emotional trauma took me more time to recover from.
While I do now suffer from some menopause symptoms like night sweats, I know matters might have been worse had I not caught my fibroids when I did.
My quality of life has also improved because I am not in constant pain or unable to engage in activities due to an extended menstruation. I am also happier and no longer have the stress of worrying all the time that something’s wrong with me.
My advice to women is this. Firstly, if you feel something is wrong with you don’t hesitate to see a doctor. Because there are many times where I’ve wondered; if I’d only conquered my fear earlier and sought help, would my fibroids have been smaller and would I not have needed a complete hysterectomy.
I also advise for any woman to weigh all the options and do not rush into surgery. If your doctor is not explaining enough, get a second opinion, or do not hesitate to question till you are satisfied.
If you have any of my symptoms, do see your doctor for a check today. LW

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