INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Around 80% of women are expected to develop fibroids — and sometimes they will never know because they don’t have symptoms. For those who do have symptoms, it can really shake up their lives.
For several months, I’ve been sharing bits and pieces about my fibroid journey on social media. As News 8’s Multicultural Reporter, I’ve had multiple viewers reaching out through messages and emails also sharing their experiences and concern. So, while preparing for surgery, I began a series of video blogging to keep track of the journey.
I’ve been telling other people’s stories for 10 years. For the first time, I’m telling my own. I am one of the roughly 80% of women to develop fibroids. Black women are most at risk for severe symptoms.
I found out I had one fibroid roughly 10 years ago, but doctors never made a big deal out of it. And as my menstrual cycles got heavier and more painful, I chalked it up to a sign of being a woman and aging, not realizing the frequent urination and anemia all tied back to the monsters growing inside.
I finally talked about my experience with a friend and found out there were treatment options. Forced to advocate for myself, it took a while to find a doctor to really listen to me.
I found one, and ultimately opted for a robotic myomectomy, where doctors went through small incisions with robot arms to removed my eight fibroids. One fibroid ended up being larger than expected at 10 cm — that’s about the size of a grapefruit. And the doctor found a couple more.
It’s still not clear why fibroids develop, but doctors do know heredity often has something to do with it. My Dad’s sister, Mechelle Butler, had one discovered in her uterus in 1978 after giving birth to my older cousin.
Fast forward to 1995 — she had her first surgery. But from then to 2003, the pain and excessive bleeding came back worse than ever. They had come back — about a dozen of them — forcing an emergency full hysterectomy.
She’s better now. As for me, I’m getting there.
My mother also had fibroids. But her experience wasn’t as bad, because they started causing problems right before menopause, and fibroids can shrink during that time.