I remember watching girls go to the bathroom with their purses talking about this magical thing called a “ period”. I remember thinking; will I ever get my period? Something, that at one point, I thought had forgotten all about me, but to my surprise my menstrual cycle has led me on an overwhelming journey. A journey that began at the age of 13 at my dad’s house…my menstrual cycle, a short-lived celebration.
WHAT’S THE HOOPLA ABOUT?
Extreme menstrual cramps, heavy flow, overnight pads and tampons at the same time, blood clots and the ever so embarrassing bleeding through linen or clothes was my reality of a period. My reality of a menstrual cycle was also the reality of my mother, grandmother and great- grandmother. So, this is what a period is and this is what I prayed for? While having a menstrual cycle, I experienced heaviness in my uterus, anemia, light- headedness, nausea, breast tenderness, heart palpitations, bleeding during intercourse and missed clinic/ work because of pain. Then again wasn’t that how every woman felt every 21-35 days? Wasn’t a painful cycle the rights of passage?
AND THE DIAGNOSIS IS…
As an uninsured student in grad school, Planned Parenthood was my option for healthcare, but it was also my saving grace. I remember it like yesterday, the nurse practitioner said, “I think you need an ultrasound” and my response was “ Why? I’m not pregnant”. Being the smart aleck that I am, I didn’t follow up with the ultrasound for a whole year. That next year, the same nurse practitioner remembers me and recommends an ultrasound yet again.
As I waited in the waiting room with a full bladder, nerves ran amuck , waiting for what the ultrasound would reveal. That day, I received a vaginal and abdominal ultrasound and was diagnosed with fibroids/myomas/leimyoma, 4 large fibroids to be exact. The overwhelming questions of the unknown led to several stressors. What does this mean? Can I have kids? What do I do next? I met with Dr. Stan Williams, a reproductive endocrinologist in Gainesville, FL and he recommended surgery and birth control pills to control the bleeding immediately, but I opted to graduate first.
SURGERY DAY…I CAN HAVE MY LIFE BACK
May 2010, 2 days after graduation, at 27 years old, I was facing a major operation to remove these foreign objects from my uterus. Objects that could jeopardize my fertility, my womanhood, and a source of embarrassment. Although the ultrasound revealed 4 fibroids, the abdominal myomectomy revealed 15 fibroids that were removed from my uterus. I had several types: peduculated, intramural (in the lining of the uterus) and submucosal (inner lining of the uterus), which were debilitating increasing my abdomen to the size of a 3-month pregnant woman. End of story right? NOT!!! Dr. Williams reported that since I had so many fibroids, that they probably would return and advised that a c-section be done during the birth of my children. More importantly after surgery, I didn’t make any major life changes… Duh!!! What was I thinking?
WHAT?!? FIBROIDS AGAIN
In 2012, after an annual OB/GYN appointment, my fibroids had returned, hence my mission to avoid surgery at all costs. After my first surgery it had not occurred to me that what I put in my body affected the things already happening in my body and caused fibroid growth. As I began to research what to do after fibroids and conservative methods, a lot of information was not available. So let’s evolve the way we manage fibroids, by building network of healthcare professionals, learn alternative treatments for fibroids and build healthy conversations. How? By sharing intimate details of my journey as well as other women’s journey where surgery is not the first option, but a last resort.
Pregnancy and Fibroids
As I continued to search for conservative treatments for fibroids to include: womb cleansers, acupuncture, dietary changes, herbal supplements, yoni pearls and so much more, the fibroids continued to go. I married the man God made for me in 2018, we got pregnant in 2019 with a baby girl. I was super grateful and excited to be pregnant, however fibroids made a joyous time one of the most frightening times of my life. At 35 weeks and 6 days, the largest fibroids had become necrotic and caused the early birth of our daughter. Her early delivery and the beginning of a pandemic led to a 4 week NICU stay in which our daughter defied all odds.
Who am I….
My name is Sheveland Jones and I am a Christian, a wife, a mother, daughter, a sister, a family member and I had fibroids and surgery, only for them to return. I have also had to manage pregnancy with fibroids, only to have another fibroid surgery. Welcome to fibroidology…… A modern woman’s outlook on the management of fibroids