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  • Writer's pictureTinu Peña

Facing Fibroids and Dealing

OpP: Tells the medical journey I and women in my family took in becoming of aware and dealing with fibroids and its health implications.

This is not a medical opinion.

Facing Fibroids

Personal wellness is something many of us think about but few actually follow through on their journey to better health. Amongst the topics rarely spoken about and honestly there not a lot of information on the cause, is Fibroids and it impact to health and wellness of women. The rate at which women of African descent tend to be afflicted is also rare topic amongst friends and family member. The implication of not having conversation around this topic lead to misinformation and lack of attention to seeking medical health. I would know because it happened to me.

For the longest time that I could remember, my mother’s abdominal region always appear enlarged, my sister and I used to joke about her being pregnant and she would join in the jovial conversation calling it “False pregnancy” my sister nor I ever thought anything about our mom’s health we knew she suffered from heavy periods but beyond that, we were unaware of the other underlying health issues.

So when in the later 1990s, I got a call from my relative while serving in the military that my mother had passed away, I was in shock and further despair hit when I was told of the reason. She died post-surgery from removing her fibroids. Now, being that the surgery was performed in Nigeria, there were various of speculations about the cause of her death. In the end, she died without sharing any of her medical history concerning fibroid and other issues.

Fast-forward 2000s, I started noticing a change, unbeknownst to me, these were connected to the fibroids I have now developed. I finally made up my mind to do a less invasive surgery at the VA hospital. The surgery was a partial success but left me in so much pain; with only Tylenol with codeine to help manage the pain, I can't explain the topsy-turvy I was going through with the pain, all I knew was, my father rushed to the emergency room. I would end up spending a few days at the VA hospital, and requested to be discharge to seek medical help outside the VA after my gynecological doctor, unbeknownst to me, instructed the attending nurse to give me "Plan B" to abort the remaining fibroid that was not removed during the surgery. Needless to say, that was very traumatic, and no one could blame me when I decided to leave the hospital.

Months later, I would opt for the most extreme solution. I got a hysterectomy, for me it was the best decision for my circumstance, and I am no longer anemic, no more excruciating menstrual pain or accidents. I was feeling anew. Not only did I have to make a decision, my sister went through her own journey with this affliction. For us, we are changing the approach, sharing our medical history with our children, and ensuring they take the necessary steps to be cognizant of the medical issues’ likelihood.

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