By Jasmine Kelly
It was the best day of my life and the worst day of my life. I passed my comprehensive doctoral exams, and my OBGYN also told me that I would have surgery. To say the least, at the time, it was a lot.
My menstrual cycles have always been a tough time for me. I mean, cramping was never an issue, but I was still fatigued, and well, I bled a lot like A LOT. Oh yeah, and there was the bloating I experienced. My stomach would become so bloated during my cycle, and I could never understand why. I remember wearing shirts during my cycle that would hide how engorged my stomach was. When I noticed that my stomach was still larger than normal after my cycle ended, I knew I had to do something. Something was wrong; I did not know what to call it.
I first learned that I had (or may have had) uterine fibroids in 2018 during a routine pap smear. My OBGYN felt my stomach and said, “Oh, you may have fibroids.” After my appointment, I made an appointment to get an ultrasound (per her recommendation) to confirm what my doctor told me. I went and got my ultrasound, and my results confirmed that I had fibroids. Yes, more than one. One on the instance, I was glad that I knew why my stomach was so large and why my cycles were the way they were, but, on the other hand, I was scared. I did not yet have kids, and I wanted to know if I would be able to. I didn’t know what living life with fibroids looked like moving forward.
During my December 2019 annual, I made it a point to ask my new OBGYN about my condition. Yes, I switched doctors because I did not care for the bedside manner that my previous OBGYN had or lack thereof. At first, I was reluctant to have a male OBGYN for apparent reasons, but looking back, choosing him was the best decision I made! Since having fibroids, my annual visits have never been comfortable. When he performed the routine evaluation, I felt so at ease!
My doctor had an excellent bedside manner, and the minute he pulled up my chart, he explained that we had to talk about my fibroids. Even though it is my health, I was impressed with how concerned he was. He was very compassionate, but he also gave me the facts. He said, “If you want to have kids, you have to do this.” I don’t know where they came from, but girl, the tears rolled down my face. I never had to have major surgery, and I would need to have one and do it soon.
I was emotional because it was a lot for me to process. I was in my third year of the doctoral school and a full-time employee at that. Honey, where was I going to find the time for surgery? I had to make the time. My doctor told me that I could have the surgery done in March. I thought that March was great because it bought me enough time to prepare. Right? Wrong!
About a week later, my doctor’s office called me and told me that I would have to have the procedure done in January. January?! I freaked out, but I said okay and immediately started to prepare.
I turned 30 on January 20, and I had my surgery on January 24. I was nervous about the surgery, so for my birthday, I honestly did not do much. I wanted to be still and prepare. My mother drove me to the hospital that day, and everything went according to plan. I remember counting backward from five and waking up in recovery.
The name of my procedure was a medical myomectomy, and it changed my life. Recovery sucked because of where my incision was. I was not in pain, though, thanks to medication. However, if I had to do it all over again, I would. My periods are a million times better! I did not know that periods could be so great! I sound like a crazy person, I know, but if you know, you know. I am less tired, and most importantly, I am free of fibroids. My doctor removed four fibroids from my uterus. You know what else? Even though I was still swollen, immediately after surgery, I noticed my stomach was not as abnormally large.
I want to encourage you to pay attention to your bodies and act soon if you feel that something is off. It could make all the difference in your health and quality of life.
Jasmine Kelly is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. Jasmine is a higher education professional who believes in the powers of Black Twitter. You can follow her on Instagram @chicomydusty.