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The pain started in 2011; I was writing my Masters dissertation, preparing for a professional exam, working two jobs and walking an average of 60 mins everyday. So, having aches in my pelvic area didn’t really look like something to be overly bothered about.
The pain did not stop after weeks of taking pain meds, and along with it came a heavy downpour of period blood. Stained cloths, stained seats, stained sheets – I left blood everywhere I went.
Diagnosis showed I had multiple fibroid growths.
The gynaecologists I saw said they didn’t see an immediate need for surgery; I was placed on medications for the pain and heavy period.
I was happy I didn’t have to go for a surgery, and that the frequent visits to the hospital had come to an end – I have a terrible fear of doctors. Every time I consult a Doctor, I tremble inside!
I wondered for how long I would have to live with the pain and heavy periods and for how long I would have to keep taking the pills to live a normal life. I found some comfort in the fact that it is not a terminal illness, and braced myself for whatever was to come.
The heavy period became less frequent after some time, but the pain came really hard. I did whatever I could to live in spite of it.
There were times I would tie a scarf hard around my pelvic area – I can’t explain how, but it gave me some relief, sometimes I would massage with hot water and sometimes just finding the right position when sitting or sleeping helped. There were times I literally stopped on the road because it felt like I was going to die if I took another step.
In 2013, I started a new job that requires back to back traveling. I was often fatigued, but I did a good job at managing the pain and keeping it from everyone except the closest people to me. I really didn’t want to be known as the girl who is always in pain.
I saw two other gynaecologists during this period and they said pretty much the same things the ones I had seen earlier said.
Pain became a part of me. Some times I stopped it, Some times it stopped me.
Sometime in 2014, the fibroids became quiet. No serious pain, no heavy periods. I stopped worrying about them. It was like it never happened.
In 2016, my period started getting excruciatingly painful again, but I didn’t think it could be the fibroids. I just thought it was just being temperamental.
One day in April, I woke up with pain so bad I almost passed out. I went to the hospital, the Doctor said it was ulcer and he sent me back home with some medications, but the pain got worse.
Two days later I could not walk or stand by myself anymore, and I was back in the hospital. Then, they said they suspected Urinary Tract Infection and I was admitted.
They saw the fibroids during examinations and said they could be the source of the pain. I told them I am sure it is not the fibroids, I know how that pain feels and this is worse.
They called in a gynaecologist who did further examinations and said one of the big sized fibroids was degenerating and they may have grown bigger, and the numbers increased since the last time I did a scan.
I was on admission for about a week, and after rounds of medications, the pain subsided but never really went away. Two weeks later I was back in the hospital, and it just got worse from there.
My quality of life went downhill; I was always in pain, always fatigued.
I knew the fibroids had grown; I would lie on my back and touch one of them bulging right through.
I got to know after the surgery that a pecundulated fibroid was twisted on its stalk and may also have been responsible for the severe pains.
I struggled to sleep, I struggled to work; I struggled to concentrate on anything.
Every morning I dragged myself out of bed, put on every strength I could get to go work, and then come back home crashing.
Packs of pain meds littered everywhere, I was exhausted.
My insurance could cover me for the surgery at the Hospital where I was treated for the degenerating fibroids, but I chose to go outside my cover to do the surgery at South Shore Women’s Clinic in Lagos.
I had been there before and I think they are great at what they do.
They did their best to answer all my questions before the surgery. I was particularly afraid about the risks of having scar tissues and adhesions after surgery.
The weeks before the surgery were particularly hard, it was like the fibroids knew their time was about to be up and wanted to give me the best of the pain they had before they were evacuated!
The pain, the fear – nights after nights of tears and exhaustion.
I eventually had an Open Myomectomy in August.
I don’t know how to describe the cocktails of emotions that ran through me going into that operating room, but regaining consciousness after anesthesia is one of the happiest moments of my life.
Many fibroids of different sizes and types were removed, my discharge notes described them as;
- Some large subserosal pedunculated fibroids
- Multiple intramural fibroids
- Two small submucosal fibroids
Recovery was hard. I had some good days and some very bad days.
I went back to work four weeks after surgery; I couldn’t drive until six weeks after surgery, I couldn’t travel until about seven weeks after surgery. By the eighth week I was back to almost all my normal activities.
It has been four months since the surgery, I can’t say I am back 100%, but I am in a better place.
I am so grateful for the many stories I read on forums online from women all over the world who have or have had fibroid. I decided to share mine hoping someone will find it useful too.
If there is anything I haven’t talked about but you will like to know about my fibroid story, please feel free to send me an email.
We will also be happy to publish your fibroid stories on woman.ng! There is a high rate of fibroid amongst Nigerian women; you just never know who your story will help! Please feel free to send your story to my email.
And finally, here is my favourite song of 2016! Through the really dark times, God rained His peace on me through this song.
I particularly like to shout at the top of my voice when I sing the line “you split the sea so I could walk right through it”
Thank you for reading and sharing my posts, I wish you life, health and wealth in 2017.
My name is Shola Okubote, I am the Founder of Woman.ng
You can reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org