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  • Writer's pictureCarita Marrow

Part II: Now How do you hide Fibroids Equivalent to the Size of being 20 Weeks Pregnant?

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

My fibroid journey continues and it appears my diagnosis is worse than anticipated. I finally was able to secure an appointment with a fibroid specialist to assess my recovery options. The appointment was right before a work trip and speaker opportunity on the topic, “Black Women in Tech do exist.” I was juggling work emails moments before the appointment, carrying luggage while trying to mentally prepare myself for the convo with the specialist and minimize my nervous sweat. I stepped into the SF Women’s Center’s, checked in and sat in a patient room. I had a notebook handy to take notes. The woman specialist, my fibroid doctor calmly walked into the room and began discussing my options. She had already studied my ultrasound. I took notes but my hands were shaking so much that I just stopped writing. She asked me generic questions, “Are you experiencing pain and do you have irregular cycles?” I answered yes to both. She then gave me options she provided for treatment:

  • Laparoscopic myomectomy. Minimally invasive procedures, your surgeon accesses and removes fibroids through several small abdominal incisions.

  • Abdominal myomectomy. your surgeon makes an open abdominal incision to access your uterus and remove fibroids. Your surgeon enters the pelvic cavity through one of two incisions. A. horizontal bikini-line incision that runs about an inch (about 2.5 centimeters) above your pubic bone. B. vertical incision

  • Wait it out.

Option three puzzled me. My period pain was getting worse and my body was getting more and more cramped. Why would I wait? I decided at that moment in her office that I couldn’t wait. I needed these painful benign tumors removed. After removal, then I would work on freezing my eggs and using my companies health benefit to pay. I had so many women reach out to me via social media and let me know they had fibroids removed and successfully had children. I remained optimistic.

Once I told my doctor, I wanted to move forward in the next steps, she ordered an MRI so she could easily see the exact location of the fibroids, it’s the impact to assess what two surgery options I was eligible for.

March 7, 2019, 7:15 pm

I arrived for the MRI procedure after jumping off Caltrain. I was one of the last appointments of the evening and was ushered to the changing room. I was ordered to remove all pieces of clothing, jewelry and change into provided gowns. The nurse led me to the next area where I was instructed I needed to get an IV. I was a bit puzzled and I was not advised I would have that type of MRI. I hate blood and needles. I muscled up the courage and sat calmly through the needle poking while the nurse cracked a couple of jokes. The nurse gave me crackers and water to fill my hangry appetite. Then she advised me I would be in the MRI machine for 45 minutes. Ok, I thought, this was not what I expected. I nervously freaked out in my mind and gave myself a pep talk.

The MRI specialist sat me on the table and gave me instructions. The table began to move forward and my head was partially covered. I opened my eyes and could barely breathe. I panicked and asked the attendee to pull me out! At that moment I realized I was CLAUSTROPHOBIC.

The specialist pulled me out and waited patiently while I patted my tears. She gave me headphones for music and an eye mask, then covered my eyes with a towel. 45 minutes later, I survived the MRI and was another step in the right direction for recovery.

March 19, 2019, 1:30 pm

The fifth and final appointment. The fibroid specialist walked into my waiting room. I had my mom on speaker phone.

Then my specialist let it all out. The full diagnosis from the visible MRI pictures on her monitor: I have 10+ fibroids all totaling the size as if I am 20 weeks pregnant. (That five months people!) How is this even possible? I mean my stomach does protrude pushing my belly button out, but how. This still baffles me.

The second part, I was not eligible for the minimally invasive surgery, but only for the advanced myomectomy. The abdominal myomectomy would require me to stay two nights in the hospital with 4–6 weeks of recovery. My uterus was so crowded from the display that I could barely see my ovaries. It was hard for me to digest this information. But on the other hand, it was also a sign of relief. I admit I did cry in her office. I had never had major surgery and feared the worst. The silver lining, I would have a normal and much flatter stomach post surgery. And, it would be still possible for me to bear children but only through C-Section. At least I could schedule the birth of my future children.

March 21, 2019

My surgery is scheduled for May 1. Things I have to think about, possibly having to get a blood transfusion or using my recycled blood in case there is a mishap. I was able to schedule the full six weeks off from my job where I was still received 100% of my salary. I am fortunate I have an amazing team who will take on my projects. I am also blessed that my mom will be in San Francisco from Virginia taking care of me post surgery for the month. She is an entrepreneur who can simply work anywhere.

The best part about telling my story is that I’ve encouraged other women to schedule appointments. I’ve had several close friends reach out to me noting that they just received ultrasound results and discovered fibroids or they have scheduled future consultations with their OBGYN. Some have found fibroids and others have found out they have endometriosis, another blind disorder that impacts woman. So many women are living in pain for years and often times have to see several doctors before being diagnosed. It’s a scary reality.

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