My name is Danielle and I have fibroids.
Fibroids are benign tumours which are sensitive to an excess of oestrogen, and grow in or attached to your womb. Actually, it is the excess oestrogen which causes them to grow.
I recently found out that my fibroids have grown– they’ve grown bigger and they’ve grown in number. The biggest ones are around 6cm now. That’s the size of a tennis ball.
My womb, which should be about the size of a pear, and reach up to about normal bikini line, is now up to my belly button. The size it would be at 20 weeks in to a pregnancy. And the tennis ball tumours and their golf ball sized buddies are filling the right hand side of my lower abdomen, displacing and squashing the things that should be there. Like my intestines and bladder.
Fibroids are hormone sensitive. This means that they are different at different times of the month. About half of my menstrual cycle, approx 2 weeks of every month, they are inflamed. Bigger. And more problematic. I have difficulties digesting food. Even foods that I can eat fine the rest of the time. I get lots of stomach aches, indigestion, heart burn and my intestines cramp. My system fluctuates erratically between being blocked up and quite the opposite, as it tries to process what I’m eating and keep all normal functions going. I need to pee a lot because my bladder doesn’t get much space. I am very uncomfortable. My stomach swells up. I hold lots of water. I look distended. I feel sad on the inside. Everything feels a bit more like hard work.
It took me a while to work out what was going on. At first I thought I had food intolerances. My GP even screened me for Coeliacs Disease. I didn’t notice the monthly pattern for a long time, maybe because it was so….often?! And felt at times so permanent. I kept a food diary and couldn’t work it out from there. And then I felt some lumps one day when I was in digestive distress. Big, round, hard lumps to the right of my belly button. If I’m honest, I got scared that I might have cancer.
I had an ultrasound last month and saw them. Actually that made me sad too. The sonographer said “oh my goodness, you’ve got them all over”. That didn’t help. When I think about them I feel worried, and sometimes scared. It makes me uncomfortable to think that my body is hosting these unwanted masses, and that they are growing. Other times I just put it out of my mind.
I’m glad I found out what was going on. I’m glad it wasn’t cancer lumps. I’m glad that the difficulties I’ve been having with food and digestion now have a reason, and finally things make more sense. I am glad that the changes in my body that I visibly see week to week (the ones I don’t like) are not because I don’t train hard enough or eat right. Because the fluctuations between being visibly leaner and then suddenly fluffy bloated elephant feeling, kept me thinking that I was ruining my progress somehow, and that there was something else I needed to get right. I felt fat and horrid and demotivated. Often. I’m glad there is a reason why I don’t see the kinds of changes around my midriff as a result of my intense training and balanced nutrition, to the same degree that I see everywhere else in my body. I’m glad I now know why half of the month my middle feels like something that doesn’t belong on my body. Mismatched.
I know I haven’t written about my fibroids in over a year and half. But I am going to write about them a bit more for a while, as we resolve this and investigations continue. Next stop is heading back off to see my old consultant gynaecologist. I am hoping to have them removed. But I’ll keep you posted.
I know that there are women who follow my blog and my Facebook who have fibroids, who have shared their stories with me when I shared mine with them, through this blog back in 2012 when I first found out. Some of who I know personally, but most of whom I don’t. I know that sharing helps. It helps me and it helps some of you. So I look forward to talking to you guys and with you guys more about this over next few weeks.
Let me know if you want a post to fill in the missing 1.5-2 years, and I’ll try to summarise some of the things that have gone on, helped, improved, changed etc.
Over and out