hysterectomy, uterine fibroids, fibroids, endometriosis, gynecological issues, perimenopause , uterine biopsy, cancer, poor man's d and c, D&C

Why I Won’t get an Elective Hysterectomy to cure my Uterine Fibroids

by Deborah Cruz

As a woman, after a certain age, that age is 30, seems like for every gynecological issue the final solution for everything is a hysterectomy. You’re spotting. Let’s give you a hysterectomy. Cramping. Hysterectomy. Heavy periods. Hysterectomy. Uterine fibroids or endometriosis? Hysterectomy. You stub your toe? Bump it, let’s throw out your uterus.

It’s not just me. I have loads of friends who have suddenly been recommended to get an “elective” hysterectomy. I don’t mean elective like getting your teeth whitened or vaginal rejuvenation. They mean, “well, you’re done having babies. You don’t need that thing anymore. Crampy? Tired of periods? Why not try floating ovaries on for size?” So does that mean since I won’t be breastfeeding anytime soon, we should just cut those off too?

I feel like it’s jumping the gun a little to offer to remove my parts just because things don’t run exactly as they used to. I mean, I’ve been pregnant three times and each time I was, it was like there was a little Oprah here in my uterus going, “And you get a uterine fibroid and you get a uterine fibroid and YOU GET A UTERINE FIBROID!” Heaven forbid you find out that you have endometriosis, they may not even ask. They’ll just go ahead and schedule you an appointment.

READ ALSO: The Gynecological Misadventures of a Millenial- ish Mom

There were two births and a D&C, things are not what they used to be. But, every 28 days, menstruation happens and every 14 days ovulation happens. My fatal mistake was that at my last appointment, I went in there complaining about my “heavy” periods. You know because I was getting tired of 5 days of heavy bleeding. Next thing you know, ” How about a hysterectomy, Debi? You have uterine fibroids that aren’t growing. You said yourself that you’re not going to have any more babies. Why not just get the “procedure”?

So the doctor did my exam and low and behold, my irritable cervix decided to have some breakthrough bleeding right during the exam. How damn rude. My doctor, knowing that I am a complete freak about these things sprung a surprise biopsy on me. Ironically, not the kind of surprise you want. It was like a painful pop quiz for my cervix. Remember, that deep cervix who is a major priss? She does not like to be poked and prodded. She needs a little tenderness.

I went from waiting for biopsy results, Mama’s first cancer scare, to biopsy-induced bleeding. My doctor said the heavy bleeding was most likely from the fibroids that are not growing but are pressing on my uterus and when I menstruate are causing heavy periods. These were my options. Can you guess the first one? A hysterectomy. Absolutely nothing wrong with me but since those pesky periods were annoying, let’s just take out that uterus of yours. Nope. Pass. Next, up, we can go in and surgically burn them to make them smaller. Lastly, we can just put you on some low dose progesterone birth control pills. Yes, I said. I will take option C. Also, why was the least invasive option given last?

READ ALSO: How to Explain Where Babies Come From

The catch was that I couldn’t start my birth control pills until I started my next regularly scheduled period. Which never came. Three months later, walking around feeling 13 months pregnant because I was so bloated I called my doctor and gave her the scoop. She said these things can happen. My uterus and cervix got all freaked out from the biopsy and like an anorexic’s body goes into starvation mode and tries to hoard calories, my uterus and ovaries were holding on to my eggs and lining like they were the last in the world.

Finally, I had a period. Oh and if I thought the “heavy” periods of before were bothersome, let me tell you what 3 months of built-up uterine lining exiting your body feels like. It was painful and “heavy” can not even come close to describing what happened to me. I was afraid to leave my house. It was like having spastic bowels but in your vagina.

I stuck it out for 3 months but basically, it felt like I was hemorrhaging all month long and remember the severe anemia I had? It’s back with a vengeance because my gynecologist made the connection, the uterine fibroids are causing the heavy bleeding which is causing the anemia. Iron and I are in it for the long haul.

I started getting depressed, remember the old nurse who asked me if I was perimenopausal at that last visit? Yeah, I just called her old because she called me perimenopausal. Well, I started thinking maybe I was and if I was, there is no way I will survive menopause. No effing way I can go 3 months without a period and feel like a Thanksgiving day parade balloon or bleed out for weeks at a time. My anemia got so bad I was having blurry vision and feeling fainty.

I quit the birth control and just like when I got the biopsy, my angry cervix and uterus got together and mutinied on me and had some weird rando 5 day period like experience and this past Saturday ( while I was on vacation because my period has wanderlust) I get my period…28 days later. Is it just me or do you see why they named that zombie movie what they did?

Anyways, the day I got my biopsy, I had spoken to my bestie (who is also a doctor) and she told me that she was having a hysterectomy and getting herself some of those fancy newfangled floating ovaries and I should do the same because periods are for losers. I felt kind of peer pressured, like in high school when some cool kid offered you a blunt at a house party and you didn’t puff and you just gave but you second-guessed that decision for the rest of high school. Maybe floating ovaries are for me? But then, if I let them take my uterus the terrorists win and by the terrorists, I mean that fucking 60-something-year-old nurse who asked me if I was perimenopausal. I got really offended, and now, I just want to keep having my 28-day cycle forever and hear my gynecologist tell me that I have the uterus of a 25 -year-old.

I guess the moral of the story is don’t complain about a 5-day “heavy” period because it could be way worse, by like 3 months. And also, even though I know all the cool kids are doing it, I’m not sure floating ovaries are for me…yet. What about you?

Has your gynecologist offered you vaginal rejuvenation with a side of hysterectomy?

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9 comments

Krystel Spell 2018/04/10 - 11:57 am

This is so on-point. GYN’s seem to be offering this more and more. The sad part is a lot of people in my family took the doctors word as the gospel and got it done out of fear. It’s the same thing with scheduled C-sections. How do we know they are really necessary! Thanks for sharing!

Reply
Lauren Dimet Waters 2018/04/10 - 1:05 pm

I got super heavy periods about 4 years ago and was told it was because I was peramenopausal. It was awful and painful so I went for an ablation which has been life changing. I mean I am too old to have kids anymore so I was thrilled when my periods were practically gone. My gyno never recommended a hysterectomy, just this ablation. And it doesn’t throw you into menopause. But if I had fibroids, and this is just me….and I was done having kids, I’d do a hysterectomy to be on the safe side. I’d rather have no uterus than one with fibroids that could turn into cancer. My mom had to have her uterous removed in her 30’s! And you know what? It didn’t make her feel like any less of a woman. But every woman has to make the decision that works for her. I believe that entirely. Thanks for sharing.

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Deborah Cruz 2018/04/10 - 1:29 pm

Lauren, They check my fibroids every time I go in. If they start to grow, I would definitely consider the hysterectomy. Although, she said we can try ablation to shrink the size of the fibroids so that they aren’t pressing on the wall of my uterus. This is actually my first cycle since stopping the birth control and going back natural and it was a regular 5 day, 2 heavy day period. I think I’m just going to leave it alone unless the anemia inducingly heavy periods come back.

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Audrey McClelland 2018/04/10 - 1:17 pm

I have been hearing this more and more lately as I’m getting a big older. You need to do what’s best for you. I agree that feeling pressured is the worst thing, just because “everyone is going it.” Thank you for sharing this, I love your perspective and honesty. XO

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Jennifer 2018/04/10 - 4:06 pm

I actually go next week for an ultrasound for suspected uterine fibroids. Oh joy. I guess I am the weird minority, but I would probably opt for the hysterectomy, just because I am tired of the whole monthly madness.

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Vera Sweeney 2018/04/10 - 7:09 pm

I applaud you. Truly. And thank you for being so open about something so personal.

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Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski 2018/04/11 - 1:07 pm

A hysterectomy seems like a drastic and unnecessary choice, especially if the biopsy is negative. You may want to check with other doctors first. Maybe someone who is more pro-natural methods. You’re still so young.

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