Infertility is devastating, no matter how you slice it. After a five-year battle with tremendous fibroids, and trying every possible solution to man, I had to acquiesce to the fact that there was no other possibility than having a massive myomectomy that would remove my fibroid tumors, which turned out to be as large as a honeydew melon.
At 36 years old, I found myself on a business trip to Ireland. I was living a fast-paced life, jet setting all over the world, working for a top motivational speaker. I had scheduled myself to be in Ireland this week to become certified in neurolinguistic programing and hypnotherapy.
My first day started just like any other in a new country, I laced up my running shoes, asked the front desk for the nearest path to the river and headed out on a morning run. This was my favorite way to explore a new country and see the landscape. Upon reaching the river, I found myself sitting on the bridge, not feeling so hot. I chalked this up to jet lag and — although even I was not convinced this was all it was — I knew I had a jam-packed week ahead and did not have time to be sick.
I made my way back to the hotel, approached the same front desk and asked where the nearest hospital was.
The Irish emergency room was not too different than what I had experienced in America, and after being seen, I was instructed to go across town to another hospital. Another exam followed, and then a diagnosis of an infected cyst that would need surgery. This was not in my schedule, so I pleaded with the doctor to find another way and allow me to return home for the surgery. He expressed that he did not recommend this, but I insisted. He gave me a bottle of pain medication, and sent me on my way to return home to have the surgery.
I, of course, had other plans and popped a few pills and made my way into the certification course. I figured a few more days couldn’t do much harm and made a deal with myself that I would have the recommended treatment immediately upon returning to the U.S.
The week was incredibly painful, and not only from a physical standpoint. I had a raging infection, a cyst the size of a golf ball and the emotional intensity of a certification course that was designed to be taken over many months, yet condensed into six full days.
I was in pain mentally, physically and emotionally. I was also highly trained in overcoming pain and pushing through to create what I desired in life. I made it through the course with a 98 percent on one of the toughest tests I had yet to take.
As I landed back in the States, with my certifications in tow, I went straight to Kaiser to have the necessary surgical process. After the impending trauma, my life took a turn for the worse. During the procedure, the doctor discovered what he suspected were common fibroid tumors. I needed some tests to rule out anything more serious and was sent home with a brochure and a scheduled MRI date.
He also said if I wanted children, I shouldn’t wait too long, as I was not getting any younger and this could complicate things.
Those cutting words were more painful to hear than the physical pain I had endured with the procedure. I wanted to have children more than anything in the world. I was heartbroken. Crestfallen.
The suspicion of the doctor was correct, and I was diagnosed with two fibroid tumors, one the size of a golf ball and the other a super ball. To make things worse, the lingo doctors use is “weeks pregnant” to determine the size of the tumors. At this stage, I was eight weeks.
Time went on and I was determined to get rid of these tumors naturally. I tried every single thing you could fathom: lotions, potions, pills, meditation, heat, ice, good thoughts and thoughts of them being obliterated like a bomb. Literally, I tried anything you could imagine.
As the years passed, my hopefulness shrunk, but the fibroids did not. At the time they reached five months in size, I will never forget the look on my doctor’s face. He did the exam, and then had a look of sheer panic, due to the magnitude of the tumors. He did this move that was like a forward moonwalk as he glided to his computer with a look of terror to compare results to previous exams. He scolded me that I had defied him long enough, and that my health was now in jeopardy. I no longer had a choice in this matter and needed emergency surgery.
He sent me straight to the surgeon.
Her news was worse. Due to the size of the tumors, I would need a hysterectomy and would not ever be able to have children. The last few years dealing with this situation were like a slow, abrasive chiseling away of my self-esteem, happiness and confidence. This was like being shot in the stomach with a cannon.
I cried. I cried for days.
I found myself on the kitchen floor tiles with my puppy licking away my tears and thinking if not for her, I am not sure I want to or can go on. This was the worst thing that had ever happened to me and I had been through a lot in my years.
When I had no more tears to cry, I decided that I would exercise whatever power I had. I scoured the Internet to try and find any alternative I may have missed. I found a newer and “highly painful” surgery that could use small silicone pellets to cut off the blood supply to the uterus, causing the tumor to stop growing. The results were not guaranteed and also: It would cut my chances of having children by 25 percent.
Since my current outlook was not so hot, I decided to take the risk. The surgery did not go well. As advertised it was incredibly painful and instead of preventing the tumors from growing, they caused mine to grow. I was whatever comes after devastated on the emotional spectrum. It was about this time that people started to mistake me for being pregnant. They would make comments. My lowest low was during a massage when I rolled over and the therapist gasped and said, “I would not have worked on you that hard if I knew you were pregnant.”
I knew where I was headed and what I had to face. I also knew that the one last thing I could do that would possibly ensure that I might be able to have children was to freeze my eggs. I did not have the resources to do this, but I also knew that I would do whatever it took to make this happen. I spent my life’s savings and the next 30 days giving myself shots. When the time came to do the harvesting, I felt a slight empowerment that overshadowed the pain and depression that had been lingering since this drama had started.
Like all other pieces of this process, this procedure did not go well. I woke up after the process to be told that they couldn’t reach the right ovary, due to the size of the tumors, and they had to puncture my abdomen to try and reach the left — and they were not able to retrieve many eggs. The nurse did tell me that she had never seen the doctor work so hard and that he truly did whatever he could to try and make this work.
I reluctantly scheduled the massive myomectomy that I had been fighting so many years to prevent. This was a huge blow to me and it drained me spiritually, emotionally and physically, as my guts were literally ripped open and then sewn back together. The tumors they removed were the size of a honeydew melon, the surgeon had explained to me.
I was left with dozens and dozens of stitches both inside and out and a large red scar that stretch across my abdomen. I was certain that nobody could ever love me with this scar and that life, as I knew it had ended.
The next few weeks, during my recovery, things got worse. The boyfriend I had, who gave me strength, quickly dumped me, as I was cramping his style with having to be in bed all day. The job I had for the last two years cut my salary by 40 percent with no reason and no warning.
Some family friends were renting a holiday house up in the wine country for Thanksgiving and talked me into going, even though I assured them I would be no fun. The sleeping and bathroom conditions were interesting, as we had this large master bathroom, shared between six of us. I was terrified to shower, in fear that someone would see my scar.
I mustered up all of the courage I could to shower that first day, with my girlfriend Christiana also getting ready. She immediately saw my huge red scar. She gasped and said, “Look at your scar!”
Something shifted in me. I decided to own it.
I said, “Isn’t it sexy? I love it.”
I do love it — it serves as the reminder of a massive fight and — for me — a massive win. I was able to do things my way. I also proved to myself that I could handle anything. Not a day has gone by where I have not looked down and loved that scar.