All Is Better.. We Think. My Health Saga Part 1

I have debated for months about sharing more of my minor medical issues.  Sometimes I feel it falls under the category of TMI but other times I feel like I am referencing it so much that it must be a bit frustrating to readers.  I hate when people hint and hedge on social media!... but I also don't want to gross any of my readers out.



Be warned if you don't want to read about periods, bleeding, blood clots, etc. you might want to just skip today's post and I totally get that.  Hope we'll see you back here tomorrow!

I am completely squeamish about any sort of bodily fluids which may be why I ignored symptoms I really shouldn't have been ignoring.

I also wasn't sure where to start the story as it's taken several months to get to here and this could be a very long blog post but I finally decided like any good story I need to start near the beginning.

For well over a year I've noticed each month my periods were getting heavier, I was having a bit more cramping and pain, even passing an occasional blood clot which I had never had before.  But I also had been reading up on peri-menopause and knew that I could start seeing signs as early as my 40's (which I was in) so I assumed that's what was going on.

Until one day in August when I went to get my hair done and in under 30 minutes passed so much blood that I had soaked through the tampon, pad, and even clothes I was wearing.  As I was cleaning up in the bathroom I also passed a few large clots.  I noticed I was feeling a bit light headed and shaky upon arriving home so I began Googling "is there such a thing a too much blood loss during period" "how much bleeding is too much" etc. and basically realized I needed to stop putting it off and go see a doctor.

Based on what I read I assumed I had a fibroid, cyst, or polyp.  After looking around for a primary care physician who was accepting new patients I made an appointment.  I also took out a notebook and wrote down all I could remember that had been happening, dates of all my periods for the year, questions and concerns I had, etc.

The big day arrived and after a full physical she agreed that I probably had a fibroid and wanted me to have an ultrasound.  She also wanted to test my blood for hormone levels, see if my thyroid was working properly, and most importantly to check my iron levels.


Turns out my iron levels were so low I've been taking TWO iron supplements every day now since Sept!

After reading up on iron deficiency myself after the diagnosis, it explained so many "other" symptoms I hadn't even noticed-- I was tired all the time, I was becoming increasingly forgetful, I often had moments where I'd stand up and I had instant/ persistent vertigo like feelings, my heart was racing after just standing up or climbing the stairs.

Rather than just going home and waiting for my ultrasound appointment I began looking up OB/GYN's that were accepting new patients and called one that was nearby.  I explained that my doctor thought I had a fibroid and had already set up an ultrasound for me but I wanted to make my follow up appointment now-- good thing I did as the wait was 4 weeks away!

The nurse that I was talking to immediately listed ALL my symptoms and confirmed my doctor's feeling.  She suggested I cancel my ultrasound and just have one in their office on the day of my appointment.

My 1st ultrasound showed several things:
  1. I had a small cyst on each ovary (but that most likely wasn't causing my problems)
  2. I had a small fibroid tucked up in the back of my uterus (that most likely wasn't causing my problems either)
  3.  There was another growth; most likely another fibroid or perhaps a polyp or uterine cyst that was near the base of my uterus but that the imaging was having a hard time getting a clear picture of.  
  4.  The lining of the uterus was 3 times thicker than normal-- most likely causing the excess bleeding and probably caused by the abnormal growth.  
But we had more questions we needed answers to before we could do much of anything about it.  My doctor wanted to do a hysterosonogram in another month; it's an ultrasound where they inject fluid and dye into the uterus for better imaging.  He also wanted to try and schedule the procedure around day 8 of my cycle to make sure those excess layers were in fact shedding each month.  We were also going to do a biopsy of the mass and make sure it wasn't cancerous.  

Only problem was my periods were becoming more and more irregular and scheduling a procedure to land on a particular day of my cycle proved to be nearly impossible.  

We had to cancel and reschedule and it ended up being a few more months where my pain just kept increasing each month until I was finally able to make it for ALL my procedures.  

I gave the new ultrasound tech a quick update on what we were looking for and within minutes she had a great image (without even administering the fluid!).  It looked like a partially deflated balloon with a long string attached... pretty much a textbook image of a polyp. 


I knew it was something to see when she left the room to call up to the doctor and came in with another ultrasound tech.  It was kind of funny watching the two of them Ooh and Ahh over the size of the growth. Both asked me what my periods were like and weren't at all shocked by my answers; in fact they confirmed what I'd been hearing from just about everyone-- that I'd feel so much better once this was removed. 

My doctor came in, did the biopsy, and administered the fluid.  He said as best as he could tell it was a polyp and not a fibroid because the sides were smooth.  Either way the procedure was the same and I was going to need a D&C under anesthesia to have it removed.  His first available opening was the Monday before Christmas.  I told him to book it; I knew it was outpatient but honestly I'm not sure I would have even cared if it wasn't.  By that point I was in pretty much constant pain.  

He called the day before Thanksgiving to let me know the biopsy results showed the growth was benign and that they were working to schedule my procedure on the 23rd of December but that I would be required to have one last check-up in the office before the big day. 

The check up was just a formality and other taking a quick weight and blood pressure reading I was good to go.

I'll get into the actual procedure and follow up next month in part 2.

Linking Up With:


JENerally Informed



Comments

  1. Wow, so glad you've come through this and will now be free of that misery!

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    1. Oh I sure hope so; though he has warned me it's not a guarantee but a starting off point... I hope he's just being over cautious.

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  2. Glad to hear it was benign and hopefully taken care of! I admit I was wondering what your procedure was regarding, but understood you not sharing more. On the other hand, it's nice to have you share, in case someone else may have similar symptoms! I have been getting super dizzy when I stand up for a bit now, though it's gotten a little better lately, and my doctors just say it's low blood pressure. I guess with other symptoms it could be something more, luckily I don't have any bleeding like you did!

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    1. That's why I finally decided to just go ahead and share it; if it can help anyone else than it's worth sharing.

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  3. I have been in the midst of menopause for over five years now and it is so frustrating and just, hard. Sending you so much love. Being a woman is so hard and no one talks about it. Thank you for talking about it. :)

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    1. Seriously, no one (or hardly anyone) does. I even tried checking out books from the library and they were all so vague on what to expect. I truly thought that's what this was... but according to both my Drs. I'm just not quite there yet.

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  4. I"m so glad that it was benign, but I'm so sorry to hear about the constant pain that you were in.

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    1. I was very relieved; in fact I was stunned when he first mentioned doing a biopsy because I had not thought cancer at all.

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  5. I'm so glad the doctors were able to find out what was going on with you and I'm even more happy that it was benign! Thank goodness! I hope you feel so much better now!

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    1. I am feeling better for sure. Maybe not all the way better; we'll see. But a lot better for sure.

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  6. Holy cow, what an ordeal! I am so sorry you were suffering with pain all that time. So glad you got good results and I am happy you shared this. You probably helped someone else who is dealing with the same thing or something similar. Hope you have a great day Joanne!
    xo,
    Kellyann

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    1. Yeah it was quite an ordeal; I began to feel like I was living at the doctor's office. I hope I can help someone with this post which is why I finally decided I just had to post it whether it made me a bit uncomfortable or not.

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  7. Bless your heart. Female problems are the worst especially when we are in our 40s, things just start going awry. I am so glad they were able to find out what was wrong and I’m hoping that you are now pain-free!

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    1. They sure are! I'd say I'm mostly pain-free now. Enough that we're going to wait a few months before deciding what (if anything) to do next.

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  8. I'm so glad you were able to get this taken care of. I think I mentioned to you before that I had very similar problems, complete with the very low iron count about 10 years ago. A uterine ablation solved the problem.

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    1. They were debating the ablation but ultimately thought the D&C would be a better fit; that was why I waited for a second ultrasound. He was really kind of questioning what procedure would be better and wanted a better idea of what we were truly dealing with.

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  9. So glad you shared this! I have a friend right now going through very similar things. I am so glad it was benign. Hope you are feeling better!

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    1. Oh I hope she's feeling better soon; it is no fun.

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  10. I’m glad you shared because nothing drives me more crazy than when a blogger says she’s sick but doesn’t get more specific. One blogger I know recently said that, then suddenly her blog was completely shut down. I have been so worried as I have no idea if she’s ok. It can be frustrating. But it’s good to know what is wrong and how they can treat it.

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    1. I worry too when I don't hear from bloggers after they've said they weren't well.

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  11. I am so sorry that you have been dealing with this, and especially through the holidays. Glad you finally decided to get checked. I had similar issues before finally have a partial hysterectomy. Because they left my ovaries in tact, I didn't go immediately into menopause afterward. Hope you can soon put this kind of scary, inconvenient health issue behind you.

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    1. Thank you. I am finding out that it is so much more common than I originally thought. It seems like the more I talk about it the more I am hearing stories about others who have gone through something so similar.

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