Fibroids hurt and often we as Black women don’t talk about it.

Yesterday, was a slow descent into menstrual hell.

It was day two of my monthly cycle, my heaviest day, and once the two 500 mg generic tylenol wore off, I was on a fast decline.

By 11:45pm, I was a shadow of my former self and I couldn’t stand up. I just laid in my bed writhing in pain. So much pain, that I couldn’t actually cry.

Once those generic tylenol wore off I was losing blood rapidly and it felt like someone was sawing my pelvis in half with a chainsaw. I managed to help with homework, maintain text conversations to distract from the pain, and I took several naps.

Fibroids 500 Erica -835

As I write this, I am writhing in pain. I won’t take the big tylenol again until I have to attend an event and pretend that I am normal.

I live with large, uterine fibroids. I have been struggling with managing my fibroids since my late 20’s. Probably around age 28 is when my cycle radically changed and I started to notice something was wrong.

I didn’t get help into my 30’s. So you can only imagine, like an idiot who hadn’t been properly educated on this affliction, I let things get really bad.

Before my return to the States from England, I had been on my period for 6 months, if not spotting for an entire year. When I arrived back to the States, I still had to secure a job, get insurance, and then find a specialist. By then, I had been slow hemorrhaging for a good long while. My iron was non existent. My sex life, albeit married, was non existent. I was in pain, and I felt broken. I felt completely broken because of my condition and I felt unloved, unlovable, and ultimately undesirable.

Not only was I physically in pain, it was taking a huge toll on me emotionally.

I got a myomectomy and removed my first set of large fibroids. They were so large they had to reconstruct my uterus for me to conceive. Afterwards, even when I had conceived my miracle baby, while I was pregnant the fibroids started growing back.

And now, thirteen years later, I’m f*cked. … to put it mildly.

I have been trying to get a hysterectomy for the last 3 years, but I couldn’t because my Sarcoidosis wasn’t under control. Yeah, you read that right. Not only am I struggling with these growths in my belligerent uterus, my immune system is a bit helter skelter.

I digress.

I need a total hysterectomy at age 47 going on 48. Why? I am losing a lot of iron and my monthly cycle is the equivalent of being tortured at Guantanamo Bay. I’m having more “accidents” and overflows than when I started my period as a tween. Every cycle, I have 2-3 accidents and decimate my clothes. The pandemic has given me reason not to leave my house. However, I wouldn’t ever think about leaving my home during my cycle. On my heaviest days, I’m passing notable blood clots every 30 mins. I live in the giant no. 5, overnight, sanitary pads. And I run through 10 – 15 of those on my heaviest days.

Yes, you read that correctly. 10 – 15 of the largest sanitary pads on the market. That’s on day 2 and day 3 of my cycle.

The critical mass for me was when I had my IUD in, the pain was much worse and the bleeding was heavier. I was popping ibuprofen to just manage the pain and bleeding. Somehow in the year of the murder hornets aka 2020, I got a DVT (giant blood clot) and was put on blood thinners. This meant bye-bye ibuprofen. Hello generic tylenol. Then that also meant, who the f*ck is about to monitor my liver? I keep thinking go myself this is a living nightmare.

My iron was low and that I had to have an iron infusion. The infusion went well. The next day, the very next day, I started my cycle and all hell broke loose. I was bleeding like crazy. It was like someone was pummeling my ovaries with a hammer over and over and over again. I was passing huge clots that looked like small pieces of liver.

My second iron infusion, I had some type of reaction to the iron and had to be given steroids and meds to stabilize me at the doctor’s office. I started cramping like crazy and it had me on my knees begging for Grace and mercy.

That very next month, the fibroids pushed my IUD out, whole. I was able to pull it right out. Whole.

My cycle became 10% lighter, so instead of hemorrhaging at the speed of light during my cycle, I’m now hemorrhaging slower and with slightly less painful cramps. So I am able to ball into fetal position and cry from the pain a smidge faster than usual.

This is my life with fibroids.

I am brought to my knees every month. Every f*cking month. It hurts. It ruins my quality of life. I cannot stand for hours upon end. I cannot sit up. All I can do is lay there. I have terribly night sweats. I bleed through my clothes, no matter how careful I can be. Usually, these accidents happen when I take a iron depleted nap and I’m laying down for too long. And because I am so many medications for other things, I have to use the extra strength generic tylenol sparingly or else I will completely f*ck up my liver.

Fibroids hurt. They hurt physically, they hurt emotionally, they affect you mentally. Black American women are more likely to have fibroids. We are not talking about this enough. If someone in your family has fibroids talk to them, please. Get a first hand education on what it is like to live with these monsters. And true, not everyone experiences these extreme horrors like I do, but more Black women need to speak out about this.

The good news is… I am having a hysterectomy. Finally. Albeit, in a damn pandemic, I am finally getting permanent relief from my fibroids.

And then I go straight into menopause. Stay tuned.