I had 4 uterine fibroids removed on Monday, September 20. My gynecologist, Dr. Tiffany Jackson (Baylor Scott & White- Plano, Texas) was able to perform a robot-assisted laparoscopic myomectomy which is a minimally invasive surgery leaving me with small incisions on my stomach.
After a successful surgery, Dr. Jackson came into my room to go over home care and told me one of my fibroids weighed 2 POUNDS!!! She said and I quote, “It was heavy! It’s like you gave birth to a premature baby.”
What are fibroids?
Black women are up to 3x more likely to develop fibroids more often than women of other races, and can have more severe symptoms.
I had no idea about this shocking statistic until speaking with my doctor!
Come to find out, my mom had her fibroids removed after giving birth to me and my brother. Both surgeries didn’t affect her pregnancies and made it to full term.
- Prolonged menstrual periods- I didn’t know when my period started and stopped. Doctor visits were fun because when they asked “When was the last start date of your period?” I had no idea.
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Enlarged stomach- I truly felt bloated and LARGE. I was carrying around 2-3 lbs of unwanted weight.
- Pain during sex- Fibroids + Newlyweds = No bueno
- Lower back pain
- Frequent urination- It was almost reminiscent of when I was first diagnosed with T1D.
I was told that my stomach looked like I was 5 months pregnant.
I’ve been carrying around this extra weight for more than a year and there I was thinking it was the COVID- Quarantine 15! I wasn’t seeing results from my Chloe Ting home workouts and recent Zumba classes, my energy levels were at an all time low, my sex drive was non-existent, I was bloated all the time and I could feel the cantaloupe sized fibroid in my stomach. I had back and pelvic pain for so long and thought it had to do with my newly inserted Kyleena IUD (this is me self-diagnosing myself) and had it removed back in March.
That didn’t fix anything.
In one ear I’m being told by my endocrinologist that I need to workout more to improve my overall health and well-being to get my A1C down and in the other ear I have my gynecologist telling me I have 4-5 fibroids that have grown significantly in the past 2 years and that I will feel discomfort in my daily life.
*My interpretation* Your fibroids are hindering you from becoming your best self. These fibroids are the reason diabetes was dictating my life. I couldn’t be active like I was accustomed to which meant my diabetes management was being controlled by 4 balls of growth in my uterus… great.
On top of these fibroids, I had to remind myself that I also have an auto immune disease called Type One Diabetes, which comes with its own ups and downs.
Let’s just say I haven’t been the nicest person lately and my husband has shown me nothing but grace and patience.
Throughout all of last year, I had pelvic exams, blood draws, and numerous doctor visits with both my endocrinologist and gynecologist gearing up for this surgery.
After 2 canceled surgery appointments in July and August, due to my diabetes being out of range, I really had to buckle down and focus on getting my levels back in range. Both my endocrinologist and gynecologist wouldn’t give me clearance until this happened. It felt like they didn’t want me to be great but looking back I’m thankful they cared so much because I had a successful surgery and the healing process is going well so far.
Day of Surgery:
My surgery was scheduled for 7:30am (first surgery of the day) because I’m type one and I couldn’t eat or drink anything from midnight the night before until after my surgery.
The night before the surgery, I was monitoring my blood sugar on my Dexcom and I was pretty much in range all day Sunday. I had my last meal around 8pm and as we approached midnight, I was in range but almost “too normal”. My BG was 80 mg/dL at 11pm and I was like this can go one of two ways… I might go low during the night, which would mean I would have to eat or drink something AFTER midnight. So, I had a juice box and patiently waited for my sugar to elevate before I closed my eyes. I was around 114 mg/dL at midnight. 😴
I woke up at 4:15am to shower once more with the prescribed antibacterial soap (Hibiclens) and my blood glucose was sitting high at 224 mg/dL, so I corrected it. I was way more comfortable going into surgery higher than lower because it’s easier to treat a high (giving more insulin) than it is a low because I couldn’t have anything in my system at this time.
My endocronologist, nutritionist, and I had a plan pre- and post-surgery. Everything was going as planned until it wasn’t.
We arrived at the hospital at 5:30am for check in and my sugar would not go down! I started to lowkey freak out because my gynecologist wanted me below 200 mg/dL going into surgery. I kept correcting and correcting and my levels wouldn’t budge.
Fast forward 2 hours and it was surgery time! I was getting prepped by the nurses and they took my glucose and it was sitting at 214 mg/dL *still not understanding why my body is not following doctor’s orders!
My anesthesiologist, Dr. Webb came in the room and we went over the process, had me sign some papers, and identified where my insulin pump and sensor were located on my body. I put both devices on the back of my arms out of the way of my stomach area. He proceeded to remind me to run my temp basil which I was hesitant to do now (even though that was the plan during surgery) considering my BG was already on the higher side and I had insulin on board. He said he would rather have me in the low 200’s during surgery with a temp basil running than in range with the potential of going low. I was honestly impressed by Dr. Webb’s knowledge of T1D. I set my temp basil to 40% decrease for a duration of 4 hours.
It was go time!!
It took 24 hours for my glucose levels to return back in range.
I had one of the highest daily streaks of great in range blood sugars I’ve had in a while.
*I’m starting to think that my fibroids were affecting my glucose levels… 🤔
It wasn’t until this surgery that I realized how much we use our stomach muscles on a daily basis. I can’t cough, sit up, sit down, use the restroom, dance, sneeze, and most importantly laugh without it hurting.
I had my first car ride 5 days post-op. See why this was a not so good idea on my Instagram post!
It’s important to vocalize any pain you may be feeling and seek the necessary help you need. After I was done self-diagnosing myself and making random appointments with all types of doctors, I simply told my gynecologist how I was feeling and we went from there. The pelvic ultrasound showed clear as day all of my uterine fibroids. They grew twice in size over the last year! I knew I wasn’t going crazy.
Since having the surgery, every day I feel like I’m getting stronger as I’m slowly weaning myself off the pain medications. Even though I walk slowly slumped over, don’t enjoy car rides, hold on to the sheets to get in and out of bed, and can’t seem to grasp the concept of placing a pillow over my stomach to cough, I remind myself how far I’ve come in one week!
The healing process is definitely a test for my patience.
To stay in the loop on post-surgery updates, follow me on Instagram @livingdiabetter.
If you have a fibroids story I would love to hear from you or if you have any questions for me, comment below!
A big shoutout and THANK YOU to my doctors and nurses. You all made this process and day very comfortable for me.
Dr. Heidi Shea- Endocrine Associates of Plano
Dr. Tiffany Jackson- Baylor Scott & White Gynecology Specialists
Dr. Jerry Lee Webb- Anesthesiologist, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center- Plano
Stacy Koenig- Pre Op Team, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center- Plano
Robin Hanks- Charge Nurse, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center- Plano
Robin Jacks- Guest Services, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center- Plano
Nurse Naomi- Baylor Scott & White Medical Center- Plano
Nurse Angie- Baylor Scott & White Medical Center- Plano
Nurse Terrie- Baylor Scott & White Medical Center- Plano