Fibroids, periods and me

I’m tired.

Tired of it all.

Tired of having to pretend that I’m not tired.

Tired of pretending I’m happy and everything is ok, and it’s all going tickety boo.

Well, it’s not.

I’m pissed off most days, I don’t sleep, I have no energy and I know I’m just like other mums I work bloody hard when I am at work, I have to deal with all the crap that comes with looking after the house and family, and I have to manage the kids’ regular demands and meltdowns, because it’s coming up to half term or the holidays and they’re tired. I get it, it’s a mum thing. But sometimes it would be nice for it not to be just a mum thing.

I’m so tired I usually end up falling asleep as soon as I sit on the sofa after doing the kids’ bedtime, listening to them read is one of the nice parent activities at bedtime I thoroughly enjoy, and then they get a bit of time with me to chat or get a story read to them. The downside is this can get dragged out a bit, especially when they are avoiding going to sleep! Every parent knows these techniques!

The house looks like a rubbish dump and there are dishes still in the sink after our evening meal most days. I don’t have the energy. Judge all you like if that’s what you want to do but I am just too shattered to care.

Why do I feel like this?

This has building up for a long time, creeping up on me without me realising.

Ever since having our second child I’ve suffered with extreme periods. So after consultation it was advised I have a coil fitted to manage them and help me through the menopause. Having a coil fitted helped a huge amount and it was heaven to be period free for 4 years, but then BOOM all of a sudden I began having periods that I can only liken them to being like I was having a miscarriage every single day that they lasted, I know what it’s like to miscarry and the bleeding was awful. Initially it was awkward, uncomfortable even, but they were just about manageable. Then, they started getting longer and heavier and I was going for a month with a week break in between. At one point I thought it may be the menopause kicking in, after all I was coming up to that age where it can start. I had some of the symptoms, but it didn’t quite seem right somehow. I kept thinking it might be more than that. Cue a call to the doctor as we were bang smack in the middle of a lockdown.

The coil failed a year early according to the Doctor so I was popped on the mini pill to see if this would sort it out. It did for a while and then it all started to happen again. Getting to the point where I ended up wearing maternity pads that were the size of nappies and having to change them every half an hour. Sometimes it got so bad I managed ten minutes between changes. I was having to sit on a towel on the sofa just in case of leakage!

maternity nappies v night time sanitary pads

As you can imagine going anywhere or doing anything was pretty much impossible without a lot of forethought and planning! And the emergency Amazon deliveries of ‘spares’ was becoming so frequent I knew the delivery driver by name. It was like having a baby again but an adult one, having to take a spare set of clothes, especially ‘bottoms’. Maternity pads (nappies) are extremely bulky so it was pretty hard to hide a pack when out and about. Going to work was tricky and I was finding myself feeling really tired only a short time into the day, I as beginning to feel breathless and my heart kept doing funny things. I felt bloated all the time and despite not gaining weight clothes were so much tighter and very uncomfortable. I was dreaming of wearing some of my lovely white lighter coloured spring to summer clothes but realistically that wasn’t going to happen. I was on constant rotation of loose elasticated dark coloured trousers, I simply couldn’t wear anything else ‘just in case’!

It all came to a head over a year later when I managed to get an appointment for a new coil to be fitted. At last I was thinking, it will all be over and I can get back to normal. Err, no. Not that simple. I had a coil fitted but that was when the doctor discovered what he thought were fibroids, pretty large painful ones. Made sense with the boating and pain and constantly needing to pee. I can remember having treatment for endometriosis after my first child was born so maybe the two things are connected somehow. The doctor managed to place a coil in but it was out two days later during a particularly heavy bleed. Call to the doctor again who arranged a scan, which confirmed what he thought. Day before the scan another coil was fitted. It stayed in for a week this time but came out again. I had got to the point where I felt so weak I couldn’t walk from the sofa to the kitchen without feeling I was going to collapse. I was given tablets to stop the bleeding but they only worked short term and it was back to square one.

Apart from the obvious physical issues I was beginning to feel mentally exhausted. Being fobbed off all the time by Doctors who clearly didn’t believe me when I explained just how heavy my periods were and the impact it was having on my family and me. I had to insist on bloods being taken to check my iron count and platelets with the last conversation with a doctor and he wasn’t keen on me having it done, but sometimes you have to find the energy to fight your corner. I know the signs this isn’t the first time this has happened.

I was looking colourless, my skin was grey, I had even been in the sun and still looked grey. I was constantly falling asleep clearly this was not normal for me. I was tearful at home and broke down when I went to have blood taken. Even the nurse said she thought I was anaemic just by the look of me even before she took blood. Turns out she and I were right, I also discovered I have an extremely low potassium count. Yeah, fab. What else can be thrown at me!

Oh look, I match my hoody

I’m waiting for a referral to the Gynaecology specialist to see what can be done and have to cram as much iron into as possible through tablets and diet. I’m still feeling tired, fed up of wearing maternity pads every day and I’m still bloated but the iron tablets have helped a little and I’m not as out of breath as I was. Small mercies I suppose.

With the stories in the news about women’s benign services being dismissed (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/jun/02/dismissal-of-womens-health-problems-as-benign-leading-to-soaring-nhs-lists) I can honestly say I don’t hold out much hope the anything been even looked at this summer. I know they would prefer to keep me on tablets that don’t work rather than look at non-invasive techniques to rid me of the fibroids. I guess it’s all down to money and not my quality of life to the powers that be.

What can I offer in terms of advice to you if you’ve been through something similar?

FIGHT YOUR CORNER. I know how hard it is to do, you’re tired and feel like you’re in a horror film on a daily basis. You struggle in to work, doing the things you do every day because it’s expected of you. But you absolutely must speak up. It’s the only thing you can do to get yourself noticed. Read up about the various treatments. Go in informed with information and don’t let them fob you off with excuses or treatments that won’t work.

I’m going to chase for information and I will not give up on this. I need something constructive to happen and for it to happen soon. I do not want to live like this and nor should I have to. It may take some time, but I’m not giving up.

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo

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