Author’s Note: This post started out as one thing and in my ramblings, it became something else. Rather than fighting it, I decided to post as is. It’s honest and disjointed and exactly what I meant to say so here it goes…
I’ve struggled with the decision to openly have this conversation. It’s not polite. It’s TMI. It also may very well help another human being. Still, it has been a difficult couple of months for me, not being able to function like the vibrant and happy person that I know that I am. The truth is, it’s been coming on for years and it only just came to a head this last year. What’s happening to me, it turns out, happens to 75% of women between the ages of 30 and 55. I didn’t get help for a long time because no one is talking about it. I had to seek out a diagnosis for myself.
I’m talking about uterine fibroids.
I struggled with severe weight loss in my 20’s. I was never officially diagnosed with anorexia but I was definitely headed down that path. My periods stopped for several years and when they returned, there was no “normal” so I really didn’t have a standard to measure against. Each month was different and I figured I just had to deal with the consequences of my fluctuating weight and the hormonal unrest that it has caused. As, women, we are taught by observation, to just deal with our periods and keep them to ourselves. It’s not a polite topic. It’s why I’ve been hesitant to say anything. I don’t want to sound like I am complaining but you know what, I am complaining! Up until my diagnosis, I had heard of all kinds of ailments affecting the female reproductive system.
1 in 4 women will get them in their lifetime.
I write a medical drama so this stuff just interests me. I’d heard of endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, a long list of STI’s and cancers but until I really started digging, I’d never heard of uterine fibroids. Considering the earlier statistic that 3 in 4 women will get them at some point in their reproductive years, this is nuts. I’m sure it’s because the symptoms are, let’s face it, just plain gross we don’t like to mention it in polite company.
I’ll spare you the details but have you seen Carrie? Not our Carrie, Stephen King’s Carrie. I’ve suffered severe, SEVERE anemia. The anemia led to unimaginable exhaustion, which led to fits of crying and depression. My plans must always be flexible and my work has suffered. I’m not dumping this all out now in an effort to b*tch or ask for sympathy. I’ve gotten some great medical care and I’m on the mend. I’m able to exercise again and I’m learning patience and kindness toward my body in a way that I’ve never been able to do before. In some ways, I’ve had to start over with my fitness plans.
It got me thinking about our journeys as women.
We are all so different yet we have so much in common. We are hard on ourselves. We compare ourselves to each other and convince ourselves that we are not good enough. It happens to the most confident and pulled together women. What has happened to me, has made me more forgiving. I used to get caught up in negative self-talk if I skipped out on the last round of sprints in my HIIT session. Now, I celebrate being able to stand up in the shower while I wash my hair and congratulate myself that when I reach the top of the stairs, I’m not blacking out. (Yes, it was that bad.)
I’m not qualified to give medical advice and I can only talk about my own experience so I’ll save it for now. I’ve found a regimen that is improving my situation every day. I’ll divulge that info if I get any requests for it. The best advice I can give is to see your doctor way earlier than I did if there are any changes to your cycles that interfere with your life for more than one or two months. I worried that it would sound like whining or that I’d be told that it was just how it was and there was nothing that could be done. There is plenty that can be done and WE deserve to live the most vibrant lives that we can, for ourselves and for our families.
So, what’s next?
What’s next is, I put forth the efforts to getting back to me. I miss writing every day but it’s hard to write sexy when I don’t feel sexy. And when I know my energy is going to be limited, tasks get prioritized and writing gets bumped in lieu of work and sleep (lots of sleep). It makes me crazy because of all of the things I put my energy into, this story is the one thing that is begging to come to life. It’s clawing at my insides to get out and every day that it’s trapped in my brain is another 24 hours lost. But, that’s the old script. The one that is unforgiving and rigid.
You know the one I’m talking about.
The other “next” is a new section of this blog (you’re reading it now) Called Start Where You Are. I’m not completely inspired by that name so if it changes, don’t be surprised. I think the idea is pretty clear. The posts in this section are not about me and my journey, not exactly. It’s about all of us. It is about living our best and challenging ourselves to do more. And then it’s about treating ourselves with grace and love when more doesn’t pan out. Your more and my more may not be the same and that’s an amazing thing about being a woman. I don’t have to care about the same things that you care about in order to care about you. I love that you are different than me. What fun would it be to talk to and write to a bunch of other me’s?
The story is still primary, you have my promise. That’s how you got here and to flip the script would be unfair. I need a way to work through my creative blocks and this seemed to be as good a way as any and it allows me to stay in touch with everyone who has honored me by following NWT this far.
I do have an Amy and Nate post that’s nearly done. And DONE is better than pErfekt. Aaaaand several more that I hope to breathe life into over the coming days. If you’d like to be notified when new posts are up and stay up to date on plans for NWT the webseries, subscribe to my newsletter below.