Blood, sweat and tears: A personal look at women’s health

OF THOUSANDS OF WOMEN… ESPECIALLY AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN. OUR VERY OWN ANGELA GREEN IS ONE OF THEM… SHE JOINS US NOW IN THE STUDIO WITH HER STORY. YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED MY 6 WEEK ABSENCE BACK IN FEBRUARY… THAT’S WHEN I DECIDED AFTER YEARS OF SUFFERING FROM EXCRUCIATING PAIN – AND LITERALLY BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS – TO HAVE MAJOR SURGERY TO HELP EASE SOME OF THE COMPLICATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH MY FIBROIDS. BEFORE I GET TO MY STORY, LET’S LEARN EXACTLY WHAT FIBROIDS ARE AND WHY ONE LOCAL WOMAN REACHED OUT TO SHARE HERS. “i was at work one day and I had some nausea, vomiting, pain, not knowing what it was. I went downstairs to the emergency department found out I had ovarian cysts AND fibroids” THAT DAY… NURSE KEAIRA LEWIS SAYS HER LIFE CHANGED. AFTER AN ULTRASOUND, DOCTORS FOUND AT LEAST 7 FIBROIDS IN HER UTERUS AND WITH THEM SEVERAL COMPLICATIONS THAT LASTED FOR YEARS, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S TIME FOR HER MONTHLY PERIOD. if you think about it you take a week for the cycle, then the week before – it’s like half of your life you’re dealing with this pain, this situation, this drama” KEAIRA IS NOT ALONE… THE OFFICE ON WOMEN’S HEALTH ESTIMATES THAT UP TO 80 PERCENT OF WOMEN WILL DEVELOP FIBROIDS BY AGE 50. THE GROWTHS DEVELOP FROM THE MUSCLE TISSUE OF THE UTERUS. DESPITE THE FACT THIS AFFECTS SUCH A HUGE CHUNK OF THE FEMALE POPULATION, MANY WOMEN DON’T KNOW THE FIRST THING ABOUT FIBROIDS. WHEN I SHARED MY STORY IN A FACEBOOK LIVE POST – BEFORE MY SURGERY, DOZENS OF WOMEN INCLUDING KEAIRA, REACHED OUT, ASKING ME QUESTIONS. FIBROIDS RUN IN HER FAMILY. “it caught my attention by it being something that I can relate to my mother, my sister, several other women, other african american women a lot of people just don’t talk about it” AWARENESS, IT’S AN ISSUE DOCTOR MARIE ROWE WITH GREENVILLE WOMENS CLINIC SEES ALL THE TIME. “i have seen many a women come in complaining of other symptoms, the most common presentation for women with fibroids is that they don’t come in saying i have fibroids what do i do? they come in telling me that they’re tired, that their period is heavy and a lot of women chalk it up to that’s just the way my body is” DR. ROWE SAYS FIBROIDS CAN BE AS SMALL AS A PEA OR AS LARGE AS A WATERMELON… or painful periods, Feeling of fullness in the pelvic area Enlargement of the lower abdomen Frequent urination Pain during sex Lower back pain Complications during pregnancy and labor, Reproductive problems, such as infertility THE SYMPTOMS AND COMPLICATIONS THEY CAUSE CAN DEPEND ON THE NUMBER, SIZE AND LOCATION… WHILE THEY ARE OFTEN CALLED TUMORS, IT’S SUPER IMPORTANT TO KNOW ALMOST ALL FIBRIODS ARE BENIGN. “we don’t know why they develop but it can be a genetic predisposition, it runs in families. It can be that it just happen. we do know there’s a racial disparity with fibroids that we see more fibroids in African American women and they tend to grow more aggressively” DR. ROWE EXPLAINS MOST WOMEN WITH FIBROIDS DON’T HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS. BUT AT LEAST 30 PERCENT OF THOSE AFFECTED WILL HAVE SEVERE COMPLICATIONS. “when fibroids become a problem for women depending on what physical ailments she has, it can wear on her just like any – chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain syndrome like fibromyalgia. it wears on our mood and psyche because we know how we feel yet we don’t want to feel that way, but the sense of control is lost until we seek treatment” THERE ARE SEVERAL TREATMENT OPTIONS AVAILABLE “treatment is dependent on your personality, it’s depending on your life stage, whether you desire fertility of future child bearing or not.” WHILE SOME DRUGS CAN TEMPORARILY SHRINK THE FIBROIDS, BIRTH CONTROL PILLS, HELP TO CONTROL BLEEDING ISSUES BUT DON’T TREAT THE ACTUAL FIBROIDS, . THEN, THERE ARE SURGICAL OPTIONS, SOME MORE INVASIVE THAN OTHERS, DEPENDING ON YOUR EXACT DIAGNOSIS… ALL OF THE OPTIONS DO COME WITH THEIR OWN SET OF RISKS. “for a woman that has multiple fibroids, robotic surgery is an option if the fibroids are deeply invasive in the muscle it comes with a big risk of blood loss. IN FACT, FIBROIDS ARE THE LEADING CAUSE FOR HYSTERECTOMIES. 12:41:39 “the main thing I focus on is quality of life how, what can we do to make you feel better and there’s never a wrong answer in what you do and there’s never one treatment that’s best for all women” UTERINE FIBROIDS ARE ALSO HORMONE DEPENDENT… WHICH BECOMES A HUGE ISSUE FOR WOMEN OF CHILD BEARING AGE… KEAIRA’S SYMPTOMS ARE NOW MANAGED WITH THE USE OF BIRTH CONTROL PILLS. “it does make me wonder about are they growing, how will it affect me when it comes time to have children” WHILE HAVING CHILDREN… IS NOT A PRIORITY, THE 31 YEAR OLD SAYS HER CLOCK IS TICKING… BECAUSE SHE RECENTLY GOT MARRIED. “my obgyn told me when i get ready to have a child, the surgery may be an option for me” “it makes me feel like it’s gonna be very very painful, and then there’s the risk of miscarriage, which is painful on another level, those are the fears that I have” AND THAT FEAR IS SOMETHING THAT’S ALL TOO REAL FOR ME AND AND THAT FEAR IS SOMETHING THAT’S ALL TOO REAL FOR ME AND MY FIANCE, AFTER WE SUFFERED A MISCARRIAGE … DUE IN PART TO MY FIBROIDS. COMING UP TOMORROW AT 5-30… I’LL EXPLAIN HOW THAT ACTUALLY INTENSIFIED THE GROWTH OF MY FIBROIDS… AND TAKE YOU ALONG ON THE EMOTIONAL JOURNEY TO IMPROVE MY QUALITY OF LIFE.

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