I’m thankful to have the opportunity to share my personal story involving uterine fibroid tumors. I want other women to know that although toxins may not be the cause of fibroid tumors, eliminating or at least minimizing them from your body and life can help you feel much better and contribute to improvement of symptoms.
My story happened gradually. I remember being in my junior year of college and becoming nauseated sometimes—if I didn’t eat a large amount of food, for example. I didn’t think much of it because I was so busy with school, and it didn’t really affect my life too much at that time.
Soon after graduation my symptoms started to become increasingly noticeable. My symptoms included daily nausea (it turned out I had a fibroid sitting on my bladder), exhaustion, and heaviness on my stomach. This happened for at least three years, and I went to several doctors in an effort to find out what was wrong with me. I’d been getting my yearly pap smears and was never told I had fibroid tumors. I was even told by one doctor that I was perfectly healthy and just needed to “get a boyfriend.” I was shocked that they could not tell me anything because I knew that something wasn’t right. Once I did “get a boyfriend,” sex was unpleasant and painful, but I thought it was because it was my first time and I was inexperienced.
I distinctly remember the day that I realized that my problem was stemming from my stomach. I was shopping with my sister at T.J. Maxx and as we headed to the car my stomach felt strange. I stopped walking and, bent over holding my stomach, told her that I was sure that whatever was wrong with me was stemming from there. I knew I wasn’t pregnant because I was single by this time. When I got to the house I lay on my bed and pushed down on my stomach and noticed that it seemed to be hard at the bottom. I’ve always been small so it wasn’t difficult to feel the tumors. It was as if they suddenly grew large over night.
The next morning I asked my mother to go to the clinic with me to get checked out. The doctor immediately felt the “mass” and ordered an ultrasound. The tech saw several tumors on the ultrasound and ordered an MRI. The MRI showed that I had several tumors in my uterus, four of which were large. Because I did not have any children and was so young (age 24), a uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) was recommended—it would shrink the tumors, was non-invasive, and had a very short recovery period.
I got the UFE and it shrank the tumors. I felt relief from my symptoms almost immediately after the procedure. No more nausea, no more fatigue, and no more heaviness from the tumors sitting on my bladder. About two years after the procedure I noticed that the tumors seemed to be growing back. They did shrink with the procedure, but they were still there. I did not change my lifestyle in any way, and so of course they grew back (but with no symptoms except for the heaviness). Ultimately I decided to get an abdominal myomectomy in 2012, in which you are cut open to have the tumors removed.
After this I knew I had to make a lifestyle change. I slowly started eliminating toxins from my body by changing my products such as my lotions, soaps, shampoos, etc. I eliminated all products with parabens, phthalates, and other common toxins. I began making better food choices, I started taking daily probiotics and multivitamins, taking vitamin D3 (deficiency is thought to possibly be linked to fibroid growth), omega 3s, exercising more often, drinking more water, minimizing my sugar intake, eating less processed and fast foods, doing yearly cleanses to eliminate candida from my body and waste, and many other changes. I ended up losing weight (that I was not even trying to lose from this) and my blood pressure went down. I began to feel so much better and I contribute this to these changes.
I found out about WVE by accident one day when I was browsing the internet. The topic of toxic chemicals and women’s health interested me, so I signed a petition asking a popular brand to remove toxins from their product. I had been eliminating personal care products that contained toxins for a few years by that point and felt that my signature may make a difference.
I know that there is a chance that the tumors may return, especially because they run strongly in my family, but by living a healthier life I will protect myself from ever experiencing this disease to the extent that I did in the past. Right now, I feel great and that is what I am focused on. I’m currently getting my masters in mental health counseling and working at a psychiatric hospital in Little Rock, AR as a counseling intern. I will be graduating in June 2014. I finally got my life back!