Mid-April 2008. My gynecologist told me my uterine fibroid tumors (aka “fibroids”) had grown to a size equaling a 16-week fetus. Lots of women — 25% of all women, 50% of Black women — have fibroids. Not a biggie. But carrying the equivalent of a 4-month old fetus can start to affect your quality of life. (And I don’t just mean being denied a flat stomach!) I had been enduring pain and “inconveniences” for awhile, and my doctor advised me to have the tumors surgically removed. Well, I might have considered that as an option… until she explained the procedure:
First, my uterus (a woman’s is normally the size and shape of an upside down pear) would be lifted out of my lower abdomen and placed on top of my stomach where it would then be manually searched for the hardened growths that are to be cut away. She compared this to pinching and squeezing a pillow with your fingers to find embedded objects that feel harder than the rest of the pillow, and then pulling and cutting those objects out of the pillow. (Sophisticated, huh?) The search is done by touch, moreso than by sight, because the tumors aren’t easily seen.
Hearing all this made my hips hurt. I didn’t want my fragile fallopian tubes pulled on like cheap rubber bands. I didn’t want my precious uterus wrung out like a kitchen sponge. The whole thing sounded SAVAGE and BARBARIC to me. My legs were crossed. My arms were crossed. And I was entirely resistant to this myomectomy.
Now, as a Black Woman who has many Black Women in my life, obviously I have heard numerous first-hand accounts of post-myomectomy experiences and recoveries. (Interestingly, not one of them had doctors as graphic and descriptive as mine, and they had no idea what was actually happening to them during their sedation.) But you know what’s interesting? Half of them had their tumors return! And medical journals confirm this statistic. Excuse me, but a 42% – 55% likelihood of recurrence tells me that surgery is not the best treatment option. It may be the easiest, as I could simply turn over my womb and my responsibility to someone else. But easy rarely equals best.
I thanked the doctor for being so clear with me and told her I would take some time to decide my course of action. She said that was perfectly understandable, but she warned me not to take too long with this “benign negligence.” She wanted me back in 3 months…
From mid-April up to this very moment, I have immersed myself in literature about non-surgical healing of fibroids. And this is where and how my Gateway Experience happened:
I learned that fibroids are made of fibrin. → I learned that enzymes “eat” fibrin. → I declared enzymes my new best friend. → I learned that uncooked vegetables, fruits and sprouts offer the highest levels of natural enzymes. See where this logical progression is headed?
My uterus led me to enzymes. → And enzymes led me to the wonderful world of RAW!
This journey — which now feels more like an irresistible gravitational pull — is just getting started. I’ve only been applying the information I’ve read for a couple months now (since June), but already I see and feel radiant changes. I’ve jumped in with both feet… all chambers of my heart… all quadrants of my brain… and, yes, all centimeters of my uterus. :-)
UPDATE! (04.17.09) – Thanks, Marina, for requesting this. I can’t believe it’s been 8 months?! Yes, an update is long overdue. Here goes.
Q: “Please tell us if you succeeded staying on a raw diet.”
I started out gung-ho… striving for 100% raw intake. Key word: striving. After a few months, I found it very difficult to sustain, and I didn’t like the unnecessary guilt I was carrying around about, say, a salad dressing that was processed, or in-a-pinch water that came from a plastic bottle. I allowed “100%” to become a perfectionistic monkey on my back that, temporarily, had me concerned and confused about whether I could completely embrace this as a lifestyle long-term. I cut myself some slack, stopped snubbing the idea of 75%-raw (aka “high-raw”), and am much more happy and steady at that level. I do believe that as I continue to grow and evolve in living food, I’ll eventually find no satisfaction in any dead, processed food whatsoever. But at this moment in my life, pushing for 100% perfection drove me nuts, and away from raw living. While allowing myself grace and wiggle room actually reinforced my love of raw, and my ability to now see it as a part of my identity, moreso than my diet.
A: “And if it made a diference to the fibroids.”
I have not returned to my OBGYN for a follow-up. But even without her sonohysterogram (saline ultrasound) — which was very painful to me — I know that they have shrunken in size. I know this because: (1) my cramps are nowhere near as painful now (5 out of 10) as they were pre-raw (9 out of 10); (2) I have actually passed considerable amounts of fibrin during flowing times (trying to euphemize here); and (3) I see a visible difference. In addition to these benefits, I’ve also been enjoying increased energy, optimized creativity and perception, strong, growing nails and hair, and — amazingly — improved eyesight!
I doubt the fibroids are completely dissolved, but I may very well be in a better position now than some of my friends who endured the surgery, only to have them return. This may sound odd, but my fibroids actually gave me two gifts: (1) the motivation to research and, therefore, learn about high-vibe eating; (2) the reminder to stay mindful of my feminine and creative energies, as well as my emotional well-being (metaphysically, fibroids represent repressed creativity and nurtured emotional hurts). So, eating consciously, living truthfully and creating/expressing freely are necessary for my uterine health. Having to be so conscious of my uterus feels empowering to me as a Woman. Our culture makes such a big fuss over boobs, butts and legs… what about our glorious uterus? (I know I’m a little over the top, but I don’t care).
Anyway, the fibroids don’t threaten my life. They’ve actually improved it. And I just don’t see how an M.D.’s surgically-biased diagnosis can be more powerful or meaningful than my own.