Hello, my name is Cathia and I am a survivor.

I’d had very abundant menstruations for a week. I knew it was due to the fibroids I had had for years. At dawn on June 14, 2017, during my week’s vacation, I was losing a lot – far too much – blood (large clots). My instinct told me that was not normal. I had also become very pale, I had a lot of stretch marks on my legs, I was losing a lot of hair every time I combed my hair. My vision was very blurred, and I felt more tired than usual.

On June 14, 2017, in the middle of the night, I sat on the edge of my bed. I didn’t know for what reason. I simply felt a force pushing me to stand up suddenly. That’s when I got dressed and drove to St. Mary’s Hospital.

I had a friend who worked nights at this hospital, so I contacted her to let her know about my situation. As soon as I arrived at the emergency room, the nurse on duty took my blood pressure. While I was lying in one of the consultation rooms, seven different doctors came to see me to ask me about my state of health. I began to imagine all the bad news that these doctors were going to tell me.

My friend went to see the nurse to find out more about my condition. Instead of answering, she started asking her questions about me, asking if I got up every morning, went to work, and led a normal life like everyone else. My friend said yes, so the nurse explained to her that my hemoglobin level was extremely low and added that if I had waited even one more day, I might have died.

After their diagnosis, the doctors decided that it was urgent that I undergo an operation to remove the fibroids, but given the significant drop in my blood cells, they concluded that it would be too risky to operate on me in my current state. They decided to give me a blood transfusion and put me under observation to regulate my blood cell count.

After spending the night and the next day in the emergency room, I was discharged from the hospital and given about twenty types of medication to take a day to stabilize my blood loss while waiting for surgery. Despite the urgency of my condition, I was put on a waiting list for surgery.

During this time, the ultrasounds that had been carried out detected 6 fibroids measuring 10 cm each as well as a cyst on my left side, at the bottom of my belly.

After a few weeks of waiting, the hospital contacted me to inform me that the surgery would take place on July 25 at 12:30 p.m. I decided to have a hysterectomy (the removal of the uterus) despite the advice of my gynecologist who insisted that I was still young and could have children. I think that at the time I let fear take over and refused to hear anything anyone had to say. I said no and demanded that he remove the uterus. My doctor explained to me that the operation would last a maximum of two hours and that the next day I would be discharged from the hospital followed by a period of convalescence. On the day of my operation, I greeted my loved ones and added: “See you in two hours!”

When I opened my eyes in the recovery room, I looked at the clock in astonishment. It was 8 p.m.! The nurse said hello and I was shown to my room. Seeing me, my relatives shared an expression of relief after hours of worry without news.

Once installed in my room, I had urinary discharges. The stitches in my bladder were torn because they weren’t tight enough. Instead of urinating into the catheter, I had urine leaking out of the seam. A doctor on duty came to sew me up like a seamstress coming to do alterations on a suit. Phew!

Following my operation, three days go by without any news from my gynecologist for my follow-up. Finally, after a week to the day, my surgeon showed up to explain to me how my operation had gone. He began by saying to me: “Madam, I have never had to undergo an operation as complicated as yours!” He pursued. “During the operation, there were so many fibroids in your belly that they had made a hole in your bladder,” he says. Also, he couldn’t find my uterus. I never knew a uterus could move. I always thought it was all connected. The surgeon told me that he had finally been able to locate my uterus under my right breast and that after the operation, I could not wake up. OMG! I did not understand what this doctor was telling me. For me, it seemed like he was explaining the script for a horror movie released at the cinema. I couldn’t find any logic in his words. To conclude, the surgeon told me that everything was back to normal, that everything would be better for me and that I was like new. I thanked him. He wished me a speedy recovery and informed me of my release from the hospital.

This is my experience with fibroids! I consider myself a survivor. Now, by the grace of God, I’m fine

I hope my testimony can inform women of the importance of listening to their body, of paying attention to any unusual changes that appear suddenly or gradually in their body. If in doubt, ladies, go see a doctor, because it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

I want to thank the organization Vivre 100 fibromes, which informs, raises awareness, and gives resources to women who live with this scourge that affects so many women in the world. Good continuity !

Cathia, the survivor