#Fibroid Society

Womanhood | By Batsirai Chigama, Poet | 07 May 2015

Almost three years ago I experienced extreme pain in my left lower abdomen. I could not run long distances. I could not squat or do sit-ups. The pain was so intense at times it would wake me in the middle of the night and I would struggle to get out of bed. With no medical insurance then, I decided to sit-it out, as if that was possible. The pain got worse and one day I willed myself to go and see my GP and the moment she felt my tummy she said I had fibroids, several she said and I was sent for a scan just to confirm. Five of them it was revealed, with the largest at 7.2cm in diameter.

I was referred to a gynaecologist who immediately told me I had to get the fibroids removed as most of them were already too big. With my HB(Haemoglobin level) too low at 7.2 it became a task again to get it to at least 12 before the doctor could operate, that and a bill of almost USD4000.00 in total. After the operation I was told that everything was good but I needed to have kids within three years or the bloody things would invade my womb again, and they have. He also said when they do come back most times there is no option but to take the whole womb out. Too much drama that. The experience was traumatic for me and the idea of having children while still feeling that much pain was also too much to handle. What causes fibroids? Well my gynae said they don’t know what causes them.

Over the past three years I have spoken to many women in Zimbabwe who have suffered the same. Too many women suffer silently because this is an issue of the womb and such issues cannot be talked about publicly. I feel this problem is much bigger than our health system cares to admit. Otherwise what is the explanation when 7 out of 10 women waiting to get scanned, have fibroids, yes true I was the last one in that queue and the sonographer told me, she found it scary too. She said the number of women being diagnosed with fibroids is alarming and attributed to a highly GMO diet.

I know my story will speak to other women who have gone through the same and those that are going through the same too. You may be asking yourself why me? You are not alone. How do we deal with this demon?                

I regret having gone blindly through the first operation.  I regret not having done enough research, looked for alternatives before rushing to go under the knife. On the surface, because of the extreme pain one may experience, an operation sounds like a solution but if the fibroids will recur then this is far from being one.  This time around I have scoured the net looking for alternatives and using myself as a guinea pig, if it doesn’t work I will eventually do the surgery but right now that’s the last thing on my mind, I am concentrating on shrinking these fibroids for good and if it does work, then my experience may help other women who suffer silently and endure this pain without anyone to talk to.  I have spoken to a number of people who have also assisted in my journey to find an alternative solution to this problem.

It is believed diet may have a lot to do with the many diseases affecting people today.  Many sites I have gone to suggest that a plant-based diet is the way to go.

Sometimes I cheat, it’s difficult because this is rather an expensive diet and sometimes I find myself in a space where there is just no alternative and have to do with what is available but I have generally stuck to this diet with a couple of herbal teas that I take.  Some women spend a number of days per month in the torture chamber, with cramps, pain in the lower back and bouts of nausea, heavy bleeding for the rest of their lives and as if this is not enough get fibroids and  whole shebang of issues develop such as: Heavy bleeding, Anaemia, Bouts of dizziness, Miscarriages, Failure to conceive I tell myself that my health is not my parents’, boyfriend, brother or even my doctor’s responsibility so am continuously on the look out to hear what other women have gone through, share experiences and help each other along the way. To every woman I say your health is your priority and I feel no one should have such sensitive spaces like the womb mutilated if they can help it. I hope that in the next issue, I will be able to share with you the results of the journey I have embarked on.