I’m really tired about talking about my fibroid and the side effects its growth has caused me. If I never see another iron pill or MRI machine again, I would be as happy as a munchkin after the Wicked Witch has melted. After my recent second Focused Ultrasound (FUS) treatment, I’m hoping I killed the Wicked Witch of the West, the first time around having landed on the Eastern one.
After my first FUS last May, I had instant relief of pelvic pressure, and after a few menstrual cycles, the length of my periods decreased. But I was still having three to four days of heavy flow, and I was still taking iron pills to avoid anemia. The iron pills upset my stomach, and were just generally annoying to have to remember. Six months after the first FUS, I also started to have an embarrassing side effect of leaking clear fluid, requiring me to wear a tampon or a pad 24/7. I felt like the Scarecrow losing his stuffing. I spoke to yet another OB/GYN, who like all the ones before him, did not support the FUS procedure, and seemed almost to gloat in my misery, stating, “I’m not surprised this happened. I tell my patients this procedure is not ideal for heavy bleeding.” He recommended Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE), a procedure he himself performed regularly. That seemed like a bad option to me, after reading that one of the possible side effects of UAE was that a submucosal fibroid (which mine is) could make its exit in increments through the cavity of the uterus. Considering I was already experiencing a leaking uterus, I didn’t think it wise to add to the flow.
After participating in the Los Angeles panel on Fibroid Relief in late April of this year, I went for a drink with Jade, a former advocate for the organization. She had heard me tell my story and was familiar with everything I was going through. Jade mentioned to me that many women who have FUS go back multiple times, in order to treat the entire fibroid, if the radiologist or OB/GYN is unable to Exablate 100% on the first round. I was encouraged at Jade’s suggestion. However, Anthem Blue Cross had denied payment of my prior FUS treatment, even after an appeal and a third party review, so I was almost certain they would not cover the procedure a second time. I gently pushed away the possibility of getting back over the rainbow.
A week later, I met and fell for a great guy. This guy didn’t know anything about my fibroid, and so like the Wizard himself, he gave me hope. I realized that I had let my fibroid dictate my psyche, as well as my body, for the last two years and it was time to move forward and be happy and healthy once more. I called Dr. Raman at UCLA and explained to him that I wanted UCLA to do the FUS again for free, as it had never been a complete success — part of my fibroid had not been treated, and I was having a major side effect. Dr. Raman was very accommodating, suggesting I send an email to the person in charge of financing, and that he thought it was actually a possibility. Two weeks later, I got my response: UCLA would do it at no cost to me!
It has been nearly three months since my second FUS, and I am four months into dating the Wizard, and I finally feel like I’ve come back home. My cycles are much shorter, and much lighter, and my side effect has stopped. There’s no place like home.