Elizabeth’s Patient Story
Fibroids Compromising My Life and Work
Over the course of several months my cycle started getting longer and longer. It felt like I was bleeding all of the time. My energy was low, and my relationships were strained. As a designer, my job is very physical and I spend a lot of time with clients in their homes. My bleeding was so severe that I felt very vulnerable and tied to my house. I did not want to be embarrassed with clients.
No Good Choices
Finally, my bleeding was so severe that I made an emergency appointment with my ob/gyn. I was told that I had three fibroids that were causing my symptoms. I was presented with several treatment options, and none were right for me.
I did not want to take hormones that would put my body into early menopause. Surgery was not a viable option for me – I had no interest in going through the trauma and long recovery. I was afraid that the granules in the embolism treatment could go to the wrong place and harm my ovaries.
Focused Ultrasound – The Right Option for Me
I left my doctor’s office thinking there was no good option for me – I needed relief, but I also wanted my reproductive system to age naturally. I was lucky that a friend then told me about focused ultrasound. It appealed to me because there is no cutting and seemed like a very targeted, nonsurgical and non-hormonal solution. None of the treatment options were without risks or drawbacks. Focused ultrasound had the fewest drawbacks for me – and gave me the most hope.
The focused ultrasound treatment required my active participation. It was not like surgery where I was put under anesthesia and then woke up without a uterus. The procedure was a bit uncomfortable – but worth it. I had to lie on my stomach with my belly in cool water for a few hours. I was in constant communication with the doctor as the heat was applied – telling them if I was feeling any burning or pain. I was invested in the process and felt empowered to help the procedure be successful.
My recovery went just as the doctor said it would. It took a couple days to feel myself again. My period then got incrementally lighter until after a few months I was back to my usual menstrual cycle. Now I have my freedom and my life back.
Participating in a Clinical Trial
My treatment was part of a clinical trial to study the focused ultrasound equipment. Research is important for making medical breakthroughs and I feel very strongly that we all should help advance new technologies. Just because a treatment has been around for a number of years, it is not necessarily the best for everyone. I encourage women to look into clinical trials as an option. When you are in a trial, you are not just a patient. They are very interested in you and your outcome. I think that anybody who participates in a clinical trial will get a much higher level of care than they might expect otherwise.
Advocating for Treatment
I was lucky to have access to focused ultrasound treatment by participating in a clinical trial. I understand that a lot of insurance companies do not cover FUS because it is a new therapy. Women deserve the full range of treatment choices. If you are not happy with your treatment options, find out if there is a focused ultrasound center near you – and then advocate with your insurance company for coverage. If you speak up, they will listen!