My Fibroid Story: Finding Strength in Community
Authored by: Aisha Herring
Struggling with health issues, even those as common as uterine fibroids, can be an isolating experience. I understand this firsthand, having suffered from fibroids for much of my life. For years during my young adulthood, I moved from doctor to doctor, searching for a solution to the cramps, heavy bleeding and pain. I grew increasingly frustrated before ultimately finding the right treatment in the form of a surgical procedure that removed 9 fibroids. For women who suffer from uterine fibroids, the painful, inhibiting symptoms and the journey to finding the right solution is often marked by a lonely road – but it doesn’t have to be.
I stumbled upon the Change the Cycle community by accident. The group was part of a larger conference that I had been considering attending. Seeing Change the Cycle’s mission of encouraging women to have open and honest conversations about gynecological health encouraged me to check out their suite at Blogalicious, a multi-cultural influencer conference, and it changed my outlook on dealing with my condition.
Too often, as women we’re told to tiptoe around issues related to our menstrual cycles; that gynecological conditions are our own private business, not to be shared with others. Personally, I question if our fear of offending others with “too much information” has prevented a general awareness of common conditions like fibroids that in fact have an array of treatment options available. I also think this taboo results in too many women feeling alone in our struggles, compounding the impact on our fertility, careers, personal relationships and overall happiness.
When I first engaged with Change the Cycle, I was inspired by the abundance of successful and passionate women who had gone through experiences not so different from my own. I was recovering from a laparoscopic myomectomy at the time, wondering if that procedure would be the solution that would allow my husband and I to have our first child (it was!). It was validating to see that so many other women had faced similar challenges, and had made it to the other side of a better, happier life that was fibroid-free. For me, it was a uniquely cathartic and touching experience that allowed me to finally connect with others and speak openly about the pain I had gone through.
The power of community in helping us work through deeply personal challenges cannot be overstated. I have often felt discouraged that my life would always be controlled by my fibroids, but I want women to know that a better quality of life is possible. On this Fibroid Awareness Month, I hope everyone who reads this feels a bit more liberated to share their struggles with a friend, a family member or even an online forum. Whether you suffer from uterine fibroids or another health issue, the sentiment remains the same, and it’s one that continues to inspire me: we are not alone, and the more we share with others, the more likely we are to understand the world and ourselves.