November 11, 2002
I had my appointment with the gynecologist this morning, and he told me my fibroid is the size of a 15- to 18-week pregnancy. He did another vaginal ultrasound first, which led him to the 15-week assessment, then did a pelvic exam and said it felt more like 18 weeks. I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me that he put it that way, since it is an obstetrics practice, too, but I was thinking he’d use a sports metaphor—as big as a baseball, maybe. The pregnancy comparison is really more apt, since my fibroid is a lot like the baby I never had. It keeps me up at night, interferes with my sex life, forces me to schedule around it, and makes some really big messes. Unfortunately, there’s no upside to the fibroid baby. It’s never going to smile at me; no one is going to tell me how cute it is or ask me if they can hold it (if there are people like that, I don’t want to meet them). I’m guessing my friends aren’t going to surprise me with a group fibroid quilt or a fibroid shower, either. Where would I register for gifts–drugstore.com?
I hope my fibroid isn’t planning on growing anywhere close to third trimester size. That would wreak havoc with my new pants buying plans, for one thing. Still, I am competitive enough that I was disappointed to hear that my fibroid isn’t the largest the doctor’s ever seen. I neglected to ask him how far I have to go and whether there’s a fabulous prize for being the biggest. Since mine’s gone from invisible to the gloved hand to “honking big” (the doctor used those exact words; I like him a lot) in a year without any exertion on my part, who knows what I could achieve with some focused effort.
The good news to come out of the visit, other than my liking this new-to-me doctor, is that my ski season will not be disrupted by surgery. As a first step, we’re going to try hormone therapy, in the form of Desogen, a birth control pill, to see if that helps with the slasher-movie-worthy bleeding. I also got a prescription for a pain killer, so I’ll be in a better mood regardless of whether the hormones work. Because the health plan I’m in is affiliated with a Catholic hospital, there are hoops to jump through in order to get the Desogen covered. (I really, really like my primary care doctor, and she now works for that hospital, otherwise I’d look into switching plans, except I’m sure other plans would come with their own set of hassles). I might be making up this whole fibroid thing to trick them into paying to prevent babies being born, you know. Fortunately, I have at least a week and a half before I’ll need to start it, so I’m hoping that will be enough time for all the proper certifications and authorizations to be completed. If not, I’ll just have to pay for it myself and rant about it later.
In a few months, I’ll go back to the gynecologist and talk more about my options. It’s not likely that mere pill popping will shrink the tumor very much, so more invasive intervention is probably in my future. It’s a matter of balancing how well I can tolerate the symptoms with how radical the treatment needed to relieve them will be. If I’m willing to spend part of my life in pain and sitting in a pool of blood, I don’t need to do anything. When the ratio was one really bad day to 27 okay to pretty good ones, I didn’t feel compelled to act, but there have been more bad days every month for almost a year now. If that trend continues, by February or March I might be happy to consider doing my own hysterectomy.