Five months ago, I wrote about my discovery that I had uterine fibroids (also known as leiomyomas or myomas), in my post, “When Healers Get Fibroids (Or: Honoring How We Birth Our Ideas Into The World)“. At the time, it was a personal struggle for me as to whether or not to share my story, since, when first creating this blog, I wanted to focus more on the bigger picture of holistic healing, with a big dose of Acupuncture and Reiki, since that is what I perform most in my private practice. ”Who really wants to hear about my personal health issues?”, I thought. However, since I last posted that blog, I have received feedback from women in Africa to America sharing their stories about fibroids, thanking me for sharing my story. It is apparent that I am not the only woman looking up things online pertaining to uterine health and fibroid issues!
As I mentioned in my above previous post, the Mayo Clinic states that “as many as 3 out of 4 women have uterine fibroids sometime during their lives, but most are unaware of them because they often cause no symptoms.” As I also mention in that same post, although there are some factors that can increase a woman’s chance at getting fibroids on a Western medicine level, there are no real causes given as to what creates them. However, being the energy worker that I am, I did further research on any energetic causes of fibroids, and I was surprised to find that on the energetic level, there are various possibilities as to why they occur!
Energetically, I found out that fibroids may represent:
- difficulty with “birthing” new ideas
- a physical manifestation of fear or blockage about birthing our new ideas out into the world
- a tumorization process of old, negative, toxic thoughts, emotions, or feelings that are clumped together and proliferate
- our creativity that was never birthed
- when we are flowing life energy into dead ends, such as jobs or relationships that we have outgrown
- conflicts about creativity, abundance, reproductions, and/or relationships (in other words, 2nd chakra issues)
- anger that your creative energy has been blocked
In addition, in Chinese Medicine, fibroids are considered a result of Qi & Blood stagnation.
When I first found out that I had fibroids, I went through a gamut of emotions: anger, shame, impatience, hope, stubbornness, surrender, you name it. Considering that I am a healer by trade, I had initially judged myself for not having avoided this. After some time, however, I realized that I was thankful to my body for bringing it to my attention that certain important things were not being acknowledged/paid attention to/released, in a non-malignant way, and that, in coming face-to-face with what I’d created, once addressed, I would never allow it to manifest again.
I also knew that this type of thing didn’t just happen overnight. After an MRI and second transvaginal sonogram, which differed slightly from each other in results, I was told that I had 3 fibroids that were large, exophytic (meaning fibroids that are located outside of the uterus), and pedunculated (fibroids that are attached to the uterus by a stalk.) One was behind my uterus at 8.7cm, one on top of my uterus at 6.2cm, and one on the right side of my uterus at 2.3cm. So, respectively, my uterine cornucopia consisted of a grapefruit, orange, and a plum. This differed greatly from the initial transvaginal ultrasound results I’d had, which, as I’d mentioned in my previous blog post, indicated I’d only had two fibroids, one was the size of a pear, and the other, a tennis ball.
I kept getting signs that what I was learning something about myself was really big. One of the more significant signs was when I suddenly woke up at 5:55am, and I was told to make a mental note of that time, and to look up what it meant. When I looked it up, I found out that it indicates that major life changes were in store for me, in a very big way. That significant changes and transformations are here for me and I have an opportunity to break out of the chrysalis and uncover the amazing life I truly deserve as a spiritual being, and that my life purpose and path are awaiting me. Since I had no idea what it meant by “major life changes”, I wasn’t necessarily jumping for joy when I read the meaning, even though I knew, at the end, somehow it would all work out. But, if it meant transforming and breaking out of my chrysalis, I knew it would all be for the best.
In addition, when I woke up at 5:55am, I’d just had a dream that I saw 2 angels, one Archangel Rafael (angel of healing), and another angel whose name I did not get. Archangel Rafael didn’t say much, but the other angel said, in an excited voice, “You’re going to be having a big surgery! You’re going to be ok.”
When I woke up, even with the wonderful meaning of 555, and the wonderful dream of support, I was unsure how to proceed with how to address my fibroids. Even though I had a surgery scheduled for August, I was not ready at all to move forward with it, so I canceled it. At the time I’d made my anti-surgery decision, I was told I had the two fibroids, and since my symptoms weren’t so bad, I considered holding off and seeing what I could do with non-surgical ways to address fibroid reduction. In fact, I was rather hellbent on not having surgery, and going about things naturally.
I researched my Traditional Chinese Medicine texts, since there are great herbal formulas to reduce fibroid masses, acupuncture which helps reduce them, as well, and Western herbs that I learned of, from my Western herbalist friend who holds a long-standing Western herbal apothecary in NYC, to help dissolve masses and clean out my liver of excess hormones, since it was evident that my hormones were overloading my liver and feeding my fibroids! I could feel that the blood supply was not totally focused on my uterus, and was being “diverted” to nearby nether regions, such as my fibroids!
I found out that with the Chinese herbs, alone, I could greatly reduce each fibroid to the size of a golf ball within 3-4 months, and thereafter, the reduction would be much slower, but, eventually I’d end up with greatly reduced fibroids. To be ultra safe, I understood that giving myself a full year to have my fibroids greatly reduce would be the reality. I also cut down, bigtime, on my supplements, and focused only on those supplements that my body could more easily recognize as food (and thus easier on my digestion and liver metabolism), including my multivitamin. So I changed from a great multivitamin in pill form, to liquid herbal form, Floradix Multivitamin. Great stuff! Been using it ever since. My body could feel the difference. I also started taking tinctures of my herbs, rather in pill form, if I could. I did HerbPharm’s Chickweed tincture, 1 dropper full 5 times daily, to dissolve the masses, and HerbPharm’s Liver Health (which contains dandelion, milk thistle, and other excellent herbs to remove excess hormones from my liver, and help it do its job of removing impurities), also 1 dropper full 5 times daily. Vitex/chasteberry would be another great tincture to take, but for various reasons, I did not choose that to be part of my herbal arsenal. I am a bigtime nourishing herbal infusion drinker, and I started to drink herbal infusions that were particular in nourishing the female reproductive system, removing toxins, reducing masses, and were rich in vitamins and minerals. I switched up my batches of infusions, from single herbs to a mixture of them, and some of them included nettle, violet, red clover, oat straw, alfalfa, watercress, and others. I also did castor oil packs with saran wrap and heating pad often throughout the week, which helps to shrink fibroids, as well, and is excellent, in general, for detoxing (as a side note, castor oil packs over your lower abdomen during painful menses for a half hour will greatly reduce pain!) I followed my castor oil pack treatments with 2 tablespoons of olive oil to help remove the toxins from my system.
It felt great to take care of my body in such a detailed way, sending a definite communique to my uterus that, although I appreciated the non-malignant message, I’d learned my lessons they were giving me, and their time was done! I supplemented myself with meditations to envision my uterus at its normal size, pink, and healthy, and to strengthen my 2nd chakra strongly through releasing whatever’s been holding me back, keeping me stuck, and welcoming in new energy, and owning it.
At this time, I’d also asked my Reiki Master/Teacher to “look into” my fibroid condition and see if she could pick up anything related to it’s genesis. She then told me what she picked up, that they were related to issues passed onto me from my mother. Upon further exploration during meditation, I discovered that these were issues not only passed down to me from my mother, but had been issues passed down to her from her mother, and for many generations in the past. Through some deep meditation, I uncovered what those issues were, and through Reiki exchanges with fellow Reiki Masters who are also dear friends of mine, I found out that I had subconsciously decided to end those ancient, generational issues, mainly because they were interfering with my own health, and creating blockages in my uterus, but also to bring healing to my family.
Aside from the issues passed down to me from my mother, I had also learned that there was some past life bitterness I had held onto, along with issues in this life from a few years ago, of having felt stuck. Energetically, I was carrying a lot of stuff that was ready to be removed and released!
Also, at this time, the Chong Mai area of my face (the Chong Mai, or Penetrating Vessel, in Chinese Medicine, has a lot to do with gynecological health, so when you see breakouts/hives in this area, it is worth seeing your gynecologist for a checkup), which is in the chin area, and extending sometimes outward towards the jaw, was getting many sudden, and uncharacteristic breakouts, hives, and pustules. With all of the herbal detoxing I was doing for my uterus, these breakouts indicated that I was releasing the toxins during my new herbal protocol. Though it wasn’t fun to experience, it was a sign that I was on the right path.
A month after I started my herbal and castor oil pack protocol, I learned that I had the 3 large fibroids, not just 2 medium ones. It was also becoming clear to me, through my meditations, that the “physical evidence” that my fibroids provided me of my release needed to be physically removed. Not just dissolved, but removed. I could also tell that the fibroids were inhibiting the free flow inside me, and pressing my organs up into my diaphragm, and my breathing was definitely affected. And my lower back pain was beginning to increase, due to the largest fibroid pressing against my spine. It was time to reschedule my surgery.
A month before my surgery, I went to visit my parents. It was a wonderful, healing experience for me. But, I was shocked that, for seemingly no reason whatsoever, the breakouts/hives/pustules that had sometimes plagued me for those past few months, in the Chong area of my face, had increased suddenly and strongly! In fact, it was starting to spread under my chin into the neck area, as well. This had never happened to me before. It was quite alarming, and this happened the entire time during my visit. Strangely enough, it was only when I’d returned home to NYC, that the Chong area of my face healed up. And not only did it heal up, but I barely heard a “peep” from my Chong area ever since. No hives, breakouts, nothing. It’s as if, in being with my parents, I’d thoroughly detoxed whatever I had to resolve about the generational issues passed down through my family.
Two weeks ago, I had a laparoscopic myomectomy to remove my fibroids. Ever since I scheduled the surgery, I heavily meditated on releasing and resolving all the issues that energetically contributed to my fibroids being created in the first place, towards a successful surgery, and towards a complete, optimal recovery. Pre-surgery, I continued with my herbal regimen, exercising, and healthy eating. No eating or drinking after midnight the night before surgery, and up by 5am to check into the hospital by 6am. My surgeon had already explained to me that it was common for the MRI’s and sonograms to be slightly off, in terms of accurately indicating the size and number of fibroids present, and so she let me know that, although her goal was to laparoscopically remove the fibroids, which she said was 2-3 weeks recovery time, it was a possibility that she may discover, during the surgery, that she might have to open me up abdominally and remove the fibroids through a c-section-like incision opening, which could take 4-6 weeks recovery. She said it all depends on whether or not the fibroids are on the outside of my uterus, as the scans showed. The consent I signed in the hospital was slightly alarming, in that it said that it may be necessary, depending on what is discovered during surgery, to perform a hysterectomy. But, inside, I knew that it wouldn’t come to that, especially because I had a feeling the fibroids were all, indeed, outside of my uterus.
I changed into the “warming robe” I was given by NYU Langone Medical Center. I was impressed how high tech things had gotten since my last surgery many years ago! This robe would keep me warm before, and during, surgery, and had openings for the staff to insert tubes, or only expose certain areas of the body for them to work on.
Once I’d changed into my warming robe, my vitals and intake were done by the nurse (surprisingly, my blood pressure was normal, not elevated, pre-surgery), then my anesthesiologist came in to chat with me, and then, my surgeon came in to review things with me, and tell me what to expect (though, she’d already covered a lot of ground with me in the pre-op consult.) She was accompanied by the doctor who leased the Da Vinci surgical robot that my surgeon would be using.
Once on the table, they prepared my legs with special coverings to keep me warm, and had placed a warm blanket over me. One of the staff inserted the anesthesia into my forearm. I remember looking up at the giant surgery lights that were soon to be turned on in my unconscious state, and calling my team of light to watch over me. Then, after some quick chatting with my surgeon, I was out.
I woke up in recovery, totally out of it and slightly nauseated. The nurse covered me with a warm blanket, and gave me some broken up saltines, graham crackers, and water, which I ate to help quell the nausea. However, my throat was so dry from the intubation (when they insert a tube down your throat during surgery), I could barely get the crackers down my throat. I just wanted to sleep all day. Turns out that the surgery was 4 hours long, and my total time in the hospital was 8.5 hours (in between prepping and recovery.) My surgeon had proudly reported to my loved one, who’d accompanied me, that, as she’s experienced many times before, the fibroids were larger in size, and more in number, than indicated in the scans, but she was able to remove every bit of them laparascopically, through an incision above my navel, and 2 smaller incisions on each side of my abdomen, because they were all, indeed, located on the outside of my uterus. She said she was surprised that I didn’t bleed at all! (Ah, the positive effects of mental, spiritual, and physical preparation!) She also found it remarkable that I didn’t have digestive issues, considering how much the fibroids, especially behind my uterus, were pressing on my system.
The first 2 days, I was pretty out of it, and slept most of the time. I only got up, with assistance, to go to the bathroom, and to take my painkiller and my Chinese herbal formula that helps to regenerate tissue, stop the bleeding, invigorate blood, bring down inflammation, reduce bruising, and promote healing. During the laparoscopic myomectomy, they fill your abdomen with air, to more easily work on the insides. Because of this, the abdominal pressure was uncomfortable in the beginning of the recovery, and the swelling takes a while to leave in general (I’m still a little bloated and swollen, 2 weeks later, but that’s to be expected for perhaps a few weeks, depending, but it’s greatly reduced since the first week of recovery, and the abdominal pressure somewhat subsided within the first day or two, and more fully subsided after about 2-3 days.)
Due to the intubation, my throat was very irritated and dry. So, I was coughing often. The actual pain post surgery wasn’t so bad, but it was the coughing that pulled on my fresh abdominal stitches that was most uncomfortable. I could only deal with soup for a few days, nothing solid. And, soon as I was able, I made myself some linden/nettle infusions to nourish myself with vital vitamins and minerals, and to support my throat and lungs. I did take throat lozenges, which felt nice on my throat, but did nothing for my cough. I did take some herbal cough syrup, which was somewhat helpful. But, what really helped to lubricate my throat again, and greatly reduce the coughing and irritation in my lungs turned out to be the linden/nettle infusion. I also set the intention that my cough would greatly resolve within 2 days, and it did.
My surgeon told me I may experience some constipation post-surgery for a few days, which was true. I was relieved when that ended 4 days post-surgery!
Although I still felt weak 3-4 days after surgery, I could tell I was getting stronger, and so I puttered around my apartment to get some exercise. My surgeon told me that I would heal faster if I depended less on the painkiller, and also was more physically active and walked a little bit. So I stopped taking the painkiller on my 6th day of recovery (I could’ve stopped a day or 2 earlier, but I just wanted to make sure), and, as I got stronger, I went from puttering about my apartment, to walking outside for a few blocks, a week after surgery. I increased the walking throughout the week, and earlier today, I took a slow 30 block stroll, without incident or pain. There is some bruising at some areas near the stitches, but moreso in the area of my lower abdomen, where my womb is.
As out of it was I was on day one of my recovery, my abdomen felt “clean”. My womb felt infused and alive again, now that those fibroids weren’t hogging up the blood flow! She actually felt happy. I envisioned her, even with her stitches, vibrant, happy, healing, feeling free from obstruction. As one of my friends, who does sound healing, suggested, I infused my second chakra and womb with what I want to fill all that new empty space with: healthy energy flow, love, light, creative expression, abundance, possibility, hope, healthy relationships and sexuality, and anything else I could think of that relates to the second chakra.
I send love daily to my womb, and I’ve been performing Reiki on it every day (although I do perform Reiki on myself every day, surgery or not!) I honor my whole body with Reiki post-surgery, my second chakra and womb has been getting center stage healing these days! It was interesting, because even though I was out of it the first two days of recovery, my hands were very “activated” (when Reiki practitioners can feel the universal energy flowing through their hands, our hands feel “activated”.) This makes perfect sense, because Reiki is all about channeling universal energy (in other words, it doesn’t come from your own energy source.) Even if I wasn’t conscious, my having set the intention to heal optimally and with ease, was already running its course. So, I just laid my hands on my stitches, second chakra, and womb, and passed out. I have been allowing myself to sleep for longer periods of time than usual, and I feel the benefits of all the rest!
I continue to take my Chinese herbal formula to promote healing, and my stitches are looking great, although they’re still covered by the tape that the surgeon put on them when she finished stitching me up. She will most likely remove them tomorrow, when I see her for my post-op consult.
Lessons learned, healing initiated and carried out, possibilities created, health recovered, womb reinfused with life, second chakra rebooted, body rejuvenated, honoring my sacred feminine, grateful to my ancestors and team of light for helping me understand what’s needed to be done, and grateful for the universal light and love that surrounds me as I recover.
Renewed and reignited, I am ready to serve, once again!
Why I’m Sharing My Story
When I was recovering and couldn’t really speak the first few days due to my sore throat, all I could really do was surf the net, check my email, text, and all the fun things one can do on the iPhone. I found it very calming and validating to find stories of women who’d gone through this surgery, and what they experienced afterwards. No, fibroids are not life threatening; but, depending on where they’re located, and how big they are, and how badly they’re obstructing body systems, they can be down right uncomfortable. I know some women who, because of the location and size of their fibroids, experience such pain during their period, that they vomit and faint. In some cases, fibroids can be a threat to a woman’s fertility. In short, it can really make a woman struggle with her perception of self as a female. I am so thankful for the stories these women posted on the internet forums, because it helped me when I had fibroids, and post-surgery. And if 3 out of 4 women get fibroids, I’m hoping my story can help women feel more informed about what fibroids are, what they mean, and let them know that they’re not alone!
Have you had fibroids? If so, how did the experience change you, and how did you address it? Not only would I like to know; but, by engaging in the comments, below, and sharing your story, you help empower women in creating community!
I’ve been out of the office for the past two weeks; but I am ready to be of service, and I look forward to seeing my patients this week!
Renewed and reignited in love and light,
P.S. October 24th is AOM (Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine) Day! I will be honoring it with free ear acupuncture (specifically, NADA) on the day of. Check out (and like!) my Facebook page to keep informed of when and where!
P.P.S. Alcantara Acupuncture will soon become Alcantara Acupuncture & Healing Arts! This will soon be coinciding with some rebranding, and redesign for my website. Stay tuned for the transformation!