Tag Archives: fibroid

Life After Frankie’s Eviction

What has life been like since Frankie’s eviction? Besides the three weeks I was hunched over and in pain when I coughed, laughed, sneezed, or moved the wrong way and the other three weeks when I felt great, but couldn’t do anything, it has been amazing. No complications at all. Thank the Lord! The human body is absolutely amazing. Six weeks after being gutted like a fish (I have the scar to prove it), and having something the size of a baby’s head and its 4 much smaller counterparts removed from my uterus, I’m good as new. I just wished that someone would have told me that after three or four weeks, you would get this burning, tingling sensation in your abdomen that, while causing a massive panic attack, would turn out to be nerves healing themselves. That might be the first time in recorded history that Web MD did not tell me I was going to die.  6 weeks after my surgery, I got clearance from my doctor to move freely about the cabin, (work and working out) and it was on like Donkey Kong.

Since my fileting, I mean surgery; my quality of life has improved greatly. The round alien mound is now replaced by a slightly swollen (that is what I am telling myself) tummy and a protective layer of fluff over my 6 pack (again what I am telling myself). No more abdominal pressure, pants not fitting correctly, and other bodily function issues (which I will not go into. You’re welcome). I’ll leave that up to your imaginations. I also have this amazing scar. My doctor did a good job of stitching me up. It is still a little hard (I’m still healing). And I have been attacking it daily with Mederma to lightened it up a bit Since Frankie was so big, I had to get a vertical incision. Now I have a line from my belly button to about an inch and a half below my bikini line. I’m still going to rock my Fendi bikini. So there! And in approximately 8 months, if I am married, I can try to get pregnant.

frankie-beofre-eviction-picutre

Before…

After!

After!

That was the main reason behind my decision to have the surgery. Yes, the physical stuff was getting annoying, but if left unchecked, Frankie would fill up my uterus and make it hard, if not impossible for me to get pregnant. My chances of miscarriage were increased with him lurking inside, just hanging out. When you put it that way, Frankie has no choice but to get the hell out. Even though a C-Section will be 99% likely when I do become pregnant, at least will be able to have kids.

Once I got the OK, I was really itching to start working out again, mainly to see how flat my stomach could get now that Frankie is no longer an inhabitant of my body. While the body is an amazing thing, somethings don’t bounce back quick as others. My cardio went from amazing to non-existent. What would you expect after not moving for 6 weeks? But slow and steady wins the race. After doing some of my favorite workouts (Turbo Fire/Turbo Kick) and new Beachbody on Demand workouts from Joel and Jericho, I am pleased to announce that my pants are starting to fit again! All I did was alternating days of 30 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of lifting, and a somewhat clean diet. That’s it! Oh, I should mention that my clean diet consists of no meat, dairy, and very little seafood. But more about that later. It will keep you coming back for more.

If you have any questions about fibroids, fibroid surgery, going semi-vegan, or working after surgery, ask away at bianca@beingbiancas.com. I’m here to help

Later Days

B

On The Road To Recovery

You really take for granted the simple things in life like going to the bathroom or getting out of bed until you can’t do them as you once could, but I’ll get to that later.

This post will contain a lot of medical lingo and stuff, so if that isn’t your cup of tea, feel free to speed read through those parts.

I actually got some sleep on Monday, which is shocking because I had a heard time keeping it together when I left for work. Everything was coming together. I was really going into the hospital for surgery. I really was going to be out of work for a month or more. Shit was going down.

Tuesday… S-Day. I remember a lot clearly. I remember finally getting everything together heading out the door for the ride to my parents. What is the one thing you don’t want to drive behind when you are about to go the hospital? A hearst. Yup, this actually happened to me. It wasn’t for the entire drive, but long enough to make me frazzled.

I remember the ride to the hospital. Getting checked in. The hurry up and wait. The lovely hospital gown, socks and compression cuffs. I remember the IV. This was what I was most afraid of. My nurse made me laugh and I remember the I sweet relief when she said it was in. One stick! I remember people asking my about my high blood pressure, my EKG, which showed a minor blip. Nothing major, but something that needs to be checked on. I remember seeing my doctor, kissing my mom and being wheeled of to the OR. I remember the brightness of the hallway and t that his is not a time to go towards the light, but that seemed to be all that was in front on me. Bright lights and windows.

I remember sliding onto the table, the nurse telling me they were going to give me the good stuff, my arm being placed on an arm rest, the sound of velcro and off to dream land I went.

When I woke up, 3 hours later, I was in the recovery room. There were so many people and sounds. I just wanted to see. I didn’t have my glasses so everything was blurry. The nurse brought my mom back and as she dug around her bag, I croaked out “Really”. At that point I knew I was going to be ok. I remember the first time my hand grazed my incision (small it is not). Finally my room was ready and it was time to move to my bed. Slowly but surely, I slid over and was wheeled off to my accomodations. I remember the sexy radio voice that I had, taking to my family and friends. I remember every two hours, people were coming in taking my vitals and emptying my folio (I had a catheter). I would does off and wake up 20 minutes later, I couldn’t stay awake.

I remember the worst night sleep of my life, being woken up by a couple of residents coming in at 5:30am to check my incision, ask if I had passed gas or gone to the bathroom, and regal me of ways to lower my blood pressure. I remember the lovely nurse removing my catheter, and my first experience with Room Service. Seriously, you call in your order and your hostess brings it up to your room. Ingenious. I remember the first time I got out of bed. Talk about an experience. I must say, I never realized how easy it was to get out of bed until it took me all of my energy and then some just to sit on the edge of the bed. The first few steps were not as bad as I thought. I was shaky at first but was soon hobbling my way to the bathroom. Who knew the ability to use the bathroom would be a relief to not only the nurses, but myself as well.

I remember feeling better with each passing moment. Realizing that the human body is amazing. I remember the first time I spoke with my doctor about the surgery, How she told me that my blood pressure spiked for no clear reason. How 5 fibroids were removed. Apparently Frankie had friends living with him that were not on the lease. I remember the shock when she told me that I had lost a liter of blood and Frankie was the size of a baby’s head. I remember her telling me that I can still have kids (my mother was relived to hear that I’m sure), but I would have to have a C Section (Fine by me). I remember my first laps around the nurse’s station. How walking really does get things moving and the second feeling of relief when I passed gas (yeah TMI I know)

I remember Friday morning when my doctor told me that I could home, how I swiftly (not  really) got dressed, packed my bag and waited for the nurse to come with my discharge papers. I remember the joy when the nurse finally removed my IV. I remember how weird it felt to leave in a wheelchair, the first time the air hit my face when I exited the hospital. I remember how happy I was to kiss and hug my puppy and finally have some peace and quiet.

I remember the RNs, PCTs, Doctors, and hospital staff who took such great care of me.

So here I am, almost a week post surgery, and I feel great. I don’t walk too hunched over anymore and getting out of the bed is getting easier every morning. And I actually feel like putting pants on today. Sweatpants. I do get tired easily, but I just have to remember to take it slow.

One day at a time.

Later Days.
B

What I know For Sure…..

 

In my Oprah voice… What I know for sure, having a sarcastic sense of humor
is definitely helping my come to grips with the fact that in a few hours, I
will be splayed out on the operating table.

What I also know for sure, don’t eat a lot of salt and not drink water
before going in for pre-admission testing, but more on that later.

Last Monday was pre-opp day, or “sign your life away day”. I
spent the better part of my afternoon signing consent forms, vitals and blood
taken, and playing an awesome game of hurry up and wait.

First stop, my GYN. We went over the surgery, how Frankie and his lovely
companions will be removed. Blah, blah, blah, and finally then questions came.
How long will it take? Will I need stitches removed? How long will I be out of
work for? For the first time ever, I didn’t have to get dressed after we were
done. A quick elevator ride and it was off to Pre-Admission testing, the last
stopper before my surgery next week. After waiting for what seemed like
forever, I was finally called back to the desk. I was asked to verify
information, give names of people who will be able to call the Nurse’s station
and sign more forms. Then off to the exam room. My blood pressure was taken yet
again and it was still high. The nurse asked me if I was anxious. And with a
smile and twinkle in my eyes I said, ” Why yes, I am in a hospital talking
about surgery.” Her reply, ” You are going home today. There is
nothing to worry about”. Can someone please tell me if anyone has normal
blood pressure when they go to the doctor? Mine is always high and the doctors
and nurses look at me like I am about to explode. I do not have high blood
pressure, just serious aversion to doctor’s offices and hospitals.
Anyway, it was only after my appointment that I realized that I had grits,
with a lot of salt, coffee, and orange juice or breakfast, which along with my
anxiety, could have caused my pressure to go through the roof. Note to self…
don’t ever do that again.

Anyway, while going over reservation form (yes, they call surgery a
reservation. Who knew), Nola, the wonderful Nurse Practitioner noticed a
discrepancy in my form. Here is a piece of the conversation:

Nola: What procedure are you having done?

Me: Exploratory, open myomectomy

Nola: You are not having an ovary removed?

Me: Excuse me? No I am not.

Nola: It says right here but not which one

Me: I am not having an ovary removed

Nola: Let me call your doctor’s office to confirm….

Let’s just say that didn’t help my blood pressure go down. After an EKG,
another blood pressure check, and “day of” instructions, it was time
to have my blood taken. Zakia was amazing and we laughed about the number of
vials that she was going to take. She said that she was not going to drain me
and she would leave me enough to drive home. After a pleasant, as much as a
blood draw can be pleasant, she wrapped my arm in a stylish ace bandage instead
of that God-awful white tape. I felt pretty fancy.

Then
there was the conversation that I was waiting for. My chit chat with the
anesthesiologist. He is not going to be my doctor on game day, just the one
that was on call during my appointment. He explained to me the entire “general
anesthesia” process, which is pretty intriguing:

 

Doc:
When you come in, we will put monitors on you to check your heart, a clip on
you to measure the oxygen in the blood. Then we will put an IV in your hand,
and give you Propofol

Me:
Wait… isn’t that what they gave Michael Jackson?

Doc: Yes,
but luckily for you, Dr. Murray won’t be in the room. Propofol has been used in
general anesthesia for years and you must be monitored and watched. I don’t
have a clue what he was thinking.

Me:
Great

Doc:
Because you will be asleep, we will put a breathing tube in your throat.

Me: I’ll
be asleep when they put the tube in?

Doc:
Yes. You will be asleep when we put the tube in and take it out. You breathe in
a mixture of oxygen and anesthesia which will keep you asleep during the
procedure. Once the doctor says that she’s finished, we remove the tube, and
your body naturally starts to wake up. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes.

Me: I
didn’t realize that you wake up so quickly.

Doc:
Yes. Some people wake up in the operating room. Some wake up in the hallway.
Some people wake up in the recovery room. That about covers everything so if
that sounds like a plan, please sign here.

Me: I
guess I better sign since I don’t want you cutting me while I’m awake.

After
one more signature, Frankie’s fate was sealed.

In a few hours, Frankie will be served with his papers…. And I will be on the
road to recovery.

 

Frankie’s Being Evicted

You know that moment when you know you have made the right decision, all the parts are in place, everything is order, but you still feel like Alice when she goes thrown down the rabbit hole?

Frankie in his natural habitat

That is me, right now. At first I thought that my expanding tummy pooch was due the fact that I had fallen off the wagon with my clean eating and workout habits, but when I started to feel pressure in my stomach and my clothes no longer fit, I knew that Frankie was getting his revenge. It takes a lot for me to willingly schedule a doctor’s appointment and even more for my to call the “girly doctor” on my lunch break. I had a week before my appointment to wrap my head around the possibility that my doctor would tell me that I needed surgery. If you have weak constitutions, please for the Love of Pancakes and Chocolate Chip cookies do not google the terms, Fibroid removal and/or myomectomy. If you do, please don’t search images. You have been warned and I do not take any responsibility for your reaction.

I must admit, at the beginning of the appointment, my doctor was leaning towards renewing Frankie’s lease. But after being ultrasounded every way possible and examined, it was abundantly clear that Frankie was getting his eviction notice. I was surprisingly calm about the whole thing. I had done enough reading and video watching to know what I was in for. What I was not prepared for was my doctor informing me that there is chance I need vertical incision. Yeah, Frankie #1 and #2 (seems that one of my other fibroids decided to have a growth spurt as well) are so big and I am so small, that I need to sliced open.  And I just got a cute new Fendi bikini. There is a chance that this will change when I am splayed out on the operating table, but for right now, one piece swim suits and a Scar Away are in my future.

 

Damn you Frankie

Honestly, the hardest part of this entire process has not been telling people. That truly has been a piece of cake. My family and “circle of trust” have been absolutely amazing. I don’t know what I would do without them. Getting the phone calls, letters, and emails from the hospital have been the worst.It makes everything so real, like “yup, you are going to be under anesthesia, sliced open, crap removed from your uterus, stitched up like Frankenstein and sent on my merry way to spend Thanksgiving convalescing at my parent’s house. While I know that this is a necessary procedure which will improve my quality of life and chances of having kids one day in the very not so distant future. I just want to get everything over and done with. Just yank the bandaid off already and be done with it.

Another thing I am not looking forward to… 4-6 weeks of recovery. The most I have not worked out has been a week, but even then, I would walk at lunch and to and from the train station. What is a girl to do? I guess I can catch up on my knitting, reading, and Netflix binging. Bring it on!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the end. Pre-Opp appointment with my doctor and pre-admission testing at the hospital, then one last weekend hoorah before the big slice and dice. Until then, it’s all happy thoughts of unicorns, rainbows, glitter, pixie dust, and blue skies up until S-Day (surgery day) and beyond. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you all in the loop about my surgery and recovery!

Later Days
B

Death to Frankie

Well it finally happened. Someone asked me if I was pregnant… I chuckled and and said I had too much food at lunch, but it shook me. Did I really look pregnant? See for yourself…

Yeah…..

To be absolutely clear, I AM NOT PREGNANT! Please do not start any rumors people. This is all Frankie, the not so little bastard. And I was sucking my gut hard when I took the picture. It seems that as I get smaller, Frankie appears bigger. See what I am up against? It’s been about a month since I began my vigorous vitamin regiment to rid him from his happy home. However, he is putting up quite the fight as you can clearly see. But Rome wasn’t built in a day and it is obvious that it will take some time to win the war over Frankie. And I am prepared to fight.

Youtube and Pinterest can be extremely helpful and a great way to lose hours of your day scrolling and searching for everything under the sun. They are quite addictive. After a lot of clicking, watching, and reading, I did find some additional weapons of Frankie’s destruction.

I ran out and got a different brand of DIM (Women’s Way – the one suggested by shrunkfibroids.bolgspot.com) and red clover extract. A woman posted a Youtube video about how she shrunk her fibroids will red clover alone. Her stomach looked like mine and is now flat. I have nothing else to lose, what’s another 2 pills on top of the 9 I am already taking? Plus, my doctor added Vitamin D to the mix. Grand total….11. You would think swallowing pills would get easier, but no. It’s still a struggle. Especially if I am running late. And the two big horse pills that smell do not help. I think I have reached my pill quotient so that’s it for the oral supplements. This is in addition to becoming vegetarian. It’s a lot, but you see what I am up against right! I gotta bring out the big guns.

Another Youtube score.. castor oil packs. You basically take a washcloth soaked with castor oil, wrap it in plastic wrap (the pack), take the pack and place it over your uterus and warp your stomach in plastic wrap and then place a hot water bottle over the pack for 20 minutes to an hour. Haven’t tried this yet. Still have to get a hot water bottle and cloth, but I am intrigued. The castor oil to supposed to rid the body of toxins and breakdown the fibroid tissue, shrinking it. Again, Frankie ain’t getting any smaller, so why not give it a shot.

For now it’s loose fitting shirts and high waisted bathing suits to hid Frankie. Most websites say that for larger fibroids (Frankie is currently the size of a grapefruit – large), it will take 3 months to shrink.

Here’s hoping and praying that I win the war… Frankie is going down.

Later days
B

Frankie on Fleek

Frankie (my fibroid) is on fleek. After a few weeks of eating meat
and not necessarily watching my diet, I started to notice that I was getting
fluffy in the mid-section, which tends to happen when one completely falls off
the diet wagon. But something wasn’t right. As soon as I ate something, my
stomach would become extremely bloated and start to hurt. I was waiting for
people to ask me when the baby was due.
No I am not pregnant.. I swear
And then it hit me. Or I hit it. Frankie was growing…
That alien thing on the left…. That’s Frankie!

It got to the point that I was seriously considering talking to my
doctor about surgery. Like cut this out of my now considering it. I reminded
myself that surgery was that absolute and final option for riding my uterus of
its unwanted inhabitant. Although Frankie is not causing any physical
discomfort; no matter how clean I eat, how hard I work out, or how much cardio
I do, my stomach will not get flat thanks to Frankie. Which is extremely
disheartening especially in prime swim suit season.

Therefore, Frankie must die.
I scoured the medical encyclopedia (Google) for natural fibroid remedies
and found a wonderfully helpful blog, shrunkfibroids.blogspot.com (how
appropritate). It is written by a woman who had fibroid surgery twice, only to
have them come back, so she decided to treat them naturally. With success. Her
battle plan, a vegetarian diet and vitamin supplement regime. Sounds simple
enough and since her fibroids shrunk, I figured why not give it a try. I have
nothing to lose. I quickly went to vitacost.com (the mecca of all things
natural) and filled my cart with my arsenal, most of which I had never heard of
before. And by the way, besides being extremely affordable (except for the $30 Whole Food vitamins), Vitacost constantly sends your promo codes for 10-12% off you next purchase or buy one Vitacost brand product, get one free. That’s how I scored a free bottle of DIM. Here’s my new vitamin regime and daily servings:
The Whole Food Vitamin (4 capsules daily)
Mangosteen Juice (1-2 ounces)
Decaf Green Tea Extract (1 daily)
DIM (1 daily)
Bragg’s Apple Cider vinegar (1 ounce in 6 ounces of water)
The weapons of Frankie’s destruction

My supplements were waiting for me when I got home, but I bought
the apple cider vinegar this weekend. And since Frankie isn’t getting any small
(yet), there is no time like the present to start my attack. So, as
recommended, I drank 1 ounce of vinegar with 6 ounces of water. A dirty martini
it is not. It is not good at all. Like gag me with a spoon disgusting. And warm water did not help. I’ll try it
tomorrow with some honey any let you know how that turns out. Maybe you get used to the taste…

So here we are. No meat, no dairy, a whole lot of vitamins, and apple cider vinegar.
Frankie is going down!
Later Days

 

B

6.2 Hemoglobin Count and Still Kicking

For those health care practitioners out there, you are probably screaming at me to run to the ER because I obviously have some internal bleeding. After some routine blood work as part of my physical, my doctor called me frantic, saying that he had been trying to reach me all weekend and feared that there was something seriously wrong with me because I was not answering the phone. Truth is, like most people, I don’t answer the phone if I don’t know the number. He then proceeded to tell me my hemoglobin level was 6.2, way below the normal range of 12-14 and I needed to go the the emergency room immediately. Here’s the thing…. I felt fine. I worked out that morning (when the admitting nurse heard this she called me a bad ass). I was A-ok. Totally normal. And I was at work so I was not about to take a sick day if I didn’t have to.

Against doctor’s orders, I went to the Emergency room after work. More blood work, waiting, more waiting. At least I had a book and a full telephone battery. The doctor came in with even more terrifying news. “You are being admitted. You need a blood transfusion.” Hold please… At this point, the only thing wrong with me is a spike in my blood pressure because I now have an IV in my arm and have to tell my parents that I am in the hospital. Long story short, I signed myself out. No blood transfusion and still a 6.2 hemoglobin count. I did stay home from work the next day.

So what was the final verdict?? I have Thalassemia. A genetic blood disorder which causes chronic Anemia. I just don’t make enough hemoglobin. And here I thought I was normal.To put things in perspective, I trained for and ran half marathons, a full marathon and completed several intense cardio programs at a hemoglobin level were normal people would pass out or have a gun shot wound. The human body is an amazing thing. My body adapted to be able to train and workout at intense levels, when by all Doctor’s accounts and tests, I should not be able to walk, let alone run. And for full disclosure, I never knew why I couldn’t do high impact exercises. Yes folks, I am a modifier. If I were to go all out, I probably would have a heart attack. And I did come close the first time I Cardio Fix from the 21 Day fix. I had to stop because I felt dizzy and short of breath. Lessons: know your limits and it is perfectly fine to modify!! Don’t try to kill yourself because you think you have to go balls to the wall to prove that you can workout at Shaun T’s level.

After a follow up trip to the hematologist, I am now on prescription iron (yeah I know). But I have counteracted all side effects by increasing my water intake and I becoming vegan. My standard meal is corn, kale, mushrooms, chard, and lentils. Fiber is my friend. I try to stay away from soy thanks the Frankie the fibroid. I do have some meat, but it is maybe once a month. And I will be having steak when I go to Disney World in May. I went back to the hematologist last week for a check up and I happy to say that my levels are now a whopping 9!!!! I made 4 pints of blood in 6 weeks. Booyah! I go back in 4 months and hopefully will be able to kick the iron pills to the curb.

I embrace my abnormally low hemoglobin levels because Thalassemia is just one trait that make me…. me. It’s a part of who I am and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Later Days

So you want to be a Vegetarian/Pescatarian?

I guess I still have food on the mind. Diet really can effect your body, positively and negatively. I have been trying to get back on the “clean eating” band wagon for a minute and have been making slow, consistent strides to do so, but like I said in my last post, it has been hard. But I did get my Insatcart delivery from Whole Foods!! There will be an entire blog dedicated to my love and admiration for Instacart (you have been warned)

Now, changing my diet (and lifestyle) is not  a “want to” it is a “must do”. I was recently diagnosed with fibroids. I have named mine Francis, Frankie for short. Frankie the Fibroid. It makes the invader seem like a part of the family.While fibroids are common and not cancerous (thank God), when someone tells you that there is something in your body that it not supposed to be there; it freaks you out. A lot.

Knowledge (Google) can be a good and bad thing. No, I have not consulted Web MD for they clearly would have told me that I have only minutes to live.  I researched possible causes of fibroids. Top of the list…excess estrogen. I guess they’re right when they say too much of a good thing can be bad. And since surgery is not an option (no need to go there if it is not necessary), I decided to see if there was anyway that I could shrink the fibroids naturally.

This led to more Google research and you know what I found out…. 1.) There is a crap load of chemicals out there that mimic estrogen (first clean up diet, second clean up make up bag . 2.) While I was eating clean or cleaner than I used to, my healthy eating habits were actually feeding Frankie. Mind blown. There are certain foods (I am not a scientist, nor do I claim to be) that produce estrogen (dairy, non-organic meat) so my daily does of Fage yogurt and chicken thighs was hurting me more than helping me, even though they are considered healthy foods. Mind spinning yet? Mine is.

So what am I supposed to do now?  Be a big girl and step up to the plate (no pun intended) by building a diet based around foods that reduce estrogen naturally. Translation – become a pescatarian (cold water fish only) and without the dairy. Sounds simple right. Absolutely, but changing habits and routines is hard. Especially if you just changed them and now have to start over again. But we are always changing, and that is how we grow. And we need to always be growing to accomplish our goals and my goal is to banish Frankie without going under the knife.

So what can I eat? A lot actually: The goal is to increase my fiber intake which will reduce the levels of estrogen in my body. Some of these yummy foods include:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Spinach
  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Oats
  • Berries
  • Beans
  • Brown rice
  • Wheat
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
That’s a pretty decent list if you ask me, and that is only part of it. So I loaded up and meal prepped based on my estrogen fighting food list. Preparation and proper shopping is a must if you want to win the war against bad eating habits.  I am fortunate to work a block away from Trader Joe’s. FABULOUS!! Healthy and affordable. Sign me up. I’ll save the rest of my Trader Joe’s rant for, you guessed it, another blog! And you want to know something weird and awesome…. I don’t miss chicken GASP!!!

These past few days have showed my that as long as I shop right, prep, and bring food with me to work, and avoid trips to the vending machine, I can eat clean with no problem!

And I’ll be honest. I will have days were I will fall off the wagon or eat a Snickers bar instead of an apple. But I won’t cut off my right hand because of it. This past year of being a Beachbody coach and working on my nutrition and fitness has taught me that this is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to trust the process and reward yourself. The minute you mind goes to what you can’t eat is the minute that you set yourself up for failure.

So I’m thinking off all of the new foods that I can eat, the new foods that I can try and spices that I use in my cooking, what new recipes that I can try!

So here’s to new foods and Frankie’s Defeat!

Later Days