The Blood Messenger
Before I started bleeding incessantly, I’d never heard of fibroids.
“Woah, check this out!” I’d say to my husband as we got ready in our shared bathroom, pointing to the bloodbath from my period in the bottom of the shower.
I found it strangely fascinating to watch the bright red blood, full of large clots, as it swirled down the drain. Bodily, visceral and intense, I took the role of a morbid observer without really questioning if it was a problem. The clots reminded me of pieces of liver, something animal and innate.
“Is that normal?” he asked one day, alarmed at how much blood there was. We’ve been together for 12 years. He’s seen periods before, but this was the first time he was worried.
I didn’t really know if it was normal. My bleeding had definitely increased, but I assumed it was part of getting older. I thought that maybe my body had changed after having kids.
My periods had been more-or-less regular since they started when I was 13. I’d never thought much of them other than that they came with painful cramps and messed up my mood.
In my mid-30s, things changed more significantly.
My cycle became shorter. It shifted from 28 days to 27, creeping down to 26, 24, until finally I was getting my period at 18-day intervals. I had pain and pressure in my abdomen the entire month. I got up at nights to pee, and battled increasing and unrelenting fatigue.
The blood in the shower was no longer something I strangely enjoyed watching — it was frightening me. Even more than that, I was tired of bleeding all the time.
When a lump appeared on my cervix I called the gynecologist. I was scared of cervical cancer, and she told me to come in immediately.
Thankfully, it was just a harmless cyst. But while I was there, I complained to her about the frequent bleeding and continual cramping, as well as the deep exhaustion that I couldn’t shake. When she heard I was bleeding every 2–3 weeks, she did an ultrasound.
“You have a fibroid,” she said.