April, 2009: the date of my appointment to discuss my candidacy for uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). In preparation for the big day, I watched a video of the procedure. I watched it several times actually, until I was comfortable. You can see it here: http://tinyurl.com/36jjhh8
A friend asked: “Why are you watching this? Are you going to get up in the middle of the procedure and declare ‘you’re doing it wrong!’ then do it yourself?” That made me laugh. But in all seriousness, watching the procedure made me less nervous and more confident about my decision. I really needed to know exactly what they were going to do to my body.
The big day finally arrived and I was greeted by a very warm and caring nurse in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, who, after showing me to the exam room, proceeded to get the required information from me. She was very thorough and actually made me feel quite comfortable. She confirmed that I looked like I was six months pregnant. Then it was the doctor’s turn.
After reading my chart, he explained the procedure and while I had done my homework and knew almost everything he was telling me, I must admit that I was not aware of the potential side effects. They include the possibility that your period could stop for a few months, chronic pain, pelvic pain and cramping, nausea and vomiting, and fever. Please note that serious complications are not very common.
What really surprised me however, was the knowledge that it could take approximately six months after the procedure for the fibroids to shrink. Also, the fibroids wouldn’t shrink completely – their size would be reduced by about 60 – 70%. You see, I naively thought that once I had the UFE done, my belly would return to its usual size and everything would be wonderful – no, the doctor said, you need surgery for that. And, the side effects of surgery are far worse.
He asked about my symptoms – I had none. “Then why do you want to do this?” Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the fact that I looked like I was six months pregnant! The first seed of doubt was planted though, and I then wondered if I was doing the right thing.
To determine whether or not I was a good candidate for UFE, I was asked to do an MRI and an endometrial biopsy.