I was driving a rental car in the pouring rain in the middle of the woods in Georgia with my then 5 year old son, Rocco in the back seat.
We were on our way to the Atlanta Airport to fly home to Los Angeles after visiting family for a few days.
I was already really nervous about driving in this crazy downpour-- being a So Cal native I'm not used to driving in those kind of conditions-- but then things got much, much worse.
WARNING: If you're a guy reading this, you might want to stop here because I'm going to be talking about "girlie" things and I know some of you fellas can get a bit squeamish about that stuff.
Back to my story...
We're literally driving in the middle of the woods and all of a sudden I can feel my pants getting wet.
I was so confused. uh- there it goes again.
I reach down and when I pull my hand back up it's covered in blood.
Let me make this clear, it wasn't like, "oh shoot I just started my period." It was like the downpour of rain outside.
Just at that moment there was a clearing in the thick trees and I see a huge, brand new gas station on the corner.
I quickly pulled in and parked off to the side so I could try and make sense of what was going on and to hopefully avoid anyone seeing my blood-soaked pants and shoes.
As I got out of the car my son saw the seat I had been sitting in and yelled out, "Mom! You're hurt, what's wrong?!"
Let me tell you, I wanted to panic and start crying so bad. But having my son there I somehow managed to hold it together during this entire fiasco.
"It's fine baby. Don't worry. Mommy's fine. I just need to go inside and change my pants."
I went into the trunk to get some clothes out of my suitcase. The pouring rain was rinsing off the pants and shoes I was wearing.
We went into the mini-market of the gas station and headed straight to the bathroom. My poor son had to be in the bathroom with me and as I'm sure you can guess, he was a bit traumatized.
Without going into the details of the bathroom scene, I'll just say, I couldn't get the bleeding to stop.
When it finally slowed down we made our way out into the mini-market and Rocco saw some Spiderman swim goggles. "Oh man! Look at those cool glasses mom!"
I grabbed them and some "lady supplies" and we headed back to the car.
I was a little worried because now we were running a bit behind for our flight and all I could think about was I've got to get this kid home safely.
During the drive to the airport I had to pull over on the side of the road 3 times to deal with the bleeding.
The airport was quite the adventure.
After returning the rental car and taking the tram to the airport I had to immediately run to the restroom.
Rocco was such a trooper. He was carrying stuff for me and kept asking if I needed anything. Love that little guy.
Once we got to our gate I made one last trip to the restroom. In the stall I was praying..."Please, please let this stop for the flight. Please let me just get home."
I mean, what if this didn't stop for the flight?
I couldn't just sit in the bathroom on the plane for 4 hours. I couldn't leave Rocco alone in his seat for the duration of the flight.
Just before boarding the plane I called my husband to tell him about what was going on.
I had waited to call him because I knew once I started talking to him I'd get emotional and I really had to hold it together for Rocco's sake.
Thankfully Rocco was preoccupied gobbling down the ginormous muffin I had bought him moments before, so he didn't notice my tears (I had my back to him just in case) as I told my husband the story.
At first there was pure silence on the other end. Then my husband starts talking and making me feel better. I told him I'd see him in LA.
As soon as I possibly could I ordered a glass of wine. I then asked, "could I actually order two?"
The flight attendant says, "It's actually a better deal if you order two."
Bring it on sister.
Here's the coolest thing. The bleeding stopped.
For the whole flight, I was totally fine.
Rocco and I had a calm flight, the wine didn't hurt, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I was paranoid the entire flight. I think I went to the restroom like 6 times.
We landed safely in LA and got home where it started up again, but not as bad and so what, I was home.
This all happened 11 months ago. November of 2016.
I went to the doctor and found out I had a fibroid in my uterine lining. I wouldn't find out until about 5 months later after an MRI just how huge that puppy was.
The bleeding stopped for months. My doctor was hopeful that it was just a fluke thing.
And then in March (about 5 months later) it came back with a vengeance.
I went through days and days of what I described at the beginning of this story.
So many humiliating and stressful events during this time...we'd be here all day if I was to tell you them all.
Like when I was on the side of the road with my dog standing in a puddle of blood crying, waiting for my husband to come get me because it started up while I was out for a walk. Two elderly ladies stopped and were trying to call 911.
"I'm fine!" I said between sobs. "I have a uterine fibroid!"
Can't make this stuff up folks.
Or the time I had to cancel a catered speaking engagement 30 minutes before I was supposed to start my presentation. Calling the event coordinators and telling them I literally couldn't leave my bathroom was super fun.
After several tests, doctors appointments and trying different methods to stop this damn thing I finally decided that I needed to have surgery. I wanted my life back. I was tired of being scared to even go to the grocery store.
Apparently the big issue is not the size of it (a large grapefruit), but more of where it's located. Where it's situated is known for causing these types of "episodes".
Unfortunately, thanks to all of the massive blood loss, I was severely anemic. My doctor told me she's actually never seen someone with such a low iron level.
My doctor put me on iron supplements and a heavy dose of hormones. Great times.
The hormones have really been a roller coaster. They made the bleeding subside, but they also made me gain weight, look like I have a beer belly, make my hair fall out in clumps and the worst part, they make my blood sugar out of control...if you didn't know, I have Type 1 Diabetes, so that's no bueno.
My surgery was scheduled for September, so I'd have time to get my iron up and I did.
When September rolled around my mom flew out to stay with us and help with Rocco for a couple of weeks while I was recovering.
The day of the surgery I was really scared. I don't like the idea of being put under.
Plus, getting my blood sugar at just the right number was pretty difficult since you have to fast for 12 hours before surgery.
My husband was with me while they were prepping me and I kept welling up with tears. He would then talk to me and make me feel better. This cycle happened like 4 times.
The anesthesiologist let me know that he'd check my blood sugar after 2 hours of surgery. It was at 112 before going in and it seemed like a good number.
I was taken to the Operating Room and goodnight Shirley, I was out.
All of a sudden I'm waking up being rolled down the hall in my hospital bed. I look up at my doctor, "Is it over?"
"Nope, couldn't do the surgery. Your heart rate went way up right before we were going to start. We think you're allergic to the anesthesia."
And then it gets even better...they then tell me that I have to go to see a cardiologist and get cleared, just in case there's something wrong with my heart.
I'm laying there, still feeling "druggy" and thinking, do I have a heart problem now too??
Spoiler alert- I'm still in the middle of testing (have to wear a heart rate monitor for a week) but the cardiologist is sure my ticker is in great shape:) Looks like I'm just allergic to that particular anesthesia.
I have to tell you one more detail because it's kind of...I don't know, maybe this was divine intervention....
When they brought me to recovery, the first thing the nurse did was check my blood sugar. It was 56.
That's scary. They wouldn't have checked my blood sugar for another 2 hours and if it had continued to drop...it freaks me out to think of what could've happened. Low numbers could mean coma.
So, that brings you up to date.
I'm waiting for a new surgery date and to get cleared by the cardiologist.
It's looking like the surgery is going to be next month, in November. Bringing it full circle I guess.
Okay, so what's the point of this very lengthy blog post?
I want other women that might be experiencing something similar to what I went through know that they're not alone.
I had never heard of this type of thing happening before and I felt like I was a freak or something, but since I started opening up about what is going on, SEVERAL women have told me stories of similar things that they went through.
If you're reading this and have had something like this happen, get checked for fibroids (little rascals). Hopefully it'll save you months of trying to figure out what is going on.
I'll let you know once my surgery is done. Thank you for listening.
Before I go, huge shout out to my husband Joe for all of his support, concern and understanding. I love you man.
Here's to staying present, being strong and having faith.