By Anwuri Grend.
Some days ago I got to read about the Nollywood actress that had hysterectomy for Adenomyosis.
To say I was shocked is an understatement, as a medical doctor, especially an African that would have loved to have that hope of having her own child, I wouldn’t have advised her to take that mode of treatment.
More so as someone living with Adenomyosis, I would not have advised her to tread that path!
But then again, our pain thresholds are all different and Adenomyosis symptoms may differ in individuals, perhaps she was bleeding non stop and then her menstrual cramps and pain unbearable.
I also don’t know if she discussed her case with any other doctor for a second opinion, perhaps she would have been told there are several other people living with the condition.
The only problem though is that we Nigerians are still so secretive about these things, maybe because many times we feel “someone” is responsible for it! If there were groups like those living with endometriosis (which is a sister to Adenomyosis, just that instead of the uterine lining being in the uterine muscle like Adenomyosis, it’s outside eg in the ovary), perhaps hearing stories of how others are coping would have given a solid support system.
Before I was diagnosed of Adenomyosis all I knew about my periods were that I had “chunks of meat” as my regular flow, and if I start my menstrual flow on a Tuesday, the next time I won’t need any pad would be the next Tuesday. I seriously didn’t think of it as heavy flow and I always said I didn’t have pains.
So after marriage when I waited to conceive and didn’t, I went for a scan (yes, I never had one prior to marriage, there was no need). The Transvaginal scan showed the Adenomyosis and in addition, there was endometrial polyps and endometrial hyperplasia. I had a procedure (hysteroscopy) to remove the polyps and hyperplasia and then decided to keep trying to conceive with the Adenomyosis. And yes for me it worked, but what it did to me was multiple miscarriages.
A colleague once told me I was lucky, the typical presentation is pure infertility, mine allowed me take in but caused several miscarriages.
I didn’t have to move a muscle to miscarry, it was usually so bad that anytime I was pregnant and see the tiniest of blood, there’s absolutely nothing that can be done about …. Because the uterus(womb) will keep contracting until the baby was out.
I could miscarry at anytime, was commonly first trimester (5, 6 & 7 weeks) but I had one at 21 weeks(5months). One particular miscarriage I bled for 14 days non stop, clots etc! (PS: it was actually not smart of me, should have done a Manual Vacuum Aspiration but I decided to take advantage of the powerful contractions to evacuate my uterus).
After the 21weeks miscarriage(I had an MVA because I was on admission when it occurred), I decided I was going to get prophylactic cervical cerclage whenever I crossed the first trimester and thankfully (to God be the glory), it worked.
So prior to second trimester there was nothing that worked ie, bed rest oh, not moving a muscle oh, inserting cyclogest( as a matter of fact the pregnancies that stayed, I didn’t need to insert cyclogest!). So yes, I would say it was a miracle.
So when I hear things like I had to take my uterus out because the doctors told me there was no chance of me having a baby with Adenomyosis and endometriosis I get really upset.
These things are all probabilities so going ahead to have hysterectomy is making it final.
But again, I reemphasize that maybe her symptoms were simply unbearable and hence when advised for that mode of management, she opted for it.
There are times when I have felt “why me” but I quickly removed such backward thought from my head. I mean, all these things I was diagnosed of had names, meaning I wasn’t the first person to have them so what makes me so special that I shouldn’t be the one having it? And as a Christian I believed (and still do) that if God allowed me to have it, it’s because He has already made a way of escape for me, so I am more than capable of handling it. And yes He helped me.
Do I still have Adenomyosis today, yes! Do I still feel my womb when I palpate my abdomen, yes, even when I am not pregnant! I still have no plans of taking out my uterus now ‘jor’, when menopause comes it should sort itself out.
I however am tired of having miscarriages, so I will soon hang my boots…you don’t understand? Haaaa, my obstetric career will soon come to an end! I have tried. Or let me put it like apostle Paul(once I am done), I have finished the race, I have fought the good fight, waiting for me is a crown of Glory…
This piece is meant to be an encouragement for those coming after me. There’s nothing special about me, God can do it for you too if only you believe. If you are living with Adenomyosis, you are not alone. Cheer up, it’s not your village people(lol)!!!
Present at a good hospital and first get diagnosis made and ask for available options.
Nothing is bad if you want to do hysterectomy and subsequently adopt, yes it’s also an option.
I wish you all the best in this journey, I bow out honourably,lol.
P.S.: I now have two children and can’t be grateful to God enough.
Dr Anwuri Grend is a Family physician whose passion is creating and increasing health awareness for common conditions especially those affecting women.
She’s a Christian, married with two children and an advocate for the empowerment of the girl child and improvement of opportunities for women in all spheres of life.