CW: This post talks about illness, blood, and fatphobia. So if you’re not in a place to read about that, feel free to skip it.

I am sick.

I’ve tried to deny this fact for months, but it’s not something I can ignore anymore.

It’s not terminal, but it’s the kind of sick that requires multiple tests, visits to the ER, and a major surgery to fix.

And I wouldn’t be as sick as I am now if my doctors had taken me seriously the first time I ended up in the ER in 2014. Or the years since when I complained of immense pain and bleeding, but my OBGYN insisted it would all go away if I lost weight.

So I lost 20 pounds and the pain just got worse. She said to lose more. 10 pounds later, I was starving and in more pain than ever.

When I switched doctors and they immediately took me seriously, I started crying. As a fat person, I wasn’t used to kind, compassionate, thorough doctors who looked at me as a whole human.

They took tests and confirmed that I had uterine polyps and fibroids – non-cancerous tumors growing in and around my uterus. 6 inches of them in total.

I say confirmed, not discovered, because back in 2014 the ER found these fibroids and polyps, but my OBGYN did nothing about it.

They didn’t put me on meds to prevent them from growing. 

They didn’t mention the less invasive surgical options before they got too big for anything but a hysterectomy. 

And when I asked if my issue could be fibroids, she said my belly was too large to tell if I had one. Even though she had notes in her chart that I had fibroids and polyps, she chose to ignore that information and shame me instead.

That shame sticks with you.

It can feel impossible to overcome.

When I started nonstop bleeding in August, I didn’t want to say anything, my shame already so huge around my period issues.

Besides, my nephew was dying of cancer. Who was I to complain about a little period pain?

I diminished myself, my body, and my pain because that’s what the medical field and society had done to me as a fat, queer, woman my whole life.

“Don’t be a wimp,” became my motto.

“It’s not cancer,” my nonstop refrain.

Then I ended up in the ER.

Turns out, bleeding profusely for months can cause serious, life-threatening anemia. I got out of there without a transfusion but the message was clear: take this seriously or it will take your life.

So, I put my Write Your Friggin’ Book Already® program on hold, paused all my client calls, cleared my schedule, and did the hardest thing of all for me to do: rested.

I’m still resting.

It’s still hard.

I want to fill my days with activities and instead I’m taking two-hour naps, exhausted from simple tasks.

It’s taking everything in me to not rush this. It’s taking everything in me to not blame myself for this. It’s taking everything in me to love myself through this.

I’m sharing this today because shame grows in silence and I’m tried of hiding away, pretending I’m okay.

I’m sharing this today because 20-80% of people with uteruses will get fibroids in their lifetime, that range so vast because doctors don’t take our pain seriously so we can’t get exact numbers.

I’m sharing this today because talking to friends who have had fibroids and hysterectomies has helped me through this process and I hope this might help someone else.

I’m not sharing this for medical advice. I’ve got a great team of doctors, naturopaths, acupuncturists, and body workers helping me through, so I don’t need more medical suggestions.

What I do need is: 

  • Audiobook and book recommendations for stories about queer women written by queer women (my 2023 reading goal) 
  • Recipes for meals packed with iron and other blood building vitamins and minerals 
  • Heart happy shows to watch on Netflix or Hulu that would look good on my iPad (or on my sister’s TV)

What I need most is patience.

Patience if I take forever to get back to you. Patience if I have to cancel our plans because I’m more exhausted than I thought I’d be. Patience as I navigate this for the next few months.

Because your patience with me helps me to have patience with myself.

So thanks for your support during this hard time.

Love to all of our wonderfully imperfect bodies.

Lauren

P.S. Journaling has helped me immensely through this whole process. If you are going through something hard and want to try journaling to help you through it,  download my free journaling guide here .