July is Fibroids Awareness Month and I am one of the 90 percent of Black women affected by fibroids by age 50. I was diagnosed with fibroids—smooth muscle tumors that form in the uterus—in 2001 at the age of 30. From that moment on, I began a 14-year battle to overcome fibroids, the resulting infertility and a litany of other medical challenges. The road to my healing was a long and grueling one that included:
10 surgeries—five of them for fibroids
5 in-vitro fertilization cycles
1 heart-wrenching miscarriage
120+ days combined in the hospital
A high risk pregnancy that resulted in my unborn baby fighting the fibroids that were siphoning off her blood supply at 21 weeks in utero
My heart stopping on the delivery table
Thankfully Nia, our miracle baby, being born at 2.5 lbs and 14 inches!
While our family enjoyed a storybook ending, my heart aches for families who are still fighting fibroids and infertility. The fibroids epidemic affects 70 percent of American women at large, and up to 90 percent of Black women by age 50. Many of these women have their personal and professional lives derailed by infertility, hemorrhaging, life-threatening anemia, debilitating cramps, embarrassing incontinence and so much more.