I was just over 42 when I had the UFE procedure. Up until that point, I found that my periods were getting heavier. Right before, it was extreme. Within a very short period of time, it just got to a point where it was unbearable. Prior to, I had a very active lifestyle: worked full time, owned a home, did a lot of maintenance of the home, and spent a lot of time with friends and family. Right before the procedure, I found I was very limited because of my symptoms.
Just after I turned 40, I was at a normal annual OB-GYN visit and mentioned to my doctor at the time that my periods were getting heavier. He mentioned it could be different factors such as age and what not. He did a physical exam and also did an ultrasound and told me, at that point, that I did have fibroids.
The only symptoms I experienced with fibroids were very heavy periods and also some bladder issues. Obviously, the fibroids were pushing against the bladder, so I felt the need to go more frequently.
At first, the main options I was told about were myomectomy and hysterectomy. There was also another procedure, which I don’t remember the name of, but there were three options given to me by my OB-GYN. While I was considering one of these three options, I just happened to hear a radio advertisement that Jefferson Radiology was giving a seminar on fibroid tumors and potential treatment options. It was very timely. I signed up for the semiar, went to it, and that’s how I learned about uterine fibroid embolization. Again, timing was everything. I was very glad it all worked out that way.
When I went to see an interventional radiologist the first time, I had already had the MRI, and I brought my results with me. It came with a recommendation from my OB-GYN to see an interventional radiologist. He said that if I was going to consider this, an interventional radiologist is the person that I needed to go see. And it was for a good reason. The interventional radiologist explained the entire procedure. I had already done a lot of research on my own, had gone to the website, had gone to the seminar, read the pamphlets and all the literature that they gave me. He further helped me to understand what the procedure is all about and how it would help in my case.
After reviewing the test results and the MRI results, he said I was a textbook candidate for the UFE procedure. Based on the position, size, and everything, he felt that it really could help.
So after meeting him, I really thought that this was the way for me to go. I had the procedure within a few weeks. We were able to schedule it fairly quickly.
It’s amazing how many people have been through the same thing. I never would’ve known until I started talking about it. Suddenly, it’s “oh yeah…” either “I’ve been through it or I know somebody who’s been through it.” It’s obviously may not be the right decision for everyone, but it’s worth considering. You need to consider all the options. Just know that there’s more than just surgery for this condition.
The difference in my lifestyle, before the procedure compared to now, is incomparable. My symptoms changed very quickly right before I had the procedure done. My periods certainly weren’t regular and they were extremely heavy, so I never knew when the symptoms were going to occur. When they did occur, I couldn’t go anywhere, I was basically stuck. I was afraid to go anywhere, and I needed constant attention. With that, came a lot of emotional distress as well as physical distress. The next month, everything changed—immediately changed.
They asked me to stay on certain medications just to be sure. The results of the UFE procedure could take a month, several months, or it could take up to a year. So, they had me stay some medications. I almost knew immediately that the procedure had made a difference. It was night and day.