Fibroid afternoons

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monica posing May 2nd 2014

My son repeatedly advises against putting my pictures on the Internet. He promises experiences that will result in my regretting that I did not listen. I am already starting to have some of those experiences. I have been finding my pictures being used on other websites and I don’t necessarily like it. I have been in this business since 1998; but I have kept myself relatively anonymous. It was easy to do that because I worked behind the scenes as a web programmer. I gave up programming when stress from coding began to reach a dangerous level. I decided to become a blogger/content website producer instead. Most of the blogs/content websites I have developed over the years have allowed me to maintain my anonymity. I’ve run celebrity gossip blogs, forex trading blogs, investing blogs, interior decorating blogs–I’ve tried my hand at just about every type of blog and a handful of content websites, trying to make it as a blogger/content website producer. So far I haven’t had any luck. I won’t tell you what I make a month blogging for a living.

This blog is the first time I have gotten as openly personal as this blog gets. While I have used my own life as inspiration for writing on other blogs, such as my marriage blog, those blogs have not been about me and my life. This blog is about me and my life.

Against my son’s advise I am exposing myself in a way that I could indeed come to regret; because once you put your stuff out there on the Internet it becomes accessible to the entire world and anyone can take it and do anything they want with it and very often there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. It can be hard to remove your stuff off the internet when it gets into other people’s hands, onto other websites over which you have no control.

So I am at a point of questioning why I’m really doing this and whether or not it’s worth the risks that come with it. It is a personal blog but it is also part of my collection of blogs that I maintain for the purpose of trying to make a living. I think that is pretty much the standard these days. Most bloggers are trying to make a living from their blogging and I am not an exception; but I certainly didn’t have to start a blog like this.

I started this blog because I thought it could be helpful to me while at the same time being useful to others. I don’t know if anyone actually finds it in any way useful; but it has certainly been helpful to me, particularly since I started this new phase of documenting my efforts to change my life. It kind of forces me to make a more concerted effort to stay on top of things. It gives me a reason to do things. It puts me back in touch with my self. It helps me to see myself — to see my truth in a way that I can’t see it when I’m just sitting and thinking about myself in terms of how I have been perceived throughout my life and how I am still perceived by others.

This blog is like that journal that you make an effort to write in because you are committed to the purpose of finding yourself, seeking clarity, helping yourself stay focused and motivated, seeking truth, creating a better you. It serves as a reminder to allow myself to “be”. And I need that reminder. I need a reason to keep trying to create a better me and a better life for myself.

But even so, is all of that worth the risk of putting myself out there and opening myself to ridicule, and criticism, and judgement, and antipathy because something I write or the way I look in a picture rubs someone the wrong way? More importantly is it worth the risk of losing my anonymity? Like today for example I had to contact Google about removing my pictures off of a website and I had to give my full name and only after I had done so did I notice Google’s note about sharing my information with the website and also with some other website. So my communication with them will not remain my personal business. And that’s my concern right now. Do I keep moving forward understanding that this is a different kind of world and staying anonymous is next to impossible; especially if you’re going to be blogging about your life and putting pictures of yourself on the Internet? Do I keep going because I only have one life to live and time is short, and and I can’t afford to keep on living in fear of everything and everyone? Or do I quit now out of fear that my son is right and all I have waiting down the road are experiences that will make me regret the day I decided to expose myself in this way?

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Okay so my title totally makes no sense. I’ll have to try to find a way to tie the ideas together. Without giving more information than is needed, my body was used for sex several times last night and again first thing this morning. I say my body was used for sex because I was sleeping, or trying to sleep, while most of the night time activity was taking place, and this morning, though I was awake during the activity, I was not an active participant.

My libido has been pretty much non-existent for the last several years. I believe the fibroids are largely responsible for my loss of interest in sex, although they probably aren’t 100% responsible. They are responsible insofar as they appear to have wiped out any natural sexual impulse. What I mean by that is I don’t ever find myself craving sex; but I do still have the ability to become aroused. So I would have to blame some of my loss of interest in sex on the state of affairs with my marriage.

I’ve mentioned in other posts that I am married and that my marriage contributes largely to my lack of mental and emotional wellness. Sex has been a huge issue in my marriage from the start. I went eight years before I discovered that I was married to a sex addict. Up to that point I thought I was just married to someone with a sex drive that was maddeningly high. It turned out I was married to someone with some serious issues.

As you might imagine, not having a libido is difficult when you’re married to someone who breathes sex. It’s difficult enough to tolerate sex when you have zero desire for it. When you add to the equation the various physical discomforts caused by large fibroids–pain, embarrassing sensations in the bladder and bowel areas,¬† and now concerns about bleeding–let’s just say that the experience of sex has become extremely unpleasant for me.

The problem as I see it

I do believe the problem is largely hormonal and related to the fibroids; but beyond that there are a number of additional factors that are having a detrimental impact on my sex life.

My fibroids have changed my body. I am self conscious about my large stomach. That creates tension to begin with. I am unable to relax. Then you add the fact that I don’t have that sense of comfort of knowing that I am with someone who loves me. I suppose if I were being honest I would also have to admit that I don’t have that sense of comfort of knowing that I am with someone I truly love. I don’t feel “married” in the way I need to feel married. I don’t feel like I’m with a “partner” much less a soul mate. And I don’t want to share my body with someone who doesn’t like me or love me and with whom I don’t feel safe enough and secure enough to let my guard down. Throw in the issues I have with my husband being a smoker–the fact that I am repulsed by the way he smells. And also throw in the fact that I cannot trust him and I am always having to be concerned about what he may or not be doing once he leaves the house in the morning. I never know when he’s telling me the truth and when he’s lying so I always have to be on my guard to try to protect myself.

When you throw all of that into the mix, even if I didn’t have fibroids and they weren’t playing havoc with my system and shutting down my sexual urges, I think I would still be dealing with a loss of interest in sex with my husband.

So what’s the point of it all?

I would prefer to have a healthy libido. I don’t know what constitutes a healthy libido at the age of 43. It makes sense that I won’t get as excited as a twenty year old fresh off of losing her virginity; but I don’t think I’m supposed to be feeling like an 80 year old. No disrespect to 80 year old women. I imagine 80 year old women can still get aroused and have orgasms. Joan Collins looks like she still gets the Big O from time to time.

The point is, while I don’t expect to be wanting sex 24/7, I would prefer to have some semblance of a sex drive. If I’m going to be having to have sex anyway I would like to be able to enjoy it. And as long as I remain married to this particular individual, sex is going to happen. The question of what I’m doing married to someone who treats me like I’m a blow-up doll with an annoying “thinking and talking” feature that he would disable if he could, is for another post. For the purpose of this discussion, I am married to a man who values me only for his ability to use my body for sex. Because I am married to him and I sleep in the same bed with him every night sex becomes very difficult to avoid. There are other reasons that it is not in my best interest to outright refuse him. Given I have no sex drive and I have no sexual interest in him specifically–I would prefer if I didn’t ever have to have sex with him; but there are unspoken obligations when you’re in a situation like I’m in. No one will come right out and say certain things; but while I am busy trying and failing at one business venture or another, bills have to get paid. So, desire or no desire, sex is still an activity in which I am obliged to engage.

The problem for me is, I don’t have the ability to pretend I’m having a good time when I’m not. If I’m hating every second of the sex experience I don’t hide the fact. This makes things more difficult for me in the long run, which is why I say that if I’m going to have to have sex anyway, I would rather be able to enjoy it. Sex is good for health. And I want to be healthy. So yeah, I would like to have a normal, healthy sex drive so that I can use my husband for sexual release the way he uses me.

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I keep talking about the state of my marriage and how I feel like my marriage is a huge contributing factor in my inability to stay on a course of self/life transformation. I have all but accused my husband of causing me to grow¬† fibroids. I do know that my husband did not “cause” me to grow fibroids; but I remain convinced that had I been in a more healthy relationship my condition would not have become quite so severe.

This is probably not the forum for me to go into great detail about my marriage; but a part of the purpose of this blog is for me to try to figure out myself in order to figure out how to successfully transform my life and with any luck become fibroid-free in the process.

My marriage has played a huge role in shaping the last 17 years of my life. I have known this man I call husband since I was 20 going on 21. I have been married to him since I was 26. Although I had been engaged to him for 5 years before we got married, I hadn’t really known him. We’d been in a long distance relationship and had only been in each other’s physical presence twice in the 5 years. Once for two months and the other time for just a handful of days. He was 41 when I married him and I don’t think he had ever really had any responsibilities in his life by then; and he still wasn’t ready for the responsibility of marriage and family. I’ve suffered the consequences of this, among other things, in the worst of ways for most of our marriage.

I married someone I didn’t really know. Today I know without doubt I married someone I would never have married had I been “well”. That is to say, if not for the mental and emotional problems that plagued me and made me vulnerable and desperate, insecure, lacking self-esteem and prone to making bad choices, it is highly unlikely that I would have ended up married to this particular individual or to someone like him. But here I am.

I’m not trying to say my husband is a bad person. He has done bad things but he’s no worse than anyone else as far his basic decency. He and I just don’t have enough in common to justify marriage. We are fundamentally different people. And I’m not convinced we love or even like each other and that’s obviously a huge problem.

Attempting change while everyone around you maintains the status quo

I have previously mentioned that I was separated from my husband for almost 2 years. I had not wanted to get back with him but for practical reasons I felt like I had to and so I did. One of the things we discussed before getting back together was how important it was for me not to get set back to where I had been before our separation. But it wasn’t too long before my lifestyle was back to what it had been.

It is almost impossible, I find, to change your life while everyone around you is determined to maintain the status quo. I believe that one of main reasons I have continued to fail in my attempts at changing my life is that I am remaining in the same environment dealing with the same people who are doing the same things every day. I’m not sure the kind of change I need is possible to achieve without first ending my marriage. I think after 17 years you kind of know that this is it. Especially when you’re dealing with the kinds of differences that exist between myself and my husband, not only in terms of the type of people we are but even basic things like having more than a decade separating our ages.

My husband always talks about growing old together. Just last night he was pleading and running the same lines about how we belong together and we should never part. I know he just says these things while it’s convenient for him; but let another woman come along and his tune will change. He won’t give a second thought to leaving me. So when he gets to talking about working on our marriage I don’t really bother to listen because I know in his mind that means he does nothing. He changes nothing. Working on our marriage for him means that I make all the adjustments and he reaps all the benefit of having a wife who walks around on egg shells every day trying to make the marriage work.

I can’t make my marriage work. I’ve tried. And I can’t achieve the goals I have set for myself while my marriage is in the state that it is. So to me it is very clear that my choices are:

  1. Leave the marriage
  2. Give up trying to have a better life and accept the status quo.

But the status quo is making me get sicker and sicker every day. And I don’t have a lot of time left to play with. It’s criminal how much damage I have done to myself and my life by accepting the status quo for so many years. This is my last chance. Either I break the cycle now or I will never break it and my life will have been a complete waste.

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Photo of bird on branch in tree outside apartment

I am going through some things right now that are a little worrisome. Last night I thought I might end up having to go to the emergency room; but I’m still here watching to see what develops. In the meantime I thought I would explore the question “Can fibroids kill you?” because I really wasn’t sure I was going to make it through the night last night and I feel that if something had happened to me it most certainly would have been indirectly caused by the fibroids. I’ve researched this question before back when I first discovered I had fibroids and pretty much everything I found made light of fibroids. They were described more as a nuisance, but something that doesn’t really usually result in a loss of life.

I think we all know that just about anything can kill you. Fibroids themselves won’t kill–meaning you’re not going to die simply because you have fibroids; but you can develop complications because of your fibroids and some of the complications can be life threatening. I think the heavy bleeding that some fibroid suffers experience is one of the more serious issues that could potentially put their life at risk. Right now I am dealing with that problem. I won’t get into detail because this is one of those topics that not everyone can talk about casually and not everyone can read about without feeling uncomfortable; but I was worried for a minute there that I might bleed to death.

I’m sure you can find more factual information on the subject of whether or not fibroids can kill you by doing some google research. I’m obviously just a woman with fibroids. I’m not a doctor and can’t answer that question based on any actual knowledge. I only know that everything I’ve read paints a picture of fibroids as being harmless for the most part. It would seem that most women with fibroids are in that group who are hardly affected by their fibroids at all; and then there are those of us whose lives are changed by fibroids. I imagine the factors that put you at greater risk of potentially losing your life due to complications from fibroids will come down to your own individual situation; but over all the general consensus is that complications from fibroids are uncommon.

I was reading an article just now and it has left me wondering, again, if I am being irresponsible by not getting medical treatment for my fibroids. The reality for me is that the only treatment anyone has offered and the only treatment anyone will offer is a hysterectomy. Maybe at some point during the period from June 2012 to December 2013 I might have been able to “qualify” for a less drastic procedure. My stomach was much smaller during that period than it had been when I was twice told I needed a hysterectomy. If I went to the doctor today, based on the size of my stomach today, the only treatment that would be offered to me is a hysterectomy; and even though I said earlier in the year that I was fed up with this whole fibroid life and I was ready to quit trying to shrink my fibroids naturally and just go ahead and get the hysterectomy, I don’t have the same attitude of “I’ll take my chances” today that I had when I wrote the post in question. My fear is irrational. I get it. Nonetheless, I am afraid.

But if my fear of the possibility of dying during surgery could potentially kill me anyway what am I really gaining by not doing it? If by not doing it because I am afraid, I leave myself in danger of developing complications that could still kill me, how does it benefit me to not take the risk? Either way I am at risk.

About the image: This morning when I sat down to start my workday I saw a bird in the tree outside my apartment. I was looking through the blinds. I had my camera right there so I tried to snap a photo of the bird while still sitting in my chair. I didn’t get a very clear shot but this has a kind of sad and misty quality to it that suggests a mood of reflection about life. I wonder if birds get diseases like fibroids?

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Shrinking fibroid naturally photo july 16 2012

I don’t think that just because your stomach looks flatter it means your fibroids are shrinking. In my experience different things affect how big my stomach looks from day to day.

I’ve been having a pretty comfortable day with the fibroids today. I’m pretty sure it’s because I’ve been giving my stomach a break drinking mostly tea yesterday and today. I only had 1 solid meal yesterday and it was a pretty small dinner; and so far today I’ve only consumed tea with the exception of the 1 corn pancake I ate at around 4PM. I plan to only drink tea for the rest of the day. I took the picture on the right this morning to post in order to show how my stomach is more manageable when I don’t eat.

Obviously I still have a protrusion. I’ve said in other posts that I don’t think I’m ever going to get my flat stomach back, and right now my goal is to manage my situation so that I can achieve as flat a stomach as I am going to have while still having fibroids. If in the process of trying to manage my situation I eventually succeed in shrinking the fibroids down to where I get back the flat stomach I used to have that will be great; but I don’t think if that ever happens it’s going to happen any time soon.

If this is the first post of mine that you’ve read and you haven’t seen any previous pictures of what my stomach has looked like, here’s a picture that was taken in June 2011 (view picture). I’ve said that I think the size of my stomach when it gets to the size you see in the picture isn’t ever 100% fibroids. For sure I was carrying around more weight when the below picture was taken than I am now, but my stomach still gets big like that from time to time.

I think when my stomach gets really big like that its because the fibroids don’t allow for much space for anything I eat, so if I eat three full meals per day there isn’t any room for that in conjunction with the fibroids, so things get pushed about and around. Sometimes I can feel the fibroids pushing out my sides. There’s one that will rise higher in my chest. There’s one that will press lower into my pelvis and by the time everything has found itself a place to settle I look like I have a nearly full term baby inside me.

When I don’t eat then things settle better so my stomach looks flatter. It’s the reason I’ve kept saying that I don’t really know if my fibroids have shrunken at all. I think the only way I will know that is by getting an ultrasound.

The problem for me as I have said in numerous other posts is that I cannot afford too many days of eating next to nothing or not eating at all. It’s just not a viable option if I want to stay strong and healthy. So it would be great if I could actually get rid of the fibroids altogether, but I don’t know if that’s truly possible without getting some kind of procedure done. Obviously I’d rather not look like I’m pregnant when I’m not so I know I have find a diet that allows me to get the calories and nutrients I need to maintain my health while keeping my stomach fairly empty, as it seems my stomach needs to be empty in order to avoid looking too pregnant. There isn’t any room in there for food on top of the fibroids.