Before you read any further, let me stop you there.
When you first read the title of this post, many of you had no clue what fibroids are, let alone that I had them. Yep, surprise (sarcastic ‘woo-hoo’). The dictionary defines a fibroid as “a benign tumor of muscular and fibrous tissues, typically developing in the wall of the uterus.” I define it as “the come-to-Jesus experience that makes you realize you need God to help you make it from day to day”.
My experience with and eventual diagnosis of fibroids has been a long one and VERY trying one. Ever since “I became a woman” back in middle school, I have always experienced excruciating cramps; they run on my mom’s side of the family. It used to get so bad sometimes that I would have to fake a bathroom break or check out of school just so I can ball up in a corner, hold my aching stomach and cry. BUT I always told myself I was a warrior so I would just take the occasional pain reliever and deal with it. When I turned 28 alladat jump up about six decibels! The pain became almost unbearable at times — but again, being the warrior that I was, I chopped it up to getting older and moved on.
Then, shortly after I began dating my ex boyfriend I began noticing a different symptom. EXTREME fatigue. I thought it was because I was overworking my body juggling a full time job, my photography business, and a new budding dating life so I shrugged it off. Then about 6 months later yet ANOTHER symptom reared its ugly head — nausea. All my life I have NEVER had issues with feeling sick on my stomach unless I was dehydrated, had a bad cold virus, or ate something bad. But ohhhhh buddy, now it was making more surprise visits than a probation officer on Friday! Whenever it was “that time of the month” I began spending less time in the office and more time cleaning up the bathroom. Any stench, any whiff of the slightest polarizing smell would send my poor stomach churning and feet a’running! After my breakup with my ex, I figured life would be better since I would have more time to devote to getting my health back on track; so I fully expected my energy to return and my work-life balance to perk up.
My body determined THAT was a lie.
After countless comments on how I was “too young” to be THIS tired, I decided to ask my doctor about it and he said I was surprisingly borderline anemic.
COME AGAIN MISSURE DOCTOR?! He suggested I begin taking iron supplements and overnight my energy returned. Problem solved right? Not quite. After about 5 – 6 months, my fatigue returned and my “lady week” symptoms intensified to the point where I was missing work. The pain and nausea was SO bad that I could barely stand or walk at times. Somebody say “BUT GOD”!
Long story short, I finally mentioned it to my gynecologist and after a few tests, it was determined I had tiny (but pesky) fibroids that were wreaking havoc on my life. That was about 4 months ago and after MUCH trial and error, I have FINALLY found a system that has not only decreased my pain, but has virtually wiped out the nausea; and I believe I am finally showing those fibroids who’s boss!
I began by researching ways to get rid of fibroid/menstrual symptoms. [If you know me personally, you know home girl here is going to do what she needs to do to find out how to get an answer!] Since I am currently transitioning into a Mediterranean Lifestyle, I wanted the most natural approach possible and there it was, God’s plan [cue Drake] — FOOD! It was like I hit the Jackpot at Harrah’s on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. God knew we’d have certain ailments and gave each earthen thing a purpose. I tried various methods for almost 2 months and this past week has proven to be the golden week!
HERE’S HOW IT’S GOING SO FAR……
DAY 1 – In my personal experience, the first day of my cycle typically proves to be one of the most challenging days pain-wise so I began this diet change by starting my day with a small pack (7) of saltine crackers and some Canada Dry ginger ale (it’s the only brand that uses real ginger). For lunch, outside smells lingering in my office had me a little nervous so I decided to eat another small pack (7) of saltines with a large tumbler glass of cold water. For dinner, we had family dinner at an aunt’s house who THANKFULLY prepared baked fish (seasoned only with salt, pepper, and crushed garlic) and made a simple salad (lettuce, tomato, onion). I drank the rest of my Canada Dry along with a small bottle of green tea w/mint.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Ginger, peppermint and cold water are KEY weapons when fighting nausea. So to all my black folk who grew up like me, being told to drink ginger ale to cure whatever ailed you, our moms were on to something back then! Also meats like pork or fried foods are a NO NO because they make menstrual cramps 10xs worse (personal experience).
DAY 2 – I woke feeling a faint inkling of pain (on a scale of 1-10 it was a 0.5) so I decided chow down on a small bowl of pineapple for breakfast. I had a chance to stop by the grocery store after work the day before, so for lunch I feasted on the spoils of a homemade spinach-arugula salad. All I did was wash some of the greens and make my own dressing out of lemon juice, olive oil, kosher salt, and coarse black pepper. I topped my salad with some shreds of Parmesan cheese. Oh, I had green tea w/mint to drink. For dinner I had to think fast and picked out a couple of pieces of wild caught salmon. Since I had to meet a client-friend at her house for a project, I needed something fast, but still in line with keeping my annoying symptoms away. Within 30 minutes dinner was ready: foil broiled garlic herb salmon with fresh cooked pole beans (cooked in stock and seasoned with herbs). I drank green tea w/mint as well as water but still craved something sweet! (sidebar, ladies ain’t it crazy how the very thing that will cause us the most pain, we want?!). Since refined and processed sugars exacerbate fibroid/menstrual pain, I treated myself to 2 mini squares of Ghirardelli 82% Midnight Reverie Dark Chocolate.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Again, I piled on the green, cruciferous vegetables like spinach and arugula because they help replenish important vitamins that help diminish period woes and replace some of the iron that you often lose due to the fibroids. Again, processed, meats that are high in bad fat can cause inflammation which makesm fibroids WORSE, so I decided to stay with a lean meat like salmon which has healthy Omega-3 fats. Now I know you’re wondering about the chocolate. Dark chocolate over 70% has little to no sugar at all which ACTUALLY makes it healthy for you — in moderation of course. It contains magnesium which works wonders when you’re looking to drive away those debilitating cramps!
DAY 3 – By this point, I’ve prayed daily for God to do His work (specifically in this matter) and He has continued to do just that! Since the pineapple almost tenderized the roof of my mouth to a pulp earlier in the week (look up bromelain) I decided to nurse it with about 4 saltine crackers and some green tea w/mint. For lunch I warmed up some leftover salmon and pole beans from the night before. The apocalyptic spring weather has had my nose a little haywire, so for dinner I opted to pick up some pozole from my favorite Mexican restaurant and fix a spinach-arugula salad w/ homemade lemon dressing. I was still hungry so I took a small trunk of broccoli and ate the florets to top me off! I washed it down with some cold water. For dessert I ate 2 mini squares of Ghirardelli 72% Intense Twilight Dark Chocolate.
For those who don’t know, my second love language is Spanish! I love many things from Spanish culture (se amo la cultura espanola!) and food is a MAJOR part of it. Pozole is a soup made numerous ways, but the version I ate was made of chile guajillo broth, radishes, cabbage, hominy, and shredded chicken that was prepared on the stove-top grill. This was a light, healthy way to tame those worrisome fibroids and that hateful pain and nausea. Radishes combined with the arugula help to tame the estrogen feeding the fire inside my uterus.
At this point in my journey, I am convinced (and equally shocked) that we can heal ourselves of so much by just changing our habits and what we put in our body. I gathered most of my research from Livestrong.com, Dr. Oz, and a few other sources which you can easily Google. Three days into ‘lady week’ last month, I was home from work sprawled out on my floor crying, desperately trying to grab on to that Holy Hem of Jesus’ garment to heal me. But this month, I know I feel like a new woman! I KNOW God to be a healer and have EXPERIENCED first hand His miracles; I am thankful that He thought enough of us to give us just what we need naturally. I plan to continue this “fibroid diet” and want to know if any of you other ladies out there have found comfort in switching up your diet when it’s your time of the month. I plan to hit the gym and walk for at least 15 – 20 minutes tomorrow to stay active and if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, I ask that you keep me in your prayers as I journey towards healing from the thorns that are fibroids.
For more information on fibroids, symptoms, and what foods to eat/not eat, check here!
Bless up ya’ll and don’t forget to let me hear from you!