I was just over 42 when I had the uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) procedure. Up until that point I found that my periods were getting heavier. Right before, it was just extreme. Within a very short period of time, it went to an extreme level, and 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, spent a lot of time with friends and family, very active. Right before the procedure, I found I was very limited because of it.

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…age, what not. At that point, he did a physical exam and also did an ultrasound and told me that I did have fibroids.

The only symptom that I experienced with fibroids was a heavier period. Very heavy periods but also some bladder issues. Obviously, the fibroids were pushing against the bladder. So I felt frequency, or the need to go was more frequent.

At first, the only options I was told about were to either have a myomectomy or a 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 UFE. 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, "If you’re going to consider this, this is the person that you need to go see." And it was for a good reason. He explained the entire procedure. I had already done a lot of research on my own, had gone to the website, to the seminar, and read the pamphlets and all the literature they had given me. He further helped me understand what the procedure was all about and how it would help in my case.

After reviewing the test results, the MRI results, he said I was a textbook candidate. Based on position, the size, everything, that I was a good candidate for the UFE procedure and that he felt it really could help.

So, after meeting him, I really thought that this was the way for me to go. I had the procedure, I think, within a few weeks. We were able to schedule it fairly quickly.

Amazing how many people have been through the same thing. I never would have known until you start talking about it, and suddenly, it’s “oh yeah…either I’ve been through it, or I know somebody who’s been through it." It 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 is more than just surgery for this condition.

The difference in my lifestyle, before the procedure compared to now, it’s incomparable. My symptoms changed very quickly right before I had the procedure done. My periods certainly were not 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; I needed constant attention. With that came a lot of emotional distress as well as the physical distress. Almost immediately, actually it was the next month, everything changed. Immediately changed.

Now, they asked me to stay on certain medications just to be sure. The results of the UFE could take a month, several months; it could take up to a year. So, they had me stay on some medications. I almost knew immediately that the procedure had made a difference. It was night and day.

I stayed on the medications for almost another six months at their direction. I went off them, and there were no further symptoms. It’s night and day. Absolutely night and day.

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