A collage with a cut out in the shape of a uterus.

From Lupus to Menopause, Part 2

The words "you are bleeding out" will hit anyone like a ton of bricks. It was the possibility of death that scared me. Bleeding for nearly 2 years was rough. First, menstruating so long took me to a place that made me face some serious struggles. Second, it brought me to a point in my mind of survival mode.

Survival of the fittest

My thought was to survive or give in when doctors administered 1 liter of blood swiftly in the emergency room. It still wasn’t nearly enough to get me to the point of being able to have surgery. The consultation with my doctor determined the anemia had to stabilize to prepare for the hysterectomy. At that time, my doctor informed me that I was a survivor who thrived beyond anything put on me. Honestly, I should have been dead with the amount of blood I lost. As a point of information, on average, a human body has 5-6 liters of blood. I received 4 liters of blood to start my hysterectomy and another liter during the surgery.

What actually happened?

The transfusion began to bring up my hemoglobin and stabilize me, and it was time for surgery. I often joked with my family that I would sing a raunchy song to freak out the doctor. Oddly enough, the doctor knew the song and him smiling at me and telling me it will all be okay was the last thing I remember before I woke up.

The doctor performed my hysterectomy in about 3.5 hours. Eventually, when the doctor talked to my family, he stated he had never seen a uterus so inflamed. My special uterus was the size of a volleyball. The doctor cut vertically and horizontally to remove it. Somehow lupus attacked my uterus and caused these issues. Lupus determined that my uterus was a foreign object that needed to be removed.

No uterus, menopause will come!

It took me about 16 weeks to recover from my hysterectomy. The bleeding stopped, and the anemia that plagued me was non-existent. As I began to get back to a sense of normalcy, I began to notice the mood swings, forgetfulness, hot flashes, and fatigue. They weren’t like the ones I had with lupus. They were more intense and lasted so much longer. I realized this one life-threatening issue changed my life in more ways than I could imagine. Lupus brought me issues that reminded me of my life's blessings.

Today, I am still going through symptoms of menopause. It’s hard to determine if it is menopause or a lupus issue, but at least I know it’s one of them and can deal with it. I am not on any medications for menopause, and in a sense, I feel like my eating habits and stress levels can control certain aspects of the symptoms. Along with my medical team, I am always very open and ready to discuss what’s going on to ensure I don’t suffer too much or too long with the symptoms. All in all, I am dealing with lupus and menopause wholly through nutrition, exercise, dealing with mental health, and spiritual grounding.

Do you deal with menopause and lupus? What is it like for you? Let me know in the comments.

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