How Mrs. Comfort Jemiseye Battled Fibroids For 10 Years Before Becoming A Happy Mum Of Twins
Uterine fibroid is a big problem for many women. The reason is that the non-cancerous growth is often a major frustration for women trying to get pregnant because it causes infertility.
Sadly, most women don’t have any symptoms and may never know they have fibroids.
While experts have said that surgery may be the best treatment option for fibroid, especially for some women, many women feared fibroid surgery as they think it would make getting pregnant more difficult.
However, Mrs. Comfort Jemiseye, who battled with the health condition for over a decade, shares how she overcame the fibroid surgery phobia. She also shared how she conceived and gave birth to twins after fibroid surgery.
After Mrs. Jemiseye got married in 2011, she set two main goals. First, she wanted to get rid of the uterine fibroids in her womb, and second, she wanted to get pregnant and carry her child in that same womb.
She was, however, afraid of removing the fibroids believing that it would destroy any chance she may have of conceiving a child.
Mrs. Jemiseye could not overcome her phobia of fibroid surgery for seven years into her marriage and despite all her efforts to get pregnant without going for the surgery, she was unable to conceive.
According to her, she was only able to pluck up the courage to go for fibroid surgery after seven years of marriage. Fortunately for her, she was able to conceive after the surgery and gave birth to twins after 8 years of marriage.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, the Lagos-based woman said her fear of fibroid surgery was not just because of what she heard about it from family and friends, but also because of what some doctors told her, noting that doctors told her her chances of having a child after the surgery was a 50/50 chance.
Prevalence of fibroid
According to experts, fibroids are abnormal non-cancerous growths that develop in or on a woman of childbearing age uterus. Sometimes they can become quite large, which was the case with Jemiseye, and could cause severe abdominal pain and heavy periods. However, in some cases, they cause no signs or symptoms at all.
Speaking, renowned fertility expert, Prof. Oladapo Ashiru noted that fibroid is very common in Nigerians and Africa, unlike Caucasians, adding that this is due to many of the saturated oils that we consume.
These oils, Prof Ashiru said, cause a lot of fat tissues, adding that they are also impacted by some environmental factors and can thus cause infertility in women.
According to the University of Michigan, African and African American women are diagnosed with fibroids roughly three times as frequently as white women, develop them earlier in life, and tend to experience larger and more numerous fibroids that cause more severe symptoms.
While there are different types of fibroids, they are all noted to be located either in or on the uterus of the woman, the University said.
Also, according to a 2019 study conducted by researchers from the University of Port Harcourt, out of 217 women that were the subject of the study, 92 women, (33.9 per cent) had fibroids.
Also, a 2013 research titled The Incidence of Uterine Fibroid Among Reproductive Age Women: A Five-Year Review of Cases at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua, Edo, Nigeria found that out of 4,536 cases reviewed, 896 were positive giving a prevalence of 19.75 per cent.
Quest for miracle healing for fibroid without surgery
According to experts, the best solution to fibroids, especially when it is causing infertility is surgery. They, however, noted that many women are always searching for miracle solutions rather than going for surgery.
This was the case with Mrs. Jemiseye. Despite the pain and discomfort of the fibroid and her inability to get pregnant, she was searching for alternative solutions to the fibroid and dreaded going for surgery.
Jemiseye, now 39, said she had hoped for a miracle that wouldn’t involve her undergoing surgery, adding that she took all sorts of concoctions to melt the fibroid in her quest to avoid surgery.
Recounting her years-long ordeal, Comfort, who is now a mother of twin girls, said her faith in the surgery was dampened because she was told it could further reduce a woman’s chances of conceiving. She shared:
“I was really scared of undergoing the surgery to remove the fibroids because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to conceive after the surgery.
“The normal thing everybody tells you is that if you do fibroid surgery, you won’t be able to give birth again so for many years I didn’t go for it.”
The mom-of-2 recalled that she resorted to taking all sorts of herbal concoctions, adding that unknowingly the concoctions were even causing the fibroids to multiply.
She disclosed that she even travelled to different African countries to get herbs that they told her will help to shrink the fibroids. She recalled:
“I went as far as outside Nigeria. I went to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to get herbs. There was even one they gave me. They did it with the heart of a cow or so and they told me when I want to take the herb, I shouldn’t take it where people are.
“So, whenever I wanted to take this herb, I’d wait till 11:30 or 12:00 in the midnight. I wouldn’t even open it in the compound because the odour was so pungent.
“So I would take it outside the gate of my compound to drink and oh, the smell was so bad that I would start crying after taking it.
“I would even be asking God what I had done that He gave me this fibroid but my husband would softly encourage me and tell me to just focus on the result we wanted.”
She disclosed that many people sold spurious concoctions to her and told her lies that what they gave her would solve her problem only to realise later that those things were even harming her health. She added:
“Someone promise me that the fibroid would shrink after I take one concoction but instead, it was my menstrual flow that ceased.”
Recalling how the battle with fibroid started, Mrs. Jemiseye said she first noticed signs of the fibroid in 2005 long before she got married. She said:
“I remember when I was doing this fibroid scan, I saw one later it increased to two, then three and it continued increasing.
“When I finally did the surgery, they picked 14, the biggest one was the one the doctor said was getting close to my heart.”
SEE ALSO: Fertility Expert, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi Sheds Light On The New Technology That Gets Rid Of Fibroids Without Going Under The Knife
Fibroid affected my self-confidence
According to Mrs. Jemiseye, her battle with fibroid also affected her mental health, noting that it made her lose her self-confidence and made it difficult for her to get employment.
She disclosed that she was turned down by some employers, who taught she was pregnant and told her that they do not employ pregnant women.
She said she was also constantly harassed by people in her neighbourhood to buy baby things as they mistook the size of her stomach for pregnancy, adding that she had to resort to wearing large maternity gowns to hide her stomach. She shared further:
“You can imagine walking on the road and people are calling you a pregnant woman. Someone will say, ‘madam I dey sell baby things, please come and buy from me. But, how do you explain to them even though you know that you know you are not pregnant?
“These things made me cry because they didn’t know what I was going through then. God really changed my story.
“I was restricted to the kind of clothes I wore then. No one wanted to employ me thinking I was pregnant. I couldn’t do anything when I was at home. I could hardly relate to anyone. I was just in my own shell. Life was really tough then. How many people do I want to tell that I am not pregnant?”
Told my chance of pregnancy was 50/50 after surgery by doctor
Mrs. Jemiseye said she eventually became frustrated with all the treatment she was going for and decided to go for surgery even though she had been told that her chance of getting pregnant after the operation was 50/50. She recalled:
“I decided I was no longer doing this again. Let me do this operation that everyone has been telling me that if l do it, I’ll die. I decided that if I would die after the surgery, let me die.”
She disclosed that her decision to undergo the surgery didn’t sit well with her family. She said that her mother who had also had fibroid told her that no one in their family had ever gone for fibroid surgery warning her not to risk her life with the operation. She said she was, however, unfazed.
She disclosed that even after deciding to go ahead with the surgery, her interface with the doctors further reinforced her fears as most of the doctors seemed to remind her that her chance of giving birth after the surgery was limited.
“A hospital in Oyo state was recommended. When I went there around June, the doctor said the only available space was in December but when I asked what my chances of getting pregnant after the surgery were? The doctor said it’s 50/50. He said that he was not God.
“Immediately after that conversation, I became afraid again but despite my fear, I had made up my mind to undergo the surgery no matter what. However, when I got back to Lagos, I started crying and praying to God for help.”
Encouragement about fibroid operation
Mrs. Jemiseye disclosed that her encounter with a different doctor before the surgery, however, gave her some encouragement.
She said a friend had recommended the Benjamin Olowojebutu Foundation to her for the surgery, adding that she was initially reluctant of considering it as an option. She narrated further:
“But when I spoke to Dr. Ben of the Foundation, I was happy I did. He was so patient and answered my questions one by one.
“I remember when I asked him, ‘Sir if I have this surgery, can I get pregnant? He said why not’. I then explained to him that so many doctors have told me that after the surgery they can’t guarantee my giving birth.
“They told me that my fibroid was so large. Even when you see me, you’ll think that I’ll give birth the following month, my breathing was not even normal due to the size of the fibroid. So, I told him about my fears.
“After he examined me, he told me the fibroid was so large that it was coming up to where my heart is. Then he said to me, ‘why will you not get pregnant if you believe in God? That was a big encouragement.”
Became proud mother of twins
Mrs. Jemiseye said that barely four months after the surgery, she became pregnant.
She noted that when she initially started feeling dizzy and weak. She waved it off as stress but her husband suggested she do a pregnancy test.
She said that refused to do the test because she was tired of staring at the same negative result that she had gotten used to seeing.
However, after some more gentle nudging from her husband, she went for a scan and to her surprise, she found that she was not just expecting one baby but two – two girls!. She shared:
“I screamed it was like I was in a dream. It was just months after the surgery in 2018 that I got pregnant and in December 2019, I gave birth to a set of twin girls. I am very happy that people no longer call me Comfort but Mama Ibeji.”
The delivery came 8years after her marriage. Mrs. Jemiseye said that since the birth of her twins, people have been calling her to find out how she was able to do it and how she is faring.
ALSO SEE: 6 Nigerian Women Detail Their Harrowing Fibroids Stories & How They Won The Battle Against All Odds
Fibroid, major cause of infertility in women
The presence of fibroid causes infertility, says Prof. Ashiru, a foremost fertility expert.
The current Secretary-General of the International Federation of Fertility Societies explained that contrary to what women believe, removing the fibroid can help a woman conceive.
Ashiru explained that it is not correct for women to think that removing fibroid would reduce their chances of getting pregnant.
He, however, noted that the fibroid surgery must be done in the right medical facility with qualified experts. He also stated that fibroid is preventable. The expert said:
“It is also preventable by eating a balanced diet and staying away from bad oils (saturated oils like vegetable oils).
“The important thing is to watch what you eat and things in the environment that can cause infertility such as eating large fish, contaminated fish, food contaminated with pesticides, paints, those are things that can affect fertility and women should not drive a car barefoot.”
Why fibroids grow back
The professor of anatomy/consultant reproductive endocrinologist and co-pioneer of In Vitro Fertilisation in Nigeria explained that fibroids usually grow back because the root cause is often not treated. He said:
“The fact is that if you remove a fibroid, there’s a tendency for it to regrow because whatever caused the fibroid hasn’t been removed.
“It is caused by things in the environment or things in the diets. If those things are not removed, it can still grow back.”
Prof. Ashiru, however, noted that a woman can still carry a baby to term with fibroid dependent on some factors.
“If it is not inside the cavity of the uterus, and it is between 1-2 centimetre, the woman can still have a baby without removing the fibroid but if it is inside the cavity, projecting into the cavity from the lining, and anything above two centimetre in the inside, you have to remove it, otherwise, it would be acting like a contraceptive that is preventing pregnancy,”