Episode 140: The Fight with Fibroids
There are few things scarier than excruciating, physical pain for a reason unknown. Except, maybe, experiencing the worst pain of your life while on a three-hour flight, fainting, and waking up with an oxygen mask, surrounded by concerned flight attendants urging the pilot to make an emergency landing.
That is exactly what happened to today’s guest, Dontaira Terrell, when a cyst burst 30,000 feet in the air. Dontaira had been ignoring her pain, assuming it was normal. Her emergency surgery led to the discovery of Uterine Fibroids, propelling Dontaira to think critically about her health, reproductive future and fertility preservation.
Guest: Dontaira Terrell, Entertainment Journalist and On-Air Host
Host: Dan Bulger, Progyny
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Here are some highlights from this episode:
4:04 – 5:39
Dontaira Terrell: I had really bad cramping, but I feel like a lot of times in our community, that’s just normalized. Things like “oh, it’s that time of the month, you just have bad cramps. Take Advil.” But that definitely wasn’t the case for me. Some of the other early symptoms were extreme bladder pain, missed or inconsistent menstrual cycles, exhaustion, and mood swings. But like I said. I thought it was normal. I thought I was just getting older, and this is what happens when you get older.
Fibroids and Fertility
10:39 – 14:46
Dan Bulger: To say Dontaira’s experience was traumatic is an understatement. When they reached their destination, she scheduled an emergency appointment with her doctor who discovered that she had a uterine cyst that ruptured on the flight, but they also discovered something else. Uterine fibroids. Now, if you’ve been listening to the show a lot, or perhaps been watching some videos on the Progyny YouTube channel, you probably know that uterine fibroids are extremely common and even more common for black woman. And you probably know that sometimes they’re no big deal. Sometimes they don’t require any intervention at all. But unfortunately, for Dontaira, the uterine fibroids were causing significant problems. And the only solution would be surgery.
Dontaira Terrell: After the surgery, I wanted to get back to normal. But when I woke up, I was told all about fibroids and how they would impact my future fertility. I know I want kids, so when I woke up, my doctor started talking with me about pregnancy options and egg freezing. Based on where the fibroids were in my body, I would not have been able to carry a healthy pregnancy – it would end in miscarriage after miscarriage. This experience was a wakeup call.
Dan has been in the healthcare industry for the last six years as a multimedia content producer. Better known as ‘Video Dan’ he has interviewed numerous doctors, patients and other experts in the world of fertility. He’s also the producer for this podcast, This is Infertility. On a personal note Dan’s parents started fostering kids when he was four years old, and he considers himself a proud older brother to over 100 foster children.
Dontaira knew from an early age that entertainment was her career passion. Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Dontaira headed to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) to study Journalism with a concentration in PR/minor in Theatre Arts. Her career has led her to tell stories – in print, digitally and as on-air talent for a variety of entertainment programs.
Nikki Giovanni’s quote, “I really don’t think life is about the I-could-have- beens. Life is only about the I-tried- to-do. I don’t mind the failure but I can’t imagine that I’d forgive myself if I didn’t try,” is undoubtedly the soundtrack of her journey.
She lives in Los Angeles and has become and advocate for women’s health after her own experience with Uterine Fibroids.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Andy G Cohen
Track: A Perceptible Shift