Imagine my shock when I walked into a clinic for a regular medical examination and was told that what I thought was belly fat was actually a growing mass of fibroids. A lot of people use the line “nothing prepared me for what happened next” and this particular time, it applied to me so well because of what the doctor told me when I had finished the test.

 “You have a growth.” He doesn’t explain but goes to sit at his desk and starts scribbling stuff down. He looks serious. Young lady, are you aware you have a growth?” I ask him what it means and he says there are fibroids growing in your uterus. He gives me a stern look and tells me how serious it is. He is going to write a referral letter to 37 Military Hospital so I can have it removed. He is writing to his personal friend as an urgent matter so it can be taken care of as soon as possible. He asks me again, are you not aware of this growth in your abdomen? No, I replied. I thought it was belly fat I added honestly. This time he laughs and looks at me with pity. It isn’t belly fat and you need to have those removed as soon as possible.

For years I accepted that I was the typical Ghanaian girl with a “banku” belly. LOL! I religiously drunk apple cider vinegar and worked out (once a month twice a year) in hopes that this fat would burn. Odd thing was that, there was no visible weight gain anywhere else – the bulge was all in my abdominal region.

Little did I know, it was something that I had no control over. I was concerned but not scared and dare I say I found a little reprieve in this news. I was relieved at least that I could blame my bulging stomach to something other than poor eating habits. Goes without saying how much I indulged in things I had been denying myself after that.

These are photos I took of my belly months after I had been diagnosed so circa July 2018. I had surgery in February 2019 and by then, my belly was significantly bigger than here.

A bulging belly is not always a sign of fibroids. For some women; it could be a myriad of other factors or simply belly fat. If it is, then good for you because I would honestly rather have a buildup of fat than fibroids and it’s not even up for debate. It is also a good time to insert that those black girls belly fat jokes are insensitive especially when fibroids are so prevalent. Medically, women suffer a great deal and it is so unnecessary to have society burden us even further with beauty standards and the need for a perfect body. Existing alone is enough. (I am going off on a tangent here, this is a conversation for a another day).

Anyway, that my bulging belly was fibroids is not to scare you. If you find that your abdominal region is increasing in size, be kind to yourself and seek medical attention first before you resort to home remedies and gym.

It will be best to end here and delve more into symptoms when I share the next piece of my story.