My Fibroid Story: Nicki Mayo

Learn about journalist Nicki Mayo’s fibroid experience and the steps she took to address them and her good health.

Learn how Nicki Mayo combatted fibroids and how it changed her life for the better.  #fibroids #femininehealth #womenshealthcare #uterushealth

Discovering Fibroids

If a D.C. metro train leaves a station in Prince George’s County, Md. traveling 33 miles per hour, carrying a Black woman hemorrhaging from fibroids, will she make it to Capitol Hill before soling her clothes with blood?

My answer is sadly no. My full work commute was typically 40 minutes with morning traffic. Nearly every month I found myself arriving at work having to change clothes by 9:30a.m.

Fibroids freakin’ suck! The impact of fibroids on my life went beyond cramping and heavy periods. My world came to a grueling lethargic halt for nearly four years. I’m sharing my story, not just a message for women, but men need to know how these evil uterine tumors impact our lives.

Learn about journalist Nicki Mayo’s fibroid experience and the steps she took to address them and her good health. #womenshealth #fibroids #uterinehealth #uterus

What Are Fibroids

Fibroids are tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. Typically they are benign (non-cancerous) but the impact on a woman’s life can be excruciating.

I started noticing my periods getting unbearable in 2017. It was already a horrible year in my life, but I was also getting ridiculously exhausted. I chewed tons of ice and started feeling painful pressure in my lower abs and pelvic region.

I’m a journalist. As much as I love newspapers, I was sitting on them to prevent myself from staining furniture. I wanted to go to a doctor then, but that was a year I didn’t have medical coverage.

Dealing With Fibroids

Dealing with fibroids made me pivot my career to get a stable job away from traditional newsrooms plagued by ambiguous job security and a rotating door of employment. I knew I needed a job with benefits in case I needed surgery. This brings me to working back in Washington, D.C. and Capitol Hill.

Every month when I was on my period, I carried a change of clothes to work. I often stood all day at my workstation to avoid staining chairs.

Pain From Fibroids

Fibroids are more than a heavy menstrual flow. There’s pain, pressure, anemia and more. I went from chewing ice to popping multiple supplements for iron, vitamin D, B12 and more.

I learned about The White Dress Project (TWDP), a fibroid advocacy group dedicated to empowering women to face fibroids and know our options. This is how I found my doctor and decided on a treatment option. Full disclosure, TWDP is one of my media clients. I credit them with exposing me to forums and testimonials that helped me find the best fit doctor for me.

I was on birth control pills to treat the symptoms for about two years. After four painful years I finally got an open myomectomy to get the tumors out.

Treatment Options

There are three major factors that played into which treatment I chose.

  • Trusting my doctor
  • Personal safety
  • Implicit bias in medicine

In this video I share my reasoning behind these factors. I also share images from the surgery.

My overall message to any woman with uterine fibroids is, you have the power to choose your treatment, doctor and motherhood plan. If you do not like the treatment you’re getting from your doctor, change your doctor.

You are not alone in your fibroid journey. There’s a community of support.

You do not have to suffer in silence.

11 fibroids were removed from journalist Nicki Mayo.  #fibroids #femininehealth #womenshealthcare #uterushealth
PHOTO: MAYO fibroids
I had an open myomectomy. We were originally looking for three fibroids. Once inside, my doctor was able to remove these 11 uterine fibroid tumors
Post operation for fibroids with journalist Nicki Mayo.  #fibroids #femininehealth #womenshealthcare #uterushealth
PHOTO: MAYO recovery
I spent 3 days in the hospital and then 7 weeks home recovering from surgery.
PHOTO: MAYO anatomy
I used my recovery time to learn more about human anatomy and muscles. An open myomectomy includes a bikini line incision, so I focused on my core abdominal muscles: how they work and how to strengthen them.
PHOTO: MAYO pillow
I created this pillow that I used to sit up. I’d hug it tightly to alleviate much of the pressure and muscle strain as I tried to sit up.

Post operation for fibroids with journalist Nicki Mayo.  #fibroids #femininehealth #womenshealthcare #uterushealth
Once I hit the 8 week recovery mark I returned to walking outside. The goal is to get back to running 5K and half marathons soon.
PHOTO: MAYO wear white
July is Fibroid Awareness Month. On July 1, 2021 I joined women nationwide in the National Wear White Day. I rode the D.C. Metro and hit up Capitol Hill for the first time since the pandemic. These trips used spark anxiety for me because I was fighting fibroids and could hardly survive 40 mins on the train.

Do you suffer from fibroids? How have you received relief?

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