• Iris Grattan

How Fibroids Gave Me A Healthier Life


Eight years ago, I was in the ER near my medical school facing emergency surgery.  The doctor revealed that both of my ovaries each had a tumor "the size of a baby's head."  They displaced surrounding organs causing the excruciating pain I'd endured the previous few days.  Pain that was unrelieved by my top-dogs in PMS relief - six ibuprofen or Excedrin per day.

After the surgery, that took three hours longer than expected, the doctors diagnosed me with endometriosis, fibroids and ovarian cysts.

Following my six-week check-up with a completely new surgeon, I decided to help myself. I moved beyond studying naturopathic medicine to using it in order to help my body heal.

Now I’m not in total opposition to the conventional medical system. It has it’s places. But being on medicaid and expecting honesty from my doctors put me at a disadvantage. I should never have allowed their opinion to be the only source of information from which to make a decision.

I sat a number of times in the discount clinics at St Luke’s hospital with about 15-20 other brown and black women.

I met with a different doctor each time.

And, when it came time to have the surgery the waiver I signed allowed them to make decisions about my health while under the knife. That’s why I awoke without an appendix although no one ever mentioned appendicitis.

Not once.

I found out later that my surgeon developed a new approach to laproscopic surgery. Her and the resident wanted more experience with this procedure. I was the perfect subject.

They initially wanted to discharge me after the 5 hour surgery. Thankfully, the discharge doctor fought that and their decision to remove my appendix without a formal diagnosis of appendicitis (I overheard them arguing. That’s when I learned it was gone). Because, neither doctor ever returned my calls while admitted for overnight observation. It was the supervising surgeon who explained my diagnoses and missing organ.

The recovery process introduced bouts of sudden weakness in my legs causing me to stumble down the stairs. Unexpected, intense pain plagued me for months at the surgery site. And, I now have large keloids in my belly button that used to bleed, especially during my menses. None of which were cared for at my 6-week follow-up.

So, I really had no choice but to become a DIY doctor, empowering my body to heal.  


Over time, I created the healthy, vitalized life I really wanted to live. 

I've eliminated the dependence upon ibuprofen and Excedrin for PMS.  That's because I don't have PMS anymore (sometimes my period surprises me, it comes on so stealthily)! 

I lost weight, reduced anxiety, and eliminated depression and joint pain.  I'm no longer an insomniac. 

I also balanced my blood sugar (which caused insomnia) and my face is clear of the cystic, hormonal acne. 

The keloids no longer bleed and the unexpected pain has been gone for some years now.

My legs are back to normal and the sudden weakness left a few weeks into my self-care journey.

As for the fibroids and endometriosis, their presence has minimal impact. I can leave the house without fear of bleeding through my clothes as the bleeding’s lightened and my periods have shortened. I have the energy to go dance or food shopping instead of rocking in pain all day. As I lose weight, the fibroids also get smaller.

And there's no turning back.  I can't return to a life of total dependence on the conventional health care system to "solve" my health problems. I've been too blessed by trusting myself, listening to my body, eating delicious foods that nourish and using natural medicine to doubt the power of this method. 

(Now, if I get in a car accident I'm going to the ER!  But, best believe, I will pop some Arnica 200C, homeopathic medicine for any trauma, along the way.)


Because, my changes occurred when I chose functional foods and naturopathic medicine.

  • functional foods: foods that impact the body, beyond meeting nutritional standards, because  they have the potential to beneficially affect health and reduce or reverse disease according to scientific evidence; interchangeable with the phrase “functional nutrition”

  • naturopathic medicine: by emphasizing prevention, treatment, and education, this health profession encourages the body’s self-healing process with traditional and scientific therapeutic methods and substances

They are two similar healthcare approaches, that treat me like a human while restoring lost, or awakening untapped, physiological function.

First, my attributes influence the root cause of my distress.  My medical history includes my likes, dislikes, discomforts, culture, faith, relationships, tragedies etc.  These nuances carry as much weight as my physiology, anatomy, and genetics.  So, I’m the focus, not a diagnosis; a true expression of personalized medicine.

Second, I’m empowered to show up for myself.   Actually, self-care is a requirement to see results.  I learn the lifestyle choices that create aches and pains.  So, I know precisely how to treat myself better (not binge watching my favorite show late into the night just because it’s the weekend to lose stubborn weight, for example).

Third, functional nutrition and natural medicine help me understand the structure of my body and mind.  I’m the expert on me and the doc’s the expert on the science.  Together, we develop a treatment plan that educates so I know how my body, mind, and emotions operate.  My body’s no longer a mystery.  In the future, I can help myself. 

Functional nutrition and naturopathic medicine allow me to heal. 

The promises of healing are God-given but the natural work to produce healing are embedded within functional foods and natural medicine.  

I offer you this story as a spark for your own healing journey. Even if our experiences are different, we still share the same truth: our body has the innate ability to heal itself.

You just have to give you body what it needs and it will do the rest.

If you’re new to this idea, start today doing things that you know to do but don’t. Choose one thing and focus on it.

If you already know this, continue doing what you’re doing and go deeper in your commitment.

Either way, let’s partner together in creating the foundation for healing. Because there’s purpose to fulfill and desire to experience.

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