Navigating women’s health: my unexplained bleeding — Megan Shaw’s story
Advocate for yourself when you know intuitively that something isn’t right
As you read this, I’m either in surgery or perhaps recovering from what is described as a minor procedure, but one that could have a major impact on my quality of life.
This is a personal reflection on the importance of advocating for yourself when you know intuitively that something isn’t right.
In the early months of 2021, I found myself grappling with abnormal bleeding at unpredictable times. Being someone who has always placed my career at the forefront, I initially brushed it off as the result of stress, or I thought it could possibly be connected to hormones.
Convinced that adopting a healthier lifestyle might resolve the issue, I committed to better eating habits, consulted with a naturopath, and diligently took the recommended vitamins and supplements.
The turning point came during a live on-air broadcast of the 11:30 p.m. news when I found myself heavily bleeding onto my white anchor chair. I used my notes to discreetly block the view of the camera and nearby crew, continuing with the show. The next day, I made the call to my doctor.
The turning point came during a live on-air broadcast of the 11:30 p.m. news when I found myself heavily bleeding onto my white anchor chair.Megan Shaw
Megan Shaw had abnormal bleeding … and no answers
Initial test results seemed to rule out anything abnormal, but I knew that something was wrong. Originally, I was certain it was endometriosis, a condition that is known to be both difficult to diagnose and challenging to manage. My doctor did not have further answers, but he was extremely responsive to my request for more and connected me with a specialist in women’s health.
From there, more tests were ordered, yet the additional scans and bloodwork still did not provide answers. I was told again and again my tests were clear, as the bleeding only intensified, often accompanied by pain.
Months in, it was now disrupting my daily routine — not only was the bleeding triggered by running or participating in fitness classes, but it would also occur on my drive to work, while sitting at home, or even sleeping.
I started to feel lightheaded, tired even when I got a full night’s sleep, and often short of breath. At the same time, I was focused on family planning with no success, and the next recommended step was hormone medication.
Fertility treatments ultimately revealed the cause
So began the treatments and subsequent symptoms like nausea, exhaustion, and headache, which I thought would be well worth it for positive results. While the first month did seem to offer relief from my symptoms, it was short-lived. The bleeding continued as my iron levels continued to drop.
Enter the meticulous monitoring that accompanies fertility treatments. It was during one of these sessions that an ultrasound technician discovered a two-centimetre polyp in my endometrial lining — a small growth that held the potential to explain two years of unexplained bleeding, stress, and perhaps even infertility.
Women’s health still has a long way to go: advocate for yourself
So now as I prepare for a hysteroscopic polypectomy and myomectomy — a procedure that will remove the growth — I share this experience for others in a similar place, and to shed light on the importance of self-advocacy.
I share this experience for others in a similar place, and to shed light on the importance of self-advocacy.Megan Shaw
I am grateful for my decision to seek medical help, to request a specialist, to trust in my instincts and push for further testing, and to be open to treatment – and I am hopeful that with this procedure, this chapter will finally come to a conclusion.
As I look forward to healing and whatever comes after that, I encourage anyone else facing a similar path to continue seeking answers until you, too, have found them.