For eight months, my annual gynecological checkup kept getting canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. For three years, I've had lengthy and painful periods. Three gynecologists wrote off my symptoms as regular period pain. An ultrasound would have revealed the truth, but the doctors minimized my complaints and prescribed birth control pills instead of seeking out the cause of the problem.

I finally saw a gynecologist in June 2021, and told her about my lengthy menstruation, bloating and pain. She performed a vaginal ultrasound and discovered a fibroid blocking my right fallopian tube. She told me the placement meant if I were to get pregnant, I'd likely have a miscarriage. If I did carry a baby to term, she said, I'd require a C-section to prevent hemorrhaging.

The doctor encouraged me to have a hysterectomy. I went to a second gynecologist who gave the same prognosis and recommended the same. But, because my fibroid isn't life-threatening and I want to carry a baby one day, a hysterectomy is not an option I'm willing to consider.

What are