During the next couple months, I experienced frightening episodes of sporadic and
inexplicable hemorrhaging. I attributed it to the daily stress that was somehow affecting
my hormonal system and dealt with it myself, without sharing the incidents with anyone.
Especially not with Charles.
One Sunday, I took the girls next door to visit my neighbor, Esther Rubin. We were
seated at her dining room table when I felt a gush like someone had turned on a faucet.
Totally unnerved and embarrassed, I made a mad rush for her bathroom, hoping I wasn’t
leaving a bloody trail behind me. Again, I didn’t share the cause of my abrupt departure
from the table.
When the episodes happened with increasing regularity over the next three weeks, I
knew I had to take action. One thing was certain. I wasn’t pregnant and in the throes of a
miscarriage. Fretting over my dilemma one more weekend, I finally reached for the
Yellow Pages to look up the number for our family doctor, Dr. Vinetz, who was a
wonderful and compassionate man. I trusted his opinion.
“What you’re describing isn’t normal, Carol,” he said, after listening to the
enumeration of my symptoms. “We’d better take a look and see what’s going on.”
The very next day, I was on his examining table with his sweet assistant Fanny
holding my hand. Dr. Vinetz poked around for what seemed like an eon and then inserted
a stainless-steel speculum. “Does this hurt? Do you feel pressure when I do this? How
Finally he stepped away from the table, pulled off his vinyl gloves, and seated himself
on a stool next to me. “I’m not at all happy with what I was able to see with the
speculum, Carol. You have a mass of considerable size in your uterus. Because of the
frequency and extent of the hemorrhages you described, it should come out. It’s a fibroid
tumor that’s feeding on your estrogen and growing larger. Sometimes, such tumors
recede by themselves when a woman’s hormones return to normal after giving birth. In
some women, however, they seem to thrive. We don’t want it to break off from the stem
and cause a rupture.” He paused and pursed his lips, as though waiting for an outburst
from me. “You should know ahead of time, Carol. If we get in there and see that removal
of the tumor will damage the lining of your uterus, we may need to take it out at the same
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