After Years of Pain, I Found Out I Had Uterine Fibroids

After Years of Pain, I Found Out I Had Uterine Fibroids
April 05, 2024

After Years of Pain, I Found Out I Had Uterine Fibroids

For almost five years, Rehanna Almestica, 40, an entrepreneur based in Manhattan, thought she was suffering from chronic migraines. She tried the usual therapies, including an expensive chiropractor. But nothing truly worked, and no one could tell her the root cause of the problem. 

Then, in December of 2021, a migraine that lasted for four days caused Almestica to pass out on her bathroom floor, leaving her eight-year-old daughter to call for help. 

“I went to my doctor and told her what happened,” Almestica says “She looked at me, said, ‘I’m so sorry,’ and wrote me a prescription.”

It was the last straw. 

“I walked out of the office, threw her prescription in the garbage, and I went on Zocdoc to find a neurologist,” she says. 

She found a neurologist at Complete Neurological Care in Manhattan who was determined to get to the bottom of her debilitating headaches. After running a series of blood tests, she determined that Almestica’s white blood cell count was abnormally high, a sign that Leukemia or another serious ailment could be to blame. 

She advised Almestica to see a hematologist, or a blood disorder specialist, as soon as possible, but this was easier said than done. She checked with several hospitals around the city and couldn’t find any appointments available for months.

Anxious and unable to sleep, Almestica went back to Zocdoc at 4 a.m. and searched for a doctor. Within minutes, she was able to schedule an appointment for later that day with Dr. Fabio Volterra at Eastchester Cancer Care in the Bronx. 

It was a huge relief to have scored a same-day appointment. With everything she’d been through, Almestica says she was understandably flustered but that Dr. Volterra’s team stayed calm, cool and supportive—even when they realized that her situation was dire. 

“I went in and [had more] tests done,” she says. “Dr. Volterra came in and said, ‘I don’t know how you’re alive.’” 

It wasn’t cancer, but she was dangerously anemic, with few red blood cells left in her body.

“They had to hook me up right away to a machine that pumps hemoglobin into your body, because my blood count was that low,” she adds. 

About six weeks later, Almestica’s condition had improved. Plus, she finally had some answers about what was causing her condition: uterine fibroids, or benign growths on the uterus, that had been neglected. They needed to be removed right away. Last September, Almestica had a hysterectomy. She hasn’t had a headache since. 

“When I found that appointment with the hematologist, it was a moment of, when you’re not in despair anymore, when you feel saved. That’s how I felt,” she says.

Since her treatments, Almestica has been able to go back to her daily life pain-free. She visits Dr. Volterra every three months for follow-ups, and she has continued to use Zocdoc to find doctors for herself and her family, especially when it’s an urgent matter. 

“I honestly believe I might have been dead if I had waited for one of those appointments at the hospital, because nothing was available for months,” she says. “The longest I’ve waited for a Zocdoc appointment is maybe a few days.”