Today I picked up my birth control pills.
Like millions of other women in America, I brought them home, put the card of 28 pills in its blue sleeve, and tucked it away for safe keeping until my period arrives later this week.
The last time I was on birth control was in college, and I had a complex migraine. Basically, a complex migraine has every symptom of a stroke. This was not something that happened to me overnight. I'd been having intense headaches for months and one day my body just had enough. I was at work, and I began speaking incoherently and slurring my speech. I lost some of my hearing and my feeling on one side of my body. A friend took me to the emergency room. Thankfully, I went to a school with one of the best teaching hospitals in the country. Within an hour or two, I was looking up at a couple of children's neurologists who wanted to know anything and everything about my history on birth control. They attributed my symptoms to the high levels of estrogen in the particular pill I was taking, and I went off it immediately. Six months on anti-seizure medication straightened me out pretty well, and I swore off birth control for the rest of my life.
But when I sat in the RE's office on Wednesday and stared at the blood clot-like growth on my left ovary, and I heard the doctor tell me that - once again - he did not know what was causing this, I had a feeling that my lifelong ban of hormone pills was coming to an end.
He essentially gave me two options, neither of which are guaranteed to make my left ovary stop whatever it's doing:
lupron, birth control, or nothing
Trying nothing meant that I was giving in, and that wasn't what I wanted to do. I didn't want to give in. I wanted to try anything and everything to make it stop. So, I agreed to birth control - progesterone-only, so that we don't run the risk of putting me back into the hospital with any other freak ailments. We try this for six months, and we "see what happens."
Wednesday was the first time I cried in my REs office. Ever. My mood only got lower on Thursday and Friday. I tried calling clinic after clinic for second opinions. No one even wanted to see me. No one wanted to support me. I disappeared off Twitter and Facebook and into a deep, dark sadness that I didn't know how to deal with. No one understood. No one cared.
Today, aside from what I'm pretty sure is a bout of food poisoning, I'm a tiny bit better. Tomorrow I will start calling ob-gyns in hopes that one will take a chance on me and review my records. One in particular seems promising. And this week I will start my period and pop my first dose of Micronor. I'm not happy about it. To be perfectly honest, I think this is simply prolonging the inevitable. My left ovary, we've all determined, does not function normally.
Birth control may even me out temporarily, but eventually, all dead branches must be cut from the tree. It's the only way to help the rest of the tree heal.