Sunday, January 23, 2011

trimming the branches

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.

25 comments:

Arlyne said...

My heart aches for you & I hate what you are going through! I've sensed lately that you need some space with everything but please know I'm always here for you & you're always in my thoughts. I'm only an email or a text away. sending tons of hugs & lots of love your way!!! xoxoxoxo

ifcrossroads.com said...

First of all, before I say anything, I just wish that I could give you a big ol' hug.It's total bullshit that you are having to live this way. Endo is a horrible disease that seemingly nobody understands. Basically its a disease that is treated in a reactive method, which is probably the most frustrating way to treat something considering that modern medicine is generally more proactive. You know that I, on some small level, can somewhat relate to what you are feeling here. The loneliness, the isolation of someone refusing to give you suitable options. Well, it's more than any one person should have to bear.
FWIW, if you would like my opinion, I'd be happy to offer some assvice. I don't want to do it unsolicited though.

I hope you get some relief with the progesterone mini-pill. It's an option I wish that my OB/GYN and RE would have made available to me. Right now I"m living in denial, with the pain. I'm a ticking time bomb, just waiting for the ovary to explode. I get that part of your dilemma. I know I can't understand it all because we are in different stages of this process, but the immediacy of the problem --- that I *promise* you I understand. I and DO give a shit about you.
xo

amiracle4us said...

Ahh katie...It seems like life keeps handing us cans of %#^& so I think we are about due to a wonderful miracle here soon! I am sorry you are again dealing with one more 'thing' on this aweful IF road. If you need anything, even just an ear to listen, I am here. thoughts, prayers and hugs are coming your way ...xo M

Secret Sloper said...

I'm so sorry that you are struggling and suffering so much right now. It's simply too much that you should have to grieve your IF and the pain your body undergoes at the same time. I hope one of these doctors can come through for you.

Kelly said...

Katie, my dear friend, before I even talk about any of this horribleness that's got you down...don't think for a minute that no one cares. You know that's not true. It may feel that way, but so many people love you and care about you.

I'm hoping that this different kind of pill won't cause you the problems that you experienced before. I understand why you aren't hopeful, but I'm still being hopeful for you that this does something to help this mess for you. You're right for wanting to do something that is more active in fighting what's going on. It's absolutely disgusting that you're having so much trouble finding another doctor. I hope that the tomorrow turns out to be promising.

A. said...

(((hugs))) Thinking of you, and hoping that you have brighter days ahead in the very near future.

Browniris said...

I nominated you for a blog award!

Also...GL with the BCP!

Rebecca said...

Oh, honey, this just sucks so much. I am so sorry that you're feeling so minimized and abandoned by your doctors. I don't understand why they don't realize that you really need help and not to just be brushed off.

Please know that you definitely have many, many people who care about you. I hope so much that you can find some answers. I hope that this pill without the estrogen makes the difference.

Sending you so, so much love.

rebecca said...

I'm so sorry...this is just so unfair and I'm deeply sorry that you are feeling abandoned and unsupported by the medical community. I hope that you are able to find a physician you trust and that maybe these BCP's will contribute to helping with your ovary. ((hugs))

Do I Have to Be a D.I.N.K.? said...

Oh Kate...this sucks. Sorry you feel so alone. HUGS to you!!!

JC said...

I'm so sorry Katie! I hope the BCPs don't make you sick. Also I really hope you can find a good Dr for a 2nd opinion. I wish I knew of someone. =( Maybe Dr Fu would know a good Dr? BIG ((HUGS))

lowfatlady said...

That sounds so scary. I really hope these new bc pills don't give you the same problems. Feel better soon!

Rita said...

First, know that so many people care about you. I'm always here if you need to text, email, call, whatever. You've supported me through some of my worst times and I want to support you through yours.

I hope the progesterone-only pill offers you at least some relief. I also hope that you find a doctor who will to listen to you and will take the time to help you figure out a solution to your problems. There's no reason you should have to live like this.

Sending you many, many hugs.

Stephanie said...

Oh Katie, I wish we lived in the same city so I could come over and hug you and take you out for drinks! I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. I know it seems never ending. Please know so many care for you - despite my lack of comments lately you and many others are always on my mind, in my heart and prayers. I hope the BC works well and doesn't cause any additional issues. At some point, it will be better and though none of us will sit back and laugh at our trials, we will eventually be able to know they're the past and focus on our present and bright futures!

manymanymoons said...

Hang in there...I know it's so rough. Good for you for taking the BC pills even after such a bad experience. I'm impressed.

BTW - crying in the RE's office is a so normal to me that it's scary. Good or you for holding out until now. :)

Josey said...

Ugh, that sucks Katie. Praying that b.c. is a GOOD thing for you this time.

conceptionallychallenged said...

I'm so sorry, Katie. It sucks to be in so much pain, and to feel left alone by your doctors. I hope you can find someone that has a better approach (maybe via a network of patients/advocates in your area?), and that, in the meantime, the pill helps and certainly does not make you feel worse.

EC said...

I'm so sorry - for all of it. I hope you find some relief and are able to get a second opinion - maybe you'll have better luck with an ob/gyn?

someday-soon said...

I'm so sorry for the pain and that no one in the medical arena seems to be reaching out to help. I hope the promising OB works out and you can get a 2nd opinion! Lots of {{{HUGS}}}

Dawn said...

Katie, I hope that the pills offer you some relief. Thinking of you and sending you many hugs.

Adele said...

Katie, I'm so sorry that you find yourself here. A friend had a very similar reaction to birth control and I know how very scary it can be. And I am sure that going on it again is, quite literally, a bitter pill to swallow.

I hope that you are well on the way to getting another opinion. There has GOT to be a reason this is happening. I am the queen of second (and third) opinions.

*Jelena* said...

This is just too sad for words. I don't know what to tell you except that life just hasn't been fair to you. At all. I am really sorry.

Willow said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I hope you find a doctor who will actually listen, and help. Don't give up! It took 10 doctors over 10 months and many different specialties before I finally got my endo diagnosed and treated, so I feel your pain and frustration! I wish medical care were better. I wish you weren't suffering. Sweetie, I wish you brighter days ahead, and soon!

Kakunaa said...

This is the solution??? What about a lap? I hope you can get a 2nd opinion. This is NOT OKAY. Seriously. I'm so sorry, sweetie.

AL said...

I'm so sorry that your RE was so completely unhelpful and dismissive and other clinics aren't willing to help, either. It's NOT right, it's not okay, you should not have to live in this pain.

Please know that there are SO MANY of us out here that care about you. I'll always be in your corner. HUGS.

I hope that you find an OB/GYN very soon that is the right fit and will investigate and get answers for you.