Thursday, February 17, 2011

you're just like a pill

If Serene Branson is on an estrogen-based birth control, she needs to go off of it.


By now, most of you have seen the clip. The young, attractive, seemingly healthy reporter who scared America with her incoherent report after Sunday night's Grammy awards.

Watching this on the Internet the following day, my heart skipped a beat. Thankfully, it was announced today that she suffered from a complex migraine. While not bleeding in the brain, it's just as scary. I know. I know exactly how Serene Branson felt at that moment. I know because I lived through it - suffering through a complex migraine, very similar to a TIA, while sitting at work on my college campus nearly 5 years ago.

Do you know what it's like to suddenly lose function of your brain?

I remember the moment it happened. Someone came up to the desk and asked for the time. I stared at the clock on the wall and THOUGHT the time.

But I couldn't say it.

I tried to spit it out. I'm not exactly sure what I said at that moment. I only know it was incoherent based on the woman's face and my co-worker's fast reaction to step in and give her the actual time: just before 1 pm.

From the top of my head to the tips of my fingers went numb. My hearing was muffled. And surprisingly, I didn't panic. Much like Serene, I did not go to the hospital right away. I took two aspirin, drove myself back to my apartment, and called my mom (who, by the way, was panicking). I then called a friend, who also panicked and who kindly drove me to the hospital and stayed with me the rest of the night - keeping Joey and my family updated, bringing me food, and driving me home when all of the poking and prodding was finished.

In the days after, when I learned that I would likely suffer more "attacks" if I stayed on my birth control, I realized how lucky I was. Sure, I wasn't 100% for a while. My speech took about two weeks to fully recover. But I didn't die. I didn't need therapy. Just six months of neurology appointments and some anti-seizure medication, and I was on my way to live the rest of my life. A girl I graduated from high school with was not so lucky. Her estrogen-based birth control caused her to suffer a massive stroke.

I have no idea if Serene Branson is on birth control or not. But what I do know is this: if she is on it, she needs to seriously reconsider that choice.

Life isn't worth living that way.


Yesterday marked 23 days of progesterone-based birth control.

It began like any other day, until the abdominal pain started. On my left side, of course. I didn't think of it until last night. The pain intensified and spread - or "shot" - downward to my leg. It continued through the night and into today.

After a little bit of hemming and hawing, I called and left a message with the RE nurse. She hasn't called back. Surprise.

I have no hesitation about going to the hospital if it worsens. I just wish I didn't have to. I am tired of doctors and hospitals. I am tired of my body aching and failing. I am just tired. Take. the. damn. ovary. out. already.

There, I said it.

Now if only someone would listen.


Princess Andy said...

good lord, i had no idea that's what it was very wacky to watch. or that estrogen based birth control can have such side effects.

happy you're okay, and for sure you shouldn't take shit (or non responsiveness) from doctors re: your leg. if you think that something isn't right, don't fail to pursue it.

also, this makes me happy my boyfriend is neutered.

<3 andrea

Secret Sloper said...

I did see that video. It was so disconcerting. I hope she gets the good medical advice you did and is able to go off the pill (if she's on it). I never experienced anything like that, but did have many terrible side-effects from hormonal birth control and have sworn it off forever.

Glass Case of Emotion said...

Ugh, this is crazy you are having issues again? I hate that they don't call you back, either.

Marla said...

I saw that video, but didn't hear the final diagnosis. But for someone who was suffering from a migraine, how in the hell she was able to look so composed just prior amazes me. Cuz I'd be sobbing like a baby.

Damn BC's. Damn useless ovaries. Damn AF cramps (I may or may not be drawing from a personal experience right at this very second) And damn fertile people. Especially dirt poor fertile people.

Oops. Sorry for that unexpected rant right there. PMS tends to do that to me.

Rita said...

I haven't seen that video but what she (and you) went through sounds so scary. I don't think most people even know estrogen based BCPs can have those side effects.

I hope your sucky RE's office calls you back. Someone needs to take your pain seriously. You shouldn't have to live like this.

Dawn said...

I haven't seen the video, but it just sounds so scary.

It makes me so sad and angry that you are in pain and it really posses me off that nobody is listening to you!

Stephanie said...

Gosh, I didn't realize all of that about estrogen based pills. Makes me wonder what the heck I was on for 10 years. Crazy!

I'm sorry you're having issues again :(

someday-soon said...

I'm sorry for the pain you suffered back then...and now! Hope you feel better soon...

amiracle4us said...

Its amazing the serious side effects drugs have that people aren't aware of; especially common drugs that 'everyone' take.
I am sooo sorry you are having issues; still! I think we need to find you a new MD, not calling you back, especially when stating you are in PAIN is not okay! I hope it goes away quickly. *hug*

missohkay said...

I'm so sorry. It's so disheartening to know something is wrong with you and be turned away by the people who are supposed to help. My mom almost died of meningitis two years ago after being sent home from the ER who believed meningitis was too rare for her to actually have it (but she did). I hope you find someone who'll listen and help you.

Jen said...

Wow, I'm so sorry to hear of your experience in college; it sounds horrible and very frightening.

And wow, seriously, I don't blame you for being tired of doctors, etc. Especially ones who don't call you back. **SIGH** I really hope you get someone to listen

Jennifer Bruno said...

So sorry you are feeling these pains. :-( I'm a migraine sufferer and can relate to the loss of coherence, numbness, etc.

I'm hoping your pains go away soon and you don't end up having to go the hospital. Nothing more fun than the emergency room - except for maybe a migraine. ;-)

~C~ said...

The complex migraine sounds like a terrifying experience.

I'm so sorry you're in pain, and damn the stupid hormonal BC.

foxy said...

Migraines are scary. I had one during a school trip my sophomore year of high school. I guess I had all the classic symptoms, the visual auora started in the morning, then a few hours later my arm went numb, then the nausea came on, followed by a headache. It was horrendous. I thought I was dying. They rushed me to the ER while my mom sped across the state to meet us. I'd been in a car accident a few weeks earlier and was sure that my brain was hemorrhaging.

I've never had another migraine, and have so much empathy for anyone who has to live thru that horror more than once.

What a scary thing to have happen on live tv...

Logical Libby said...

Have you read "what your doctor isn't telling you about pre-menopause"? It could help shed light on the situation. It really helped me.

And I cannot believe women aren't told the truth about how dangerous birth control is and how it can cost them their fertility.

S.I.F. said...

I have been terrifed by that video... I can't believe you went through that! So incredibly scary friend!!

And I'm thinking of you lady...

conceptionallychallenged said...

I'm so sorry you're in pain again. And about the non-responsiveness. Hope they call you back soon.

MelissaP05 said...

I was wondering if what happened to the reporter was related to BCPs. That's so scary. I'm so sorry that your pain is getting worse again. Just keep pushing and don't relent. Sometimes you just have to be your own advocate. I had to self-diagnose myself with hypothyroid because non of the doctors would listen to me. It wasn't until my bloodwork finally showed issues that they agreed. Don't lose hope, we're all pulling for you!

Anonymous said...

i had a complex migraine a month after giving birth. But at the time I thought i was going blind. My vision was slowly disappearing from right to left. I could hold my hand up just to the right of my face but when I stared straight ahead I couldn't see my hand. Scariest shit ever!

Waiting Lisa said...

Wow, I had no idea you experienced that.

I have had my own series of scary reactions to hormones.

It really sucks that our bodies couldn't just work the way they are supposed to.

manymanymoons said...

What a scary ordeal. That must have been terrifying.