The Mirena

For lack of a better way to describe this, let me tell you about the time my body tried to give birth to a Mirena. That’s right, I was suffering contractions for 2 months because of this apparant magical Mirena that was supposed to ‘solve’ my Endometriosis for the next 5 years. Winning, right?

I’ll start by explaining what a Mirena is. A Mirena is a hormonal IUD, which us a small device that is placed inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. Or, my my case, prevent endometriosis from growing. Pictured below. You really wouldn’t think something so small and unassuming could cause so many issues!

I’d just gone through my 3rd surgery for Endometriosis, and while the surgeon was in there he’d inserted the Mirena, after explaining to me that this would be a great solution to keep my Endo at bay for the next 5 years.

After the surgery I felt a lot more ‘cramping’ than usual, but didn’t question that it could have been from anything other than the surgery.

A week after surgery I was in so much pain that the only relief I could get was through morphine and lying on my side with a pillow in between my legs. I called my surgeon the next day and got no answers or sympathy there. Everything looked fine in surgery, so everything therefore must be A-OK! 👍🏻

I continued on with life, all the while getting excruciating pain every single night, along with most days. I could be at work doubled over in pain, high as a kite on morphine and seriously considering pulling the damn thing out myself. I didn’t have the pain before this, so what else could be causing it? My gut was, quite literally, telling me that this ‘amazing’ device was the root to all my recent issues.

That being said, the Mirena is so effective for so many women. I just happen to be one of the unlucky ones because, as it turns out, you’re more likely to get issues and pain from it if you haven’t had kids, which I have not. My uterus was too tight and did not expect to have a sudden foreign object in there, and simply wanted it gone.

And so began the contractions, which is exactly what I was having for those two months. My uterus was trying to push it out, with no such luck. I was depressed both from the pain and from the hormones being pumped directly into my uterus. I was bleeding none stop. So I made the very easy decision to get it removed.

Doctors don’t warn you of these things. The likelihood of mood changes from the change in your hormones, the possible pain from a device if you haven’t had children. My GP, who is an awesome doctor, was actually the one to finally explain this to me when she removed the device.

I truly believe that the hormonal treatments women go through for conditions such as Endometriosis, need a lot more light shed on them. I truly believe that doctors should warn us of these possible downfalls, especially for hormonal treatments such as the Depo Provera injection, which once given, you cannot take back for 3 months. For me that ended with months of severe depression (which you can read about in my post ‘The Depo Darkness’.) Yes, I most definitely should have been warned about that!

And what about the rest of the population? What do you really know about the treatments for Endometriosis? Since awareness on the disease itself is pretty sad, I’m guessing not much at all. Surgery is the most well known, but there’s definitely a lot more to it. And NONE of it is pretty or easy.

So… let’s talk about it more. Start a conversation, tell people what you’re going through. Or better yet, ask another woman what they’re going through, ask them if they’re okay. Be open, be real. Because, at the end of the day, we’re not doing ourselves or these diseases any justice by hiding it.

The Depo Darkness

I often hear men and women alike joke about women’s hormones. She’s angry, so she must have PMS. That’s hilarious, right?

It’s not often lately that I get really bad PMS, mostly I just get extra jittery and anxious. But now and then it really hits me, and I spend the better part of a day crying or just feeling really low. I don’t really see that as funny. Emotions are all valid regardless of the cause. More than anything, it makes me really feel for the women that deal with that monthly, or the women suffering through menopause.

That brings me to my Depo Provera disaster.

Approximately 5 years ago I was prescribed a treatment for Endometriosis after a surgery, in the form of a Depo Provera injection. This is a reasonably common form of birth control that get’s injected into your butt cheek (hehe), and lasts for 3 months. The main ingredient of this injection is Progestin, which effectively stops ovulation. This in turn also prevents Endometriosis from growing outside your uterine wall.

However, what my gynecologist at the time forgot to take into consideration was my sensitivity to medications, especially the hormonal kind. Within a week of getting this injection, I was too depressed to even make it into work. And guess what… There are no medications to counteract an injection that stays in your body for at least 3 months.

I proceeded to spend the next few months with severe insomnia – sleeping a maximum of 2 hours a night. Spending the rest of the night either tossing and turning or simply crying and wondering how I was going to get through this. Of course, I didn’t actually realise at first that it was this injection causing my sudden depression, no one had explained to me that it was a possible side effect. I was only 6 months into dating my boyfriend, Aiden, and we both started to believe that it was my relationship with him that was giving me grief. This caused a tremendous strain on our new relationship, and left a few of his friends that I’d just met thinking I was an emotional wreck, and rightly so! Let’s face it, that’s exactly what I was.

So what happened after 3 months? Well… turns out that emotional side effects caused by this injection actually get worse before they get better. And so, I spent the better part of a year severely depressed . Not even being able to work most of the time – and when I did work I spend most of the day counting the minutes until I could curl up in bed and hide again.

I kept everyone in that dark about all of this. My parents saw the severe anxiety and panic attacks it caused in the beginning, but no one knew the true extent of my depression until I broke down crying in front of my mum in a cafe.

I would like to take a second to point out that I very rarely cry, and I basically never cry in front of anyone else. It’s not because I’m emotionally unstable, it’s just generally not what I do. So my mum seeing me cry for the first time in probably 15 years… Well it really kind of freaked her out, to say the least. She finally saw what I was going through. But despite that, I still felt embarrassed to share this with anyone else. I often laid awake and cried while Aiden slept without saying a word to him about it, and I never let my friends in on the whole truth. No one saw the real darkness that was caused by one simple hormonal ‘treatment’.

Do you still think it’s funny when a woman is being hormonal?

Mental illness is no joke. When it’s caused by or coupled with hormones, to put it plainly, you feel like you’re losing your god damn mind! Imagine feeling perfectly fine one day, and losing all control of your emotions the next. This is a lot more prominent in women with conditions such as Endometriosis or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, but no one seems to talk about it. It’s a very real side effect, especially to so many of the treatments for these conditions. Do you see why I can’t see the funny side to that?

I’m not laughing, and neither should you. The seriousness of this needs to be recognised. Next time a woman is “just being hormonal,” stop and think for a second. That thought, that realisation, could save your wife’s, sister’s, mother’s or daughter’s life.

To all the women out there struggling, please believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Speak out, get help and support. It’s 100% okay to need that 💙