Is this what dying feels like?
Like most, I researched the Essure permanent birth control procedure as an alternative to surgical tubal ligation. Because my husband had no intention of getting a vasectomy my doctor suggested this less invasive and safer procedure. She even recommended a local doctor who was advertising a new process that, in combination with ablation, would stop menstrual cycles and the need for any contraception. I jumped at the chance of ending both. As I was now in my 40s I didn’t intend to have children and who doesn’t want to “stop the flow” (those were the marketing words used by the local doctor).
Of course I researched both procedures and talked to my family nurse practitioner prior to my appointment. She assured me that both were completely safe and had only heard good things about the outcome. I even researched the placing doctor and found stellar reviews and many happy patients.
Immediately after receiving the surgeries I noticed significant changes in my periods. The flow had not completely stopped but became lighter with fewer days in my cycle. I was ok with that as I understood the ablation was not guaranteed for all who had the surgery.
The changes that were completely unexpected were the new PMS symptoms prior to and during my cycle. I had always prided myself on not having any mood swings or cramping during that time of the month. Now, both were occurring with a vengeance. Again, I accepted that as a trade off to not having to worry about becoming pregnant.
Since the surgeries, however, the pain has progressively gotten worse and over time I have developed many new issues. Most I chalked up to age or life related stress. Especially since I was in my 40s and many female friends and family members had similar complaints. Back pain, vision loss, constipation, and depression, this is all part of entering menopause – right? If so, why didn’t I hear complaints of dizziness, nausea, and sharp pelvic pain? Something in the back of my mind was telling me that these symptoms couldn’t all be related to changes my body was going through as I was getting older.
Over the past 6 months the pain has gotten progressively worse and became more noticeable after intercourse. It not only increased but has spread throughout my lower back, abdomen and pelvic area. Finally, I decided something isn’t right. Pain like this is not normal.
I scheduled an appointment with my doctor’s office for my yearly well woman exam. At that time I expressed my concern about the significant and increasing pain in my back, lower abdomen and pelvic area. I told her that I thought the pain was coming from my ovaries and that I had the Essure procedure several years prior. I then questioned if this could be related. She seemed concerned but after performing my exam wanted an abdominal ultrasound. She explained that colon and/or stomach issue can be mistaken for female organ problems.
This test showed a cyst on my liver, a cyst on my ovary, a kidney stone, and a mass on my other ovary. Still not happy with the explanation of where the pain was originating several other tests were ordered to determine what else could be causing the pain. Each found other issues which prompted even more tests.
To date each test has shown something new and unexplainable. As of last week I have had an EKG, abdominal ultrasound, vaginal ultrasound, mammogram, breast ultrasound, 2 CAT scans and an MRI. Next week I am scheduled for an upper GI and colonoscopy. I feel like a lab rat.
What has been found so far is a cyst on my ovary, multiple cysts in both breasts, a cyst on my liver, a mass on my other ovary, a kidney stone and inguinal hernia. All never seen on any previous tests and found within the last three months. I have repeatedly told the attending physicians or person performing the exam/procedure that I have the Essure coils and question if they are related to the problems I am experiencing. Not one person has acknowledged my concern.
After feeling like no one is listening or can explain why I have so many problems, I went to the internet to do my own research. That is where I found many stories of women who are experiencing the same pain and symptoms as me. All after having the same Essure permanent contraception procedure.
While I found some relief that I was not the only one and not a hypochondriac, I realized this pain has to stop. I, like many others, want a normal life again. One without constant and debilitating pain. This was not what I signed up for or was told could be a side effect or complication. If I had any indication that this procedure would someday make me feel like a 90 year old woman I would have turned around, walked out the door, and said “no thanks”.
I have an appointment today with the placing doctor to discuss having them taken out. My biggest fear is what’s next even if they are removed. What long term issues will I face from having this metal in my body? I only wish I had known all of the facts prior to having them inserted so that I could have made a more informed decision.