In September 2010, I chose Essure as a permanent form of birth control. My doctor suggested this over the traditional tubal ligation as it would be performed in the office and no down time was required. This sounded perfect for my lifestyle and need. I did some basic research online and didn’t see much other than standard product information.
My Essure device implantation was not quite as quick and easy as described. My doctor had difficulty placing the left side coil which became extremely uncomfortable. After about 15-20 minutes of attempting to place the device she left the room to be assisted by another doctor. Eventually, they were able to place the left coil and the procedure was complete. Afterwards, it was somewhat uncomfortable, but nothing that wasn’t tolerable. I immediately started having terrible PMDD. I finally was prescribed Prozac to aleve some of the symptoms, which it did. I had felt that my body may take some time to adjust to no longer being on birth control pills. I had been on birth control from 1986 through the birth and nursing of my daughter 2000, and back on again in 2002. I can’t recall too much as my short term memory is basically a fog, and I expected a period of transition. I went for my HSG test in December 2011 which showed placement and blockage was successful.
In the middle of 2012, I started experiencing many symptoms that I nor my doctors could explain. It began with extreme fatigue and exhaustion to the point where I could barely function during the day, from the time I woke up in the morning until the time I went to bed it was a constant struggle to stay awake. I hold a very high level job and deal with millions of dollars of payrolls every day and my mind was in a constant fog, on top of the unbearable exhaustion. I saw my primary care doctor on several occasions to discuss my concern. We ran blood tests, tried different anti-depressants, vitamin supplements, you name it nothing seemed to work. In the meantime, my joints and lower back began hurting to the point that I could hardly function. I had been an athlete all of my life so I attributed it to years of injuries and excessive athletics. I even purchased a new mattress with memory foam and no inner coils, this did not help. I attempted to start yoga which I enjoyed but bending forward caused excruciating pain in my lower abdomen, the same side that the Essure device was difficult to place. The lower left side pain became constant, the pain my entire body was experiencing was never ending, the fog I was in and my lack of memory was seriously impacting my life and my career.
Each day I struggled to function, and thought “I can’t believe that being 44 is supposed to feel like this”. I couldn’t imagine one more day, let alone another 40 years. It was about this time the brain fogginess and trembling hands began to concern me. Now, not only did I feel like a senior citizen I was beginning to mentally seem like one. So many possibilities were thrown around and every test came back negative. I began experiencing UTI’s and kidney infections. I eventually ended up in a Urologist office because I was unable to urinate. As I child I had to have my urethra dialated so I assumed it would be the same. They ran tests, and scans and gave me medication. Some to help me go, then because all I could do is go, some to help me stop. I had a Cystoscopy which found an issue with the lower bladder. The doctor scheduled an MRI at which time an Ovarian cyst and two small stones were found, but my symptoms did not get better. I began thinking about all of the issues I was experiencing and got to thinking that my bowels had not been normal for some time either. My urologist requested that I make an appointment with my OB to discuss the cyst. I spoke with her and was supposed to call for an ultrasound on the first day of my period. I don’t believe that this happened, I experienced some extremely large and heavy clotting which I thought to be from the Cystoscopy but was later advised it was not.
I cannot describe the hopeless I have felt for the last 9 months. No one can figure out what is going on with my body, but I have to believe that none of this is normal.
I was scheduled for another invasive bladder procedure when I began doing some research and I cannot remember why I made the correlation between the Essure coils that I had implanted and my symptoms but I came across Erin Brockavich’s page as well as the Facebook Page Essure Problems. I began reading every evening after work and in every moment of spare time that I had. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, all of these women were in the same exact boat as me. I felt elated, I felt justified and I finally felt hopeful.
I canceled my procedure with the Urologist and made an appointment with the OB that placed the Essure devices. I knew from my reading that this may not be the easiest thing to accomplish. However, I had spoken previously about my issues that were not resolved so she was aware of them. I had said that I had done some reading on the side effects of the device that may not have been previously disclosed. She did not necessarily agree but did acknowledge. We decided to have a Bilateral Salpingectomy two weeks later. She did mention something that was weighing heavy on my mind which was that there was a possibility that the coil could remain in the uterus which could necessitate another surgery. I immediately went home and got on Facebook and posted on the EssureProblem site. I received tremendous feedback from not only women who chose the procedure I was scheduled for and did indeed have to go back for a hysterectomy, but others that chose the hysterectomy the first time. I immediately decided to ask for the hysterectomy at my Pre-Op appointment. When I went in I immediately said that I had been thinking about our previous discussion about the possibility of part of the coil being left in the uterus, and discussed other woman’s experience and felt that it was in my best interest to go the hysterectomy route. She had concerns that my symptoms would not be resolved with this procedure and I would have gone through this surgery and not feel any better. I told her that I understood her concerns and that possibility. I also said that I felt strongly that my body was not reacting well to the coils and at worst, I would no longer have 2 foreign bodies of nickel in me. The more I read and the more I really sat and thought about all of the serious symptoms that I had been experiencing but ignoring for one reason or another made me feel relieved that I could regain my life, mind and body. Had I not found this group and the information and support to know that I wasn’t crazy, I’m able to lift my head and know that better days are ahead. My hysterectomy is scheduled for next Wednesday, October 9, 2013. I hope that is the day I begin to live again!