I turned 36 in July 2011. I was aware of the warnings posted to women over 35 who were still taking the pill and I didn’t really plan to have anymore kids, so I asked my OB/GYN what my options were. She suggested thermal ablation, partnered with Essure. The ablation would reduce my periods each month and the Essure was permanent birth control.
I admit, I didn’t do any research on Essure past the pamphlet she gave me. I had been seeing this OB since 2002, she delivered my son and I trusted her. So I signed up for the procedure, which took place on a very cold morning in January 2012.
Once my recovery period was over, I felt great. Removing the possibility of pregnancy brought a new level of intimacy for my partner and I and we relaxed quite a bit.
Things went well until early 2014. In March that year, I started to feel very sluggish and was experiencing a lot of lower back pain. Given that I have been taking OTC sleep meds since shortly after my son was born in 2002, I suspected something was wrong with my kidneys. The pain was in my lower back, bilateral and seemed to fit with what kidney pain would feel like. I was also starting to experience some severe depression. I hadn’t struggled this much with depression since my cousin killed himself in 2003. So, I started doctoring with my general practice doctor, thinking she would be able to find the source of the issue and we would move on. I never expected what was in store for me.
I suffered through blood draws (ask anyone who has ever been around me when I’ve had to have blood drawn…. not pretty), ultrasounds, more blood draws, poking, prodding, meds that didn’t do anything…. and I was miserable.
That spring, my mom saw a news story on our local NBC station about the side effects of Essure. Could that be happening to me, she asked? I told her I doubted it, but I was going to have it checked out anyway.
By this time, my original OB was nearly impossible to get in with, so I started seeing another OB. I told her what I had been through and what my suspicions were now and could she please find out what was going on. She vehemently denied anything was being caused by the Essure coils. She reluctantly told me we could do a hysterectomy but she wanted me to have a colonoscopy first. Yeah, I was in a rush to do that. I agreed, though and went home. About a week later, on a Monday morning, I woke up so sick that I could not eat for three days. I was in so much pain that I called the OB office back and demanded to be seen and to be seen by a different doctor. I went in and explained again everything I had been through. This new OB also pooh poohed my thoughts that the Essure could be to blame, but he was at least willing to check into it faster than the other doctor had been. Instead of having to wait to get in for a colonoscopy, he said I could go right downstairs at the clinic we were at and have an MRI done. The MRI would show the same results as the colonoscopy and a lot faster and way less invasive. He also said that if the MRI showed nothing, we could do a hysterectomy to remove the Essure, just to be safe, though he was pretty confident that it had nothing to do with what I was going through.
Downstairs I went, suffering through 45 minutes of nurses attempting to get an IV in me. I was hysterical by the time they were finally able to get a line in my hand and all of that for a freaking 5 minute procedure.
The next morning, my phone rang and it was the OB telling me I was scheduled for a hysterectomy, at the ripe old age of 38, the following Monday morning. But I had to go have blood drawn (again) before hand and that was another horrible 45 minutes of my life. That poor nurse was amazingly patient with me and I was having nothing to do with it. When I saw the OB afterwards, I told him that he was going to need to give me something orally to knock me out before they would get an IV in me. The veins in my arm were no longer viable and there is just about nothing worse to me than having an IV in my hand.
My mother and I arrived at the hospital the day of my surgery. I got checked in and was finally taken back to the cubicle for pre-op. First, a nurse came in with a nursing student and they both tried, at the same time, to get an IV in me. Nothing was working. At all. They left and brought back a nurse from the ER. Also unsuccessful. My OB came over and at this point, I was sobbing. And he said to me ‘You weren’t kidding, were you?’ Um… no!! They sent over the Anesthesiologist and his nurse, who kindly gave me a Valium to calm me down and within five minutes, they had one IV started and I felt nothing. They knocked me out, wheeled me into the OR and put the other IV in me, as I was on the cross.
When I came to, hours later than originally expected, I was groggy but not terribly sore. My mom was in the room with me and explained that I had been right about the Essure. One of the coils had perforated my fallopian tube at about a 90 degree angle and that’s what was causing me the pain. She said that my OB had been shocked by what he’d found but admitted that I was right.
I was finally discharged about 6 hours later than originally planned. Recovery was a bitch and took me about a year to feel ‘normal’ again. I still have my ovaries, but I struggle sexually, energy wise, mentally, and I just never feel completely okay. I can sleep for 12 hours, I can sleep for 6 hours, and I’m always exhausted. I never felt this way prior to my hysterectomy, which was directly caused by the Essure coils. For a long time after my surgery, I was angry that I’d been forced to have a procedure I never wanted due to this stupid implant. My story is by no means as serious as many others, but it’s amazing how you feel when you are forced to have a hysterectomy at a fairly young age.
This should have never happened. These coils should never have been approved. This was more than avoidable. I tell anyone and everyone who will listen to me not to have this procedure done. The FDA is supposed to protect citizens but instead, it put profits ahead of people. And still Bayer is protected.