Dear Mirena, it’s not you, it’s me… (Updated)

See bottom of post for update as of 2/8/17

***** Hi boys – warning, girlie TMI ahead. Skip this one, unless you’re trying to help a loved one through dealing with a Mirena nightmare, then read ahead. I’ll try not to be too gross*****

**** Also I am NOT a medical professional – blah, blah – this is just my own personal tale of Mirena woe – I’m not here to give you advice.****

*** If you don’t want to read my tongue-in-cheek rendition of this – skip to the bottom – I’ve listed just the facts there***

So, ahead we plunge – This is my story. It’s been a rocky road, and I know there are MANY stories out there of women who struggled with Mirena – and many more who had a great experience. No judgement or bashing here. Just my story.

 

Dear Mirena –

It’s not you… it’s me. Or maybe – it is you, actually.

Things started out so well about a year and half ago. You were a dream come true. Progestin to help with PMS mood swings, and birth control that no one had to think about – not that I had any need of the birth control, but it was nice to know it was there.

I’d had a VERY short lived fling with the NuvaRing just before we met – that was it’s own special disaster – and should have been a warning sign for me. But who am I to heed warning signs?! That’s just silly.

See, I don’t tolerate synthetic hormones well. I never have. I’ve been on and off birth control several times, and it’s never been great. Stomach upset, general malaise, and then the uncontrollable crying. That’s always the best.

NuvaRing had the same effect – within about 5 hours of insertion. I turned into a sobbing lunatic. I removed it immediately, but it took another 5 days for 5 hours worth of hormones to work their way out of my system.

I cried uncontrollably and at the drop of a hat. Despair was the tip of the iceberg. This was full blown hormonally-instigated depression that I couldn’t see clear of.

Now let me just say – I love the NP at my OBs office. I truly do- she’s gifted and intelligent and somehow manages to put you at ease in the most awkward of situations.

HOWEVER – medical professionals – I implore you. LISTEN to your patients. I know – you deal with some quacks. But when an otherwise reasonable woman walks into your office explaining that she thinks she has something similar to PMDD – it’s short-lived but intense and that her previous experience with synthetic hormones isn’t good, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY – STOP.

Listen. Please. Come up with a plan. One that takes into account ALL that she’s telling you. Most of us know our own bodies, and at least deserve a say!

I know, Mirena, I’m veering off track. I’m sorry. I thought we’d be a good fit too. Or I hoped anyway.

So the initial appointment was… painful… if I’m honest. A couple of days of cramping and  stabbiness – then, oh I don’t know, 3 MONTHS of bleeding.

Seriously.

But that’s within the range of normal I’m told.

So we power through that – and I spend a lot of money on feminine hygiene products so that we can continue our relationship.

Oddly just a few weeks after you and I get together, I have this odd episode of vertigo. It’s positional and VERY intense. The doctor, who knows I’ve recently had a cold, determines that it’s labrythitis.

So it fades after a while (read 2-3 months). But then I discover that I have more than a drink or two and my equilibrium completely leaves me. COMPLETELY. I’m on the floor. No matter where I am. Picking my head up off the floor is actually impossible, and this will last for approximately 10 -12 hours.

Back off to the doc I go – who thinks it’s Meniere’s disease. A specialist and an MRI to ensure that it’s not a tumor later – the ENT agrees.

Oh – and I forgot the hearing loss. That part is fun. It’s only in a certain frequency range and just in one ear. But it means I can’t hear the kids in the car – so we all yell. All the time. That’s nice. And yes – it’s tested and diagnosed by a professional. Is it recoverable? We have no idea.

So I cut out sodium. Because that’s one of the ways you deal with Meniere’s. My daily sodium intake is about 1000-1500 mg. Which is pretty low – salami and hard cheese – out (have I mentioned my love for antipasti?) Any pre-prepared food – out. But I sure as heck know how to ask for unseasoned meat at a restaurant….because that’s a skill we’d all like to have. Ugh.

So here we are, Mirena, you and I. You’re frequently uncomfortable. And I’m starting to feel down.

Did I mention that I’ve put on weight? Oh yes – 6-7 months in and I’m 25 lbs up. With no change in lifestyle to speak of. This is no laughing matter.

So now I’m depressed and uncomfortable in my clothes, and not eating salt. I’m hungry, grumpy, uncomfortable and well… miserable.

Oh, but you’re not done with me yet, Mirena – not even close – now you decide I need to be a little unsure about – OH EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE. Say hello to Mr. Anxiety.

Now I’ve experienced some mild anxiety before. I know what the heart racing feels like. I know what it’s like to talk yourself out of stupid decisions  (usually in regards to getting reassurance from a significant other) because you know how you feel isn’t ‘right’.

But this isn’t that.

This is certainty. Heart-pounding, heart-breaking certainty.

Mirena, you have had me plainly convinced that I’m a terrible mother, unloveable woman, with difficult children and an impossible life. It’s been completely miserable. And I’ve been so embarrassed that I kept it all in my own head. And that’s just ridiculous. You had me such a mess I couldn’t even reach out to those I love for help.

But no more Mirena – we’re over you and I.

And I already feel better. Just 24 hours in, and I feel like I have my brain back a little. I’ve done laundry. It’s not actually an impossible task. My sheets are clean, and my kids are happy. Look at that!

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This is my bed! I love it – and it’s all clean and nice – because Mirena no longer gets a vote!

I’m not unlovable, and you’re not in charge anymore. I’ve told people I love that you’re gone, and how I’ve been feeling and have nothing but love in return.

So thanks but no thanks – I don’t need what you have to offer.

Sincerely,

Me.

 

JUST THE FACTS:

  • Mirena was put in in March 2015 after trying NuvaRing. That was in for only 5 hours – which left me an emotional disaster. A couple of weeks later I had the Mirena placed.
  • Insertion was painful – and several days of cramping afterwards – OTC pain meds knocked the edge off, but could not get rid of discomfort.
  • I have a history of not tolerating synthetic hormones well – and minor history with anxiety. Never depression other than a short bout of PPD with both children.
  • Bleeding after insertion was 3 months long.
  • Weight gain began immediately and continued until leveling around 25 lbs higher about 7 months in. Was at about 130 pre-Mirena and have hovered around 155 since.
  • Weight has been impossible to shift – regardless of extreme dietary changes and consistent HIIT workouts and cardio.
  • Vertigo symptoms began almost immediately. I am *fingers crossed* hoping that my ‘Meniere’s disease’ resolves or improves as a result of removal.
  • Some Meniere’s symptom are  – tinnitus, or ringing in the ears – constant pressure in the ear – hearing loss – and loss of balance or equilibrium.
  • Moodiness began early, but has become increasingly extreme . Worst around PMS time. Loved ones relate it to ‘flipping a switch’. I’m okay, until I’m not. Then I’m impossible and inconsolable.
  • Anxiety has been VERY extreme. Relationship-sabotaging, with both family and friends.
  • Consistent but not constant discomfort randomly, but especially during ‘ahem’ relations.
  • Removed and almost immediate improvement in mood and outlook within 12-24 hours.
  • Began Chastetree Berry immediately after removal. This is something I keep on hand – it helps your body’s natural progesterone production. *fingers crossed* I’m hoping this helps to stave off the dreaded ‘Mirena Crash’. I’m also hoping that since my symptoms were so bad with it that removal is what is needed to stabilize everything!

** I am NOT telling anyone to go buy Chastetree Berry supplements and take them. They do work for me – but please get professional advice before taking anything new!**

I’ll continue to update this post as I see how this all plays out. If I haven’t updated and you’re looking for it – call me out, please!

Update 2/8/17

Sooooo – It’s been a while since the removal and here are the relevant things that have or have not changed.

  • Thankfully I did not really experience the ‘crash’ that so many people have. I was a little off for a bit – foggy headed and such – but nothing extreme. That has dissipated.
  • Crazy is totally gone. I get the mild stuff I used to always get a few days before my period (which I felt were extreme before I experienced Mirena bonkers), but there is none of the unbearable anxiety and weeping and despair.
  • Period immediately went back to what I’ve been used to my whole adult life.
  • Libido is much better than it ever was with Mirena and no pain during relations 🙂 .
  • Weight did not ‘fall off’ but I am able to work to lose weight, as opposed to breaking my back to no effect. I am still working through this 20 lbs but it IS moving.
  • Meniere’s symptoms improved, but not gone. (I wish I could say they were!) Fullness in ear is gone. Hearing loss has not improved. No ‘episodes’ since removal. I do still experience ransom tinnitus. I have maintained a low-sodium diet.
  • Mainly I just feel like ME – I have more patience with my kids and don’t constantly feel like I’m barely holding my life together. My circumstances have not dramatically changed – just my outlook!

If there’s anything in particular you’d like an update on – please buzz me!

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