Bye Bye Nuva Ring

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Nuva Ring No More

This post is for all my female readers out there!

Since my diagnosis of Endometriosis and undergoing a laparoscopy in January 2013, I’ve struggled with managing my endometriosis without the help of any medicine. I’m finding that my cramps are unbearable for 2 days of the month and I’m spending a whole week miserable with PMS symptoms.

My doctor suggested I go back on birth control because that is shown to help symptoms of endometriosis. Before trying to have a baby in 2011, I’d been on the Nuva Ring for almost 9 years. I never had any problems with it and liked not having to worry about taking a pill each day.

I decided to go back on the Nuva Ring to help control my endo. Well, 1 month later and I’m throwing in the towel.

Let me tell you why…

I didn’t put 2 and 2 together until last week but I’m fairly certain all of the symptoms I’ve had for the past month relate directly to the Nuva Ring. Obviously, with all my other issues from food, these could be related to some new food intolerance but the timing of when I started using the ring and when the symptoms started is just too coincidental.

For 4 days after insertion, I suffered from migraines. I was on a trip with my mother and continually popped Excedrine to control the pain. I was nervous because I typically only get them for 1 day at a time. The fact that it didn’t go away scared me.

The day I took the ring out, I enjoyed another wonderful migraine and finally the heaviest day of my monthly cycle came with a bang and a migraine that sent me to urgent care to get a shots in my butt.  I’d never had a migraine in my right temple and it worried me that this one came with serious vomiting. I even had to do it outside of the urgent care with people walking by to go to the grocery store. Certainly, not one of my classiest moments. I despise vomiting.

One of the shots was a pain-killer and the other one was phenergen for nausea.

A few days before I took the ring out, I developed major anxiety and started having panic attacks for no reason. I spent a whole night crying in our kitchen over nothing and laying in bed with my husband sobbing. Eventually I started mumbling something about the word “gluten” and how much I was sick of hearing about it. I even pulled out some Buspar (anti-anxiety) from last year to help calm my nerves.

My usually normal complexion quickly filled with pimples and cysts on my face like a 14-year-old boy and I managed to gain 10 more pounds in just under 4 weeks. This puts my post celiac weight gain at 30 pounds instead of the 20 I already was frustrated with before going on the ring.

I’ve had the ring out for a week now and all of my anxiety is gone. No more panic attacks. I lost 3 pounds. My face is starting to heal and I hopefully am done with these headaches. I’m going to a new doctor in about 6 weeks so I’m going to track my symptoms and anything else that happens to see if they occur without being on the Ring.

It’s interesting there are also class action lawsuits on the Ring and CBS News even has an article about the potential fatal dangers of this drug. As with any drug, there are always risks but when they start piling up, that’s when maybe it’s needs a second look.

So, let’s recap –

In the first month of going on the Nuva Ring I had the following happen:

  1. 10 pound weight gain
  2. Major anxiety
  3. Panic Attacks
  4. Cysts and pimples all over my face
  5. Migraines
  6. Fatigue

I made an appointment with a new doctor in just a few weeks and decided to cease using the Nuva Ring. My biggest concern is wondering why this time around I’ve seen such negative side effects when prior experience showed my body responded very well to the Ring. Weird.

I’ll post my progress over the next few weeks and keep you updated after I go to my new doctor. I hope he will have some answers for me! But I would love to hear from you, if you are comfortable sharing…

Have you experienced anything like this with the Ring? 

How have you managed your Endometriosis?

A smiling and happy Rebecca

 

What is a Laparoscopy and how is the recovery?

Last Wednesday I went in to have an Laparoscopy completed to do an exploration for endometriosis or other problems causing my symptoms. Endometriosis was confirmed after an hour long surgery.

What is a Laparaoscopy? It is a surgery done by small incisions in the abdomen and/or pelvic region with a camera. It can confirm diagnosis of things like fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and tumors or can be done for surgical procedures like partial hysterectomies, lump removal and endometriosis tissue removal.

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I was brought into an outpatient surgery center where they prepped me about 90 minutes before my procedure. They do a pregnancy test, hemoglobin test and start an iv with antibiotics. The doctor and anesthesiologist came back and talked to me before the procedure. My husband was able to come back and wait with me until they took me back into the surgery room.

The path to the room was very cold. The room appeared sterile and bright lights were everywhere. All the nurses introduced themselves to me and made me feel very comfortable. The last time I had a procedure done for my D&C I was asleep prior to entering the operating room so it was weird to be awake while they prepped me.

I came out of my surgery in the recover room with a very sore belly. The nurse kept giving me pain medication until the pain was a 3 out of 10. My stomach looked like I swallowed a basketball. My husband spoke with the doctor after my procedure which confirmed I had endometriosis and an inflamed bladder.

At home I was all set up on the couch. It was advised not to go up or down stairs and stay close to a restroom. I fell right asleep and my husband went to pick up the pain medication and nausea pills. I will tell you that every time I have surgery, I become extremely nauseous. I asked this time for the doctor to prescribe some Phenergen which will not only help you sleep but eliminate the stomach problems. I was given Tylenol 3′s which lasted through the weekend. After that I moved on to Aleve.

I really didn’t notice any pain in my shoulders and back like many people said I would and I think partially it’s because of the pain medication and staying laying for most of the time.

Here are some pictures!

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Now here are my tips for recovery –

1. Make sure you have someone the first couple of days to help pull you up off the couch or the bed. Your abs will be incredibly sore. I often found myself sliding off the side of the couch just to get up.

2. Go to the restroom – it’s going to burn but it helps alleviate some pain and fullness in your belly.

3. Drink lots of non-carbonated liquids.

4. Have food and snacks at home to help you. I basically lived off of Annie’s gluten free mac & cheese, jello and gluten free crackers.

5. You will likely be constipated. I resorted to yogurt even though I have lactose problems just to get my bowels moving. I ate 3 containers of yogurt and never had a loose stool or stomach ache.

6. If you just have the scope done with nothing removed and 1 entry point, I would say 3-4 days is a good time to recover. If you end up having things removed, plan on being out for at least a week.

7. Rest! Don’t try to do anything, even though it’s incredibly boring! I really believe I’m healing faster because I’ve stayed on the couch and forced my body to rest instead of jumping back into things too quickly.

8. Get up and move every few hours just to prevent stiffness.

9. Make sure you have baggy pants because anything tight around your waist will be very uncomfortable. Not to mention I gained 10 pounds right after the surgery and none of my normal pants fit me. So I’m glad I had some baggy pants laying around I could wear.

10. Dont stress. While it’s overwhelming to think about what  is going on, it’s important to remain stress free!

So, today is my last day on the couch and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I’m ready to get back into my gym and back to work. I finally can sit up for a little bit at a time and write this post. That’s been a huge struggle for me just to sit up right.

Many of you sent comments, messages and love to me while I was down and I appreciate it so much.

Thank you!

 

 

 

Natural Remedies: Acupuncture and/or Acupressure for Endometriosis

Yesterday, I completely forgot to write a post about a recent experience with massage. I really love a great massage, especially if the masseuse has great, strong hands. Deep tissue massages are a great way to help your muscles!

While I attended the Earth Fare Columbus health fare last weekend, I met  Kathy Petty. She was doing chair massages and won me over in less than 5 minutes. She made me a believer and my body melted in her hands.

Tuesday (the day before my laparascopy), I went to get a massage with Kathy at her location on Cleveland Ave (just a little south of 270). Kathy is trained in acupressure and told me she enjoys incorporating some of those pressure points into massages. The massage was fantastic however something interesting happened when I was on the table.

Kathy began massaging my feet which always feels amazing. I would pay for someone to just dig into my hands and feet. Well, a little ways into the massage on my feet, I felt an incredible pain near my ankle and almost flew off the massage table. I asked her what that point was that she just applied pressure to because it was painful and her reply, “uterus.” I couldn’t believe what she just said. My other sore point on my feet was for my ovaries! Incredible to me.

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Kathy didn’t know anything about my history with cramping nor did she know I was going to have a laparascopy the following day to check my lady parts!

Acupressure is just one of a number of Asian bodywork therapies (ABT) with roots in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Traditional Chinese medical theory describes special acupoints, or acupressure points, that lie along meridians, or channels, in your body. These are the same energy meridians and acupoints as those targeted with acupuncture. Through these invisible channels flows vital energy or a life force called qi (ch’i). It is also believed that these 12 major meridians connect specific organs or networks of organs, organizing a system of communication throughout your body. The meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain, and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian.

According to theory, when one of these meridians is blocked or out of balance, illness can occur. Acupressure and acupuncture are among the types of TCM that are used to help restore balance. Herbal and nutritional therapy, meditation, and therapeutic massage may also help. – Source WebMD

I’ve also done acupuncture in the past with Dr. Shauna Hindman of Polaris Wellness Acupuncture and Chiropractic Center to help me with my sleeping. I will be the first to admit I was skeptical about the entire process. But when I started becoming more calm and sleeping better, I became a believer. Another issue for me is the needles. I know many of you are like me and think the needles will be painful, but in actuality the are not!

I’m thinking based on how my recovery is going right now, next week I should be able to get with Dr. Shauna and start my acupuncture again. She sent me this amazing article on how acupuncture can help endometriosis.  I’m trying to take it easy, rest and sleep a lot to help my body recover from the trauma of  surgery.

Over the last few years, I’ve become much more aware of my body  and what I’m putting into it with food and medications. I do believe that there is something to acupressure and acupuncture. As I continue through this journey, I will keep everyone updated on how my treatment process is going.

I’m struggling today with a very bad sore throat and am in a decent amount of pain if I try to move around too much. I haven’t experienced the C02 yet but I’m waiting for it. I am happy I actually have some answers but now it is just another ailment to add to the rest of them. Should I update my resume for under the skills section to say: Celiac disease, Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism, Latex Sensitivity, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Endometriosis and poor vision. (just kidding of course)

Which leads me to the question:

How many of you are handling or treating your endometriosis naturally? 

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