Sunday, March 15, 2015

My Essure Story

Yesterday I posted about my recent discovery that the back pain issues I am having are related to the Essure procedure that I had done back in 2009.  I now want to journal my entire journey.  Looking back, I see that some of the issues I was having a YEAR ago are related to Essure . . . I just had not connected the dots yet.











Here is my new Facebook header, telling others that I have seen the evils of Essure.

In 2009 my husband and I decided that we wanted to take measures to ensure that we never became pregnant again.  Early that year I missed my period and we thought I might be pregnant for the 3rd time, but testing proved that to not be the case.  But it was the wake up call to the fact that we knew we were done having children.  I wanted my husband to go in and get that taken care of, since I knew that having my tubes tied was major surgery.  He heard about a procedure called Essure, which is permanent birth control for women.  At the time, it was described as an simple in office procedure with very little down time.  10 minutes to do the procedure, heading home in less than an hour, with the biggest mentioned issue being that you need someone to drive you home since they do give you some drugs to relax you, and you cannot drive on those.

How does it work?  Go to the OB/GYN, get into the typical "check up" position, and they go in and insert a coil into your tubes.  The coils then cause the tubes to scar up and close off.  A few months later you go in for a test to make sure that things closed off like they were supposed to.

I still did not really want to do it, but since it was a non-surgery option I finally decided that we would go that way.  It was the Spring of 2009.

{Since the time of the original posting, I have obtained my medical records.  There were things in there that I had forgotten about over the years.  Now that I have that information, I am adding it to this record}

The day of Essure insertion
April 24th, 2009
I had been given some pain meds to take before I got to the doctor's office to relax me.  I honestly do not remember what medication it was.  I do remember that the directions said to take 1 - 2 pills an hour before the procedure, so that the medication had time to kick in before the procedure.  Now, I am a small woman . . . under 5'-0" tall and at that time I was probably around 110 pounds.  I took 2 pills.  I did not want to feel ANYTHING and I knew my husband would be with me so I did not have to worry about driving.  Heck, if I was too dopey from the drugs, he could carry me back to the car if needed.

Inserting the left coil went relatively smooth.  It hurt/was uncomfortable, but I was able to tolerate it.  The the right one was inserted . . . OMG!  I wanted to die!  I guess my right tube started to spasm while the doctor was trying to insert the coil, so it made it harder to get in.  She had to try a few times.  The pain got so bad I almost told her to stop.  I was in tears.  The pain was worse than childbirth.  Once it was all over, I told her it was a good thing she did not do right side first since I would have told her to stop.  The only reason I did not was because the left one was already in, and I did not want to go through that pain for only half of the procedure.

She gave me so medication to take home and also gave me a prescription saying "No cooking, cleaning, housework of any kind for one week."  So my husband was in charge of all of that.  I spent the rest of the weekend in bed or on the couch and medicated.  When I went back to my doctor for my follow up she said she has never seen an Essure procedure go like that.  We joked that I was now her example when she talked to other people and said she would say "I did have one patient who had trouble with one of the coils going in".  I think there was a "I was your first bad one and you always remember your first" kind of joke in there too.

April 29th, 2009
I went in to my OB/GYN complaining of back pain and I was running a temperature of 100.1 and my doctor said that is was probably from the "trauma" of the experience of from the way things went with the right tube.

I went back for my check up to see that the coils were in place and had done their job of blocking things off.  Those all came back fine . . . in place, even the right side which was hard to get in, and everything blocked.  So I thought the "nightmare" of Essure was over.

WRONG!!!!!

2010 
As I mentioned in the above information, at the time of having this done I was around 110 pounds.  By the spring of 2010 I was up to 122 pounds.  I know for most people 122 pounds is not  a log, but on a woman who is under 5 feet tall, it is not a good weight to be at.  That is a 12 pound weight gain in a year.  The strange thing was I had not changed my eating habits at all.

I blew this off to getting older and my metabolism is not what it used to be.  I started to exercise, which I have NEVER done in my adult life, and in 9 months I was able to get back down to around 112 pounds.  At the time I did not see this as a side effect of Essure, but now that I am reading the stories of other women I see that weight gain is one of the symptoms. Hindsight is 20/20

June 2010
At my annual check up I reported to my OB/GYN that I was having my periods 2 times every month, and I had a very low libido.

2011 - 2014
I started to notice I was a LOT more gassy . . . ask my family . . . it was not fun to use the bathroom after me.  Sometimes it would get to the point that I just could not hold it in and I would be farting all the time.  I also began to notice I had less energy and my sex drive was totally gone.

I also noticed that occasionally just before I was going to get my period my lower back would get sore.  It was not "OMG . . . I cannot think" kind of pain but more of a "I feel like I have a bruise there" kind of sore.  This would come on before my period, and then start to go away when my period started.  It was almost like I was getting low back pain INSTEAD of cramps with my period.  My periods were short, only about 3 days, so all of this was not "life altering" so I again just blew it off.

I also had been noticing that sometimes, before I would have my period I would get flu like symptoms.  I would wake up at night in a feverish sweat.  I would get that weird foggy head feeling that you get just a few days before you end up getting a full blown cold/flu.

All of my life, my periods had been anywhere from 3 - 5 days in length.  (I know . . . all of my friends HATED that I was so lucky to have such SHORT periods) Now I had noticed they had started to get longer.  At first it was just that they were about 5 - 7 days . . . that is still "normal" so I did not think anything of it.  But when I had one that lasted almost 2 weeks I thought this was a problem.

January 2014
At one of my annual OB/GYN appointments I mentioned some of these issues and it was determined that I was probably in the early stages of menopause.  Yes, I know that early 40's sounds young to be going through menopause, but from what I have been told early menopause kind of runs in my family.

 At the time I did not see this as a side effect of Essure, but now that I am reading the stories of other women I see that weight gain is one of the symptoms. I figured my body was going through "the change".  Hindsight is 20/20.  

May 2014
Spring of 2014 we decided we were going to move.  We were packing up boxes and moving furniture around to make the house ready to go on the market.  When the back pain got worse, I blew it off to the fact that I was lifting/packing/moving stuff around.  I probably just strained something, right?

(anyone see a pattern starting to form here)

This continued all through the summer and info the fall of 2014, but again each time I would say "we are moving/packing/lifting . . . of course I am sore".  Summer of 2014 the basement of the house we were selling flooded and we had to have that repaired before we could sell it.  So of course my back hurts, and I have headaches . . . I am stressed.

September 2014
We finally moved.  By now the back pain was REALLY BAD!  But, say it with me everyone, I blew it off to stress and moving.

November 2014
Back into the doctor . . . now I am skipping periods.  Probably stress related with all that happened with the house and the move.

(yeah, I know . . . why the heck did I not see the pattern yet!)

During all of this I tried chiropractics.  It helped for the day I was adjusted, but then the pain would be back.  I tried essential oils . . . they felt good when I first rubbed them on, and the warmth of some of them was good, but they really did not help the pain at all.  I tried yoga and stretching.  I did not really see any change in the pain with that either.  The ONLY time that I was not noticing the pain was when I was asleep, so I would take a lot of naps.  Great . . . now I don't notice the pain for 2 or 3 hours day, but I am not getting anything done since I am napping my day away.

Once we moved, my husband and I finally had time to think and start looking at some of the patterns.  This is the pattern that we saw that would happen EVERY MONTH
  • 3 - 5 days of feeling like I am getting sick/flu/cold
  • After that, a week of back pain for the full week before my period.  The back pain had gotten worse by now and I was wearing a heat wrap on my back.  I was also taking some pain meds that I had left over from a biopsy of a cyst I had done.  My husband did not really like that I was taking prescription pain meds every day for a week, so I started to hide them in my purse and bring them in to work with me and take them here so he would not see me taking them.  Weekends I slept a lot and was on the couch with a heating pad so I could save the pain meds for during the work week.
  • The pain will start to reduce when my period starts

While talking to my daughter about all of this just yesterday, she said "So really, you get about one "good" week per month if you have the cold feeling, then the pain, then your period . . . one good week and it all starts again."  Yep . . . that pretty much sums it up.

So once we saw this clear pattern and that it always revolved around my period I made an OB/GYN appointment.  At first she thought that I might have a cyst.  I ended up having an ultrasound . . . no cyst.  Then she said she could put me on the pill to control my periods and then hopefully end/reduce the amount of time I am in pain.

My sister stopped by the house one night, and I was filling her in on my recent ultra sound and that it was all clear, so I was now on the pill to see if that would help.  She said "Did you hear about that thing on the news about all of the women who had problems after having Essure?"  I said no I didn't.

That started my research.

I started to find story after story of women having the exact same issues I am having, and all of them have had Essure done!  Now, at first I thought that these women must have had it more recently, or their issues came on just after they had the procedure . . . NOPE!  When I joined an Essure Facebook group there were stories of women who had the procedure done in 2008 or 2009 (same time as me) and their back pain issues only came on last summer (same time as me).  The more I read, the more I was sure that Essure was the source of my problems.  The only difference between the stories I was reading was the state the woman lived in and her name . . . it was like reading my own story!

I checked the Essure website today, and they now list chronic pain as a possible side effect, but they say it is rare.  I am now a part of a Facebook group of women who are having problems related to Essure.  There are OVER 15,000 women in this group!  Sorry, but that does not sound like a "rare" side effect to me!

As of Friday, March 13th 2015 I have contacted my OB/GYN to let her know I now believe that Essure is the source of my pain.  She replied saying that she is not aware of any side effect from Essure that would explain what I am going through.  I then emailed her the links to a couple news articles on the topic and the Erin Brockovich page about Essure.  She then replied that I should call the nurse line to schedule an appointment so that we can begin the process for scheduling my hysterectomy.

If you know anyone who has had Essure, please share this information with them!
If you have Essure and are suffering, please reach out to the groups that I placed links for in this story.

If you are disgusted that Bayer/Essure and the FDA have not done anything about this matter to date, please sign the following petitions.

http://www.essureprocedure.net/petition/

and

https://www.change.org/p/u-s-house-of-representatives-repeal-the-biomaterials-access-assurance-act-of-98?after_sign_exp=member_sponsored_donation

I will continue to update you on my journey.

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Here are direct links to more recent blog posts on my journey.  I will continue to add links as I post more info.

Update - The Next Step . . . posted March 19th, 2015

The FDA responds to the petition . . . posted March 27th, 2015

The Road to Recovery . . . posted April 3rd, 2015

One Day At a Time . . . posted April 12th, 2015

not going to lie . . . I am sore . . . posted April 22nd, 2015 (Essure Problems Commercial)

More on me and Essure . . . good news/bad news . . . posted May 2nd, 2015

My story was aired on WCCO news 

Stories about the battle against Essure

Medication Side Effect Lawsuit

More from the FDA on the complaints from Essure victims

FDA officially opens an investigation on Essure!!!!!

Women share concerns

FDA to investigate Bayer

Thousands of Complaints against Essure

FDA investigating

Fifth death related to Essure  (Death should not be a side effect of birth control)

#EssureProblems

1 comment:

  1. Shawn, I am so sorry that you had/have to go through all of that pain and misery. I'm glad you found the FB support group and that you know you are not alone. Is there a class action lawsuit on the horizon?

    ReplyDelete