Me and synthetic hormones don’t mix

The clock has already reset. I didn’t want to blog about this at first because it’s embarrassing, but for my own historical record, I really NEED to record this.

My husband and I were not careful enough during intimacy on our anniversary, and as a result, I was afraid of an unwanted pregnancy.

I know, it may seem as strange when the media feeds everyone’s brains with the lie that endometriosis always results in infertility. Furthermore, I’ve not seen anyone in the endometriosis forums bravely declaring that they don’t want children. No, instead the forums and media are filled with stories of women with endo who are also having a hard time trying to conceive, and are distraught over it.
Their situation is real and I feel bad for them. I have stage III endometriosis but I am unfortunately still quite fertile, yet I do not want children. If there were only a way to switch that with someone who wanted kids…

Because of my anxiety that I could become pregnant, I sought out emergency contraceptive (in the U.S. it is known as Plan B, and it is over the counter at the pharmacy to women 18 and older).
I have taken Plan B before, many years ago. I knew that it would make me depressed, and I have established that my body cannot tolerate synthetic hormones. But due to our carelessness, I needed peace of mind, and it was only a one-dose hormonal treatment, so I took the Plan B.

Wed. July 15 – anniversary – unprotected sex.
Thur. July 16 – first dose Plan B at 1:58pm. Within 30 minutes, I developed a gurgly stomach, which turned into stomach cramps and intermittent uterine pain for the rest of the day. I also experienced mild nausea. Heavy fatigue took over by 5pm – I could barely keep my eyes open. Later, I had a poor appetite – I did not want dinner. I forced myself to eat a banana before bed. I took a shower, forced myself to do some mild housework, and went to bed by 9:30pm.
Fri. July 17, 2009 – took last dose at 1:58am. I had crazy dreams all night involving tornadoes, floods, murderous gypsy types and a world of magick and sorcery.
Friday – Sunday was hugely emotional, depressive, moody, and angry for me. I spent much of the time not wanting to interact with my husband or anyone, because I was in such a bad head space to even try saying anything polite. I mean, even my husband was concerned about me, and at times got his feelings hurt, and would react by saying, “hormones.” I seriously agree – I also attribute the moods and anger to the Levonorgestrel.
Tue. July 21 – I had an unexpected sugar crash around noon. I only ever get hypoglycemia right before menses begins, because my hormones are out of whack. Ever since adhering to a gluten and yeast free diet since 2006, I don’t get the hypoglycemic attacks with regularity – ONLY within a few days of menses. So having a sudden sugar crash on July 21 concerned me.
Wed. July 22 – 12:20pm I had another hypoglycemic attack, AND began spotting. It was dark red “dirty blood” and looked a bit coffee ground-like sometimes. There were tiny clots. Shortly after going to the bathroom, the cramps started.

I checked for info:

“Some women may experience spotting a few days after taking Plan B™”.

“The effects of Plan B™ on carbohydrate metabolism are unknown. Some users of progestin-only oral contraceptives (POPs) may experience slight deterioration in glucose tolerance, with increases in plasma insulin…”

I took 600mg Ibuprofen, called my GYN and ordered a refill for Tylenol 3 (I don’t normally let myself run completely out but accidentally did so this time), and took off to the grocery store to get some ready-made foods in case I would be bedridden again.

The spotting lasted all day, and so did the cramps. On the pain scale, I’d rate the cramps as a 4 on the Mankoski Pain Scale. Over the course of the day, I also developed low back pain, but I mostly attributed that to having moved stuff around all day (and yes, I did wear a protection belt for lifting).

Thur. July 23 – I awoke around 5:39am from the pain. I went to the bathroom and found to my dismay that I’m full on bleeding – I filled the bowl with blood. The pain in my lower back became very strong, and I started to get a bit nauseous. The pain level was at 7.5. I took my temperature but it was ‘normal’ (normal for me being around 97.5°F, but I don’t have thyroid issues, so say all the blood tests I’ve gotten for the past ten years… riiiiiight).
I called the makers of Plan B and told them about my experience. They said it was all normal. They said some women spot and others get what looks like a full on period. She even said the level of low back pain and the cramping were normal. Still, she took a basic medical history from me to put it on file so they can have a log of adverse reactions up to date.
By 7pm I was severely depressed with suicidal ideation. I called the Plan B hotline again. They have no studies and no records of anyone ever experiencing depression as a side effect to Levonorgestrel.
Fri. July 24 – I bled through my pad, underwear and bedclothes, and went through a pad an hour since I woke up. The cramps were still persistent, ranging from 4-7 on the scale, and mostly centered in the lower back and vagina, or lowest part of the uterus if anything.
I endured a pelvic exam w/ speculum, which made the cramps worse. I did a pee test. Negative as expected for pregnancy. I was told that I am obviously having a reaction to the hormone from the Plan B, and there’s nothing to do at this point but to ride it out, taking Ibuprofen 3x/day, as it is supposed to help ease up the blood flow. The doc also is supposed to send in a script for some Tylenol 3 – not my usual supply – just a sampling as it were, to get me through this. I am referred back to my GYN, who has not returned any of my phone calls this week.
Had another hypoglycemic attack – at 12:43pm. The third in as many days, around the same time of day.
My GYN office finally called back to tell me that my doctor has sent in my Tylenol 3 prescription, which should be ready today. The office seemed indifferent to my Plan B story, but did say the pain with the bleeding seemed unusual.

I spent all last night into today digging through every diary entry I’ve ever made, be it handwritten or typed to myself in an email or filed somehow or another on my computer, because I know I detailed Plan B side effects before. I just can’t remember anything past a general sense of ‘I got depressed on it’.
With all my searching, I found three instances in the past ten years where I took Plan B, prior to the current run:

July 2001
S M Tu W Th F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31

July 11 – got my normal period
July 13 – drove to Tahoe w/ my hubby (who was then my bf)
July 14 and/or 15, 2001: unprotected sex
July 16 – Period ended but I took Plan B anyway. Depressed from having spent money I didn’t really have that weekend, from getting sunburnt, from being careless w/ sex.
July 17 – continued deepening depression.
July 19 – feeling happier emotionally
July 20 – started spotting, then bleeding
July 21 – very heavy bleeding
July 22 – heavy bleeding
July 25 – stopped bleeding
July 26 – severely depressed and angry
Aug 15 – got my normal period late; bedridden from the pain.

December 2001
S M Tu W Th F S
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31

Sun. Dec. 9 – Took Plan B (forgot to take 2nd pill). But one pill was enough to depress my central nervous system and I noticed the depression within a day.
Mon. Dec. 10 – took Flexeril to ease the back pain – I’d thrown out my back the week prior.
Mon. Dec. 17 – severely depressed. 3 hour mental breakdown. Convinced I was still riding the depression from the Plan B. My back was better by the 17th, however.

Did not mention bleeding as side effect in my long journal entry on Dec. 17, 2001. However, I had a phone conversation with my ma, who was still going through menopause at the time. I had asked if she could see a doctor to ease the menopause side effects. She said she can’t take hormone pills – they mess with her – make her angry, very bitchy and depressed. She said her older sister, my Aunt J, gets the same way. I told my mom that was VERY good family info to have on record.
It’s already been noted by my mom that several of her sisters had painful periods like I do. Adding sensitivity to hormone pills, and depressions locks it down to a known family history.

Well, you know how people are stupid and history repeats itself…

October 2002
S M Tu W Th F S
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31

Tues, Sept. 17 Got my period, which was quite painful
Monday Sept. 23 Had a severe emotional breakdown
Tues, Sept. 24 Sister called and told me she’s pregnant
Sun, Sept. 29 Hubby (then bf) and I fooled around
Tues, Oct 1 Took Plan B, paranoid from fooling around
Fri, Oct 4 My sister arrived from Michigan to visit
Thurs, Oct 10 I became sick; strep
Sun, Oct 13 Sister departed for Mich, I called in sick
Mon, Oct 14 off work sick, went to doctor
Tues, Oct 15 off work sick, got my regular period
Wed, Oct 16 returned to work, still very depressed

Did not mention bleeding as side effect in my journal entry on Oct. 17, 2002. Still trying to find any emails or journal entries from that time frame to see if I talked about bleeding at all.

I’ll be adding the full text of those diary entries at some point, just so I have the history on this site.

I’d like to note for the record that Plan B has the same ingredient that is found in the Mirena IUD, which my gynecologists have been begging me to try since 2006.
Since I cannot even handle low doses of drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol synthetic hormones (as found in birth control pills), and now I know that Levonorgestrel also sets off the depression and rage, there is no way in hell I want a continuous dose of it through the Mirena IUD. I do not want a repeat of 2007, when I became suicidal on Yasmin, thanks.

My husband said he is going to look into getting a vasectomy.

In the meantime, I have to ride the rest of this nightmare out, and then in the next two to three weeks, endure more pain and suffering when my actual period reappears.
I hope that I can once and for all remember two things: be super careful if I don’t want to worry about pregnancy, and never, ever, EVER take Plan B or any synthetic hormone ever again. My husband said he is happy to remind me to never go near hormones again after seeing me get severely depressed from them twice, now.

Here’s to tomorrow

On Saturday, my hubby did get me out of the house. We went to a nursery to scope out starter beds, raised beds, herbs, vegetables, soil and all the rest of it. I was bleary-eyed from the pain and Tylenol 3, but determined to take a walk through the calm nursery garden and just be outdoors for a bit.

After we were done there, my hubby needed to pick up his car, which had been getting detailed. He’d driven my car to get us to the nursery. I told him it’s only a couple blocks from the car detail place back to our house – just drive us from the nursery to his car, he can get his car, then I will drive my car the couple blocks back home.
We got to the car detailing place and he had to wait for his car – it wasn’t done yet after all. I just decided to wait, too. I slept in my car for about 15 minutes til he pulled up alongside me in his car. Then we drove back home.

Hubby wanted to go to a second nursery to encourage me to get out of the house and start on that flower bed cuz he knows how depressed I get immediately upon becoming bedridden each month. I told him that even that short trip to the nursery and the wait at the car detailing place was murder on me and my bladder as well. I told him with how heavy it is right now, I need to be near the bathroom. I went and knelt against the bed. Hubby came after me, gently coaxing me to try again. I was so tired from the meds. So depressed that my weekend fun was taken from me.
I drew a deep breath and hauled myself up off the floor and bed, and off we went to nursery #2.

The second place wasn’t as nice as the first, but still offered some tranquility for the state I was in, and had some very fragrant white roses. I showed my hubby how to get sniffed by a morning glory (the petals are so soft and wispy that when you sniff them, they adhere to your nostril, thus sniffing you back!) After browsing there for a short bit, my hubby took me to Baskin Robbins for a Clown Cone – something that was a favourite treat for me when I was a little kid.
I have to say, now that I’m all grown up, Baskin Robbins ice cream is rather unmentionable, especially since we have Tucker’s homemade super creamed ice cream parlour nearby.

After ice cream, we came back home, ate dinner, and hung out. I think I went to bed early. Can’t remember.

On Sunday I spent the entire day on the couch, only getting up to go to the bathroom or shower. I researched endo stuff all damned day. I was on a mission. A stoned Tylenol 3 induced mission. I also spent the day trying to locate a substitute teacher for me on Monday, because I knew the pain would be too much for me to handle. Around 10pm I finally got a reliable call back from someone who said they’d sub for me. I went to bed after 1am but woke up around 8am from the pain. I took Tylenol 3 all day again. That cold I’ve been trying not to catch from the kids at work is really really trying to get me – my throat has been sore all day today.
Today was the same as yesterday – all day on the couch, researching endo stuff.

My neighbor was very kind and brought me some ice cream today. It was 88°F outside and 76°F in the house today but I wasn’t really bothered by the heat until late afternoon. It was very sweet of her to bring me the ice cream. :)

Tomorrow I return to work and hope to get through the entire day pain-free.

If so, clock resets for another 23-25 days, minus any mid-cycle pain that may occur (usually 8 days after my cycle ends).

Another weekend in bed.

I began spotting yesterday at work but ignored it as much as I could. I got through the workday without being in pain. I was actually too hungover to be in pain because I’d gone out for tiki drinks the night before and went overboard again. I slogged through the day as best I could. Working with children doesn’t allow you to take it easy in the least. I still had to run across a playground to get to fighting children before bodily harm could take place. I still had to leap over things in the classroom to get to hurt or frightened children quickly. Some young children just spontaneously erupt into tears before lunchtime – they have such a long day and just can’t take it sometimes.

When I got home from work, my endorphins from work were still going, but I was happy to sit and just zone out on the Internet for a bit. My husband got home from work and we proceeded to get ready to go out to dinner. Suddenly my energy dropped to zero and I thought I might have to go to bed right then and there, but I pushed on.
We had a tasty sushi dinner (yay payday!) and went to see friends for game night. Throughout dinner and game though, I sighed or yawned and was generally not completely there. I wanted to be, but my body just refused to cooperate.

I went to bed as soon as we got home from our friends’ house – just before midnight.

I woke early this morning in pain and confirmed that yes indeed everything was officially flowing and ramping up. Tried to go back to sleep but tossed and turned. Finally got up around 8:30am. Finally gave in to the pain around 10:30am and took a Tylenol 3.
It’s after 11am and I am envious that my hubby is still sleeping in like any sane person would do on a Saturday morning.

I already feel trapped. It’s a sunny beautiful day outside – supposed to be a lovely 70°F, and I can’t enjoy it without the pain and the pain goggles. Vision really does look muted because of chronic pain. It’s totally not crisp and vivid. Even when one is not on pain medication, the world through the eyes of someone in really bad pain is a bit matte and fuzzy, if not surreal, and it sucks.

I’m bitterly jealous that I don’t get a weekend mini-vacation before having to return to work on Monday.
Maybe my hubby will have a cunning plan for us today – we’ll see. I certainly can’t go anywhere on my own. I can barely decide what to feed myself when in this painful state.

Feeling craptacular

I still can’t figure out why this blog has the time set an hour earlier – it doesn’t account for daylight saving time I guess.

Anyway, I went to bed around 9:30pm last night, right after finishing my last entry. It’s so weird to say this but… last night was the longest night I’ve had in awhile. I had very strange dreams involving scoring magic mushrooms on a pizza from both my ex boyfriend and my Qigong practitioner. Whaaaat?

My husband came in to kiss me goodnight probably sometime after 11pm, and then I woke with a start from the mushroom dream sometime after 3am, thinking I’d slept in and would be late for work. Imagine my confusion when I sat up in bed and saw that it was still pitch dark in the house! I thought, “Okay I’m ready for it to be morning now…”

When my alarm finally did go off, my body decided it was still too tired to want to get up.

Stupid body!

Ever since I got out of bed this morning, I’ve had the same painful eyes that I did when I went to bed last night, with a pounding headache thrown in. My right leg has started hurting me again in the spot where I crushed it in a slipping accident on a boat one or two summers ago.
And of course I still have full body muscle fatigue and I just want to go back to bed, and I’m still checking myself every 20 minutes or so (since yesterday afternoon) to see if george is here yet, because it keeps feeling like he is.

For the past three days, I’ve been doing a little bit of Qigong when I remember, and I am also doing the figure eight hip movement whenever I remember, to keep everything loose. The one thing with endometriosis is that the entire pelvic region wants to freeze up while the top part of the body wants to fold over the lower half in protective stance. I’ll get up out of my computer chair when at home, or get up off the floor when at work with the kids, and suddenly my back won’t straighten and I’m hobbling around like a little old lady for a few minutes, hunched and broken, trying to straighten myself out.
So swaying back and forth, to and fro, and doing the belly dance figure eight hip thang helps a little with that, painful as it is to do that.

Last night I took 600mg Ibuprofen before bed but when I woke this morning I was in pain all over again.

I’m wolfing down some food so I can take more Ibuprofen before work this morning. I’m gonna be late… gotta go. Don’t wanna go in. Gotta go.

Downtime is starting

I’m very glad that I did not have two weeks of symptoms before george shows up. It’s only been a week on and off.
Last Thursday I got intermittent right side ovarian pain. On Friday, I got stabbing uterine and ovarian pain while walking a short distance (about three blocks) with the children I care for. On Saturday, I was totally fine until I hoola hooped at a Fourth of July party, and then I got pretty bad uterine cramps and low back pain. My friend gave me 600mg Ibuprofen, and I believe I took a Tylenol 3 when I got home.

I don’t recall any cramps from Sunday until today. Today isn’t really cramping though – it’s been more like mildly irritated bladder. I’ve had the constant need to urinate all day, but no outright cramping.

I have biked to work all week this week. As of this morning, I noticed I could not pedal as fast as I usually can, and I was out of breath a lot quicker.
This afternoon, when cycling home from work, my body treated the experience as though I’d ridden 35 miles. I was simply exhausted and my muscles ached. When I got home, I took a shower and went to bed for an hour-long nap.

I’ve done nothing differently – my daily bike ride to work is a mere mile!

This happens every month and every month I’m surprised when it happens; this is downtime.

I wish I could remember the year I really began to notice when downtime was coming, even if I wasn’t getting cramps beforehand, because one week I’d be flying through the chosen route that I did every weekend, and the next week it would feel like I was a total beginner again, huffing and puffing and not having any muscle or energy to push the pedals more than 4 M.P.H.. And then I’d get my period within a few days to a week of the intense fatigue.

I’m guessing it was around 2003 when I started paying attention to the fatigue factor as an early warning system for my period. I assume the fatigue is directly related to the immune system being triggered by the mounting inflammation.

According to an article I just found on, “Inflammation involves the activation of the immune system, a very energy-costly activity; consider how wiped out you feel upon getting sick.”

Makes sense to me!

And now, it’s time for a refresher course on handling the fatigue, as discussed over on Go there now to read it.

I just read it and will read it again and again to remind myself. But right now I’m going to bed – over an hour early – after already having taken that hour nap after work. Here’s hoping the worst of the pain hits this weekend so that I don’t have to miss any work.