how lovely to be a woman…

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m no longer able to take birth control pills, because the estrogen helps my cancer grow. So today I went to see my newest doctor, Dr. Andrea Hageman.  She is a gynecological oncologist.  Regular gynecologists are scared of me now (thanks, breast cancer), so Dr. Naughton referred me to Dr. Hageman.  I’m so grateful, because she is awesome.  I highly recommend her to any female in need of such care in the St. Louis area.

We talked about my birth control options.  She told me that I probably wouldn’t be able to get pregnant, because my ovaries are shutting down due to the chemo.  I haven’t had a period in over a month, and now I’m having hot flashes.  My body is going into what is referred to as chemopause.  Chemo induced menopause. Luckily, this is usually temporary, but it still totally sucks.  I am not willing to chance pregnancy, no matter how slight, so we discussed IUDs.  I ultimately decided upon the Mirena, and she told me she could place it today.  I was a little surprised about that, but said okay.


Let me break this down for those of you that don’t know or are curious.

  • First she did a manual exam to get an idea of the size and shape of my uterus.
  • Then she inserted the speculum/clamp, and cleaned the cervix.
  • Next she inserted the sound, which is a straight metal rod, and is used to measure the uterus. It is inserted through the cervix.  It caused the most painful cramping feeling.  I yelped in pain when she inserted it.
  • Next she inserted the IUD (a small, T shaped plastic device). That hurt just as much, and took longer.  I started to feel really dizzy and nauseous at this point.  The nurse kept urging me to take deep breaths, which did help a bit, but this part felt like it took forever.
  • She cut the strings of the IUD, which hang out of the cervix, and will allow me to check to make sure the IUD is still in place.
  • Then she removed the clamp and speculum. 

The pain caused me to feel dizzy, sweaty, and nauseous.  My blood pressure dropped very low, and I wasn’t able to stand up for about 25 minutes after the procedure.  I was given a cold wash cloth, orange juice, and graham crackers, which helped a lot. Dr. Hageman told me to expect bad cramps for the next 48 hours, as well as some bleeding. 

The cramps are definitely here, and they suck.  Even after prescription strength ibuprofen and oxycodone, they still hurt enough that I don’t see myself leaving the couch anytime soon.  However, I think it’s going to be well worth it.  I won’t have to worry about birth control for the next five years, and no periods either.  I’ll take it.

We discussed my hot flashes.  She prescribed Effexor to help with those, and it should also help regulate my mood.  I’ve battled depression for most of my adult life, and while I think I’m doing really well all things considered, it certainly won’t hurt to get some help in that area.

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