I start this entry with a heavy heart as there are 15 women from the Essure Problems Facebook group scheduled for major surgery this week. The specific surgery is a hysterectomy, which is necessary to remove Essure for women who are suffering for severe side effects called by Essure. You may recall that in my first blog, I shared some of the side effects; that is just some of the effects. I'll expand on this after I share with you my personal story of e-hell.
The start of my e-hell began with my never having a normal cycle again. I had a period in June, but it lasted only two or three days. Then nothing for months; no July, August or September. I thought that was weird, but when I asked, the dr. said it was normal. This is the irregular bleeding they spoke about. Then in October, I got two periods in the same month. That has never happened to me before.
In early December, I started bleeding, and I didn't stop for months. I had to wear a pad everyday because something was always coming out of me. I gave up on wearing white and forget about a bathing suit. December was also a sad month for a few other reasons. My daughter was performing at a dance convention in Orlando. I always did her hair and makeup. Sadly, that didn't happen for this event as I was in our hotel room with a migraine from hell and not only did I not do her hair or makeup, I also didn't see her dance. I was the mom who was always there for everything for my child. Essure stole that when it robbed me of my health.
In February or March of 2012, my GYN performed a biopsy to determine why I was constantly bleeding. Those tests came back as negative for anything wrong and negative for a reason why I just kept bleeding. It was about the same time, I noted the sharp, stabbing abdominal pains. The stabs felt like someone had a knife and they were stabbing me from the inside. When they got my attention, the pains would last seconds, with a scale or 5 or 6. I was having two or three episodes a day. Over time, the frequency and severity increased. At its peak, I was having 8 or 9 episodes a day at a pain scale of 9 or 10. Yes, 10.
Finally in April, I suddenly stopped bleeding. It was a relief and my thoughts are maybe I'm finally back to normal. That couldn't be further from the truth. I'll never forget May 18, 2012. The day before, I spotted a bit and wore a pad to work that day. I was sitting in a mid-morning meeting, and I started bleeding a lot. Within seconds, the pad I was wearing was soaked through and I could feel the cushion of the chair I was sitting absorbing the blood also. Somehow, I managed to leave the room without losing my composure, and got to my desk. By this time, I have blood dripping down my leg, I'm very shaky, pale, and my composure is gone. One of my co-workers got me to the hospital. This is what I learned how little hospitals know about Essure or even how to manage patients have a gynecological crisis. I bled for about 2 hours straight, and it stopped on its own after two hours. The hospital performed no diagnostic tests, no CT scan, no ultra-sound, no nothing. They basically said you're not bleeding anymore and sent me on my way. They gave to me a verbal diagnosis, I hemorrhaged, and a diagnosis on paper, heavy periods. I spent the next few days at home laying on the couch with no energy. My mom said something which triggered me to start looking. She said 'maybe the Essure thing is the problem.' It was that day that I found and joined Essure Problems on Facebook, which had maybe 30 members. I was amazed at how much I had in common with these women. We had some very similar issues and we were all convinced it was Essure. I also found a few other pages on other websites which talked about Essure causing problems. These were pages I had never seen before.
I saw my GYN on Monday, showed him what I found, and he said it may be Essure, it may not be and I had tons of tests performed on me that day and for the next few days. My GYN also spoke to my primary physician and it seemed that my primary was going to be engaged with figuring out what was wrong with me. I had been complaining about other symptoms to my primary for months, and he couldn't find anything wrong. Some of the other symptoms included dizzy spells, numbness / tingling in my extremities, my memory wasn't the same, my energy level was gone, and I just generally felt like crap all the time. All the while, I still had that sharp stabbing pain. My migraines also got worse; the increased in frequency and intensity. After getting a battery of tests, I saw my primary and his response to me was lose weight. I know that carrying extra pounds can lead to a few other health conditions, but there is NO WAY that would cause me to lose copious amounts of blood. I left his office and never went back.
My GYN then started ordering tests that would normally be done by the PCP. One of the tests was an abdominal CT scan. My GYN said this test showed I had developed a seroma in my abdomen and this was probably the source of the pain. This test also showed a coil fragment in my abdomen, but he neglected to tell me this. I found out about the coil fragment later. On June 20th, I had an outpatient surgical procedure, which drained the seroma. For a few days, even the sharp stabbing pain went away. That was short lived.
By early July, the stabbing was back. It started slowly, once or twice a day and got progressively worse. Anyone who sat around me at work knew when I was getting stabbed; it showed in my face and they would also see me doubled over grabbing my side. They knew they started again when the same doubling over started again. My GYN referred me to a gynecological surgeon as he agreed to finally take them out. On my first appointment with Dr. Jacob Tangier, I was sitting in the waiting room and there was a woman next to me who was clearly suffering with some form of cancer. I remember telling Dr. Tangier that I could wait if she needed to be seen first. He said that you wouldn't be here if you didn't need to me and I KNEW I had found the doctor who would free me of these coils. He already had a copy of my records and asked that I get a copy of the CT scan I had in June which showed the seroma. The next appointment with him he said before surgery he wants another CT scan to make sure the coil hadn't moved. I said what coil? It was that day I learned that the Essure coil had broke in my body, and the fragment perforated my fallopian tube and it had migrated to my abdomen. My GYN didn't tell me this. Mistake #2.
I used to say that my GYN went into rock star mode. Sadly, I've come to realize that he only went above and beyond to cover his mistakes. I have a known allergy to IV Iodine which was discovered when I was in my early twenties when I went into anaphylaxis during a diagnostic procedure. Because of this known allergy, which is in my chart in his office, I should have never been implanted as the Essure documentation states that anyone with a known allergy should not have the procedure. This is NOT listed on any patient material, but it is on the material for the physicians who perform the procedure. He messed up, got paid and I suffered.
I was scheduled for Essure removal via bi-lateral salpingectomy and removal of the coil fragment in my abdomen. Finally, I would be getting these nightmarish devices of out me. I was about to have major surgery and I was excited. Yes, excited. Something is seriously wrong when major surgery becomes a happy moment. Essure robs you of your quality of life and makes the whole family suffer because Mom is too sick to me a mom. Because of Essure, I suffered physically, emotionally and psychologically. All I did was sign up for birth control, just birth control. To avoid one surgery, I ended up having two. Essure destroyed my insides.
Slowly over time, I'm getting my life back, but my Essure story is far from over.