Thanks for reading the first of many entries in my blog. I'm sure many of you are wondering why I chose to name Melinda Gates in the title and why an ordinary person is choosing to call out someone extra-ordinary. Well, that's an easy one. I became extra-ordinary the day that a defective birth control device called Essure almost ended my life. How we got to Vs. Melinda Gates is a story two years in the making so let's go back two years and get you caught up.
In April of 2011, I became a patient of Essure. My doctor knew I didn't want any more children; I have one daughter, who is simply the most amazing child. I was 38 years old at the time at the time. Do that math, with child #2 we'd be going through puberty and menopause at the same time. That was as unappealing as the possibility of a high risk pregnancy. I have no regrets about my personal decision to have no more children. I do, however, regret the decision to get Essure every day. Just last week, I learned I should have never been a patient in the first place. We'll get to the later.
You're probably asking what is Essure? I'm happy to tell you. During the past two years, I've learned quite a bit about the device. You see, when you're in a battle against something, you better become an expert. You can't fight what you don't know and I know more about Essure than many doctors. Sad, but true. In fact, there are lots of women who have become experts on this device. One who knows more than me is Angie Firmalino, she's my e-sister and together with a few other amazing ladies, we co-admin a facebook group called Essure Problems. Essure Problems is a group of ladies whose lives have been irreversibly damaged by Essure. We also have a few spouses on the page who support their significant others.
Back to what Essure is - the device is two small coils which are made of a nickel-titanium alloy and PET fibers. When the Essure coils are inserted in the fallopian tubes, an inflammatory response is triggered which causes scar tissue to develop around the coil and this scar tissue is supposed to 'occlude' or block your fallopian tubes. In theory, it sounds great. Sadly, it's only a theory, because for me and the 2000+ women in our group, it's our worst nightmare. I wish I knew in 2011 what I know now. When I was implanted, there was very little about Essure on the web, and despite my research, I never found anything bad about it. It was described as the non-surgical alternative to a tubal ligation. That worked for me as I didn't want surgery. It was also described as virtually painless and easily performed in the doctor's office. I would be back to normal activities the next day. The side effects were described as cramping and irregular bleeding. It sounded like the optimal solution for me. Too bad that Essure is NOTHING like it was described.
Let's start with the day of insertion - they give you medication to take at home so you're comfortable. NO, they give you medication so you end up STONED. By the time of my procedure at 11am, I had already taken four Percocet. Again, this is what they prescribed. The quick and painless procedure was NOT quick and it was NOT painless. Only one coil was successfully implanted that day, and it took over 30 minutes. I remember severe pain that brought me to tears, and cramping that was extreme. If I wasn't so stoned, I probably would have screamed and jumped off the table. I was also given a shot and told to come back in a month to try to place the second coil. I wish I would have never gone back.
After the first coil was placed, I spotted for several days. I was told it was normal. About two weeks later, I got a period and it was nothing like my typical cycle. I was told that was because of the shot. Over time, I learned it may not have been the shot.
I went for the second coil in May and it was just like the first, painful!!! There was also a rep from Conceptus in the room observing. This also took more than 10 minutes. In the Essure documentation provided to physicians, the procedure should be aborted after 10 minutes. My doctor violated this protocol and this is NOT the 1st mistake he made when it came to my care.
Prior to becoming an Essure patient, I had periods that were very regular, and virtually painless. I was the one that everyone else hated because I had no symptoms to go along with a monthly cycle; no cramps, no bloating, no irritability, no nothing. The only way I knew it was that time of the month was the bleeding. My last regular period was in April of 2011, right before I was inserted with Essure.
This leads to the beginning of e-HELL which will be described in upcoming entries.