Monday, 9 October 2017

:: COLUMN :: Taking back control

Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/2DwCcfz

:: This column was originally posted on Endometriosis News ::


I recently started a new treatment for my endometriosis and had a Nexplanon Implant put in my arm at the end of August. I have to be honest, I didn’t want it. I had been free of any contraceptives for just over a year, my acne had settled down and, although my endometriosis pains were getting progressively worse again, it felt nice to be the one in control of my own body for once.

I spent a long time considering the implant and after speaking with my doctor and her explaining that she didn’t think it would help me due to my past history and the way my body has reacted to similar treatments previously, I decided against it. However, I saw my consultant at the hospital shortly after this and she explained that I had very few options left with regards to treatments. As always, I felt a little backed into a corner, like I didn’t have much of a choice, but we drew up a plan together to start at the easier end of the scale before we, eventually, think about surgery again. The ‘easier end’ being the implant.

I assumed the implant would give me similar side effects to the Mirena coil that I had back in 2010 - and still had in when my endometriosis flared up back in 2012 and left me in the state I am now. I thought it might affect my appetite, might make me a little nauseous, that it would affect my libido, skin and possibly, my weight. And, it has affected my libido and skin, but that’s most likely because it’s making me bleed much more than usual. That’s something the doctor can (hopefully) help me with though. I can take an additional pill alongside the implant which should stop any bleeding, but, at the moment, I still need to let the implant settle in.

I am finding a few things difficult to handle though, and, mostly, it’s that I no longer feel like myself.

I have noticed a definite shift in my moods. I became very irritable almost immediately, and by the second week, I felt like there was a black cloud hovering over me. My anxiety went through the roof, and, for someone who has only had mild anxiety before, but also felt very level-headed over the past few years following a bad stint of depression, it’s hit me quite hard.

It’s not the first time I’ve felt like this after trying out a new treatment for my endometriosis. I’ve had 3, 6-month rounds of Zolodex (Goserelin) and Decapeptyl (Triptorelin) before and they really effected my mental state. In fact, I would say they have been some of my darkest times... It’s funny what a few chemicals can do to your head.

It is a difficult position to be in though. Treatments will always have some effect on you or your health in one way or another. Take, for example, the majority of the treatments that I’ve tried for my endometriosis - they have had a negative effect on my bone health, but, the things that will help my bones are the things that are bad for my endometriosis. It really is a vicious circle! But, what can we do?

One thing I’m trying hard to do is combat these negative feelings. I don’t want to cry every day or worry about any and everything. I want to feel like ‘me’ again. So, I’m taking back control now. I’ve realised this isn’t me, that it’s the implant making me feel this way, and with that, I’ve been able to think of both sides of everything. Am I really feeling this anxious, or are my feelings heightened by this treatment? Am I really feeling sad enough to cry myself to sleep each night, or is there in actual fact, nothing to worry about? I’ve been getting out the house more for chilly autumnal walks, I’ve thrown myself in to writing and I’ve been more productive with my days - not staying in bed in the mornings, making sure I make the most of each day.

I won’t have yet another treatment controlling me.

When you’re in this situation, my only words of advice for you are: “find yourself again”. You are not what this treatment is making you. Hormones will change you; you just need to hold on a little tighter to the reigns and not let go. 

You can follow my Endometriosis News column here.

S.
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