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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Essure Story

As I sit here, turkey sandwich in hand waiting for my homemade ice cream to be ready, I realize this may not be the best day to talk about healthy eating or discuss weight loss. While I had intended to write about going poo free and hair chalking I've instead decided to come right out of the gate with something incredibly personal, birth control.
I'm one of those people. I have red hair, light skin, light eyes and freckles galore. This also means I'm one of those people who breaks out in hives when I use a lotion with perfumes or who gets a burning welt after spilling some cinnamon on her arm. I can't take hormonal birth control. I tried and it left me in contemplation with a razor blade. When I was in my early twenties my OB prescribed the Depo shot. This was a different hormone all together than what was always used in the pill. I used it for the following 5 years with a 1 year, Dr recommended, break in the middle. By the fifth year I was loosing interest in art and music. I was becoming uncomfortable around people and having extreme mood swings with in days of getting my shot. Well, guess who can't have Depo anymore? At this point my Dr was pretty blunt with me. "There really isn't anything I'm comfortable giving you at this point. You are going to have to use condoms" Well I tried for a while. Unfortunately it seems I have some sensitivity to them. I know, shocker right? By this point I was married and planning for a child so I put the idea of birth control on the back burner. After my daughter was born I just used the rhythm method and avoided sex while ovulating. There were no oops moments, we didn't get pregnant again until we planned it. Now I'm 35 years old and I have two great kids. I'm done having babies. I'm not just "I'm done but if it happens we will make it work" done, I'm really done. I've had two c-sections and I don't ever want to be pregnant again. Although I love my two children, I have no illusions about how much I can handle. Most days I feel like I'm clinging to the edge of sanity, I've reached my motherhood limit of two children. One more will surely push me to medication and guess who is overly sensitive to meds? 
My Dr asked if I wanted a tubaligation during my second c-section and I said no. Morbid as it sounds, babies are fragile. What if I had a tubal and then my baby died? I know it's horrible but I wasn't comfortable taking permanent birth control measures until my child was a few months old and healthy.
After what I thought was a great deal of research, on October 31 2011 I had the Essure procedure done. It's the only regret I have so far in my life.

Essure is a permanent form of non surgical birth control. They insert metal coils in to your fallopian tubes. Over three months time, your body develops scar tissue around the coils and seals off your Fallopian tubes interrupting ovulation. 

You will never guess who had a bad reaction to this procedure. Wow, you guessed it. You're good. The first 4 months were debilitating.
Lower back pain that was so severe that there were days I couldn't stand up all the way. Cramping that was reminiscent of that moment during labor when I asked for the epidural. Daily migraines, and inner thigh soreness. Any physical activity made the symptoms worse. So there I laid on my couch each day, popping Vicodin and muscle relaxers, for four months trying to take care of a 1 year old and a 3 year old. Not surprisingly, I decided to have the coils removed.
In all my research I never really understood what "permanent birth control" truly meant. It can't be removed, in fact there are other women like me who had bad reactions who are having hysterectomies. Eventually I found a Dr in Georgia who had invented a procedure to successfully remove the Essure coils. Problem number one, I live in Chicago. Problem number 2 it's costs 5 grand and my insurance may reimburse me for 40% of that afterwards. Problem number 3, no payment plans cash only.
I was set to do it in April of 2012 but the oddest thing happened. Most of my symptoms went away. The only real issue I have now is that my periods are terrible and I get very tired very easily, oh yeah and there is an issue of 20lbs I gained after the procedure that won't go away. I decided to wait and see if these last symptoms went away too.
My Dr called me a few months ago and said they had successfully removed the Essure coils from a patient using a robot. This was exciting news because now my insurance would pay for it and I don't have to fly to Georgia. The issue now is that my symptom of being exhausted all the time doesn't match the cause. My Dr thinks there is something else wrong with me now, and doesn't want to remove the Essure until I have a full physical and a million blood tests to rule everything else out. So that's where I'm at now. I have about 35lbs to lose and very little energy to exercise. I ride my bike in the evenings so I can go to sleep right afterward. I was working out in the mornings for a while but by 2pm I was passing out. I literally couldn't keep my eyes open.
I wanted to write about this, because many people out there considering this procedure may not understand the risks of Essure. They may understand that their body can reject it, but do they understand if it does there is nothing anyone can do, outside of Dr Green in Georgia that is. I'll continue to update. If anyone has a wayback machine I could borrow, I'd love to just go back in time and skip the whole procedure. I'm smart, I'll bring your time machine back before I took it so it will never be missed.


  1. I love that you put this on! I am in the process of figuring out a birth control plan for me also. I also can't take pills or Depo. (I have three kids that show pills don't work, every Dr. tries to blame it on not being consistent with the pills but I had an alarm set for when I took them and could set my watch by it!) I was looking as Essure, I found very little in research for it and now I know I won't be going that route thanks to you! I also can't use Condoms as I have a latex sensitivity. The non latex ones work for the most part but I do still have problems with them also. My period is so messed up from other health issues that timing it doesn't work for me either. I may be looking at a hysterectomy as of now because they believe I have Endomitriosis and that it is attaching to my bowels. So that will be my last choice. I also know that one more kid will push me over the limit, I have been really close to that point now with 3 kids! I am so looking forward to this blog as I too have been in the process of changing things over in my house. I do have the back ups of a box meal once in a while but most of the time my kids won't eat it unless I add and doctor it anyway because they tell me it tastes like a box! I use all Meleluca Products as I have found they have been the best switch for me without making everything myself. I don't know if I could do the no poo thing as of yet, but I have been no heat, no chemicals for a while now! (Starting to want to cave as the grays are becoming more visible!) As for food again we started square foot gardening and canning. My first attempt was pickles as they are something that my kids love!
    Thank you again for this blog! I will be fallowing it religiously! I have been told to start my own but just never seem to have the time to sit down and do it, hmmmmm maybe I will get the incentive reading yours!

  2. Thank you! I hope people can get something out of it. I've wanted to start it for a while now, but the idea of putting all this out there is a bit scary. While writing about my birth control there is that part of me that says "you know your dad is going to read this right?" lol I am also hoping to learn from others and encourage people to comment and share. I haven't started my garden yet, but that is something I hope to do in the future, and with gardening comes canning so maybe you can help me out too. :) As far as Essure goes. I know that MOST people do not have side effects that are life altering, what concerns me is that there seems to be no info or solution for those who do and that is something I never thought to ask. I asked "hey what are the risks and what are the odds" It never occurred to me to ask "what if it's me?" I just thought they would take them out if there was a problem and that would be the end of it. I can tell you if there is something else wrong with me at this point, it was caused by this procedure. My life hasn't been the same since the day I came home from the Dr's office after I had it done. This is no coincidence whether anyone wants to admit it or not.

  3. Hello
    Would you mind telling me which Dr was willing to help you in the Chicago area? I'm from the Western suburbs and have been having same symptoms if not more since I had the procedure in Oct 2011. I've been seeing that a lot of woman out there are experiencing the same issues too.

    1. Dr Paradis at Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Il. Good Luck

  4. Please join the campaign against Essure

  5. Hello, just want to share with you what my experience with essure. I had the procedure back in December 16, 2011. I had noticed with weight gain, aches, worse back pain. I thought my hypothyroidism was the problem. Went to the doctor today and said since I have essure that he can really work with my hormone problem. I want to remove it. If i 've only knew that gave me so much problem I won't do it.

  6. I'm sure by now you have seen many things come out about this product. I just wanted to know if you had a hysterectomy because it seems that is the only way to fully be rid of the PET fibers that cause the autoimmune issues, such as chronic fatigue. If not that maybe why you are not experiencing relief. They embed in the uterus wall and continue to reek havoc on your body even though the actual coils are gone. Hopefully you have already figured this out and are on a better path

  7. I'm sure by now you have seen many things come out about this product. I just wanted to know if you had a hysterectomy because it seems that is the only way to fully be rid of the PET fibers that cause the autoimmune issues, such as chronic fatigue. If not that maybe why you are not experiencing relief. They embed in the uterus wall and continue to reek havoc on your body even though the actual coils are gone. Hopefully you have already figured this out and are on a better path