Things That I Loved That Did Not Love Me Back

by Rachel on January 31, 2012

In the past few weeks, I’ve had to deal with a bit of grief over things that I had openly loved that then turned on me.

First to let me down was my IUD. I wrote about my experience having the Mirena placed in December of 2010 and, aside from that feeling of “Did a guman just shoot me in the uterus?” that I experienced during the procedure and the weekend following, I was really happy with it. Over the summer, I had some pain in my lower abdomen and had my doctor check the IUD, as that seemed like the obvious culprit. But no, the IUD was in the right spot and I just had a super unpleasant bladder/kidney infection.

Right before Thanksgiving, I started having the same pain and assumed my urinary tract was just all worked up again so I called my doctor and they called in the same prescription I had taken over the summer. I was happy to pick it up from Walgreens before leaving for Wichita, as ending up at the after-hours clinic for anything even remotely related to your vagina is not the sort of thing you want to have happen over a family holiday — especially when you’re around someone else’s family.

A couple weeks later, my lower abdomen was still hurting, very distinctly on the left side, as I had become accustomed to, so I went in for another exam. My doctor said my UTI appeared to be in the right place and there was no sign of infection but he wanted to do an ultrasound to be sure it was in the right spot. If it was in the right spot, he said, deciding whether or not to leave the IUD in would be a quality of life issue. If it wasn’t, then it had to come out immediately.

I was upset by this for two reasons. First, it was The Best Birth Control I’d Ever Been On. I loved it. Second, I was terrified of the pain of having it removed. Even though I was in a considerable amount of pain on a daily basis with it in, my memories of Cervix Slam 2010 were not far from my mind.

Three days and one rather unpleasant vaginal ultrasound later, my doctor called me in to tell me that the IUD was in the right place. But it wasn’t alone in there. It was, apparently, hanging out with a bunch of fluid, which had made itself comfortable in my rather-swollen left fallopian tube. The technical term for this is a hydrosalpinx; it can be caused by any number of things (or you can be born with it) and my doctor is not sure what caused mine. (I wanted to find a way to blame myself for it but without any real evidence or good reason to — trust me, a past STD would have been a simple, welcome answer here — I eventually got bored with this and found some other aspects of my life to overanalyze/obsess over.) My doctor said he’d leave the IUD in if I really wanted him to, but he strongly recommended taking it out, both for my quality of life, and also because all this “may” cause future fertility issues some day. I wanted to be selfish here, but really, taking a pill every day isn’t that bad compared with how I’d feel if I never knew whether or not Eric and I would have ugly kids. So I told him to take it out.

The good news is, the IUD hurt a hell of a lot less coming out. Like, barely at all. The bad news is that the hydrosalpinx still hurts a lot, every day. The even worse news is that there is no nice slang term or abbreviation for your fallopian tubes, so every time a friend asks me what’s up, I have to say, “Eh…my fallopian tube hurts extra bad today.” Ladies, can we work on this?

What really sucks is that as I’m trying to manage the pain, or even find out if this pain is normal (admittedly a better question for my doctor than the Internet, and I’ll totally go that route once the red tape of switching insurance carriers, which I’ve been dealing with since the end of December, gets worked out in a couple weeks) all the info I can find about hydrosalpinges is on infertility forums. It’s not that I want to Web MD myself into the worst-case scenario; it’s just that most people don’t discover they have this condition until they are trying to get pregnant and so they are discussing it in the context of, “I’m on my third round of IVF because of a hydrosalpinx.” When I tell people this, they tell me to get off the Internet and remind me that I can “always do IVF” if it turns out my whole uterus is really a lost cause. Getting off the Internet sort of helps; the idea that IVF is the new penicillin does not.

Anyway, yesterday, after a particularly painful day of twinges in my left tube, I was trying to find out if something like acupuncture would help, but I ended up just staying up until 12:30 AM, trying not to freak the fuck out about my fertility, and feeling rather sad about the IUD I had loved and lost.

And then, in a much-less-serious case of “I really don’t want to return you,” I had to send my Lululemon yoga mat back to their factory today. You see, after I bought it in August, it sort of…started shredding? I dealt with this for a little while but it eventually got so bad that I thought I might need to buy a new one. Then I realized, Wait a minute. This was a $70 mat that was supposed to be a good investment…they need to buy me a new one! And after I sent customer service pictures of the shredded mat, told them that the girl at the store told me it was reversible so this was not my fault in any way, and then showed them on the website where it said it’s reversible, they agreed to do just that. I’m getting a refund via gift card and will probably just suck it up and buy the Manduka mat this time.

Over both the IUD and the mat, I have this feeling of, Damn you, thing I openly and unabashedly loved! I mean, the mat was just mildly abused and still usable…and then a few weeks ago, it just started to rapidly falling apart. And the Mirena and I were 1/5 of the way there! I thought I was out of the woods! Then I realized the feelings of disappointment and mild embarrassment over publicly supporting something that eventually turned on me were the exact same feelings I experienced when I found out about Heidi Klum and Seal’s announcement that they were getting divorced. Is nothing made to last these days, people?!

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Angie January 31, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Great, now I have something new to worry about every time my abdomen hurts with my Mirena…

Kidding aside, bummer about your IUD :( but hopefully the pain will subside soon! Thanks for sharing!

Reply

2 Clarice January 31, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Nuvaring is a great pill alternative. I love it.

Reply

3 Christie F January 31, 2012 at 8:08 pm

It made me constantly in PMS mode, caused me severe depression and it was stupid expensive for me, because my insurance didn’t cover it, unless I bought it in a 3 month supply, then I got a $15 discount. Considering I was paying $78 a month for it (that I could barely afford each month, let alone 3x that), I switched to the $9/mo pill pack. Not that it does that for everyone, but I think that I should share my experience, so others know what could happen. After I switched, my depression cleared up and taking a pill isn’t really so bad… until you forget to take it and then get knocked up like I did. Whoops.

Reply

4 Nicole February 1, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I love the Nuvaring, I think like anything it affects different people differently. With my insurance its 40/m and is a million times better than taking the pill everyday. 40/m isn’t cheap, but I had a lot of weird reactions to different pills that I would rather never have again, and I love only having to think about it once a month.

Reply

5 Paige January 31, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Damn, that sucks about your IUD! Truth be told, I considered showing your blog post about the IUD to my gynecologist when she refused to let me get one because I am too young, haven’t had children yet, blah blah blah. So it makes me sad that it ultimately didn’t work out for you for reasons beyond your control!

As far as a slang term for the fallopian tubes goes…I tend to want to say “‘lopes.” As in “Dude, my ‘lopes hurt like a bitch today.” But then I think of those-who-shall-not-be-named abbreviating cantaloupe to “‘loupe” and that potential slang term flies right out the window. So, in closing…good luck with that.

Reply

6 Rachel January 31, 2012 at 8:26 pm

I think a suggested “lopes” at one point too but yeah…it just doesn’t click!

Reply

7 Lex January 31, 2012 at 8:05 pm

I had a similar problem with my IUD, I was having constant abdominal pain on one side too. I didn’t even realize it was constant until I decided to get it out after almost a year and it was almost instant relief! I never got an ultrasound though, so maybe I should get checked out. I hope you feel better soon!

Reply

8 Rachel January 31, 2012 at 8:28 pm

SO jealous you got such a relief! I’m hoping to experience that soon!

Reply

9 Christie F January 31, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Efff….. I was totally thinking about Mirena too.

:( Sorry about your egg chute. (Hey, I tried.) Hope you feel better soon. Does icing/heat help at all?

Reply

10 Jess January 31, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Sorry your IUD didn’t work out. I actually just got mine in last week and actually the insertion didn’t hurt that bad at all for me. My doctor gave me something to help dilate things to make it easier. It was still uncomfortable but definitely not painful. But holy lord the cramps that lasted the rest of the weekend were miserable. You’d think I was a Midol addict the amount of stuff I took to make the cramps go away. But a few days later I was back to normal. I’m five days in now and feel fine. I was able to run yesterday without a problem. I got the Paragard and I’m hoping I love it as much as you loved the Mirena.

Reply

11 Summer January 31, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I’ve been on the the pill for a decade and it gives me anxiety to think about ever going off of it. It’s such a force of habit to take it every night that I actually get really antsy on the placebo week when I don’t take anything. I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to ever change BC methods so I plan to be on the pill until my uterus shrivels up and dries out. But it sucks that your IUD didn’t work out, especially after the insertion process…ouch. Hopefully your tube issue clears up soon. Any kind of pain or discomfort in that area pretty much sucks. Especially when people start asking questions. Awk.

I think the moral of this story is that vaginas are a huge pain in the ass.

Reply

12 Anna January 31, 2012 at 8:57 pm

agh so sorry big things like this let you down :( is there anything you can do for the hydrosalpinx (which should just be called the sphinx) issue? p.s. isn’t “tubes” an abbrev.? as in “i just got my tubes tied” although i vote for egg chute.

Reply

13 Rachel January 31, 2012 at 9:25 pm

“Tubes” works in some situations (when they are “tied” everyone knows what tubes you mean) but if you just say your tubes hurt, I’d expect blank stares.

I like egg chute, perhaps just shortened to chute!

Reply

14 Jackie January 31, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I’ve been on Nuvaring for 10 years (or about the time it was put on market) and LOVE it! It’s expensive: $100 for 3 mths supply with my health insurance. However, it regulated my period since it was all over the place. I’ve had fibroids and endometriosis; the Nuvaring hormones have cleared me up. Other BC options you may try are Depo (injection) and the patch. Hope the tubes heal up soon as as I know how uncomfortable and painful it can be. A heating pad & Motrin can be lifesavers.

Reply

15 Rachel February 1, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I was on Depo before actually and I’ll never go back to that one! It caused major weight gain and depression and I’ve heard terrible things about how it can leach all the calcium from your bones. Scary scary stuff. But it sounds like a lot of people dig Nuvaring!

I need to get a heating pad ASAP. Thanks for the reminder!

Reply

16 Nicole @ Giraffelegs February 1, 2012 at 10:46 am

Ouch! That sounds like the most painful experience ever.

Reply

17 Toya February 1, 2012 at 11:08 am

I recently had to take my IUD out as well. I was experiencing horrible mood swings, and cramps. I was also gaining weight even though I had been working out the most I ever had in the past year and a half. I LOVED the IUD because it was so effortless and promoted spontaneity. But alas, it had to go and since I’m against anything hormonal due to the various side effects, and the nuvaring causing numerous yeast infections, I am left with using a diaphragm. Talk about mood killer! You have to have it in 15 minutes prior to lovemaking and then keep it in for 6 hours. I hate it!! and I’ve noticed my sex drive decreasing!

And since the IUD is fairly new, I was kind of paranoid about what they would find out about it in the future. Like increased infertility chances! I had it in for 5 years or so and I think the copper is what caused all the symptoms I began having after 3 years of having it in. Although so convenient, I guess it’s never good to have a foreign object in your body for a lengthy amount of time.

and omg I can’t believe Heidi and Seal. I thought they would last.

Reply

18 lynne @ lgsmash February 1, 2012 at 11:16 am

I’m looking up hydrosalpinx right now. For the past few years, I’ve had an occasional pain in a similar spot but all OBGYNs have said I’m all clear. Never done an ultrasound though…

Reply

19 lynne @ lgsmash February 1, 2012 at 11:18 am

Also, I’d heard getting an IUD was no fun but that sounds even less fun than I imagined.

Reply

20 Rachel February 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Well I hope I didn’t scare you or make you worried you have some terrible condition!

Reply

21 Caitie February 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Damn, Rachel…sorry to hear about the IUD. That is really disappointing.

I’ve been on various hormonal birth control pills since about age 15 because of bad acne and incapacitating cramps. I was on Diane-35 (later almost recalled due to serious side effects), Yasmin (yup, it later came out that this one has some nasty risks associated with it as well). I’m currently on the Ortho-Evra patch, which may or may not have some nasty side effects- literature is fuzzy at best. Fun! I stay on it, though, because it is the.only.thing. that makes my acne disappear, the cramps manageable and my flow lighter. And since I’ve never experienced any side effects, the benefits outweigh the risks (I went off for 5 months in 2011 and had cramps so bad I threw up, then acne so bad it led to an infection that required hospitalization. Not kidding.) If you’re not opposed to high-dose hormones, you may be interested in the Patch? The “high-dose” thing freaks some girls out, which is understandable. But I have had really no side effects with it and I like only having to worry about changing it once a week. Although having something stuck to your skin is a little irritating.

Reply

22 Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie February 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm

First – I’m so incredibly sorry that you’re in pain, I’m dealing with a back injury and totally know how much chronic pain can affect EVERYTHING in your life. Stay strong!

Second – HEHE – “Eh…my fallopian tube hurts extra bad today.” Egg chute is my favorite suggestion. Toooo funny.

Reply

23 Brandi February 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Sorry to hear about your IUD and chute troubles. I was considering getting it after I hearing from friends who had it and reading about your experience but I’m sticking to my seasonique. I love not getting my period so I dont want to have it come back if I switch. Your tube problem sounds so scary. I hope you get the pain sored out soon.

Manduka Black Mat Pro is the way to go in my opinion. I’ve been using mine for two years and it still looks new. And it has a lifetime guarantee!

Reply

24 Rachel February 1, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Yup, I’m going to look into it this time! When I bought the mat, I wasn’t sure if I should make that kind of investment when I wasn’t sure if I’d stick with yoga for that long…but now I feel sure enough to fully commit!

Reply

25 Rachel February 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm

OK I tried the Manduka mat tonight (rented it at my studio) and it’s AWESOME.

Reply

26 Emily February 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Apparently I’m the only person here more concerned about your yoga mat that your IUD! Haha. Maybe because I’ve never had an IUD, but I DO have a lulu mat.

I’ve had my lulu mat about 9 months and I’m IN LOVE with it. Apparently I’m super sweaty, because yoga on any other mat is a slip-n-slide. I was advised to use the shiny side, and also to only roll it up shiny-side out. I was glad they told me because my instinct was the opposite. But if you roll the shiny-side in, it gets wrinkled and messed up. They also told me not to clean it with chemicals.

Anyway, maybe it was one of those things, or maybe yours was just a dud. But if it were me, I’d get a new one in the cute new aquamarine color :) But if you do get a new one, you have to go through the horrible-smell phase all over again!! Ick.

Reply

27 Rachel February 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm

OK this makes SO MUCH SENSE. I used the rough side (they told me I could use either) and I love it…but I think I could have gotten away with it; I think the rolling was what wrecked it. Because that’s exactly how it started to split/shred. I was basically rolling it against the grain. DUHHHHHH!!!!

Anyway, I always used Manduka cleaner, so I’m good there!

Reply

28 Crystal February 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Oh Rachel! Your post couldn’t have come at a better time. I vividly remember reading your post when you got your IUD because, I too had just got mine. In my experience, the pain was so excruciating that I had what they call a convulsive faint during the initial procedure. My body’s only reaction to manage that kind of pain was to seizure and pass out! So reading your experience brought me some much needed comfort right when I needed it. Rest assured you’re trauma was not in vain!

I’m also having issues with mine– horrible PMS, mood swings, cramping, spotting and slight pain. At this point, I have an emotional attachment to my IUD because it has been the best birth control I’ve tried. The pain I went through when getting the thing was so overwhelming that I don’t yet feel I’ve gotten my worth out of it yet, either. It’s as if I’m in an abusive relationship; just when I’m ready to leave, the bastard says all the right things to make me stay. But I gotta take the plunge and quit putting myself through unnecessary pain for the sake of convenience. Thanks again for sharing so openly and for having impeccable timing!

Reply

29 Rachel February 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm

“But I gotta take the plunge and quit putting myself through unnecessary pain for the sake of convenience.” That was the hardest part for me, trust me. I also felt super cheated because of the pain I went through to get it and the awesome BC it provided. But you only get one body and it deserves to be treated well.

PS I cannot believe you passed out. Oh wait, I can. God, what a horrible experience that procedure was. Yuck.

Please keep me posted on how it works out for you!

Reply

30 nikki February 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Would the non-hormonal IUD (Paraguard) make a difference? I have one because I don’t react well to hormones generally and it is my favorite thing ever. The pain at insertion wasn’t great but tolerable and my only side effects are longer/heavier/crampier periods which, in my mind, are worth it. Plus it lasts 10 years (instead of 5).

Reply

31 Rachel February 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I’m not sure, but I think at this point I’m just 1. never ever going to attack my cervix again like that and 2. afraid of exacerbating the chute situation. It’s a bummer because I’d like to be able to explore other options, but at this point, I’m just so OVER it. Like, just give me the damn pill. I give up.

Reply

32 nikki February 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I totally get that, I’m afraid of having it taken out (in 6 years). Glad that experience wasn’t so bad for you.

Reply

33 Toya February 2, 2012 at 9:45 am

I don’t think the non hormonal IUD is any better. That is the what I had and like you, I experienced longer, heavier and crampier periods. Along with horrible PMS and also gained weight. I thought I was taking the safe route in using a non hormonal BC, but I was WRONG!

Reply

34 RAIN February 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I was always so scared to get an IUD…I am glad it worked for you for so long, but a bummer that you can’t continue using it!

I would have totally returned that mat to Lululemon. They have an excellent return policy and their things are expensive so they should last! I do truly think most things, expensive & cheap, are just not made to last anymore…made of cheap materials, not made well, etc…

Reply

35 Em (Wine and Butter) February 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm

In case you weren’t aware of the sheer genius of Guns N’ Roses ‘Nothing lasts forever and we both know…’ :)

I’ve just discovered your blog and I love it! x

Reply

36 Jen February 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm

I highly recommend the nuvaring! It’s low estrogen and aside from a two month adjustment period and the need to replace it every month, it’s probably the next best thing next to an IUD.

Reply

37 Caitie (ShortSkirtsandScience) March 2, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Go with the Manduka mats! Have a black mat pro and absolutely love it.

Reply

38 Rachel March 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I did! Got the Prolite and it is awesome!!!

Reply

39 April June 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm

First, thanks for the honesty.
Next, about three years ago I was told to go off hormonal birth control due to migraines and if I wanted continue with birth control to get a copper IUD. I didn’t question my doctor’s orders. I went off the pill and got the copper IUD. If you thought getting the bendy plastic Morena was bad, meet the copper IUD; it’s bigger and metal! Normally, they do not advise woman who have never had a baby to get the copper IUD because their uterus is too small, but it was the only hormone free option. The majorly intense pain of getting it inserted was only about 10 seconds long, but it was a bitch. However, pain did not stop at insertion. In fact, the pain never stopped. I was told to wait a few days for the pain to subside, but it didn’t. Then I was told give it six months, I did and the pain persisted. The pain would get so badduring my periods it would shoot down my legs and hurt to walk. I went to the doctor they said it was not puncturing anything and it was in correctly. So–like a dummy I suffered another year, thinking,”Doctor knows best!” B.S.–I know my body best and after a year and a half I got it removed and my periods are not an absolute miserable existence. Now, we are just careful and I too wonder about my fertility after the IUD.

Reply

40 JoDec May 27, 2013 at 6:23 am

Firstl, apologies for the long post: I had an IUD (Copper 10) fitted just under 8 years ago and after a couple of years started having slight, but sharp pain on one side or the other in the middle of my cycle, when ovulating. The doctor said this was not unusual, even though i’d never had it before. I then noticed that when i was on, some tampons would be sodden, but with clear fluid. Again my doc said this was fine and suggested that urine was ‘creeping up the string’! When i started spotting constantly he suggested that I might be going through early menopause, even though the hormone tests he did came back fine. When i then started having pain during sex, he suggested i lose weight! I was only 154lbs and i’m 5’7″, so not exactly obese! I then went for a routine health check with a locum doctor and when i was asked about the date of my last period and I made a joke about it; she became alarmed. After explaining my symptoms, she sent me for an urgent referral to a gynaecologist. It seems that the IUD has caused severe hydrosalpinges and as it was left untreated, fluid has been leaking into the womb. Luckily i am now 47 and had my 2 children years ago, but if this wasn’t the case, i’d be distraught as both of my ‘flubes’ (I quite like that one) are shot! The moral of the story is that we all know our own bodies; if something changes, there is usually a reason for it and if your doc doesn’t agree, go see a different doc! I am now waiting for an MRI (13th Jun) to make sure there’s nothing more serious going on, so i’ll keep you posted.

Reply

41 Erin July 12, 2013 at 7:01 am

Hi Rachel-
Did you ever find relief from the pain? I just found out I have hydrosalpinx in my left tube, and the pain just keeps getting worse. I went in for an ultrasound because of the pain, not any reason associated with fertility. Every piece of info on the internet is tying back to how the hydro relates to fertility, which I don’t really care about. At this point I just want some relief until I can get surgery scheduled. Do you have any suggestions or comments?
Thanks for your help!
Erin

Reply

42 Rachel July 12, 2013 at 7:41 am

The best relief I found was just extra-strength Tylenol. I think once I had seen my doctor he wrote me a prescription for something stronger (just an Rx level ibuprofen). During my surgery, they actually discovered that I actually had cysts on my tube, which they removed and I got to keep my tube. So that was kind of good, I guess!

Best of luck with everything!

Reply

43 Erin July 12, 2013 at 9:37 am

Thank you! I appreciate it! :)

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: