this morning, i got up early and drove to rome for my third and final injection of lupron depot. i thought this would make for a perfect post topic for the day, as it has played a big part of my life for the last couple of years. not so much the shot, but the reason for it. this post contains some information personal in nature, so i would appreciate if you read it with respect and if youre not interested, then wait for tomorrows post :)
during my junior year of college, i noticed a rather quickly intensifying pain in my right side. what started out one morning as an annoying pain, by the end of the day had me doubled over in tears. i went to sleep (after looking up my symptoms on webmd to make sure i wasn't dying), but woke early the next morning with pain so bad i could barely walk. i was able to get myself down to our campus health & wellness center, hoping that maybe they could just give me something and i'd be better. however, because of the location of my pain, the nurse was worried so she sent me to the e.r. after some tests and blood work, the kind e.r. folks found a medium size cyst on my right ovary. based on the size and location, they decided to let it go away on its own, although i was told to lay low until we could prove that it had decreased in size. this would be a good spot to add in that my mom had many, many cysts growing up and in fact struggled with endometriosis (for the sake of this blog & space, i'll abbreviate from here on out as endo.). so the fact that i had a cyst was troubling news.
during the whole cyst situation, i was connected with an excellent doctor who would become my GYN. connected to a family member, dr. barrell. located in rome, i continue to drive there to this day because i think she is just so great. she did a few belly ultrasounds, and we (thankfully) watch my cyst decrease in size. a few months later, she started me on a birth control pill to hopefully protect the health of my ovaries and prevent further cysts and damage. another side note, up to this point in my life, i had very long, painful, and heavy cycles with terrible cramping. by the time of this cyst, it wasn't uncommon for me to spend a day in bed, taking multiple aleves, hoping it would help. some months, if i started taking medicine early enough, i would be able to make it, although i was a big grump and in pain. i tried limiting caffeine, drinking extra water, exercising, not exercising, heat pads, anything. now, while i knew that i had it a little worse than my girlfriends, i thought my cycles weren't that abnormal. after my cyst and my appts with my GYN, i realized i was wrong. she was worried that i was starting to go down the path of my mother. so, because of that (and the fact that i was getting married a few months later), she started me on a pill. over the next 1 1/2 years, i tried 4-5 different pills. none of them offered complete relief- some i still cramped, some my cycle remained heavy and inconsistent, and on one pill, my cycle was lasting 6 weeks! this was getting old. also, i was starting to worry about the integrity of my reproductive system- surely, all these problems must be causing some problems. so, i chatted extensively with my dr and we decided that it would be best for me to go ahead and have a laparoscopy, D&C, & hysteroscopy. following that, i started taking lupron depot, a 6 month treatment for endo that involves either monthly or every three month shots that basically put your body in a menopausal state (so yes, i have had SEVERAL heat flashes- actually, i have several a day). so i had a one month shot, and now have had two 3-month shots. and i'm done!
now to anyone out there considering lupron- here are my thoughts on it:
nathan and i really want to have a family. really bad. i want lots of little babies. i love babies. nathan loves babies. however, there is no room what so ever in our basement for babies. so, ideally, we would like to wait to have babies until we have more than a basement to call home. we are trying to do things the right way, and based on that, we will be in a home hopefully by the end of next year. so, based on what the dr found in my laparoscopy, we wanted to buy as much time as possible before we started planning on a baby. therefore, we are doing the shots. i say all this to say- the side effects of the shot are only tolerable because i know the shot is buying us time. i'm not sure they would be tolerable if the shot was just to "offer relief." because relief is relative- no pain but constant heat flashes, not so great.
secondly, there are a lot of side effects. and my dr warned me of that. so far, i have experienced dizziness and some naseau (mostly just on and a few days after injections), MAJOR heat flashes, moodiness (which is weird- its almost like i cant control my reactions, but i recognize mentally that they are not me), tiredness, inability to sleep at night (mostly just in the 2nd month), random cramping, and headaches. i haven't had a cycle since the first month (which is what was expected) so thats
the shots hurt. usually, my hip hurts for a few days and you can feel the knot of fluid. gross.
so, i would do the shot if you need the time, or if you dont mind the side effects. otherwise, i'm not sure that i would recommend it.
all that to say- i'm glad i've received my last injection! this whole process- all the different birth control pills, the surgery & meds i took around that, and these injections- make me look forward to a drug-free day. based on my drs recommendation, i'll probably attempt to go back on the pill for around 6 months, and then i'll go drug-free. i can't wait. i long to be back to "me."
so there you go. lupron & endo. and you know a lot of personal details about me :)
if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. i left out a lot of details (very personal) that i am happy to share, and i'm happy to answer any questions about any of this stuff. i'll gladly let you know anything i've learned/experienced!