Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Next Step . . .

I had my appointment with Dr. Presthus at Minnesota Gynecology and Surgery yesterday.  I have to say, the staff there is SO NICE!  Dr. Presthus made me feel very comfortable right away, and I could tell he understood what was going on and BELIEVED ME that it was all related to Essure.  When I first told my OB/GYN that I thought this was Essure related she told me she had never heard of a connection between Essure and symptoms like I was having.

Oh!  I had to pick up my medical records to bring with to Dr. Presthus's office . . . I got to the office a little early so I was reading through all of the info recorded by my OB/GYN from the date I had the Essure procedure done to today . . . there were things that were documented that I totally forgot had even happened!  So MORE things that I now see were symptoms of troubles with Essure.  (I will go back and update my story with these additional items later)

I now have a laparoscopic assisted hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy scheduled for March 30th!  This was really great news since my normal OB/GYN could not even get me in for a consultation on what we should do next until April 20th!


Sunday, March 15, 2015

My Essure Story

Yesterday I posted about my recent discovery that the back pain issues I am having are related to the Essure procedure that I had done back in 2009.  I now want to journal my entire journey.  Looking back, I see that some of the issues I was having a YEAR ago are related to Essure . . . I just had not connected the dots yet.











Here is my new Facebook header, telling others that I have seen the evils of Essure.

In 2009 my husband and I decided that we wanted to take measures to ensure that we never became pregnant again.  Early that year I missed my period and we thought I might be pregnant for the 3rd time, but testing proved that to not be the case.  But it was the wake up call to the fact that we knew we were done having children.  I wanted my husband to go in and get that taken care of, since I knew that having my tubes tied was major surgery.  He heard about a procedure called Essure, which is permanent birth control for women.  At the time, it was described as an simple in office procedure with very little down time.  10 minutes to do the procedure, heading home in less than an hour, with the biggest mentioned issue being that you need someone to drive you home since they do give you some drugs to relax you, and you cannot drive on those.

How does it work?  Go to the OB/GYN, get into the typical "check up" position, and they go in and insert a coil into your tubes.  The coils then cause the tubes to scar up and close off.  A few months later you go in for a test to make sure that things closed off like they were supposed to.

I still did not really want to do it, but since it was a non-surgery option I finally decided that we would go that way.  It was the spring of 2009.  I want to say it was around April, because our wedding anniversary is in April and I remember telling my husband he would not be "getting any" on our anniversary since I was pretty sure I would not be feeling up to doing anything like that for a while.

The day of Essure insertion
Spring of 2009 - I remember it was a Friday
I had been given some pain meds to take before I got to the doctor's office to relax me.  I honestly do not remember what medication it was.  I do remember that the directions said to take 1 - 2 pills an hour before the procedure, so that the medication had time to kick in before the procedure.  Now, I am a small woman . . . under 5'-0" tall and at that time I was probably around 110 pounds.  I took 2 pills.  I did not want to feel ANYTHING and I knew my husband would be with me so I did not have to worry about driving.  Heck, if I was too dopey from the drugs, he could carry me back to the car if needed.

Inserting the left coil went relatively smooth.  It hurt/was uncomfortable, but I was able to tolerate it.  The the right one was inserted . . . OMG!  I wanted to die!  I guess my right tube started to spasm while the doctor was trying to insert the coil, so it made it harder to get in.  She had to try a few times.  The pain got so bad I almost told her to stop.  I was in tears.  The pain was worse than childbirth.  Once it was all over, I told her it was a good thing she did not do right side first since I would have told her to stop.  The only reason I did not was because the left one was already in, and I did not want to go through that pain for only half of the procedure.

She gave me so medication to take home and also gave me a prescription saying "No cooking, cleaning, housework of any kind for one week."  So my husband was in charge of all of that.  I spent the rest of the weekend in bed or on the couch and medicated.  When I went back to my doctor for my follow up she said she has never seen an Essure procedure go like that.  We joked that I was now her example when she talked to other people and said she would say "I did have one patient who had trouble with one of the coils going in".  I think there was a "I was your first bad one and you always remember your first" kind of joke in there too.

I went back for my check up to see that the coils were in place and had done their job of blocking things off.  Those all came back fine . . . in place, even the right side which was hard to get in, and everything blocked.  So I thought the "nightmare" of Essure was over.

WRONG!!!!!

2010 
As I mentioned in the above information, at the time of having this done I was around 110 pounds.  By the spring of 2010 I was up to 122 pounds.  I know for most people 122 pounds is not  a log, but on a woman who is under 5 feet tall, it is not a good weight to be at.  That is a 12 pound weight gain in a year.  The strange thing was I had not changed my eating habits at all.

I blew this off to getting older and my metabolism is not what it used to be.  I started to exercise, which I have NEVER done in my adult life, and in 9 months I was able to get back down to around 112 pounds.  At the time I did not see this as a side effect of Essure, but now that I am reading the stories of other women I see that weight gain is one of the symptoms. Hindsight is 20/20

2011 - 2014
I started to notice I was a LOT more gassy . . . ask my family . . . it was not fun to use the bathroom after me.  Sometimes it would get to the point that I just could not hold it in and I would be farting all the time.  I also began to notice I had less energy and my sex drive was totally gone.

I also noticed that occasionally just before I was going to get my period my lower back would get sore.  It was not "OMG . . . I cannot think" kind of pain but more of a "I feel like I have a bruise there" kind of sore.  This would come on before my period, and then start to go away when my period started.  It was almost like I was getting low back pain INSTEAD of cramps with my period.  My periods were short, only about 3 days, so all of this was not "life altering" so I again just blew it off.

I also had been noticing that sometimes, before I would have my period I would get flu like symptoms.  I would wake up at night in a feverish sweat.  I would get that weird foggy head feeling that you get just a few days before you end up getting a full blown cold/flu.

At one of my annual OB/GYN appointments I mentioned some of these issues and it was determined that I was probably in the early stages of menopause.  Yes, I know that early 40's sounds young to be going through menopause, but from what I have been told early menopause kind of runs in my family.

 At the time I did not see this as a side effect of Essure, but now that I am reading the stories of other women I see that weight gain is one of the symptoms. I figured my body was going through "the change".  Hindsight is 20/20.  

May 2014
Spring of 2014 we decided we were going to move.  We were packing up boxes and moving furniture around to make the house ready to go on the market.  When the back pain got worse, I blew it off to the fact that I was lifting/packing/moving stuff around.  I probably just strained something, right?

(anyone see a pattern starting to form here)

This continued all through the summer and info the fall of 2014, but again each time I would say "we are moving/packing/lifting . . . of course I am sore".  Summer of 2014 the basement of the house we were selling flooded and we had to have that repaired before we could sell it.  So of course my back hurts, and I have headaches . . . I am stressed.

September of 2014 we finally moved.  By now the back pain was REALLY BAD!  But, say it with me everyone, I blew it off to stress and moving.

(yeah, I know . . . why the heck did I not see the pattern yet!)

During all of this I tried chiropractics.  It helped for the day I was adjusted, but then the pain would be back.  I tried essential oils . . . they felt good when I first rubbed them on, and the warmth of some of them was good, but they really did not help the pain at all.  I tried yoga and stretching.  I did not really see any change in the pain with that either.  The ONLY time that I was not noticing the pain was when I was asleep, so I would take a lot of naps.  Great . . . now I don't notice the pain for 2 or 3 hours day, but I am not getting anything done since I am napping my day away.

Once we moved, my husband and I finally had time to think and start looking at some of the patterns.  This is the pattern that we saw that would happen EVERY MONTH
  • 3 - 5 days of feeling like I am getting sick/flu/cold
  • After that, a week of back pain for the full week before my period.  The back pain had gotten worse by now and I was wearing a heat wrap on my back.  I was also taking some pain meds that I had left over from a biopsy of a cyst I had done.  My husband did not really like that I was taking prescription pain meds every day for a week, so I started to hide them in my purse and bring them in to work with me and take them here so he would not see me taking them.  Weekends I slept a lot and was on the couch with a heating pad so I could save the pain meds for during the work week.
  • The pain will start to reduce when my period starts

While talking to my daughter about all of this just yesterday, she said "So really, you get about one "good" week per month if you have the cold feeling, then the pain, then your period . . . one good week and it all starts again."  Yep . . . that pretty much sums it up.

So once we saw this clear pattern and that it always revolved around my period I made an OB/GYN appointment.  At first she thought that I might have a cyst.  I ended up having an ultrasound . . . no cyst.  Then she said she could put me on the pill to control my periods and then hopefully end/reduce the amount of time I am in pain.

My sister stopped by the house one night, and I was filling her in on my recent ultra sound and that it was all clear, so I was now on the pill to see if that would help.  She said "Did you hear about that thing on the news about all of the women who had problems after having Essure?"  I said no I didn't.

That started my research.

I started to find story after story of women having the exact same issues I am having, and all of them have had Essure done!  Now, at first I thought that these women must have had it more recently, or their issues came on just after they had the procedure . . . NOPE!  When I joined an Essure Facebook group there were stories of women who had the procedure done in 2008 or 2009 (same time as me) and their back pain issues only came on last summer (same time as me).  The more I read, the more I was sure that Essure was the source of my problems.  The only difference between the stories I was reading was the state the woman lived in and her name . . . it was like reading my own story!

I checked the Essure website today, and they now list chronic pain as a possible side effect, but they say it is rare.  I am now a part of a Facebook group of women who are having problems related to Essure.  There are OVER 15,000 women in this group!  Sorry, but that does not sound like a "rare" side effect to me!

As of Friday, March 13th 2015 I have contacted my OB/GYN to let her know I now believe that Essure is the source of my pain.  She replied saying that she is not aware of any side effect from Essure that would explain what I am going through.  I then emailed her the links to a couple news articles on the topic and the Erin Brockovich page about Essure.  She then replied that I should call the nurse line to schedule an appointment so that we can begin the process for scheduling my hysterectomy.

If you know anyone who has had Essure, please share this information with them!
If you have Essure and are suffering, please reach out to the groups that I placed links for in this story.

If you are disgusted that Bayer/Essure and the FDA have not done anything about this matter to date, please sign the following petitions.

http://www.essureprocedure.net/petition/

and

https://www.change.org/p/u-s-house-of-representatives-repeal-the-biomaterials-access-assurance-act-of-98?after_sign_exp=member_sponsored_donation

I will continue to update you on my journey.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Here are direct links to more recent blog posts on my journey.  I will continue to add links as I post more info.

Update - The Next Step . . . posted March 19th, 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015

Totally off topic

So, this is my crafting blog . . . but today I am going totally off topic.  I have to share with all of you the issues I have been dealing with recently.

I have been having issues with back pain for a while now.  Actually, it was almost a year ago now that I really started to notice that my back would be sore for 3 - 5 days at a time.  At first I blew it off thinking I was just sore from something I did . . . we were looking at selling our house at the time and we were packing a lot of stuff up so that we could get the house on the market . . . I assumed I lifted/moved wrong and that was the cause of the pain.  We ended up moving in September, and I was still kind of blowing off the pain to moving, packing and stress.

Then, while thinking back over things, I realized that the pain was coming the week before my period each month.  It was lasting for 3 - 7 days.  Now, this is not just a "oh, my back is a little tight" kind of thing.  I am talking about FULL FORCE pain that I can only describe as being equal to back labor.  This pain goes on 24/7 for the 3 - 7 day span.  The ONLY time I am not noticing the pain is when I am asleep (so I was taking a LOT OF NAPS!)

Another thing I started to notice in the fall of last year was that a few days before the back pain would kick in, I would feel like I was about to come down with a really bad cold.  You know that "this is just not right" feeling you get just a few days before you break out in bad cold/flu?  Well, now I was getting THAT for a few days BEFORE the back pain started.  There were even times I would be in bed feeling feverish.

So, a few days of feeling like I am getting sick
Followed by a week straight of back pain
Then a couple weeks of feeling "normal" and then it all starts again.

I thought I was going nuts!

I went in to the OB/GYN in February, and she had me go for an ultrasound to see if there was a cyst that could be causing this.  Oh, and in February the length of time that I was in pain doubled . . . it was just a couple days short of being 2 WEEKS of pain.  Ultrasound came back normal, so she put me on the pill to try and control my periods and my cycle . . . basically hoping that if my body thought I was pregnant I would not have the pain associated with getting ready to have my period.

I was telling one of my sisters all of this and she said "Did you here about those ladies on the news?  The ones that had Essure done?"  I said no.  She told me that there was a group of ladies on the news that were having side effects from Essure that were similar to mine.  I thought there is no way that could be the issue.  I had my Essure done in 2009 . . . 6 years ago!  I started to do some research.

I found story after story of women describing EXACTLY what I have been going through!  I still was not 100% sure though . . . these ladies must have gotten theirs done recently . . . there is no way anyone who had it done back in 2009 JUST started to have problems now . . . right?!?!

WRONG!!!!

I was reading stories of women who had the procedure done in 2008 or 2009, but just started to have pains last summer.  That matches my timeline exactly!  I felt like I was reading someone telling my own personal story . . . that is how similar their stories were to what I am going through.

back pain a week before your period
nausea, fever, chills, cold/flu like symptoms
low energy

This cannot be a coincidence that I am seeing the same issues as THOUSANDS of other women and the one thing we all have in common is that we had Essure!

Fast forward to today . . . I have been on the pill for a month now.  Today the pain was so bad that I took 2 Tylenol 3 by Noon just to be able to manage the pain so I could get through the work day.  I even commented to a co-worker around 2pm that I could still feel pain . . . it was "dulled" but I could still feel it after that amount of medication.

The solution? A hysterectomy to remove the Essure coils.  I have scheduled an appointment with my doctor to make plans to go down this path.  The sad thing is they cannot get me in to discuss my options until April 20th . . . which means another month with this pain.

If you know ANYONE that is even THINKING about using Essure as a permanent form of birth control, please tell them NOT TO DO IT! No woman should have to go through the pain I am going through!

PLEASE join me in spreading the word about this issue, by going to Erin Brochovich's site and signing the petition against the makers of Essure!

http://www.essureprocedure.net/petition/

There is a second petition to make them change the laws with are currently holding THOUSANDS of women from being able to sue the makers of Essure here

https://www.change.org/p/u-s-house-of-representatives-repeal-the-biomaterials-access-assurance-act-of-98?after_sign_exp=member_sponsored_donation

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Shopping Sunday

Ellison has a wide range of products for your crafting needs . . . check them out through the link below.

 

 One product from Ellison is the Sizzix Big Shot. If you do not own one, and you are in the market for a non-electronic die cutting machine I would highly recommend this one. It is so easy to use.

 

 My FAVORITE thing to cut with my Big Shot is the rhinestone sticker sheets from The Buckle Boutique. Check out the videos of this product being cut with several different die cutting machines, including the Sizzix Big Shot, by clicking on the link HERE.

By the way, the rhinestone sticker sheets are on sale right now!  Just click HERE!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cricut Clearance

It's spring cleaning time in the Cricut warehouse!




This week, shop the Cricut Clearance Sale to save up to 70% off a variety of supplies. Get the supplies you need to bring your creativity to life and throughout March, all orders over $35 ship for free with code MARCHSHIP. Hurry over to Cricut to catch these savings before they are gone!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bling Your Bin! Project and Contest

March is National Crafting Month, and we thought the best way to start the month off would be to showcase an amazing project from two crafting companies that you can easily do at home AND have a contest so you can win some of these products!

BLING YOU BIN!


Marisa Pawelko of the Modern Surrealist has created a new line of rhinestone sticker sheets for The Buckle Boutique.  Marisa used these rhinestone sticker sheets to embellish ArtBin cases.  Now her bins have bling!


Since the rhinestone sticker sheet cut easily with a scissors, craft knife or die cutting machine, Marisa was able to easily cut around the outline of the large Sugar Skull image.  Then she peeled of the backing from the image she cut, and exposed the adhesive so she could apply the skull to her ArtBin.


She even cut the letters for the word ArtBin out of the sticker sheets!


Here Marisa is showing how you can cover a large surface with rhinestones quickly.  Just cut the rhinestone sticker sheet to size, peel of the backing and stick.  In a matter of minutes the top of this ArtBin is covered in rhinestones!  (just think how long that would have taken if you were setting each rhinestone one at a time!)


And since the rhinestone sticker sheets are so flexible, she was even able to wrap the clasp that holds the ArtBin closed.

There are just so many ways you can Bling Your Bin!  Would you like to win an ArtBin and a rhinestone sticker sheet?  Enter our contest below.





a Rafflecopter giveaway

There will be a total of three winners.
Each winner will receive one ArtBin and one rhinestone sticker sheet (color/pattern of their choice)
Winners must have a mailing address within the Continental United States.
Contest ends March 14th

GOOD LUCK!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Vote for Shawn!

I just found out this week that two of the projects I made for my blog made it into a Best Blogger Contest.  There is a cash prize for the top three winners. Please help me win by going to this link


 and finding one of the two projects with my name on them. One is a rhinestone covered wine bottle



You can see the FULL tutorial for this project HERE

and the other is a fabric interpretation of Scrabble tile art (it has a close up photo and you will see a LARGE heart)


You can see the full tutorial for this project HERE.

A little green dot will show up next to the voting button once it has accepted your vote.

 You can vote once from each device you have, so each computer, laptop, tablet and phone. If you have more than one device in your home please vote once from each. If you would like to also vote from work that would be great too. I would also love it if you share this with any of your friends you think would also help out and vote for my projects.

The images come up in a random order each time, so mine could be up at the top or way down at the bottom . . . I never know!


 Thanks!