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Critical Mass

Posted Jan 04 2012 1:02pm

So, the drug which prevents me from generating or utilizing estrogen caused me worry from the start.

I’m someone who has more than a few “hippy” tendencies and ideals. I try to live an environmentally friendly life. I prefer to use sustainable resources, and I like to minimize any impact on my body that is chemical or artificial.

The idea of entering a medically induced state of menopause, maybe 20 years early made me leery from the start. Aside from any of the potential side effects of the drug (and there are MANY), just the idea of forcing my body to do something that isn’t natural caused me a great deal of stress.

When the doctor discussed the drug with me, I was instantly anxious. It didn’t feel right to me.

Arguments that, “all medications are unnatural” or “every action you take every day has risks” didn’t offer me any comfort.

To complicate things further, I experience this horrible disease over and over, and what if this drug would allow my body to actually have reprieve?

I looked into this drug, and searched and searched to try and find out how other people’s experiences with this drug have gone; and over, and over, and over again… all I found were these horrible experiences.

And I’m not talking about the menopausal symptoms. Honestly, in this first month, none of the menopausal symptoms I’ve experienced have been deal breakers. Don’t get me wrong. Hot flashes suck. And feeling fuzzy headed isn’t the most appealing way to go through the day, but I could deal.

However, as the date for my second injection draws nearer, I continued to try and find people who had success with this drug…

Instead, all I found were people, hundreds and thousands of testimonies online of how this drug (or at least they believe it was caused by this drug) side effects like severe depression, and a complete alteration of personality traits, all manner of diseases and complications like blood disorders, weight gain, and cancer just to name a few.

There are warning groups about this drug.

I’ve had strangers contact me and say, “STAY AWAY FROM THIS DRUG. IT WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE. WHEN YOU’RE DONE, YOU’LL WISH YOU STILL JUST HAD ENDO”

Sheesh.

It was scary.

But what if those problems only occur in 3% of users?

What if those people didn’t do something right, or there was some other kind of reason.

But the more I asked, and I did present these concerns to my doctor (who I do trust, by the way) the more I realized that they just don’t have answers for my questions.

The long term effects of  the use of this drug for endometriosis just haven’t been studied. Or if it has, I certainly can’t get my hands on the data.

And on top of all that, I still have this nagging, gnawing feeling that it’s just the opposite of “ME” to put my body into menopause against it’s natural clock.

I heard rebuttals of, “Well, going on birth control to modify hormones and control periods isn’t normal either.”

You’re right. Which is part of why I’ve adamantly refused to take hormonal BC for years. I’m just not down with it. For exactly the same reasons.

I’m so horrible at making decisions. HORRIBLE. I can vacillate for WEEKS on an issue.

I’d been back and forth a hundred times since before I even had surgery, and just couldn’t decide if I wanted to do the Lupron therapy. Doc asked me to just give it a try for a month. And I agreed.

But the thing is, this first few weeks of the treatment haven’t been that bad. There haven’t been any horrible, unbearable side effects… But that STILL doesn’t mean that it’s a drug that I’m comfortable taking.

And I guess, I’ve decided that I’m not.

Not comfortable taking it after all.

I guess I reached the critical turning point when I realized that during my winter break, I had two weeks to be social and hanging out with all of the people I don’t get to see much when school is in session. I usually spend my break having lunch dates and coffees, and catching up with people. Being social. Being out. Being in town.

Being Me.

On the last day of break, I realized that I’d spent the ENTIRE break on the couch.

I’d ignored invitations from friends for coffee. I’d ignored lunch dates.

I’d been a reclusive, melancholy, tired, probably at least moderately depressed, lazy lump of a girl for two weeks.

Nothing made me want to get up or outside, and nothing made me really smile or laugh, or be excited. (Save my sweet hilarious husband, who can always make me grin.)

I think THAT was the thing that I couldn’t accept.

I’ll take the hot flashes.

I’ll take the risk of other complications.

But to take away my optimism. To take away my gregariousness… that’s something I just can’t accept.

It’s who I am.

It is the CRUX of my personality.

Having this drug in my system for a few weeks took a bit of the liveliness from my heart, and combine that with the gut feeling of hesitation… I just had to decide not to continue the therapy.

Is this risky? Am I going to make my disease worse?

Well, here’s the thing.

With estrogen in my system, the endometrial cells (or adnomeiosis cells within the uterine walls themselves-which are not removable via surgery) will continue to be fueled.

But it is my hope that the cells which my doctor WAS able to remove will lessen the pain I experience month-to-month. At least for a while.

And it is my hope that instead of altering the fundamental hormone of womanhood for 30 days a month, 365 days a year, I can use pain medication, and pain management techniques to manage the intense pain 3-5 days out of the month instead.

I may need to have another surgery at some point in the future, or I may have to go back on this therapy in the future, and I know that is possible.

But here, and now, I know that it isn’t the path I’m choosing to take. I just know it.

And I’m choosing to trust my gut on this one.

So, there probably won’t be too many reports on menopause after another month or so… but I will certainly be writing about my continual experience with this disease…

Anyone who’s actually read all of this, well, I don’t even know what to say. Just “thanks” I guess. :)  

<3


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