Tuesday, January 11, 2011

If You're Uncomfortable...

...with menstruation, skip this post.

A little while after Scott and I got married I was having stabbing abdominal pains (which turned out to be IBS, which means they couldn't figure it out), and first we thought it might be reproductive, since it felt like my ovaries were being skewered with a hot poker. A dull one. So fun. I went to see a gynecologist, and she was mean to me, but she did find some cysts on my ovaries (which weren't the cause of the pain), and to get rid of them she switched me to Lybrel. It was brand new on the market when she prescribed it to me, and I LOVED it. It's a continuous dose of hormone with no breaks ever, which means...drumroll please...NO PERIOD. EVER.

Here are the reasons I loved this:

1. Periods are gross. I don't need to elaborate on this.
2. PMS went bye-bye. And when you're bipolar, you don't need the added hormonal fluctuations for a week every month. I'm not fully functional anyway (see #3), so I don't need to be emotionally screwed as well.
3. I used to be the one girl who got cramps so bad that I had to take narcotics to be able to get out of bed in the morning. These cramps were literally debilitating. Sucko.
4. I didn't have to take a week off of sex every month. Sorry if that's TMI, but it's the truth.
5. Periods are gross.

So, anyway, I was in birth control heaven, and then a month ago we had to switch health insurance.


Our new insurance sucks lollipops, so the copay went from $13 for these magical pills to $70! Yikes! Now, Scott made it quite clear that if he had to pay $70 a month to not have to deal with PMS, that that would be totally fine by him. TOTALLY FINE. However, I decided to go see if there were another option.

I got to the gynecologist, and I had a new one this time, and she wasn't awkward at all, which was AWESOME, and we discussed birth control options. It turns out Lybrel is completely unique. There's nothing like it, and it will be something like ten years before the patent is up and someone can make it generic. The next best option was to find another continuous dose pill (a.k.a. not a cycle of monthly doses) and just take it back to back with no breaks. With this I would have to have a period every four months, which is better than every month, so it's not a total loss.

So new, $15 birth control. Ok. Dealing with it. Here's the problem:

In between the Lybrel and the new pills my doc said I needed to let my body have a period. Oh joy. So this past weekend, for the first time in almost four years, I had a very special sort of week.

Poor Scott. I had forgotten how bad my PMS was before. Scott and I always joke around that even though I'm nuts, he still has it better than all the other dudes because he doesn't have to deal with PMS. Well, now he does. He hid from me. I was AWFUL. I was trying so hard to just keep my mouth shut, but I wanted to cry and laugh and scream and just sleep forever all at the same time, and just for kicks you can add in an uncontrollable craving for cheesecake. Everything was irritating me. I would say something, and not even realize it was mean until after I had already said it, so I lose. LOSE.

The worst part was that I felt completely out of control. I felt like I was in a car with a terribly drunk driver and I kept telling him to pull over and let me drive because he was all over the sidewalks and hitting pedestrians and speeding and running red lights and he WOULD. NOT. PULL. OVER. Worst feeling ever.

So it's over, and I don't have to deal with it until...April.

I think it's going to be a challenge keeping my cool at work during those special weeks, though. Is this how all women feel once a month? No wonder men make so many PMS jokes. I finally get it. I turn into a freaking monster. I don't want to be that woman who loses her cool and has to say to her (male) boss, "Gee, sorry I'm a total ho this week, I'm on my period!" and get a totally embarrassed look in return. I don't want to be weak and emotional just because I was born with a uterus. Sucks to be me, apparently.

I did get my cheesecake. I went to Marie Callender's with my sisters and Mim, and I had some there, but they were out of cherry cheesecake, which is what I really really wanted, so I settled for caramel. It was amazing, but not what I was craving. No good.

I still want cheesecake, but I'm back to dieting (I let myself eat whatever I wanted while I was...out of service) and I'm not going to cheat until I hit a ten pound mark, which will be 153 pounds.

OH! That reminds me! I almost forgot to tell you!

The gyno said that Lybrel makes it harder for you to lose weight, and that switching might help me lose it and keep it off! HAPPY!


Kim said...

This starts me on one of my rants about insurance companies. You'd think they'd want to pay for all types of birth control equally. I mean, if you have a kid, they have to insure someone else...more costs. Of course, that's how they make money, too. Either way...it's total crap.

I was put on birth control when I was 17 because of hormonal issues and it wasn't covered at the time by law (which it is now in Michigan and most other places). My doctor had to write the insurance company and it was a whole ordeal. You'd think I wanted a monthly MRI or something.

Now that we're trying to have a baby and I'm forced to have non-birth control periods, I realize how much they affected me before. I was also that girl with the cramps so bad she couldn't get out of bed and that's returned to some extent. But more than that, the emotional rollercoaster is back. I can't wait till we have this kid and I can get back on the pill.

Anna W said...

The super fun part is when you do get pregnant your hormones will explode all the time! Yay fun!

BTW, I hope you get pregnant soon. You deserve happiness.

magnolia said...

it's like that scene from the old show "taxi," when one of the characters has just righteously awful PMS. the famous line is, "oh, great. i'll go up to the roof and belt out a few choruses of 'i enjoy being a girl,' right before i fling myself off."

my evangelical relatives actually told me, when it came my time to join the club, so to speak, "welcome to the curse of womanhood." thanks, guys. oh, and as for birth control? did i mention i go to a jesuit-run university? the doctors at student health actually have to lie to the insurance people, who know they're all lying, to get birth control covered. all to appease the archdiocese, who (while required to cover birth control for employees) refuses to allow coverage for students who don't have "symptoms." lovely, eh?

hope this is all as easy on you as possible...

Anna W said...

Oh wow...at BYU it was the same thing. No BC without symptoms until you were getting married, because the assumption is no sex before marriage. I found a way around this though. Bad, bad me.

sawyer said...

You know i was told the same thing when i started on Yaz less than 5 years ago...that it was probably going to be 10 years for a generic, and low and behold, July or August 2010 it went generic! It just depends on how motivated the drug manufacturer is to make a generic. (or in this case, how motivated they are to come out with a new version)
Without additional hormones I have some horrrrible pms and was actually diagnosed with menorrhagia and that's why I have been jumping from low dose to high dose and anything in between. then yaz came along. It's only 4 days off and it makes life soooooooooo much more bearable. So just my 2 cents, if you're still looking for some light, maybe look into it? Oh and I'm totally looking up that Lybrel stuff!!