27 and a PhD

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Initial thoughts on Mirena

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there, awesome reader. My name is Dr. 27. I'm older than that now, but I'm staying faithful to the origins of the blog.

This blog started 2 months before completing my PhD in a pretty southern university back in 2009. It was a way to practice my writing and take a break from all things thesis. My PhD is in a branch of structural biology where I studied some rather impressive stuff.

After completing the degree, I packed my life of 6 years in 3 days and moved to Canada to do a postdoc in a completely different field. Two years later, and after attending a lot of seminars, workshops and doing some much-needed soul-searching, I ended up getting out and looking for an alternative path to academia and industry.

The blog chronicles my mishaps, ideas, musings and tips on entering, staying and finishing grad school. It also talks about some (or a lot) of personal stuff. For a while, the blog became a place to talk about the frustrations of not knowing what to do after PhD. I wanted to explore alternatives to the traditional paths of research (academia, industry and goverment) whilst going back to my field of training (if at all possible). Eventually a job materialized. Follow my quest as I navigate the waters of being a staff scientist at a core facility.

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Attention: This post contains the words period, blood, bloody tissue, ladybits, vagina, et al. If you’re not curious, skip it. If you faint at the sound of the word blood, feel free to skip it too. If you can’t ready about ladybits … well, you know the drill.

Today marks the first month I’ve been on this form of birth control. It’s weird. Not the bad kind of weird, not the good-ish one either … just neutral weird, if you can call it that. In the month of August I spent only a handful of days where bloody tissue wasn’t coming out of the ladybits. I’ve never had this happen, not even when my period started back in 1992. I did skip it a few months, part of my body adjusting to puberty. And I usually have a month, every year for the past 10 or so that my period doesn’t make an appearance. For the most part I’m regular, with a period lasting 5-7 days.

I got the Mirena right at the end of my period in August. It involved pain and discomfort and after looking at some videos on the procedure over on YouTube, I felt bad for my poor vagina, cervix and uterus. But I’m doing this for a reason. I’ve had bad cramps since I was in 6th or 7th grade (92-93) and they’ve gotten progressively worse. I used to get bad cramps in middle school, to the point where I felt that my legs would collapse. And it got worse as I got close to college (they were bad even after starting to have sex .. which is the excuse my ex used to get me to have sex with him … silly 20yr old me). In grad school, my boss had bad cramps too, so she understood if I had to stay home one day every month. And I’m just tired of this pain. I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with feeling like I want to yank my inner bits so that I can get some peace. It’s not only my inner workings, but also my mood is horrendous and I can’t sleep well 2 weeks prior to my period. Thus, after trying at least 3 other types of birth control and having horrible side effects (including gaining 10 pounds in single a month and sore boobs which felt like they were going to explode), I decided to give a shot to Mirena.

Other than the initial discomfort of measuring and putting it in, I feel OK. I did get a bit of a headache during the first night … which reminded me of a few conversations I’d had with my lady peeps on Twitter about how a few got worsening migraines. But after that, it seemed to be sort of smooth sailing. I got a heavy-ish period two weeks after, and I’ve  had what looks like a very light period since. Enough to require a pad, but not like my usual period which requires changing every few hours, continuous access to a heating pad and as many non-NSAID drugs as I can get into my system without messing (too much) with my liver.

I’d give a 10 to Mirena if it wasn’t for the constant light period and having  a pad in between my legs for the last 3 weeks … but for now my boobs are not tender and in pain and I don’t have headaches or pain in my tummy.

If after the 3-6 months wait I’m nowhere near finished with the light periods, I’ll get it out and brave the pains, once again. Unless I decide to forgo the option of having children, in which case I’ll get all my internal ladybits yanked out because the pain is THAT excruciating.

If you’re on Mirena or Paraguard, how has your experience been?

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5 Comments

  1. Tiffany says:

    Your story sounds pretty similar to friends of mine who have gone on it. The first month is a little shaky, but then they’re okay.

    I was on Depo for many years due to migraines. No period = less migraines for me. Unfortunately after 9 years of being on it I had more than one GYN say it’s really not good to be on for so long. So … time to start looking for new options. Mirena sounded great and my grad. student insurance at the time covered it 100%. Twice they tried to insert, my cervix would not relent even after taking Misoprostol. Let’s not even start on how much it hurt. ow. Begrudgingly they put me back on Depo.

    I stayed back on that for quite some time until I was urged again to switch by my new GYN. I really wanted to to go on Implanon, but insurance didn’t cover it. It also didn’t cover my second choice, Librel, which is a daily pill with no “periods”. Long story short I’m now on Seasonique and I only get four “periods” a year, but I still take a low dose estrogen during the off week so my migraines are not triggered.

    So fear not if the Mirena doesn’t work out for you there are lots of options!

    • Dr. 27 says:

      I forgot to ask if there were other options that lasted less. I would have gone for the 3yr-long one. I’m so absent minded.

      It did hurt and it was very, very uncomfortable. I’m so sorry your insertions went so rough. At least there are options. Hugs!!!

  2. Oh, I’m soooo sorry to hear you’re in pain (or used to be). I can relate. Unfortunately for me. Mine is a likely problem of a PID that just won’t go away and possibly endometriosis. I don’t even know anymore…
    I’ve never been on BCP, because I just find it dangerous to mess with hormones that way. Although I would probably benefit from it.
    Hope Mirena works out for you. My Mom (an MD) always said she thinks that is the best birth control in her opinion. So yeah, keeping my fingers crossed for you. xoxo
    PS. I now have a PhD too! I’ve been a Doctor for a month now. Yaaaay!

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Thanks Alexandra!! Congrats on your PhD!!!

      Yeah, I felt the same way about hormones … until I couldn’t take the pain anymore. I still have a very, very slight bleeding. I’ll ask my doctor at my next visit (in 2wks) how long she thinks this will last. I mean, I use to joke that I’d happily have a month-long period as long as I had no pain … but this is bordering on the crazy.

      I’m so sorry about your PID. I hope, hope, hope it’s not endometriosis. Sending good thoughts your way.

  3. […] At the time I went to the women’s clinic at work, I had no idea that Skyla even existed. Had I known that, I would have opted for it, not only because it is slightly smaller than Mirena, but because instead of 5 years, I could have had it in for 3 and have it taken out by the time hon and I may consider having a spawn of our own (no, I do not refer to my nephew as spawn, he’s the most adorable little boy ever … I like to have a fun outlook on a possible 27 and a PhD baby). The deductible would have been the same ($30), but it would have been a lower cost to my insurance and should I decide to take the Mirena out before the 5 years I’d feel like I’d wasted $$, even if my deductible was the same. […]

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