Let’s take a step back from the story for a minute. We’re at October 2018, which, in the photography industry, is one of the busiest months of the entire year.
I’m effectively Losing My Shit, but have almost zero opportunity to sit and process what’s going on. It’s a constant battle just to maintain some semblance of a status quo and make deadlines on time without dissolving into a screaming, crying, Mexican food-eating amoebas blob that lies in bed and cries and watches The Great British Baking Show and Bob Ross on endless repeat.
Oh, did I mention I was getting horrendously strong food cravings? Yeah. I was. For whatever reason, it was regularly for Mexican food. Not that shitty Taco Bell embarrassment, but real, delicious, authentic, tacos and tamales. The kind where you walk into the restaurant and know it’s going to be good if Spanish is the primary language being spoken in the kitchen.
(Which, side note: If you’re going through some shit, I highly recommend the Great British Baking Show and Bob Ross. It’s soothing, doesn’t really have a plot, and you can tune in and out and it’s totally fine.)
Now that we have that vision firmly lodged in our brains, we’re ready for Chapter 4.
Chapter 4: I Am A Dumpster Fire
I show up for my doctor’s appointment and talk to the nurse about my side effects. They are concerned (and rightly so – it’s considered Serious Shit when your patients come in and talk about harming themselves).
They wanted to put me on anti-depressants. Now, I’ve been clinically depressed before and been on anti-depressants before. I wasn’t ever chronically depressed, but depressed because of life situations. (Abusive relationships and pushing yourself too hard in college will do that to ya – who knew!?)
But I knew what it felt like, and whatever was going on now felt different. Anti-depressants didn’t seem like the best fit. Besides, because taking medication is complicated for me at best, and I had no idea what I would be in for adding in a mind-altering drug to the cocktail of hormones my body was creating.
Even when I was on anti-depressants (Prozac) 10+ years ago before I had Lyme, I still hated the side effects it created. God only knew what I’d be in store for now.
So I told them no, I didn’t want anti-depressants, that didn’t seem right.
My main gyno came in and sat down and said the thing that you really hate to hear from your doctor:
“Well, I’ll be honest: I’m completely confused.”
Greeaaat. That’s my favorite! I love being a medical anomaly! Who doesn’t!?
(That’s my sarcasm font btw.)
She explained further.
See, mood swings like I was experiencing were caused by changes in hormones during the month, specifically progesterone.
The amount of progesterone in the body increases throughout the month, and then spikes about the week before your period, and then as soon as your period starts (or a day or so later), drops off again and plummets.
By now you may remember – I’m on artificial progesterone because of birth control, shouldn’t that override my body’s natural progesterone cycles?
*sigh* Whelp, that’s what should happen.
The operative being should.
But that wasn’t what was actually happening.
My body was fighting – and winning – against the artificial hormones. It had intentionally went to battle against my birth control hormones, and was winning.
This shouldn’t be happening. Nay, it shouldn’t be possible!
But here we are, and here I am. And it’s happening.
If you remember from my previous doctor appointment, I do have options.
I could try:
- Medication (like anti-depressants)
- uterine ablation (which would remove the uterine lining so I wouldn’t have periods, and is still a surgical procedure)
- A hysterectomy
If you’re putting the puzzle pieces together, you’re realizing there’s issues with all of these options.
I don’t do well on medication. At all. Who knows how medication is going to make me feel long-term. Plus, it would be anti-depressants that I’d be on, so I’d still be having a period. And periods were absolutely exhausting for me because I have less energy to work with on an average day than the average person.
Uterine ablation is a surgical procedure, which means there’d be substantial healing time involved. With a body that has a shitty immune system, this can get complicated.
Secondarily, I’m only 32. Because of my age, there’s only a 60% chance that the ablation would be a permanent fix. There’d be a decent chance my body would repair itself and regrow the uterine lining that was burned off during the procedure, and we’d be right back to where we were.
Except that we couldn’t do another ablation, because doing a second ablation can create a lot of complications.
A hysterectomy is a pretty serious procedure, and again, requires a substantial healing period.
Secondarily, a hysterectomy only removes the uterus – but it leaves the ovaries in tact. The ovaries are what create the hormones, so there’s a chance that even removing the uterus and my ability to have periods wouldn’t actually solve the problem. And, may potentially make things worse, if I have a rough time healing and suffer irreversible health side effects because of it.
(Side note – when my health declines for a long enough period of time, I will develop more cognitive problems associated with the lyme disease that are irreversible. Super fun, right??)
What kind of a state would healing from a surgery leave me in? Would I still be able to work?
Can I figure out this hormonal crap on my own without surgery or drugs? How much longer can I last with a voice in my head telling me I should kill myself?
How can I effectively run a business and grow a business in any of these conditions?
What’s the right answer? What do I do?
Frankly put, at this point, I don’t know. I have no idea.
I tell the gyno I want to think about it. And she said that was totally fine.
God bless her, she told me I could do literally anything I wanted, it would be entirely up to me.
She gave me complete bodily autonomy, and never once told me about how I would regret any of the decisions that would render me incapable of having children.
God bless her. God bless each and every medical care provider that treats women like actual human beings and not just an incubator for fetuses.
I am so happy I had a doctor that gave me options instead of placing more precedence on a baby that I might someday have – maybe – regardless of how I feel in the meantime or how much I have to suffer to leave my body in a state that allows me to have that imaginary child later down the road.
(Spoiler alert: I don’t want kids. I’ve never wanted kids. I don’t like being around babies, I don’t love the ‘miracle of birth,’ and the smell of newborns makes me want to vomit. Whatever maternal instinct I’m supposed to have, is completely nonexistent in my gene pool.)
But….that doesn’t necessarily make my decision easier. And in the upcoming weeks, this is something I’m going to wrestle with.
At least, until I fuck things up even worse.
Because of course I do.