Parents tend to put themselves on the back burner once they have kids. Women are especially guilty of this, even if is at the expense of our health. We put off doctor appointments, eat unhealthy food, don’t get enough exercise, don’t get the sleep we need, and we put off to tomorrow what needs to be done today. This was certainly the case in failing to recognize my depression when my children were younger. But sometimes, putting off ourselves can have negative consequences on our physical health.
As women get older, our reproductive system seems to turn on us. Heavy periods, no periods, irregular periods. Sickness and weight gain on birth control. Back reactions to hormonal birth control. It can be chaos. Mom groups on Facebook are filled with questions about birth control and whats the best way to live with being a woman 😉
During the past year, I suffered with extremely heavy periods. So much so, I became anemic which is probably one of the hardest health problems I have had to overcome. The fatigue, lack of focus, and getting easily winded was horrible for someone who takes care of her children alone most of the time. I hope my story is helpful to other women who are going through similar things.
When I first started getting the heavy periods, like afraid-to-leave-the-house heavy, I just chalked it up to being a woman. It would pass and life would continue. At my annual exam, my doctor recommended some form of hormonal birth control or an endometrial ablation to control the heavy periods. I elected to go on birth control because I was worried about the risks of the surgery plus I previously took birth control without a problem.
Well, this time my body wasn’t having it because my periods didn’t stop, and I felt sick all the time. Perfect. After two months of birth control, the bleeding finally stopped and I stopped the pill. Thinking, there is no way that I can get a period like that again. Oh boy was I wrong.
From May to July 2016 I was having constant bleeding. Usually heavy, but it did slow down for a couple weeks before my ablation. It was one of the worst times of my life. I was didn’t want to leave the house. My periods were so heavy and (TMI alert) filled with clots that I couldn’t figure out how my body was producing and losing so much blood.
I, of course, called my doctor who ordered an ultrasound and blood work to make sure their wasn’t an underlining problem. My ultrasound was normal, but my blood work showed I was anemic which meant something had to be done. It was time for the ablation.
The Ablation and recovery
An endometrial ablation is procedure that ablates (removes) the uterine lining using heat, freezing, laser, or radio waves, depending on the type of procedure your doctor performs. My doctor uses the Novasure procedure, which uses radiofrequency energy. Endometrial ablation was recommended for me because I am premenopausal, and I am done having children. It is not a sterilization procedure as you can still become pregnant, but your body can not carry the pregnancy since a fetus develops in the uterine lining. My husband had a vasectomy after our youngest was born so birth control was not a concern for us.
The ablation was an outpatient procedure. I checked into the hospital at 7:30 and was home by 1. I had no cramping or pain afterwards, and THE BLEEDING STOPPED!!! I did have some clear discharge because it is a burn so the body is healing itself. The actual ablation and recovery from the ablation was a breeze.
The recovery from the anemia was a bitch. My doctor said it would take 3-4 months for my body to rebuild my blood supply. Lots of rest. Lots of red meat and leafy greens. And a multi-vitamin. And she was right!! Around 3 months, I felt back to my old self. I could work out again. I wasn’t feeling winded all the time. My mind was able to focus again. The ablation was a success!
The moral of the story
Because I was stubborn and cheap, I was afraid to take a more permanent solution. If I had just had the ablation in the first place I would have saved myself the trouble of going anemic and losing months of my life.
My family’s long term goal is to become debt-free and I was worried what the surgery would do to our financial situation. Yes, we added about 2,000 dollars to our overall debt, BUT because we have our budget and debt snowball already established, we were easily able to shift our money from our credit card to our medical bills. Having a plan really does help!!
Taking care of yourself, mind, body, and spirit, is so important when you become a parent. You have others who are counting on you to be your best and be at your best! If you are facing a medical uncertainty, it may be easy to brush it off. Say, “Oh, I’ll be fine” or “I’ll call the doctor tomorrow.” But you can’t think like that! As Benjamin Franklin said; “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”