Discussions By Condition: Medical Stories

Birth control pill nightmare!!

Posted In: Medical Stories 0 Replies
  • Posted By: Ruthymcg
  • February 13, 2007
  • 10:19 PM

In the Spring of 1990 I met the man who would later become my husband. My dating past was really nonexisting. I was a successful Civil Engineer with a job as the Survey Crew Chief for road and bridge construction. Trying to do the respossible thing in this new relationship, I went to get birth control pills. At the age of 27, I had never taken them before. I started getting some very uncomfortable side effects such as abdominal ascites (fluid) and massive leg swelling. I went back to my gynocologist and she put me on the lowest dosage available. That did not help. I went back to one of her partners in her office to ask about other forms of birth control and he said that if I used any other method that I would probably get pregnant and the I was experiencing very common side effects. After I had taken "the Pill" for about 6 months with continued unpleasant and uncomfortable side effects, I developed abdominal pain and a great deal of ascites. At first our local doctors (I live in a very small community of about 3000 people) thought that it was my gall bladder. And after several tests, I told them that I thought that "the Pill" was making my condition worse, but they said that was probably not likely, so I took myself off of "the Pill". Then Jan. of 1991 they did an exploratory surgery (they had told my husband and my parents that they thought that I have cancer that was spread thoughout my body). They had to take a little more that 2 gallons of fluid out of my abdominal cavity and had done a biopsy of my liver and of my ovaries. There was no cancer but they still were not sure what the diagnoses should be. They did say that it was probably my liver. They sent the biopsy slides to the University of Washington Medical Center and they had diagnosed some kind of strange growths in my liver. My family were getting very frustrated with our small town doctors and had gotten a name of a gastroenterologist at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle WA. After quite a bit of "strong communicaton" with my family, the local doctors finally refered me to Dr. Fenster at Virginia Mason. He was sent all of my test results and I had to have an MRI when I went over to Seattle. His diagnoses was small, but wide spread blood clotting in the blood vessels in my liver due to taking "the Pill" for about 7 months. I had to have a TIPS procedure which was a stent that was put in my liver to bypass some of the blood flow through the stent to relieve my ascites so that I could be comfortable. I still had to take quite a lot of diuretics in order to keep the fluid from building up. This was not a cure and at the time Dr. Fenster said that I would probably need a liver transplant in the future. I didn't really want to believe that. I was very tired and had no energy for several years. But I kept working. I also got sick quite frequently. In September of 1997 I got quite sick and started throwing up blood in the middle of the night. I really thought that I was going to pass out before I could get upstairs to wake my husband to take me to the emergency room. Due to my liver disease, I had developed varacese (they are like varicose viens in the stomach) and one had burst. I needed a transfusion of 4 units of blood and they had to go in through my esophgus to locate the bleeding and get it stopped. My small town doctors talked about getting me over to the University of Washington Medical Center to be evaluated to get qualified to be put on the transplant list. There was talk but no action. I really liked my doctors and we are brought up to respect them. Anyway, in July of 1998 I had intense abdominal pain and went to my doctor. He sent me home with Demerol for the weekend. Well I got home and there was a nagging feeling in the back of my head that there was something very, very wrong. The pain was excruciating!! I had my husband take me to the emrgency room. Well the 2 doctors who knew my case were unavailable and I got to see a doctor that I had never been to before. I had a chart that was nearly 3 inches think and he evidently did not take the time to even look it over. They had to put a tube down my throat in order to fill me full of barium so that he could get a new diagnoses. My husband called my parents and thank God for aggressive little Italian mothers who speak their minds!! She insisted that I was taken to Spokane, WA where they could stablize me for a jet trip to Seattle. As it turned out, I had spontanious peritonitis which is a common stage in liver failure as was the bleeding from the stomach veins just 10 months before. There is so much more to this story, but I must go for now. I have wanted to tell my story for a couple of reasons. First, I have to give my wonderful family so much credit for helping to keep me alive. I also learned that you need an advocate with you to really watch what all of the different doctors are doing because they don't always find out what the last doctor did. I had my family, Mom and Dad, 2 older sisters Kelly and Moneca and one younger brother Chuck along with my husband Scott. The thing that makes me really want to tell my story is that everytime a commercial comes on the television about birth control pills and how great they are and that some brand can eve clear up you acne, I just want to scream. I had friend who were on "the Pill" for 25+ years and they didn't have a problem. I took them for 7 months and they nearly killed me. I had even gone back and tried to find a better method for me and was not given any other information. I did find out resently that the doctor that I had tried to talk about other methods of birth controll is Catholic and he does not believe in birth control. So I had to suffer and nearly die because of his religious beliefs. Anyway, I did get my liver tranplant. I was so sick that my kidneys had shut down and I had to be on dialysis for a couple of months and so I also received a new kidney along with the liver in the same 16 hour surgery. That was November 23, 1998 just a couple of weeks away from my 36th birthday. I had complications from medications. And I had aslo contracted a horrible staff infection in my right foot that took half of the flesh off of the top. This was contracted while I was in the hospital. It was excruciating to even put my feet down, so I was in a wheel chair with my legs extended to keep my feet elevated. This also made my recovery harder and longer. I am doing very well now. but I will always have to be careful and take my medictions to stay healthy and alive.

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