The day went something like this:
At 7:15am I awoke to insert a 200 MCG tablet of Misoprostol, broken in half, deep into my vagina, near the cervix. This was not as easy a task as I'd expected, but the results strongly suggest that I was successful. The goal of the Misoprostol was to "soften" the cervix, so that the IUD could be inserted into the uterus, which is designed to send things the other way. I then went back to bed. I woke up a few hours later and made a trip to the bathroom, where I learned that the medication was definitely doing something. I began experiencing strong and painful cramps as well as bleeding copiously, including large clots. Given that I was finishing off my period and that my cervix was clearly "softened" at this point, I wasn't surprised by the pain or the blood -- but I was impressed by the intensity of them both. Impressed enough that I called ahead to make sure what I was experiencing was normal. I was assured that it was, although I was experiencing more sensitivity and cramping than is usual. Later I learned that although all of my reported responses to the process were "normal," my level of discomfort was at the higher and less frequently reported end of the "normal" scale. Your mileage may vary.
I drove to my appointment in tears, feeling suddenly very alone and rather scared. Out of habit, I placed a call to The Sweetheart. As expected, I got his voice mail and left a message asking him to please call me later in the day to check on me. I told him that I was feeling pretty miserable and confessed that the call would make me feel very loved. He didn't get back to me yesterday, but did today.
When I got to Kaiser, I purchased the IUD for $170 (half price thanks to my ever-so-generous medical benefits), paid my co-pay, and waited to be called. It was amazingly reassuring and comforting to be welcomed by the staff, which has come to know me over the past few months and is aware of the various trials and tribulations that have happened during my diagnosis and treatment. I was given many sincere hugs and everyone was very gentle and good to me.
I had been worried that I might still be bleeding and that it might interfere with the insertion of the IUD. I had spoken with three advice nurses and all three had given me different stories about where I should be in my cycle, so I wasn't sure whether they'd be able to insert the IUD or not. When I brought the subject up in the procedure room, Dr. Stosur assured me that it was preferred to insert the device during the bleeding cycle, so I was fine. First she did a manual check and then inserted a speculum. So far, so good. She said my cervix looked relaxed (which is nice, since I sure wasn't feeling relaxed) and then sprayed something on it to further anesthetize it. I observed that although I'd had 600 mg of ibuprofen and 5mg of oxycodone, I still was hurting pretty effectively, which led to a discussion of the various normal reactions to this procedure and where I was on the spectrum. Things are a little less clear at this point, since I'm not sure exactly what was done. I believe something was inserted into the cervical opening to keep it spread. This was not a comfortable experience for me and resulted in more cramping. It's really amazing the many different ways that a woman can cramp. I know this now better than I'd ever known it. I had a profound mental image of a slim object of some sort being inserted into my cervix and then holding it open. It really was a most intense and singular experience. Once this was installed, I needed some time to regroup. I'd foolishly hoped that the IUD itself had been inserted, but was assured that we were only approaching that point. I was shown the IUD, which I greeted as cheerfully as I could, noting that its shape is that of a "T" -- which is the first letter in my legal name. My doctor found it charming that I would personalize it like this and then we set about installing it, since I was feeling better.
I was told that a woman such as myself, who has never been pregnant, will often have more discomfort during the insertion of an IUD because the uterus has not had the opportunity to be stretched and to accommodate something inside of it. I can't speak for any other woman who has never been pregnant, but I definitely found it uncomfortable to initially accommodate the device. Once it was in I experienced more cramping and a growing wave of nausea, complete with my mouth drying out in preparation for vomiting. I was strongly encouraged to remain laying back, although I wanted to sit up. Damp, cool cloths were placed on my forehead and neck until I felt better. I was encouraged to breathe, which I admit is something that I got out of the habit of doing a few times during the procedure. Heh. While everyone was out of the room fetching me apple juice, crackers, and cheese to nibble, I let the tears that had been welling up spill out. I realized that the tears weren't just from the discomfort but also the general emotional stress of the process and an intense feeling of sorrow surrounding the whole October to March experience and how much of it I went through sans the support of a partner. I have been blessed, however, with many loving and devoted friends. Ultimately, to paraphrase Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception, "the martyrs enter the arena hand in hand, but each dies alone," so I suppose it comes to the same thing in the end.
The nurses returned as the last of the tears streamed down my cheeks. I sat up and slowly sipped my juice and ate my snack. They left again after they were assured that I wasn't going to puke or fall over and I probably spent about 15 minutes total rallying before getting up to wipe the blood from my thighs and get dressed. The nurse came back into my room one last time to check on me and we talked a bit more, particularly about relationships and the kind that she believes I deserve to have. I have an appointment to have the IUD checked in a month and was told that if I had any questions or concerns, to come directly to their desk and not worry about making an appointment. They are quite aware of where my finances are right now and don't want me to avoid getting care if my insurance lapses or I'm short cash. Yesterday I transferred the last of my savings account into my checking account so I can pay this month's past-due premium.
I ran some errands afterwords and it was a bit of a challenge to focus, although I found that it wasn't too long before I was feeling better, just very tired. When I got home I completed all of the items on my To Do List, sedated myself, gave up fretting about everything else I needed to do, and took some paperwork to bed with me. I read some comics, made a more realistic To Do List for the weekend, cast some XRCO award nominations, watched a bit of Iron Chef, and spent the rest of the night listening to music and dozing. I felt much refreshed when I got up this morning and took a bath. I watched some videos for review, had my hair colored, attended a Blackout Leather Productions meeting concerning next weekend's Sash Bash, co-presented an educational discussion about being a leather titleholder, and came back home to eat lunch, watch another video, and post this. Once I'm done here, it's off to The Eagle for Andy's bunkhouse party. I'm supplying the cowboy porn. Buckleroos. Best Video at the GayVN Awards. Awesome solo scene. Fun video.
I feel more physically comfortable than I have in at least a week. This was my hope and the reason I endured the discomfort that I felt yesterday. Hopefully the hormones in this IUD will keep me from growing another endometrioma, while also keeping the intense menstrual pain I've experienced during the past few months from continuing. I realize it can take a while for my body to adjust to the IUD, but right now I feel absolutely fine. I'm not ready to go out and give the thing a test drive for comfort during intercourse, but perhaps in time. Probably in time. In an infinite universe it is logical to conclude that I will one day feel sexual again and will meet someone I'd like to share that sexual feeling with. Hell, even in a chaotic universe it's logical to conclude that. If nothing else, I want to hold off on getting jiggy with anyone too early since this IUD is, as I mentioned, releasing hormones into my uterus. Let's find out what kind of mood swings I have (or no longer have) as a result of this. What if I become average normal once I'm adjusted? How's that for scary? Best to find out before I get too close to someone and freak them out in a way that I'm completely unfamiliar with, instead of the usual ways.
In another area of my life: It looks like I may well have a roommate starting in April, which will make a huge and positive impact on my finances. Hopefully we'll be happy living in the same house together and, once again, hopefully these are the first of many good things to happen to me. I want to see my finances and my heart mend and I want to see my career flourish -- because there are so many people I need to reward for their hard work and confidence. All monetary or material rewards aside, I suspect that seeing me happy, healthy, confident, and content will go a long way toward comforting those who have spent so much time comforting me. Then they can start bickering about whether or not they were amply rewarded monetarily and materially. :)