Anemic and Confused: Part 2
Last updated: March 2023
In part 1 of this article, I discussed my history with abnormal menses. In this article, I discuss my options and next steps.
We were at a total loss. Why was I bleeding so much? Everything was normal. My rheumatoid disease was generally managed (though, since these abnormalities started, my inflammation markers went a little haywire). I don’t have endometriosis, I do not have a tumor, my ovulation is normal. What do I do?
Deciding to pursue a hysterectomy
I’m going to say it plain and simple: Sterilization.
I want a hysterectomy. Funnily enough, I always wanted one. I want to adopt or foster a child, but I do not want to give birth to one. I never considered one immediately due to my rheumatoid arthritis. I was doing pretty well, I thought, so why rock the boat if it wasn’t necessary?
Well, now, I might need it. But, just like with chronic illness, insurance requires you to go through a number of meds before they cover the surgery. If you read my previous article, you might remember I tried hormonal birth control pills. They did not work. I bled EVERY day. My gynecologist was okay moving to a hysterectomy if I wanted, but she was already booked through November 2022.
I am now in a vulnerable position
As mentioned in my previous article, I’ve hit a critical point. I am fainting, I am tired, I am barely living at the moment. And with COVID and other illnesses making the rounds, I am in a pretty vulnerable position heading into the new school year.
So, in a last-ditch effort, I am trying an IUD. We are not entirely sure if it will work, given my reaction to hormonal birth control pills, but what other choice do I have? I don’t even want to think about how bad I might feel 1 or 2 or 3 months down the line.
And, maybe insurance will be more likely to cover the hysterectomy (or more of it) if I have tried the IUD first. And, hey, if the IUD works, then great! I can hold off on the hysterectomy until I am done with school.
A lack of adequate insurance coverage
But I must acknowledge, I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. My current insurance is pretty bad. It doesn’t even cover most of my medications (even though they are on the formulary list). They barely covered my iron infusions, so why would they cover a hysterectomy?
I will be very real with you: I cannot afford out-of-pocket costs for a big surgery, so what if the IUD fails? I have to try and manage my anemia, my constant bleeding, and my RA? What risks does that pose to the rest of my life?
I can only take it a step at a time
As you know, I love to blame everything on my RA, and this anemia is no exception. I don’t know how the RA caused it, but it definitely caused my anemia, right?
Well, here’s the thing: plenty of females have rheumatoid arthritis (or other inflammatory conditions) and don’t experience such abnormal menses! So, what is the cause? Does it matter?
At this point, I am not sure I care. I just want a fix. I can only take it a step at a time, and cross my fingers that the IUD provides some relief.
Have you experienced abnormal periods? Did you find a “fix”? Share in the comments below!
Did you know rheumatologist Dr. Donica Baker is answering community questions?
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