Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Merina Coil - a tale of continual migraines

Stop reading now if this is too much information...but I recently had my Merina Coil removed.  Why? Migraines.  Since December I have been suffering at least 1 migraine per week and since February, up to 3 per week.  3!  Can you just imagine how difficult it is to have any kind of life when your head feels like it's about to explode at any second?  Talk about getting me down.


Image: NHS
I have always had awful periods and just under 3 years ago I decided, having heard all the tales of joy from friends about the coil, to go for it.  It didn't quite work out to be the wonderful experience some of them were having.  For starters, it took almost 9 months for my periods to settle down. So what, you may say, but these weren't normal monthly cycle stuff - oh no, these were 15 days on, 3 days off, 20 days on, 1 day off, 10 days on 3 days off...you get the drift right.  I went back to my doctor and said I was thinking about having it removed after 6 months.  He suggested I give it a few more months to see if it settles. I decided to take that advice and persevered.  It finally settled down after 9 months and then my periods became almost non-existent (although not totally so as some of my friends had found).  

Last June I had a period then nothing until December 2015.  Then it all went really wrong.  Period after period ensued.  I felt drained and the headaches were getting worse and worse, until full-blown migraines were happening.  The migraines always preceeded my period. They were clearly hormonal.


Image: NHS
Last month I went to the doctors about my migraines as the Migraleve I was taking wasn't even touching the sides.  I was literally living on them for 2 or 3 days at a time and I'd begun to ignore the 'only take 2 pink followed by yellows' as, quite frankly, the yellows were as effective as putting a plaster on a broken leg!  My doctor prescribed Imigran for me.  A couple of days later another migraine hit and I took the Imigran.  Result!  Within an hour of it starting, it was almost gone. I was also keeping a 'migraine diary' and had a blood test for the menopause (no sign of it) and as my blood pressure had been a bit high when he took it (white coat syndrome?), I had to wear a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours. Trust me, that was no fun.  The bloody thing went off every 30 minutes during the day (day ending at 11pm and starting again at 8am) and every hour during the night. It cut my circulation off every time it pumped up (not ideal for driving may I say) and I hardly slept.  Suffice to say my measurements were 'borderline' so I need to do that again in a few weeks time. I'm not totally surprised by the borderline results!

So, Imigan in place and diary being kept, it seemed like we'd have this under control for a while at least.  No chance.


Image: The Booklyn Reader
A couple of weeks ago I went to have the coil removed at the doctors surgery. The 'strings' had gone - quite common I subsequently find out.  They couldn't get it out so the doctor said he'd write to gynae at the local hospital to get it removed.  That week I'd had 3 migraines, each followed by a period.  Crazy right?  I hoped the hospital would respond quickly.  The 3rd Migraine that week, the Imigran didn't work. I took 3 of them and then realised I could take no more than 6 in any 24 hour period. I phoned the doctor. He prescribed Codeine for me plus anti-sickness pills as I was feeling ill now with the migraine. It took 5 Imigran and 8 Codeine to stop the pain.  This was not good. I called him after the weekend and he marked the letter to gynae as 'urgent' and also called the hospital to speak to the consultant.  I had a call from the consultant's secretary that same afternoon and was booked in yesterday to have the coil removed.  That's on the NHS.  Awesome.

Removal wasn't simple as the strings were hiding for their lives. However, after a first attempt, the consultant went to plan B, which involved using a small camera to find them, all of which I watched on the screen with him - fascinating. Not many times you get a view like that *grin*.  Anyway, with the ingenious use of water, camera, pliers (well, not exactly but you get the idea) and a few good coughs on my behalf, it was out.  The relief I felt was amazing.  I could have hugged him!  Was it uncomfortable? No, not particularly.

Suffice to say I'm expecting at least 1 migraine or more over the next few weeks as I guess it takes a while for the hormone to leave the body.  The consultant asked me what I was going to do for protection in the meantime - nothing.  I'm having a bloody rest and from now on, it's over to hubby!  I've done my bit.

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