Last year for me was a whirlwind of health issues that weren’t too horrible in the grand scheme of things, but were really difficult for me to deal with at the time.
Through it all, I learned so much about my body- mostly that no matter what, I need to trust myself because no one knows my body better than me. I have to mention before you read this that I am extremely lucky for the way that this all turned out and in no way is this meant to sound dramatic. I know that many others deal with issues far beyond what I have dealt with but below is my story.
In 2016 while I was in college, I found a lump in my breast. Of course, my initial reaction was to work myself up into a complete panic, but then the logical part of my brain kicked in. I calmed down and went to the doctor. The whole process was scary, but the lump ended up being benign thankfully! My doctor told me it was called a fibroid (a firm, noncancerous lump) and could be hereditary. I ended up getting surgery to get it removed as it was quite large and therefore, heavy and painful.
Then last year, I start bleeding heavily and was in and out of the ER. No one could figure out what was wrong with me and it was hard to even sit through a day at work without being in such discomfort. I was constantly leaving work early and it’s hard to really put into words the kind of pain I was in. A portable heating pad from CVS became more important than my apartment key each day. After countless trips to the ER, countless misdiagnosis, lost test results and many efforts to contact my gynecologist to make an appointment, I finally got one and learned more about what was going on. This was not only taxing on my body, but emotionally it was very hard to cope with, too.
My doctor did a sonogram and found what they thought was a large polyp (an abnormal tissue growth) on my uterus which meant I needed to have another surgery. It’s always a relief to get answers, but I was in so much pain and the bloating was unbearable to the point where I looked pregnant. Physically and emotionally, I was really not doing well. I was overwhelmed with everything going on in my life and I wasn’t putting myself first, which kept prolonging this issues. It took me a month to find the time to schedule the surgery and block out some much-needed down time. In my private life, this was definitely a battle. Family members were disappointed in me that I wasn’t putting my health first but internally, I wanted to put my work first. Ultimately, I settled on a date for my surgery.
While I was under, the doctors realized this was actually another large fibroid. To try and prevent me from getting another, the doctor recommended I get an IUD which has less hormones and is known to help. So I did just that and got a Mirena IUD.
A few weeks later, everything felt miraculously back to normal. Except one thing. For the first time in my life, I was having severe breakouts and acne all over my face. I had no idea what was going on. It seemed like one thing after the next kept happening to my body. As you know, we’re featured on Something Navy all the time and I was growing increasingly uncomfortable being in front of the camera as my acne was in such bad shape. I felt terrible in my own skin.
I saw a dermatologist who suggested I try Spironolactone. This should have helped prevent breakouts, but takes time to work (3-6 months) and I was not seeing much of a difference. I felt desperate and turned to makeup to help cover up my acne while my medication was supposed to kick in. I didn’t know anything about doing my own makeup, let alone covering up the cystic acne that was all over my face but I knew I needed to start putting in a bit more effort so I didn’t feel so uncomfortable in public.
After doing some research on my own, I found out that a leading side effect of getting the Mirena IUD is acne. I couldn’t believe that this was not something my doctor ever mentioned. After much patience and too much money spent on makeup, I ended up getting it removed a few weeks ago and going on a lower hormone form of birth control. The craziest part is that I already can see such a difference in my skin. After a wild year, I am finally feeling a bit more like myself and comfortable in my own skin.
Looking back, I feel so fortunate to be in a better place as I know this is a struggle for many others. The biggest thing I learned was that when you think something with your body is off, no matter what a doctor says, you’re probably right!
I wanted to talk about my particular experience because I know that many of us are dealing with day-to-day health issues that we do not take care of. I know firsthand how easy it is to put it off and make excuses for why I wasn’t going to the doctor but my last year taught me that no matter what you’re going through, small or large, you NEED to listen to your body. I know it would have been comforting if I had heard someone’s story from the other side of a health scare, which is why I knew it was important to share.
Has anyone ever dealt with something similar?
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