Mirena, 1+ year in



Last year, I made the decision to say, “Screw you!” to pills, Nuvaring (although I mostly loved it), and any other birth control method short of spaying myself.

I chose to drop a few $$ and insert Mirena. (You can read about the entry here).
It was a painful process. I spent nearly 40 days with spotting and dull cramps. Then one magical day… it stopped. The bleeding, the cramps, the discomfort, and then my life began.
I have been blessed with some good sex in my life. Apparently, this good sex was dulled by previous birth controls. Sex has never been so good. Like.. holy shit. Guys who were maybe average at best, were doing a pretty damn good job. Before Mirena, I was using mostly Nuvaring, occasionally a pill; and I was dull. Sex was just an act. If I got off, it was less often than Halley’s comet. But my sex drive didn’t exist. I seriously pondered my sexuality. Boyfriends and lovers knew I was lying and some thought I had been cheating on them.
Then Mirena happened.
.. as it turns out, I’m very straight. And I’m so much happier with Mirena. Sex. is. awesome. Like– wet, hot summer awesome.

Oh yea! And I lost a bunch of weight! When I had Mirena inserted, I was weighing in at ~73kg (about 160lbs). While I’m sure other factors were involved (leaving an unhappy job, moving up a hill, running to subways and buses for new jobs, etc), I am now at ~63 kg (138-140lb) today.

Menstrual cycles suck. Period. (hah. a favorite of mine) From 6th grade through recent years, my period has been a giant cluster-fuck. They were unpredictable. As Cher would say from Clueless “I was surfing the crimson wave!”… more like Crimson tidal wave. It was hell. I had special clothes to wear because I needed to change and clean them so often. My cramps had me in bed, crying like a child. Sometimes they would last longer than a week.. then reappear about 2 weeks later. Then other times they wouldn’t show for weeks (pregnancy scares what???). I got onto birth control and it helped a bit. But I still had shit strong periods.
Now a year after Mirena insertion, my periods are mostly non-existent. I might get ‘ghost cramps’ once a month and the occasional spotting every other month or less.

Overall, everything is awesome.
But let’s sum a few things up real quick:

1. 5 years of baby-free sexcapades
2. Little to no periods/minimal cramping
3. Higher sex drive
4. Weight lost (subjective)
5. Overall happier life.

**denotes possible Pro rather than Con
1. 350,000won (KRW = USD ~275) ((((in the states they said it’d be ~600$USD without insurance)))**
3. Bodies may react differently
4. Gotta stock up on condoms for all that sex!**
5. I got nothin.. I can’t think of anything else.

Mirena Five Minutes of Pain for Five years of Wonder

Warning: This blog entry contains some explicit words and probably stuff my family does not care to read about. This is mostly geared toward women who have an interest in birth control –who may or may not be in Korea.

Size of Mirena (photo from Mirena.com)

In 2010 I went into my local Planned Parenthood and inquired about a new form of birth control. I had been on Nuvaring for about 6 years and was content, but it was getting expensive without insurance. So, a nurse-lady (Who was not my regular nurse) suggested an IUD. After a bit of research I decided to get Mirena. It was going to cost me about $700 not including the insertion. So I paid some monthly payments and I went in for my appointment. As I got onto the table, my regular nurse came in and did a quick consultation. “Shannon, this was a surprising move. You have always complained about heavy periods and cramps. Paraguard isn’t going to help it.” Paraguard? Noooo, I’ve been paying for Mirena. “Well, we have Paraguard here for you.” Noooooooo. I don’t want that one! So the appointment got cancelled and I got a refund. My nurse suggested Mirena, but by then I was dissuaded. I went back to Nuvaring at $30USD per month. I came to Korea in September 2013 with a year supply of Nuva ring. But somehow I ran short of that year and ended up getting convinced by a friend that I should ‘go natural.’ It wasn’t like I was having sex anyway. I may as well let my body do it’s thing.

P.A. (the friend) said that when she got off birth control, her skin cleared up, she lost weight, and she felt more alive then she ever did while on birth control. Her body was a bit whack at first, but everything went back to normal after a few months. So I decided to give it a try. I weighed in at about 145-150lbs at that time (June 2014). My body was not reacting the way it was supposed to. My skin was breaking out in places it should never break out. I gained another 10-15lbs. My period was showing up every 30-45 days. When you expect it on the 1st and it comes on the 7th, that is some seriously emotional freaking out. Now imagine that every month.. a week or so later than expected. It was heavy, it was light, it was starting, it was stopping. It was unpredictable and I do not approve of that.

I moved to Seoul late 2014, early 2015. I inquired about IUD and so many people had them!! I knew it was time. I needed to save some money and get my health insurance.

I got an appointment with MizMedi in Gangnam. I had a pap with Dr. Seo and discussed Mirena. He said, “Okay! No problem. After your next menstrual cycle, make an appointment immediately and we will have it done.”

So I did it on a Saturday. I waited in the waiting room for a few minutes and consulted with Dr. Seo one last time for about 3 minutes and went into the room. He said it would hurt a bit. I anticipated it…but I did NOT expect it to be THAT FUCKING PAINFUL. JESUS MOTHERFUCKING CHRIST ON HELL IN A BASKET OF CUNTBALLS!!!
“Four letter words are okay here, Shannon” OUCH!!! “yes that is a four letter word.” SON OF A BITCH. “That is about 10 letters, but still okay.”
They insert this thing into your uterus. You know that good feeling when you’re having sex? It’s not that. It’s the painful version of that. It was like a vampire dildo bit my insides. It was like having a piranha going at it on my uterus. It was like Satan himself unleashed Scylla and Charybdis into my precious parts and let them do their thing.

“Relax, Shannon. Five minutes of pain for five years of wonder.” “”WONDER??” “No, wrong word. Five years of no babies.”

……and then it was over. He used a magic sonogram wand to make sure it was in the right place and THEN it was over. It was the longest 5 minutes of my life. He said, “There maybe cramps and spotting in the next couple of days. See me when you are dressed.”
After he walked out, I got up to get dressed and saw a ghost. It was my face in the mirror. I was pale as I’ve ever been. I was surprised I hadn’t passed out. I saw Dr. Seo and he said to take some medicine, and if there were any problems, to come see him. They let me stay in a spare room for a bit while I rested. I don’t know if it was the alcohol the night before and not eating that morning, or if it was the extreme situation I had just gone through, but I sat on the toilet for about 30 minutes (sorry, graphic mental image, but I felt it was necessary).

Then I passed out on the bed for about an hour. I finally got up and paid for the appointment. The entire bill was just under 300,000won (~$275USD).

I went home around 2pm, showered and fell asleep. I felt like I was having a really really bad period day. A dull prolonged cramp and I was exhausted. I did go out the night before so I probably was a bit tired from that. I couldn’t stay awake though and ended up waking up and going back to sleep every hour or two until about 8:30pm. Then I treated myself to a bag of Mint Milano cookies and watched Scandal.

It is now 2 days later. I have been spotting lightly still and now and then feel a very very dull cramp – – as if I wasn’t sure if I were on my period or not.

But the doc is right. 5 minutes of pain for 5 years of birth control. I look forward to minimal to no periods, clearer skin, and losing a few pounds.

Update to come in a few months.

And for those who endured the entire entry:
Menstrual cycles suck. Period. (ha!!)

When controversy becomes too controversial

These days it seems many young and up-and-coming celebrities use controversy as a means to gain publicity. Yes, I’m referring to Miley Cyrus. No, I’m not only referring to her. Miley Cyrus is using sex and her inability to twerk to gain public interest. ((Seriously?? Naked swinging on a wrecking ball? Girl doesn’t even have a good lookin’ bod!)) Lady Gaga has used outrageous costumes to grab the attention of her ‘Monsters’ (rightfully called if they follow her so religiously). She has tagged along on the gay/lesbian/other train with her hit ‘Born This Way.’ Rihanna has ultimately failed in every women’s rights categories. She had the world behind her when Chris Brown kicked her ass. But then she comes out with songs like ‘Love the Way You Lie’ and ‘S&M’. Her most recent hit ‘Pour it Up’ is about making it as a stripper.

But it’s not just celebrities. Politicians pave their political path by supporting or not supporting the important controversies: gays rights to get married, women’s pro-or-not choice, social security (which my generation will never see), and healthcare (Which my generation is seeing for the first time – outside of 26 years old). 

If it wasn’t for this controversy being brought up, we wouldn’t be where we are today. It was a big deal 50 years ago for someone to admit homosexuality, or birth control or abortion. Now two men or women in love can get married with a former president as a witness! A woman can be encouraged to use birth control and sometimes even getting an abortion. Not everyone is meant to be a mother. And women shouldn’t have to be forced into it if it could be a danger to their health (mental, physical, or emotional). It’s our body right?

 I watch as ‘friends’ on Facebook state they will ‘unfriend’ anyone who prefers one way or another. I can understand, I’ve been there before…but mostly because I no longer know the person/care about their personal life and/or their posts are dramatic and overzealous. 

This is all fine and dandy. But upon actual face-to-face/voice inclusive conversation with friends (new and old) I realize how uncomfortable it is to have a controversial opinion. So much so, that I don’t even want to mention what my controversial opinion is.

Yet, I feel trapped and confused. I’m watching and hearing ‘big’ controversies being discussed on television and radio but when I bring smaller or subcategory-type discussion up, I’m shot down. A writer should be able to face these controversies straight and tell it how it is. An opinion is ONLY an opinion. It doesn’t change who I am or who they thought I was. I still act the same way and wear the same clothes, but now they know something about me that they probably wish they didn’t know. But the danger of opening up and giving my opinion is that it now changes someone else’s opinion about me. In someone’s eyes, I have just lowered myself in their totem pole of respect. 

Perhaps I’m a hypocrite. What I am bothered by is in direct relation with something I support passionately. Can this be? Am I fooling myself? I’ve always considered myself open-minded. I went to massage school with hippies who literally had to be told ‘please shower or wear deodorant’; ‘please wear clothes’; ‘respect others eating preferences.. not everyone is vegetarian’… but can I tell them how annoyed I am by drum circles?! No. Because then I stand against their musical 5th amendment. They had a day dedicated to nudity. I’m a massage therapist, yes I know what the body consists of, HELL NO I don’t want to see yours! Especially as they run wild among the grass and wildflowers. Veganism? Vegetarianism? Sure Yea I get it. And luckily, my friends and family who are among the not-meat-eating-type are respectful enough to not preach about it. In fact, they’re so cool, they’ll say ‘BYOM – bring your own meat (hopefully cooked already)’. But it sure is difficult to be yelled at by a strict vegan for giving her child a banana brownie (VEGAN!!) using white sugar and all-purpose flour. What? It’s vegan! Yes, but you used bleached aka unnatural flour and sugar. —Hmmm. I went out of my way to figure out how to make vegan brownies so your children don’t feel left out during a bake sale. I hope their banana-chocolate farts fill your sunflower-covered-van. 

But I know my intentions. I know them well enough actually. I know when I’m trying to be spiteful and hurt someone. I’m a writer. I’m an actor. I know how to hurt on cue and twist the knife for good measure. But I don’t use that. And my intentions are not to bring harm. My intentions are good and I always do my best to clarify my intentions. I understand that I can be misunderstood. I have mastered the ‘stone face’ but that doesn’t mean I don’t care or am not listening. In fact, it means I’m blocking every thing else out so I can care and listen more to/for you. 

There’s nothing harder than for a person to admit something they know may not be good in another person’s eyes. It’s hard to stay quiet about something truly controversial. I can FEEL the controversy in my own heart and battle it in my mind. But it’s harder to watch the disappointment in someone’s eyes when you admit those opinions. Anyone can master the stone face, but the sparkle in one’s eyes can dull out a bit if they disagree. I know because I’ve felt the sparkle diminish in my own eyes. 


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