I know sometimes I over-share. This post will be no different. It's going to delve into topics that make some of you cringe and some of you dry-reach. It's about my little visit to a place where no man has gone before ... my gynaecologist.
I was a little bit excited to be going yesterday. Yes, I know - that's a little bit crazy but since I've graduated from my psychologist (or is it flunked out - because I'm no longer nuts) I know it's nothing to worry about. After all worrying is a waste of energy and I was going to need as much energy as I could get to lie there and think of England.
The reason I was excited was because I was going to get my treatment regime for my testosterone deficiency. I was going to start getting better as of yesterday.
Well that didn't quite happen. BUT I'm one step closer.
When I got into her office we just chatted for a while (it's good to get to know the person who's going to get quite intimate with you). She wanted to know what the problem was (too little testosterone) and why (because I was on an oestrogen based pill) and why I was on the pill (because of really bad monthly cramps that would make me take continuous ibuprofen for 48 hours or I'd be vomiting).
Once she had a grasp of the situation and how it was affecting my life she came up with a range of alternative treatments. Have I ever mentioned that I don't like to make decisions? Especially decisions involving my health. That's why I pay the big bucks to see specialists.
Option number one was to stop taking the pill. Hopefully that would make that nasty little globulin in my blood that's been stealing all my testosterone slowly reduce and make more of it available for use. But the draw-backs are that I'd be back to two days of ibuprofen every month and those occasional months where I'd bleed like a stuck pig. (See I told you I'd overshare)
Option number two was to stop taking the pill and have a progesterone-releasing IUD put in. It sounded a bit promising until she started telling me the possible side-effects. I can cope with spotting but uterine perforation (rare, I know) sounded like it was too invasive for my liking. I'd rather go back to two days of ibuprofen.
Option number three was to stop taking the pill and have a procedure called an endometrial ablation. From her description it sounded like she was going to get all up close and personal with my uterus using a laser. All I could imagine was a Star Wars scenario up in my girly bits and the voice in my head kept saying 'Luke I am your Mother'. And then she mentioned burning - I could see me walking out with smoke trailing behind me, smoke-rings if I coughed and being declared an environmental hazard. If the IUD was too invasive for me this was a definite no-no.
So it came down to option number four - supplementing with testosterone. This was what she recommended for me. BUT I can't have the implant because it went off the market last year (not enough demand - probably because not many doctors are testing for deficiency). Which leaves a cream that you just rub on your ... forearm (bet you weren't expecting me to say that - most people have expected it to go somewhere more naughty). BUT I can't just go to a pharmacy here in Queensland because it's not legal to sell it here. I can, however, send my prescription over to the other side of the country and have it filled. Why does this make me feel a little like I'm a drug smuggler? And why is it only legal in W.A.? Government bureaucracy is baffling.
And then came the best bit of all. My GP had told me that I was due for a pap smear so I should get it done while I was there. So that's what we did - or tried to do. When I was lying there, trying to think of anything except what was happening down below, the doctor exclaimed "Oh, there's something up here"
Great! What could possibly be there? The two dollar coin that just disappeared the other day? A yeti? The sock that I thought got swallowed by the drier? Or just cobwebs and tumbleweeds?
Turns out it was a polyp - usually benign but liable to bleed when it's touched. Which it did. So she snipped it off (That'll be $150 thank you very much. I'm in the wrong profession. I'm good with scissors and I wouldn't mind being paid $150 for less than five minutes work.) and that made it bleed even more. Pap smears don't work so well when they're covered in blood so even though she went ahead and did it there's every chance that I'll have to go back and do it again. Yay!!
I left there feeling just a little frustrated. I'd thought that I'd be starting treatment then and there but it won't be until Friday at the earliest now. And even then we don't know how well the cream will work because of my high levels of sex hormone binding globulin. I suggested that I go off the pill and start the cream but she only wanted to make one pharmaceutical change at a time.
It's obviously going to take a while to get it sorted properly. But I've managed to cope this long, I can be patient for just a bit longer - especially because I know we're on the right track finally.