I haven’t been writing on this blog much since we found a medication combination which keeps my depression mostly under control. I’ve now been basically stable for over 3 years on a cocktail of Lithium, Lamotrigine and Buproprion.
It’s quite astounding that the drugs have worked for this long – before this, the longest that one set worked well for was about 3 months. What makes it even more surprising is that in the 6 months from the end of September 2009 to early March 2010, I lost 3 grandparents (one cancer, one old age and one suicide), a uni friend who went under a bus, and my pet cat.
Having said that, the reason I’m back posting again is due to another health problem – maybe related, but probably not.
I had been taking the combined oral contraceptive pill for many years to control heavy and painful periods, and was happy with it. Then the NHS issued a directive that people who suffer migraines with visual disturbances (flashing lights etc) mustn’t take it any longer due to an increased risk of stroke, and I was forced to come off it. I started taking Cerazette (a progesterone only mini-pill). On the one hand it was wonderful. I had no periods at all which was brilliant! But it made me exhausted all the time, and my sex drive was basically nil.
The GP recommended I try the Implanon implant instead – it’s the same drug as Cerazette, but in a lower dose. I tried that for a few months, but the exhaustion and libido didn’t improve, so I had it removed and since 8th March I haven’t been taking any hormone therapies.
The idea was to allow my system to have a couple of normal cycles to see whether the period pain was still a problem. It turns out that it isn’t, but we’ve uncovered a much bigger issue. Ever since the Implanon has been removed, I have felt ill, to a greater or lesser extent. I have headaches most days, anxiety attacks (especially first thing in the morning), my joints are inflamed, nausea attacks which when they hit mean I can’t manage to eat properly, and I’m still constantly exhausted with even less of a sex drive than before if that’s possible!
In addition to all this, I had 5 days in June when I couldn’t see properly – each eye seemed to be working ok on it’s own, but they couldn’t focus together. That was very scary.
I have had a variety of blood tests. I had 2 progesterone readings come back very low on days 21 and 20 of two successive cycles (levels of 2.3 and 2.0 which should be 30 – 80), which suggests a problem with ovulation. But the specialist is not convinced that the readings have been taken on the right days, as I have a longer cycle than 28 days. She is also confused that I still have a regular cycle if I’m not ovulating.
Yesterday I had Estrogen, FSH, LH, Prolactin and Testosterone tests taken, and I’ve got 2 more progesterone levels booked for days 21 and 28 of this cycle. Maybe once those levels come back, we might make some progress.