I want to express my gratitude to all of you have shared your experiences. I am a mother of two, wife, student, and I work. I have high blood pressure that is genetic. I exercise, eat health, and am not overweight. I have been on the pill, used the ring, and tried the Mirena. Because of my blood pressure, my doctor was nit comfortable with me using any birth control that used hormones. So the copper iud was my last option. I had my Paragard inserted in August of 2009 just as I was beginning a graduate program.
I started having difficulty concentrating, focusing, sleeping, became extremely anxious and depressed. I remember at one point telling my hubby that I felt like my brain wasn't working right. I thought that perhaps I was having difficulty adjusting to the rigors of grad school. I was tested for adult ADD, put on medication for ADD, anxiety and sleep. I still felt unmotivated, apathetic, and unable to focus. I kept telling myself I just needed to try harder, figure out a way to add more structure to my life. Nothing worked. I went from being a straight A student to barely passing. I've always been motivated by a desire to do my best work. The fear of failure no longer caused anxiety. Instead, I was anxious about trying to do my work because I knew I wouldn't be able to do it.
I also noticed that my memory was shot. I found myself constantly apologizing to people for not following through with tasks.
In addition to these mental and emotion changes, I started to lose weight. I am 5'6" and weighed 105 pounds. I lost 29 lbs over the course of a year. After about a year and half with the iud, I started having joint pain, extreme fatigue, and tremors in my legs and hands. I was going to the doctor multiple times a month having lots of tests run, but everything came back "normal". After 2 years I could barely find the energy to get out of bed. I attended classes and or meetings that I absolutely had to, and did nothing extra. Tasks like opening doors were nearly impossible. I ran a half marathon in May of 2009 and by the beginning of 2012 I was a different person.
My doctor eventually recommended I seek psychiatric care as he could find nothing wrong with me. It was devastating. I knew the pain that I had in every joint in my body was not imagined. In April of 2012 my hemoglobin was around 6 and was told to take iron supplements. My father, who was in the hospital with a similar hemoglobin level was receiving a blood transfusion. And I was given iron pills. I was beyond frustrated. I was in constant excruciating pain, exhausted, and found it progressively more and more difficult to form a coherent sentence. My symptoms didn't make sense and I was looking at them as separate problems. There were only two things that changed in August of 2009, I started grad school and got an iud.
I went online and started searching for anything that included all of the symptoms I was having. I came across this blog and it suddenly made sense. I wanted to take the iud out myself, but scheduled an appointment immediately. When I went to my OB/GYN and told her what had been going on and my suspicions as to the cause, she was doubtful, but said if I wanted it up she'd take it out. That was in July of 2012.
I am pleased to report that within 2 weeks my pain was completely gone! I had Iranian in every joint in my body, including wrists, ankles, fingers, toes, neck, shoulders, elbows, knees. Within 2 weeks, I was pain free. The tremors that I'd been experiencing for 2 years vanished. I felt like I was starting to feel like me again. I was able to sleep at night, felt rested, had energy, was no longer anxious. I could complete my school work. I'll be honest, the cognitive issues I experienced have taken longer to reverse themselves, but after 6 months, I really felt like my brain was working again. The people around me noticed this too.
I have days where I am upset about the fact that I was never warned about the possibility of this happening. I can only imagine how much easier school could have been. My confidence in myself was shaken to my core. But, I am overwhelmingly grateful and feel blessed to have found out what the problem was. Since learning more about this, I've read about Wilson's Disease. I is a rare disease where the body is unable to properly dispose of copper. The symptoms of Wilson's Disease are exactly what I experienced.
I have learned to trust myself. I sensed something was wrong almost immediately after having it inserted, but because my doctor said IUDs are safe, I never questioned whether or not it could be the culprit. I truly believe I may have died had I not figured out what was going on. This is not an exaggeration, read about the progression of Wilson's disease if you have doubts.
I don't think this is a common experience. Many women probably never have problems, but even if this is rare, it sucks when it's your life, lol.
As I said in the beginning, I am so grateful to those who shared their stories.