It was an ordinary day in my ordinary life. I was making a trip to my local Walgreens to pick up a print order and my monthly visit to the pharmacy counter. I finally ran out of those samples, but my previous insurance covered them 100% - so awesome of them. My new insurance doesn't and at $95/month I am rethinking some of my options. So I found a coupon online and only pay $45/month. What exactly is it I am paying for? Oh, yeah.
This isn't a post about the price of birth control. It's a post about all the other stuff no one has ever mentioned to me until today. Technically two days ago.
The elderly man behind the pharmacy counter at 9:30 pm innocently asked if I was taking a multi-vitamin daily. I thought that was a strange question. I would have expected something related to taking the actual pills he was handing me. I told the honest truth - no, I am not taking a multi-vitamin. He then tells me that oral contraceptives can deplete the essential vitamins (B6, C and Folic acid) in your body causing you to be tired, fatigued - and I stopped listening right there. Oh my goodness, I don't have to be tired forever!
I am not a blind drug user. I read the information packets that come with them. Never once did I read about tiredness or needing to supplement with vitamins. If the vitamins are being depleted with the pill itself, why not add the vitamins to the pills! C'mon people.
"Side effects may include: breast tenderness, headache; nausea; stomach cramps or bloating. This medicine may cause dark skin patches on your face. If you wear contact lenses and you develop problems with them, contact your doctor. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience breast pain, lumps, or discharge; calf or leg pain, swelling, or tenderness; change in amount of urine produced; chest pain or heaviness; confusion; coughing of blood; fainting; irregular heartbeat; left-side jaw, neck, shoulder, or arm pain; mental or mood changes (eg, depression); migraines; missed menstrual period; numbness or weakness of an arm or leg; one-sided weakness; persistent, severe, or recurring headache or dizziness; persistent vaginal spotting; severe or persistent trouble sleeping; severe vomiting; swelling of the fingers, hands, legs, or ankles" - and the list keeps going.
Of all those things, that are rather serious, I have dismissed all of them as being crazy - but when my pharmacist mentions tiredness I get all concerned about that! Why, because energy is what rules my life. Without it, nothing gets done. With it, I can do anything. I have been complaining about being tired for years. I feel like I haven't been on top of my game for a long time. Did you notice?
So I have been tired for the last two years and no one thought to tell me that maybe I should be taking a multi-vitamin. Not even the doctor who I am married too! I can't blame my OB/GYN because I haven't seen her in two years. But every month that I picked up those pills and for the decades before that, no one mentioned the need to take a vitamin.
I went through a vitamin phase. Before getting pregnant, and while pregnant, I took those prenatal pills, and afterwards until the bottle of pills ran out. Then I relied on my "healthy" eating to do the rest. I am still a big proponent of using food to get your vitamins - it seems to be the right way. But obviously something is wrong in my diet, my lifestyle, my whatever.
I left the pharmacy with a bottle of multivitamins. When I got home my husband said we already had some in the cabinet. Go figure.
What annoys me is that the correlation between me and fatigue has always been written off as "you have four kids", "you have a lot on your plate", "what do you expect with your lifestyle". All excuses. What if the real problem is the birth control pills themselves?
And that started a whole different train of thought. I am tired of messing with my body! Yes, the pills are working and doing their job - but maybe I am TIRED of the side-effects. I am tired of being tired, the migraines at that special time, maybe that's why those last 10 lbs aren't going any where, what else am I doing to my body that is causing harm that could be taken care of another way. There must be another way.
And that is how you find yourself up all night reading articles online about birth control, hormones, natural family planning, and alternatives forms of contraceptives.
What would it feel like to not be filling my body with chemicals to change the chemicals that are already there to prevent my body from doing what it was meant to do? What would it feel like to be drug free?