Community Storytelling Series

No. 7 Story Time!

Part One: The story about “too good to be true” birth control.

“My second-ever birth control experience was with the ring.  It seemed too good to be true, and for me, it absolutely was. Six weeks in with my NuvaRing, my calf started swelling along with constant pain. A couple days went by and I couldn’t walk anymore. I researched my symptoms and suspected a blood clot. At the emergency department, I was diagnosed with a Baker’s Cyst because my leg wasn’t red. I was told, “It’s just gonna hurt very badly until it doesn’t anymore. Just give it time.” 


Part Two: The story about digging in to the fine print.

"Two more weeks went by before my leg started to feel a little better, but new symptoms appeared. I could barely breathe. I had a horrible cough and stabbing pain in my chest all the time, especially when I inhaled. I headed back to the internet to do some more research (sometimes it pays to be a hypochondriac). I narrowed my symptoms down to 3 things: COVID-19, a collapsed lung, or pulmonary embolism. After testing negative for COVID and speaking with a friend who had recently suffered a collapsed lung, I ruled those options out. All that was left was pulmonary embolism (PE). A blood clot in my lung. All my reading suggested that PE can kill you, and quickly - back to the emergency department I went."

Part Three: The story about everyone being way too calm about misdiagnosis that could have resulted in death.

"Large clots were found in both of my lungs. It was decided that the NuvaRing had caused it. According to the doctors, it was a very close call. My symptoms were severe, and had I waited another day, I could have died.

When I shared about my previous visit addressing my leg, and my concerns about misdiagnosis, the doctor agreed that my, “Baker’s Cyst,” was likely a clot in my leg which broke off and travelled to my lungs. We managed the clots with blood thinners and weekly blood work.

Admittedly, I felt smug about having been right, but mostly angry. What if I hadn’t done the work and figured it out for myself? What about other birth control users who are waiting for an extra day? It made no sense to me how cavalier all the medical professionals were being about this whole thing. After all, in their words, I could have died. I remember each doctor I spoke to being very relaxed about it all, which, to be fair, is probably part of their job.  It was just such an odd juxtaposition to everything I read about how dangerous PE is, and how sick I was.“