My Depo Story Julie Miller
I guess you can say my life changed at the age of 35 when I had a miscarriage. I know I was only 10 weeks along, but it was still a baby and a life to me. My periods seemed different than other woe around me, but I knew that was part of being a woman. They came with a 3-5 day migraine, nausea, vomiting, cramps, heavy bleeding with clots, and mood swings. I stumbled in to my doctor's office feeling this way one day. Vomiting in her trash can and crying over my miscarriage from a couple of months before. Her visit was short, along with her questions. "Are your periods always this bad?" I nodded yes. "Are you planning on getting pregnant again?" I shook my head no. "I'm going to start you on the Depo shot. You'll get it every 3 months and it will take away your periods completely, no more problems."
Wow. That sounded like a miracle drug! After 6 months I gained 25 pounds, which was "normal" from what little I knew about this miracle shot. Me gaining weight was not normal. I was always on the thin side. I gained 60 pounds while pregnant with my daughter, but within a few months I was back down to my pre pregnancy weight of about 135. As a nurse, I was suspicious. I didn't feel ok...something was wrong. I changed doctors 3 times in the next year and each told me the same thing. "You're depressed and stressed. It's not the Depo, in fact, it's safe enough to use until you go into menopause." Now what? The weight gain was steady and gradually crept over 200 pounds. My energy level decreased and I struggled with daily activities. I became prediabetic. I had liver issues. I'm now hypertensive and on blood pressure medication. The hot flashes are multiple times a day and are so intense I have to stop what I'm doing because it feels like I'm on fire and can't breathe. I'm losing track on how many times I wake up at night with them. Now I have asthma. I hurt everywhere. Sex is so painful and I can tell my husband is losing interest. I'm sure it's the weight gain. I'm not attractive anymore. I have a history of depression, but this is much deeper. I can't think straight. I'm miserable and I want to give up...I'm going on year three. I'm barely surviving day to day. My NICU career ended because I cannot do a 12 or 16 hour shift. My family, especially my husband, is fed up. No one wants to hear me complain one more time.
I kept hearing about a specialist called Dr. Poppy. Her radio ad was asking if your hormones are making you sick. Was it possible? Four doctors, a handful of NP's and nursing colleges said no. I prayed about it, no… I begged God for help. So I took a chance and made an appointment with her. It was the longest and most detailed doctor visit I had ever had! The information she gave me about the Depo shot had me in tears and extremely angry!! The warnings, the side effects, the damage of this hormone has every system in my body messed up!!! A few weeks later, my mom went with me for my saliva and blood test results. They were all abnormal. I remember the time and patience she took to explain what each result meant. It would take a while to rid my body of the Depo, at least a year, if not longer. I did receive one thing that I had not felt in several years. One thing I needed more than anything... HOPE! My mom cried and apologized on the drive home that day for not being more supportive & for not realizing how sick I had become.
The next year was hard. Trying to get everything from my weight, hormones, vitamins, and other labs in normal range and under control. The natural progesterone hormone was life changing! At first we tried oral progesterone & I know I was fighting the "Depo Detox" which was harder than I thought. The vaginal progesterone was amazing. By then my marriage was ending. I had been labeled "lazy and selfish" over the past 3 years that I knew it was my fault. He fell in love with a 120 pound, tall and toned woman. I became a 220 pound medical problem. Within a few months of the vaginal progesterone, the weight started to came off. Blood pressure medication? Gone. I remember my 3 month check up with my NP last summer. She walked in and she had a very puzzled look on her face. "You've lost over 30 pounds in just a few months! What are you doing?" I tell her about my divorce. She knew I was rebuilding a home we lost in a fire. Then I asked her to take notes. She had always been helpful and easy to talk to. I told her about you. I explained what the Depo did and she was shocked of not knowing this information.
I started sharing my story with everyone. It was obvious my health was changing and people wanted to know why. I couldn't count the number of times that I have said, "God sent me Dr. Poppy and she saved my life. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her." Friends, family, and total strangers started messaging me. A couple that were to the point of giving up. I've spent hours counseling many on depression, medications, birth control (especially Depo!) diet, and prayer. I try to see my struggle as a guide on how to help others. To use my torture as a testimony that I can honestly say being educated by Dr. Poppy was a huge part of. So, here I sit today. I'm 40. I recently hit my latest weight goal and am below 170 pounds! In one year I went from a size 22 to a size 12! I've healed spiritually and was able to forgive my ex-husband. Working on bettering my life! I love the saying, "I'm not where I need to be, but thank God I'm not where I was!"