dealing with pain and dysfunction

It’s all about control, and I’ve got lots of it!

I’ve had Implanon for just over a week now, and I am so in love with it already.
I had my insertion done at the Cornell student health clinic, and it went really well.  My gynecologist there (who I actually really like, for a gynecologist) talked me out of Mirena and into Implanon.  I hadn’t really considered it because of the Norplant recall in the 90’s, but she explained how Implanon is different, and what the benefits and drawbacks are.  I set up my insertion appointment, which was supposed to be around the second day of my period.  The procedure was a small office visit, and the whole thing took about 15-20 minutes (not including the insurance fiasco–since no one’s heard of Implanon they threatened to not cover it, and at $853, I’m really glad I managed to get that sorted out).

Implanon is inserted into your upper arm of your non-dominant hand, where your arm rests against your side.  If you make a fist, you can feel where the bicep and tricep meet–it’s just around there.  First, she marked off the spot where she would insert it, and another point that would be about the end of the device, so I could see where it would be on my arm and how long it is.  Then I got a whole bunch of lidocaine shots to numb the area.  Anyway, there was also a nurse there that was holding my hand and asking me about spring break, so I didn’t really see the procedure.  That’s probably all for the best, but I really was thinking “Oh no, how will I tell all the details to the internet if I’m not watching carefully?!”

Once my arm was entirely numb, she inserted the rod and then had me feel it with my right hand to make sure it was there and that I knew what it felt like.  Then I was all bandaged up–really, it seemed like overkill–with steri-strips, gauze pads, and some of that huge medical wrap stuff, and it was all secured with that masking-tape-like material.  I hardly go out to parties, but it figures that the one night I wanted to, I’d have to keep this massive bandage on for 24 hours.  After I removed it in the morning though, I just replaced it with a little bacitracin and a regular band-aid.  I was supposed to ice it three times within 24 hours, but I had the insertion done in the morning and then had class all day.  It really didn’t swell too badly at all, and there was only minimal discomfort at any point.  It also didn’t bruise at all.  That’s… incredibly unusual, as I’ve bruised like crazy from all my piercings, and my doctor said to expect some nasty bruises.  There are a few little red spots, I assume from all the lidocaine injections, but they’re fading quickly.  There was a little stinging at the insertion site later that night, but nothing worse than any other cut.  I should also point out that I’m unable to take OTC painkillers due to stomach pain, and I still made it through the whole thing without any serious pain.  Or any pain at all, now that I think about it.

It’s absolutely fabulous to not have to think about birth control.  Every night at 9:30 (the time I used to forget my pill) I get real smug and feel like I’ve outsmarted someone.  I mean, I obviously don’t have much of a pregancy risk, but I definitely use it as period control (Sarah Haskins is all over this thread).  I haven’t noticed any side effects yet.  I might try to blame my awful skin on Implanon so I have an excuse better than genetics, but really, I just have super terrible skin.  My arm is still a little bit tender, but I can feel the rod under my skin and that’s pretty cool.  Other people can feel it if they’re really careful–I think I’ve only yelped at one person so far.  But I have to reiterate the best part:  I don’t have to think about this for THREE YEARS!  That’s such a relief!  No more worrying about when the pharmacy is open or if I can cover my co-pay or if I left my pill pack in the pocket of the coat that I’m not wearing or maybe another purse or… Yeah.  What a relief.  Plus, my doctor said that the average Implanon user that she sees will have a period about every 6-8 weeks.  That’s awfully thrilling–more time to frolic and play and enjoy life between cramps (which might be a little bit better, too).


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  1. * brokenvee says:

    That’s so great to hear! I remember hearing how scared you were about having to have Mirena inserted, but this Implanon is SO much better! When you started talking about insertion, I was like, “omg, how did she do it?!” but then you mentioned the arm, and I literally breathed a sigh of relief. Lol. Congrats!

    Posted 9 years ago

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