I used to have a post on my experience with the contraceptive implant first time round on my old, well forgotten blog – but now, there needs to be an update. It was always one of my more popular entries, as no doubt people trawl Google for answers post-implant – or even advice before getting it inserted, so I believe it’s incredibly important to again keep a note of my own experiences.
Obviously, this is the most personal I’ve ever been on my blog and while it is a private matter I think the importance of this issue (or rather, these issues) need to be mentioned for those who want to consider having the implant fitted. I know these are two issues in a sea of successful implant experiences, but they’re enough to turn me off permanently.
Six years ago, I had my first implant fitted. It was convenient and fuss free – and actually stopped my cycle completely so I had complete freedom every day of the year. Not everyone has that, but I certainly did and I enjoyed it!
When it came to removal some time in 2014/2015, I quickly regretted having it fitted. As I lay down on the bed with a nurse injecting the site with a local anaesthetic, it wasn’t bad. I couldn’t feel a thing, so anticipated a quick removal with no problems. Unfortunately, after half an hour of attempting to wrestle the implant out of the muscle it had knitted itself with, the three family planning nurses had to fetch a GP to make the incision bigger and retrieve the pesky thing once and for all. Like I said, I couldn’t really feel anything – but the trauma happened as she managed to pinch the implant in her tweezers and yank. I mean, full on pulling-a-turnip-out-of-the-ground yank. Imagine watching a Doctor play tug of war with my arm and you had something similar to what I was witnessing.
It came out of my arm with a ‘plip’ noise, and I left the surgery 50 minutes after I had laid down on the chair for removal with a big bandage and some bigger bruises. I swore to never, ever have the implant again.. Alas, the convenience of having no periods was too much of a good thing and I found myself having it fitted once more with no problem in 2015.
On the 30th of January 2017, I had a tumble down our stairs and caught the implant site, which caused so much pain I felt quite sick afterwards – no bruising or swelling, it was just.. Sore. A burning feeling under my skin. I made an appointment to see someone about having it removed as this wasn’t the first time I had caught it, especially in my hands on work now. It just isn’t viable. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite go to plan.
The nurse said I had to have an assessment before removal, and then the removal appointment could be anything from three to four weeks – not quick enough when my arm was so painful. I explained my problem no no avail, and left telling her I’d have to go to A&E with it instead. Thankfully she had a change of heart and called me back a few seconds later, taking me to a Doctor to have the site examined properly. It was so painful when they did examine it, and sure enough – something wasn’t right! I’d obviously caught my implant at a bad angle, as it wasn’t in one piece anymore. I personally think it has had issues for a while as this isn’t my first time with discomfort, but the pain with this incident was too much.
The Doctor recognised it had to come out, and booked me in as an emergency two days later, in a hospital out of our catchment area. It was the only one with a specialist who could have a look at what was going on, and remove it completely.
That’s tomorrow, and I’m so anxious about the appointment as my mind keeps reminding me of my previous experiences.. I’ll be making another post about this as a follow up after my appointment tomorrow, but I have to admit writing about this today certainly has made a difference in my mood!
Today we travelled to the specialist, for the removal of the problem implant. This part of the post is rather graphic but again, I feel I need to be completely transparent.
I anticipated a horrendous removal, but actually it went rather smoothly. I went in and updated the Doctor on how I had found the time between my last visit – my arm was hot, painful and very uncomfortable. She quickly recommended my next route of birth control and then got me onto the bed. When she injected the local anaesthetic, she drew the needle out of my skin and I immediately felt trickles down my arm. Being a little squeamish, I didn’t look right away – but it caught my eye when she went to get a nurse as my arm went numb.
Yellow liquid was running down my arm, but.. It was feeling better. Pressure was being relieved – that, and the local anaesthetic was making everything numb! When she came back she acknowledged the yellow goo, before getting to work as the nurse distracted me. The implant came right out for her, as well as a lot of fluid – I guess my body was attempting to heal itself around the implant, but instead it caused a build up of gunk which was pushing on an already sore implant site.
That was a good 12 hours ago now, and my arm feels almost back to normal again – a little sore from the incision, but much better than it was. I’ve gone down the pill route for contraception, much less hassle for me at the moment and I don’t think I’ll want to be endorsing the implant any time soon. It just isn’t for me!