The Year My Wombanhood Was Attacked

*** Warning- heavy medical trauma ***

One year ago yesterday I was severely injured by medical professionals I thought I could trust.

This wrecked my entire experience for the rest of 2021, which was already a hard year, and I’m still healing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This has further damaged my already low propensity for trust in people. 

I went on a Monday to my OBGYN for a new Mirena IUD to replace my old, expired birth control device. She removed the old IUD with no issues, no pain. She quickly placed the new one and it was not securely in the right space, so she stated.  The previous two IUDS I had were placed with ultrasound assistance, so I mentioned that. 

This OBGYN never once used an ultrasound to check the placement of my current/old IUD before proceeding to remove and replace it. She never saw what my uterus looked like- she went into this procedure to place an internal medical device in my internal female organ BLIND. 

After I mentioned ultrasound, she asked me to stay de-clothed and walk with a sheet around me into the ultrasound room. Once we were in there, she poked around with an instrument and the newly placed IUD was quickly expelled. They went and got a second device to place and the OBGYN asked for a smaller instrument and started trying to force the 2nd IUD into place. She then said, “as long as we don’t punch it through the back of her uterus,” as she proceeded to force this IUD too far and I felt a deep pressure inside my body. You know when a boat hits the sand as it comes ashore and beaches- that’s what it felt like inside my uterus. 

I’m a survivor. A Sexual Assault survivor. A childhood abuse survivor. A Domestic Violence survivor. 

I’m tough. So fucking ridiculously tough. I lived an entire life of take the blows and go on. Keep smiling no one cares. Do your work. No one cares. 

That makes it worse for me because I fawn and freeze during trauma situations. I try to be tough and keep a straight face.

Since I had left the first exam room wrapped in a sheet from the waist down and I was hurting in the ultrasound room, the doctor brought me my purse, pants, and shoes. I will never forget the sarcastic way in which she said, “Nice shoes,” as she placed my maroon Converse on the floor. I went back to work thinking I would just be uncomfortable because of all the contact and its a brutal procedure without any anesthesia or Valium. I had taken Ibuprofen beforehand knowing I might cramp and feel some discomfort.

It’s worth nothing that when men get a vasectomy it’s standard that they prescribe Valium and narcotic pain relievers.

I was alone with my kids that week because my husband was helping my mother in law move back to Oklahoma. I don’t have a mother. I don’t have any relatives close by. 

I woke up with a fever the next day. I was in pain. I can tolerate discomfort and this was something else. I called the office and they asked me to wait a day and come in on Wednesday. 

This was the start of a low grade fever that would not resolve for over two months. My body’s response to being attacked. 

I tried to find the strings of the Mirena and could not feel them. For 10 years with my other two Mirena birth control devices, I had had no issues and was always able to find the strings that sit outside the cervix by design as a safeguard. 

I went in for an ultrasound on Wednesday. The tech took the films, looked concerned, printed them out, asked me if I needed to use the restroom, and then quickly went to speak with the OBGYN. The OBGYN came back and stated that the IUD is in the right place and I might be having some normal discomfort but it’s all ok.

It was most definitely NOT OK.  

I started practicing yoga in 2011. I had lived a lifetime of abuse, as a child until age 25, before that and yoga reconnected me with my body; it gave me the gift of embodiment. At this point in 2021, I had learned to listen to my body rather than push through. I knew something was terribly wrong. 

Thursday it was even worse. I called crying for help. The offending OBGYN was not in the office but I could see a colleague, although the nurse cautioned, he’s a male. This hinted that they knew I had some trauma history. 

I needed help. Medical help. I asked to be seen. They fit me in and this male doctor and his nurse were very sweet, but in the same group practice- they also failed to perform an ultrasound and he suggested doxycycline to try to help with the pain, fever and inflammation. 

I insisted he remove the device. I was not leaving the office without relief after my pain had progressively worsened over 4 days. My body could not handle whatever was happening. This OBGYN wondered if maybe it was a UTI. I’ve NEVER in my life had a UTI, so I think maybe, and agree to a urine test. 

When he removed the IUD I felt INSTANT relief, like when you remove a splinter or thorn. I also needed for my own sanity to check the waste basket to see it for myself. The strings were ridiculously shorter than they should have been the my OBGYN had not only injured me during the insertion process, she clipped them WAY too short.  Can you see the strings hanging off the bottom of the IUD?

I went back to work in immense pain, grateful that my husband would finally be back in town and I would have some support. 

My fever continued and the pain was so intense that same Thursday evening that I asked my husband to take me to the ER.  They were rude, unprofessional and dismissive. The nurse took my blood pressure and temperature- which were both elevated- and simply stated that his BP goes up anytime he’s around anyone in scrubs or that looks like a doctor. No dude, I’m in pain with an acute injury and inflammation. When I explained the situation, the PA asked me if I’d had any new sexual partners…..What the actual fuck!? Nope. Definitely haven’t been down to get down with this intense pain in my female region. 

They performed a CT and failed to accurately view my uterus- just noted that it was present, along with my ovaries. Why did they even bother!?

They slammed cabinets and I heard the PA say outside my room, ”She just wants attention.”

They sent me home and told me to follow up with my OBGYN. Go back to the person who hurt you they said. Why was I not worth admitting? What made them dismiss my pain, my injury, and my health? Why was I not worth the treatment I paid for and deserved?

I made a formal complaint to the hospital the next day due to their negligence and compassion fatigue.

What other choice did I have? That next day, Friday, April 30th, 2021 I had another appointment with the women’s group.  The offending OBGYN who caused my injury dismissed me again, saying that maybe when she removed my old IUD there was a scar band in my uterus that caused the trouble with placing the new IUD. She also said that the urine culture from Thursday’s visit barely showed I might have a UTI. (I did not have a UTI, this was their bullshit way of CYA). I did not have any blood in my urine, it did not burn when I peed, I had no urgency. My uterus was injured and she was unwilling to be honest with me.

I had to cancel my weekend trip with my girlfriends. I could not go in pain, even though I really needed to connect and spend time with women.

Saturday I start throwing up and had pain radiating from my uterus, lower abdomen, into my low back. Still experiencing a low grade fever. So we go to another ER, they start an IV and give me a low dose of pain reliever. This ER proceeds to perform another CT- which when I mention to the tech that I had one two days prior and they didn’t much check my uterus, he orders a longer more thorough scan.  I’m not happy to be exposed to more radiation again and I also need answers.

While we’re waiting for the results, I’m in more increasingly intense pain because the IV fluids had filled my bladder up, which sits on top of the uterus. My womb is throbbing with pain. Pain radiated through the core of my entire being. My sweet husband says something and the nurse proceeds to come in with a large syringe marked on the side with the word Fentanyl. This is fucking weird, right? That’s fucking weird. I LOSE MY SHIT. I am in such a fragile physical state, I am in so much pain and now I’m TRIGGERED. My mom overdosed on Fentanyl. It’s such a leap from the non-narcotic that they had given me earlier…..why did they do this? I mourn. I am absolutely wailing in now because of deep emotional pain that exacerbates my physical pain.

The ER doctor returns after a while. This time I finally have an answer. There’s an inch in diameter hematoma in the myometrium of my uterus. That OBGYN stabbed me inside my uterus. All that forcing, that pressure I felt, the fever, the pain- that IUD had been lodged into the deep layer of tissue inside my womb.  The ER doctor prescribed me pain relievers- for the first time during this whole experience someone wanted to at least help ease my pain. They still weren’t concerned and told me to follow back up with the doctor that caused the problem. The ER doc’s response was that, “[Doctor’s name] better get on the ball with this.” They did not want to clean up her mess. Deflect and dismiss was the name of the game all around Tulsa.

The OBGYN and ultrasound tech saw this hematoma on those ultrasounds they performed on the preceding Wednesday. They did not mention or share that information with me. They tried to deflect and shift the blame. 

I went back to my OBGYNS office that Monday and my husband went with me. The tech said, and I’ll never forget, “Remember being here last week, this is where it all started.” I wasn’t alone this time- my husband heard her say that. How is that professional or appropriate? It most definitely is not trauma informed.

On the ultrasound, there it was- a large dark spot in my uterus, which both my husband and I saw. When I asked her what is that, she quickly wrapped up and printed the films and told me to get dressed and go wait to see the doctor in another room. The OBGYN once again was dismissive- it’s just a little bruise and it’ll go away on its own. She had the nerve to say she was losing sleep over being worried about me and then jokingly said, “No more IUDs for you.” What the fuck!?!

With the IUD removed and the knowledge of what the issue was and no help from the sadist who harmed me, I needed to divert my energy towards healing. How do you heal a perforated uterus? Well, medical protocol recommends IV antibiotics- which I had requested both ER visits and on Monday’s visit. 

I had pain radiating down my right leg and affecting the way that I walked. It hurt to be. It hurt to sleep. Worse, I was spiraling out, imagining that everyone and everything was out to harm me. This was affecting my mental health, my relationships, my work.

The OBGYN who hurt me called me later in that first week of May to check on me again. She said she hoped I was doing better and in the same sentence went on to say that women have C-sections routinely and it takes time for the uterus to heal.

Needless to say, I needed to find a new OBGYN who would treat me with compassion, like a human being, and actually follow the Hippocratic Oath, First Do No Harm. One who would help me. My PCP referred me to a wonderful doctor. This new OBGYN doctor showed me the hematoma on the ultrasound, explained that the T arm of the Mirena had caused the injury and it would take time to heal. She prescribed oral antibiotics. She actually acknowledged my injury.

I was in pain and still having a fever of 99-100 come and go. This started on April 26th, 2021 and continued until June 2nd. I couldn’t have sex. I couldn’t ride in a boat. It hurt when I went hiking with my friend on Mothers Day. I had to practice and teach only gentle yoga. My strength was diminished. My womanhood attacked. 

I also consulted with another female OBGYN in town and she was just as mortified about my experience and ordered an ultrasound for me. She was kind and also did not really want to take me on after the trauma I had experienced. I decided to stick with the OBGYN my PCP had referred me to.

On June 1st, I had a follow-up appointment with the new doctor. She performed another ultrasound and the hematoma had passed and everything looked ok. 

Except it wasn’t. I bled after that exam and had a lot of pain and pressure in my pelvic region. 

On June 2nd, I had a low fever and the pain and pressure was worse. The new female doctor was not in the office that day and the nurse would call me back. I panicked and was able to see another OBGYN at a women’s clinic just next to my workplace. 

This was the WORST mistake on my part and I have to be compassionate with myself about this part of the journey because I had been failed, abandoned, dismissed, and left to suffer. I just desperately wanted help. I desperately wanted my heath back.

They got me an afternoon appointment and when I broke down crying and told the nurse I had persistent pain in my pelvic region that had now migrated to my vagina and I’m afraid of it becoming pelvic inflammatory disorder, she hugged me and told me the doctor I was seeing was the best and so thorough. She lied. She also mischarted my weight as obese and stated that I was a current cannabis user, when I had in fact stated that while I had my card, I was not consuming for over a month. She asked me if I would be ok with a pelvic exam, and I told her that if the doctor would take a cervical sample and run all the tests she said he would to check for infection, then that was ok. There was a PA student shadowing the nurse and when I gave them the details of why I was desperate for help and at this appointment, the PA responded that an IUD perforation is routinely treated with IV or IM antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection. I thought I had finally found help.

When the OBGYN arrived, he was dismissive and rude. After I explained everything to him, he proceeded to belittle me by saying what a rare complication it was to have with the IUD and that I shouldn’t be in pain anymore. If the IUD is gone then everything should be ok. He asked if I had children. How many and whether I would have any more. The answer was no.Then he proceeded to perform the pelvic exam, except he KNEW I came in specifically due to pain that had migrated from my uterus, pelvis, low back and right leg into my vagina now, and he was unnecessarily rough. He violated me. He made a scissoring movement with his two fingers, spreading my vaginal walls apart and it fucking hurt and I said so. They did not swab my cervix at all for the tests that they promised. The only reason I consented to a pelvic exam was denied to me. Insult on top of injury- on repeat.

The next thing I remember is being outside my body watching it all like I was looking through a window or it was a movie. I don’t remember anything until the doctor offered me antibiotics, Doxycycline again. I said I had already taken that, so he prescribed me both Flagyl and Ciprofloaxin.

I started taking the antibiotics on June 2nd, my son’s 17th birthday. I didn’t say anything when I went home because I was still outside of my self, floating around, going through the motions.

The next day at work, close to where I was violated again by another OBGYN during the rough pelvic exam, I went into a large classroom and broke down and cried. My boss texted me to get back to the office and help make IDs for the new class of patients. I had to stuff it all back inside again.

I was broken, depressed, tired, having trouble sleeping, having nightmares about being attacked, and then the random bruises and joint pain started. By June 10th, I had taken several days worth of the antibiotics I thought would finally heal my womb and end the pain, fever, and inflammation. I WAS LIED TO AND I WAS MEDICALLY POISONED.

I started having hallucinations, joint pain in my fingers, hands, elbows, wrists, knees, ankles and feet. I stayed home one day to rest and keep my legs elevated, missing lunch with my Dad’s friend who was visiting from out of town. I started waking up to severe burning sensations all across my skin. My fingers, hands, arms, knees, ankles, and feet would tingle with what I learned was neuropathy. My hair started breaking and falling out in clumps. I could not stay awake during the day. I was severely fatigued, which is the opposite of my usual demeanor. If I looked at my computer screen for too long, my vision would blur and double. I couldn’t carry groceries; my purse would make my shoulder joint burn. My fingers popped and creaked like never in my life. I was falling apart. I was terrified and could not trust anyone anymore. I was sure everyone I knew was involved in a plot to murder me. I couldn’t stand to be in my body. I did not want to live, but I certainly did not want to kill myself. I floated around for the next few weeks crying like a wraith- a ghost of myself.

My PCP was out of town at Dollywood and I went to see another provider in Sapulpa. She was kind and ran labs for me. My magnesium and vitamin D levels were low. She recommended supplementation and mentioned I might be having a reaction to the antibiotics, although that was rare.

In truth, the FDA issued a black-box warning for ciprofloaxin, which is just one devastating chemotherapy drug in the class of fluoroquinolones. There’s a term for patients who suffer severe side effects from these dangerous drugs: Floxed. Fluouroquinolone toxicity.

I HAD BEEN FLOXED. First I was stabbed, then I was poisoned. Cipro attacks your mitochondria and overwhelms the body’s cells with oxidative stress.

I reached out to an internal medicine doctor I respected and he said it would take time. My PCP said the same thing, and was really helpful ordering blood work so that I could watch my enzymes, hormones, and regulate my antioxidant and mineral levels. She also recommended supplementing with magnesium and manganese. Fluourquinolone toxicity is notoriously difficult to test for. It wreaks havoc at the cellular level and that affects each person differently, depending on their health, lifestyle, and genetically predisposed weaknesses.

Thankful for my health conscious friends, the internet, for Reddit, for Facebook groups, specialized doctors, and the few research and case reports that exist about Fluoroquinolone Toxicity. I was able to lean on their gifts, knowledge, and find ways to help myself.

I broke down and drank Bentonite Clay. I started supplementing with MitoQ, CoQ10, magnesium, calcium, Vitamin C, D, K & E, quercetin, milk thistle, . Finding out that magnesium threonate crossed the blood brain barrier started to help with my neurological issues. IV glutathione helps mitochondria detox and repair. NAC helps the body reduce reactive oxygen species.

Let Food Be Thy Medicine. I cut out dairy, sugar and carbohydrates because my gut biome had been destroyed by the antibiotics and that was a major contributor to many of my symptoms. I drank bone broth, took collagen, used psyllium and probiotics. I started eating organic and followed the Terry Wahl’s Protocol as much as I could, eating kale, onions, broccoli, arugula, seaweed, and organ meat. I cut out coffee and although I rarely drink alcohol, I was definitely not having any now.

I had to quit my full time job. I had been miserable there since July of 2020 and now it was my life and my health on the line. It was an easy choice because I had been promoted to a leadership position with the yoga nonprofit I had been working for part-time. I struggled so much through all of these injuries and illness with my transition into the role of Executive Director. My husband, my kids, and my dad, teaching yoga, and this promotion kept me alive, kept me fighting for my life. I had a reason to hope. The skills I learned through yoga kept me alive.

I’m also a warrior. Always have been. Always will be.

It took until August for my body to be in a place where I wasn’t waking up every day and throughout the night in shooting, burning spikes of pain.

In September I was able to go hiking. I slowly started a more physical yoga practice. I can now take a power yoga class, although my joints pop and creak when they NEVER did before.

Now I’m still fairly strict with my diet. I am nearly sugar free and carbohydrate conscious. I eat organic greens, vegetables and grass fed, antibiotic free meat and animal products. I’m mostly dairy free, with the occasional goat cheese and using hemp milk. I can drink coffee.

I’m terrified of being poisoned again. I’m scared of medical professionals. I also know that they can’t all be negligent and cruel. Some of them are good people with good intentions. I had just unfortunately been under the care of monsters. There are good and bad people on every field, industry, and profession. It’s hard to tell which one is the wolf in the white coat.

I’m slowly getting better and I will never be the same.

It’s the WHY that still plagues my subconscious and creeps into my sleep with nightmares.

Why aren’t all doctors trauma-informed? Why do they traumatize and retraumatize patients?

Why did she hurt me? Why did she and her ultrasound techs make those jokes and inappropriate comments? Why did he brutalize and digitally assault me during the pelvic exam and fail to test me for an infection when he knew I was in pain? Why did he poison me? Why didn’t the pharmacist warn me? Why are these drugs still legal in the US? How can they be so flippantly prescribed? Take a look down into the Floxed rabbit hole. Some people blow out their knees or Achilles and can never walk again, never be active again. Many victims commit suicide.

Why did this happen to me?

I was failed at every point; in the beginning, at both ERs, consulting with other physicians, and only two out of five doctors valued and treated me as a person enough to actually do their job and treat me.

All I know is this is how women in Oklahoma are treated. If you’re seeking obstetric care, they’re over the moon to assist a dutiful breeder. If you need gynecological care, you’re a nuisance, especially if you are a woman of color.

My dad made an interesting comment while I was suffering through all of the mistreatment, “You can’t hide your face. You’re of Asian descent.”

Was there some inherent, unconscious or even conscious bias?

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