Experiencing problems with menstrual periods and seeking help
So I got married in 2010 and since 2010, me and my husband had been trying, so not really trying, but we've been well, you know, marriage and stuff, and, but after three, I think it was three months I noticed that my menstrual period was lasting longer than it usually does. So, usually it comes every three to six months, but this time it was just ongoing, non-stop.
So, but at the time we were in, we were overseas at the time and we were back in Tonga. So the hospitals there. They like didn't really have the resources to figure out why I was constantly bleeding but I kept going. I think it was six months and then we came back to Australia, it kept continuing.
So, then I ended up going to see a gynaecologist at one of the hospitals and, I was put on the MIRENA [levonorgestrel inter-uterine device] at that time. They said it was just because I'm overweight. And so they put me on a MIRENA at that time and started me on METFORMIN [metformin hydrochloride] and said, just to try and, something to do with trying to control my periods and hopefully try to stop it, but it didn't stop. They just kept continuing. So, I had, I think it was 2011, I went in and got some scans done and then they told me that they found cysts, quite a few cysts on both sides of my ovaries and that they had to remove it.
And from, since 2011, I have been having a dilation and curettage, I think that's what it's called, every year. So I go into the hospital and I get that done every year where they clean out well, to my understanding, it's cleaning up the ovaries, getting the cyst out or whatever and even that hasn't worked.i
Being diagnosed with PCOS and neuroendocrine tumours
And then they told me that I've got, I had polycystic ovarian syndrome. And that the only way that I could possibly have a child was to lose the weight, but it's been very hard to lose the weight and yeah. And so they just put me on, kept me on the MIRENA to try and keep me, keep my periods under control.
But at the moment it's not, it's still ongoing pretty much. And then in 2019, I went in to get the MIRENA taken out, hopeful to try again. But they told me that I wasn't able to get it taken out because I was at high risk of ovarian cancer because I was also diagnosed with a rare type of cancer last year as well. So, it's trying to control one, but then having to leave the other out, until the other is controlled, pretty much.
Interviewer: So, the other kind of cancer that you were diagnosed, do you know what that was?
Mary: It's called neuroendocrine tumour. So, basically, they said it's a rare cancer. There's no chemo or anything. The only treatment used is a hormone-based treatment, where I get an injection every month trying to suppress the tumours because it's malignant and it’s already spread out through the body. So, at the moment, they're trying to focus on that, but they've kept me on the MIRENA because without the MIRENA, I just constantly bleed. So from January to December, there's non-stop, it's an everyday thing and having the MIRENA in slows down the bleeding..
Thoughts about trying fertility treatment in the future
Interviewer: If you were able to resolve the tumours and going off the MIRENA or anything like that, would you consider trying fertility treatment?
Mary: Yes. I've actually asked that in probably two or three of my appointments with the gynaecologist. I've asked what are the treatments that I can go through, or are there treatments out there for me? And those times that I've asked, I haven't been given an answer. It's still the, "We'll work on this first and then we'll figure it out after." But yeah, I'm very...IVF and that, I've had a bit of research and stuff like that on it. A lot of it is my own research.
i Annual surgeries for ovarian cysts or PCOS is not usual treatment.