I had a follow-up appointment with my Rheumatologist to discuss the results of some more blood tests I took. To be clear about how extensive these tests were, they took 17 tubes from me. And this was the second round of testing. In the first, they took about a dozen.
Out of all those tests, the only thing that came back positive was an ANA (Antinuclear Antibody). This just means that I have an autoimmune disorder of SOME type. But the other tests would confirm that it is probably nothing too serious. Thank God for that!
In doing some research, I've learned that 1 in 12 people actually have an autoimmune disorder. In the US alone, 23.5 million people have an autoimmune disorder. There are more than 80 different known types of autoimmune diseases. They are all characterized by abnormal functioning of the immune system, which causes your immune system to produce antibodies against your own tissues.
My tests revealed a "higher than normal" level for Sjögren's (SHOH-grins) syndrome, a disease in which the immune system targets the glands that make moisture, such as tears and saliva. However, I don't have the symptoms for it:
Dry eyes or eyes that itch
Dryness of the mouth, which can cause sores
Loss of sense of taste
Severe dental cavities (I'm always proud to report that I have NEVER had a cavity!)
Fatigue (Sure, I'm tired - I'm a mother of three)
Joint swelling or pain
The doctor said that it could mean that I will develop Sjögren's later in life and he suggested a pill that could slow the progression. And then there's the possibility that I won't and that the test means ... well, nothing.
And again, my mind takes me back to the link made between Mirena (IUD/birth control) and Autoimmune diseases. A doctor posted a video, which explained how the two (Mirena & Autoimmunity) were connected. I discovered that video on a blog called, "My Life After Mirena" and I also previously posted it here.
It was also on, "My Life After Mirena" where I learned about the connection between Mirena and Silicone poisoning (yes, silicone - the kind that fake boobs are made with). Mirena uses silicone -- no doubt about that. And it is advised to Mirena users, that it should not be taken "if you are allergic to silicone."
But how would a woman who has never had leaky breast implants possibly know if they are allergic to silicone? And since the silica in silicone is considered toxic, wouldn't we all be "allergic" to it? Of course, the study that found that out that silica has high levels of toxicity (in 1954) has been "suppressed."
Here is an article (I got this from "My Life After Mirena" blog) that explains how silicone produces abnormalities in immune system functioning: http://www.lightparty.com/Health/SiliconePoison.html
As I read through that article, it leaves very little doubt in my mind. (Please keep in mind that the silicone used in breast implants and the silicone used in Mirena are the same.) Here are some points that stood out for me:
"HIGH LEVELS OF ANTI-NUCLEAR ANTIBODIES (ANAs), IMMUNE MARKERS ASSOCIATED WITH LUPUS erythematosus, were observed in ten of 11 women with implants reporting autoimmune symptoms."
(Hmmmm... a positive ANA ... Lupus-like symptoms...)
"Researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison School of Medicine reported that AUTOANTIBODIES OF UNCLEAR SIGNIFICANCE may be found in 5% to 30% of women with silicone breast implants."
(Double Hmmmm... unclear significance ... like being told you have "some SORT of autoimmune issue," but not sure exactly what it is!...)
"Typical symptoms associated with silicone include cognitive dysfunction, short-term memory loss, SJOGREN'S SYNDROME (dryness in glands, such as the mouth, kidneys, eyes, and lungs), scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, dermatomyositis, severe joint and muscle pain, incapacitating fatigue, swollen lymph glands, skin problems, peripheral numbness, multiple allergies, headaches, hair loss, sunlight sensitivity, central nervous system disorders (similar to multiple sclerosis), and others."
(Triple self-explanatory Hmmmm ...)
And this is just plain interesting:
"Silicone produces a classifiable new disease marked by autoimmune symptoms. Among physicians willing to credit silicone with toxicological and immunological effects, a variety of names for silicone-induced disease have been proposed: siliconosis, undifferentiated or atypical connective tissue disease, silicone related disease, silicone reactive disorder, silicone disease syndrome, and silicone implant disease (SID)."
He explained my blood tests results, which weren't much of anything. But given the CLEAR connections above, I have little to no doubt that my "unknown immune issues" were caused by the silicone in Mirena. And those "issues" triggered my Avacular Necrosis in my hips and shoulders.
Avascular Necrosis, also known as osteonecrosis, mainly affects men. However, in cases related to SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus), the disease mostly affects women. As I have shared before, many women who use Mirena have reported lupus-like symptoms. It seems to cause the body to mimic Lupus, without actually having it.
If you are a woman who is reading this blog -- my advice would be to stop or never use Mirena. You might not have any clear symptoms or problems and you may actually be happy with the carelessness associated with an IUD (I was), but why would you take that chance with your body knowing what you know now?
You will have to do your own research and decide what is best for you.
I do not think that a ton of women who use Mirena will develop AVN and have to learn to walk again. But for me, that is what is meant. Do not give your birth control even a chance to control you.
I would also like to make it clear that I am not researching these connections because I want to go after Mirena and sue them. I am researching because it is my body and I deserve to know why my life has been so affected. And I think that this information is worth sharing.
My doctor has suggested that I visit a Mayo Clinic for further research. They have specialized treatment and diagnosis. I do want to go, but the closest clinic is in Florida. I'll definitely wait until I'm comfortably walking again to be able to travel there, which will hopefully be soon.
Note to women with breast implants: Even if you have saline implants, they are in a silicone casing. The article I linked to above states, "Thousands of women who have had their implants for one or two decades now are seeking medical help for mysterious symptoms which resemble arthritis, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, connective tissue disorders, and/or immune dysfunction and seem to be associated with their implants."