Cyborg Kris, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Implanon
As some of you may know, two Fridays ago I went to my doctor to get Implanon. While this is a slightly icky topic, sure, I figure it’s also important enough to discuss (especially for future Googlers). Implanon is the most effective form of birth control available. (It’s actually four times as effective as surgical sterilisation, if you can believe it.) It’s also incredibly cheap: it cost me less than $100 and it lasts for three years. So what is it? It’s a matchstick-sized rod that’s implanted on the underside of your arm. The other big advantage it has over Depo-Provera (which I was on for years) is that once you remove it, your hormone and fertility levels come back up within days. (Depo can take months and months to leave your system.) I know that I don’t want kids now; but time is running out and I don’t want to screw us over if we change our mind. So that was the rationale for switching. (Well, that and the fact that even with multiple calendar reminders, I still missed my last Depo shot. Oops.)Okay, but is it weird? you’re all asking. It was kinda weird. When I took the prescription for the implant to the chemist, he gave me a MASSIVE box (like a foot long). It was a little scary. My doctor explained later that the applicator basically has a needle on the end, and then a plunger to push the implant into the correct spot. (He also advised me NOT to look, as it’s a little scary to look at.) I laid down while he prepped my left arm with some betadine. Then there was a small bit of pain as he injected me with a numbing agent. The implant doesn’t go straight into your arm; it lies along the surface (but down a bit; it doesn’t poke up or anything). So he kinda pushed the numbing stuff all along where the implant would go. Then I looked away while the applicator went in. There was no pain at all; just some pressure. Within a few seconds it was all over. I had a tiny hole where the implant went in, so he put a bandaid over that. Then the icky part: he had me press on the spot so that I could feel that the implant was actually in there. Legally, it was important that I could verify that he had done it properly. Then he wrapped a compression bandage around my whole arm to minimize the risk of any bruising. I was out the door in less than 20 minutes. I even got a fancy-pants card for my wallet that recorded the date of insertion and which arm it went in. (Presumably because three years from now, I might have forgotten!)
I’ll be honest now. My arm felt “weird” for like a week. It wasn’t out and out painful; just that occasionally I’d move it and there’d be a weird twinge because I could tell that something was in there. I also had a couple days of feeling a bit emotional and stressed out (presumably from the hormones). It didn’t keep me from knitting or running or doing anything else though. Ten days later, the bruise and insertion wound are nearly completely gone and my arm feels 100%. I can definitely feel the implant by running my fingers over the spot. (It’s kind of addictive. I made half the people at knitting do it the other day.)
Anyway, there you go. Implanon isn’t terribly well-known yet, so I figured it would be useful to put my experience out there for other women. Like I said, it was pretty cheap. ($30 for the implant, plus $60 for my private doctor’s appointment.) Cheap, effective, and reversible is worth the slight weirdness of having an implant, I think.