Dear Men In Congress, I Have Endometriosis And Birth Control IS My Medicine

Dear Men In Congress, I Have Endometriosis And Birth Control IS My Medicine

And I, and many women, need it.
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As the fight to keep birth control accessible for women becomes more real, many people have emerged believing that you can solve your need for birth control by simply abstaining from sex. And I suppose in their tiny, uneducated brains they see "birth control" and see it as one thing: Controlling birth. But despite its misleading name, birth control serves as a medicine that some women truly could not live without... So don't make us.

I suffer from endometriosis, along with about 1 in every 10 women and girls in the US. Endometriosis comes along with painful intercourse, digestive issues, excruciating cramps, ovarian cysts and a wealth of other symptoms. There are women who may never know they have it, and women who are controlled by it every day of their lives. There is no cure for endometriosis, only maintenance. And that maintenance is, you guessed it: Birth control.

In June of 2016, I underwent surgery for my endometriosis. Immediately afterward, I was put on continuous birth control. The goal of this is to not give my body any time to allow the lesions to grow back. Untreated, it can grow back and require additional surgeries to continue removing it. With no cure, maintenance with birth control is a lot of endo patients' best bet.

There are days when, even treated, I get cramps so bad that I throw up. I've had to leave social gatherings to go home, curl up and cry. I've had an additional surgery that was a result of a complication from my endometriosis. I've been in the ER twice for debilitating pain from rupturing ovarian cysts. I've attended pelvic floor physical therapy for pain. I've had to sit through class and meetings in such severe pain I thought I was going to pass out.

These happen while I'm being using the best treatment modern medicine has to offer at this time, so I fear: What if this is taken away?

Sure, everything listed above is HARD. It makes life hard sometimes. But because of the medicine I take (yes, medicine), more of my life is pain-free than not. I am able to live a mostly normal life with this chronic illness. If my one source of treatment was taken away, what would that mean for me? More time holding in tears from cramps ripping through my body? Throwing up in more parking lots after crying the whole way home? More cysts and pain and complications? Why do I have to lose my access to what keeps me some semblance of healthy because another function of the drug is to prevent pregnancy?

And this does not even necessarily pertain to ME, as I believe without insurance covering my birth control myself and my family could and would still find a way to access it.

This is for the women who CAN'T, whose lives would quite seriously turn into a living hell of pain if their insurance no longer covered their medicine.

This is for all of the women living with endo or PCOS or any other debilitating disease that's primary source of treatment is with birth control.

The fact of the matter is, for some women, the insurance coverage of birth control will solely be to prevent pregnancy. But I beg of you not to be so thrown off by that truth that you would rather let millions of women live in excruciating pain.

Remaining abstinent and "not opening our knees" isn't going to solve this.

What is going to solve this, or at the very least assist in making life more tolerable, is birth control. And we are begging you to understand that.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Scoliosis: The Curving Disease

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Heather Searfoss

2-18-2018

The Curvature

After winning the 2018 Super Bowl Philadelphia is known as ‘The City of Champions and Underdogs’. It is the birthplace of the underdog boxer, Rocky Balboa, and the home of the current Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. It is also the birthplace of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where fighters are born and challenged every single day.

I was one of those fighters and I was fighting scoliosis.

According to www.scoliosisrehabilitationcenter.com, “173,000 people are diagnosed with scoliosis every year” (2018, ST&RC) and most of those diagnosed are children. I was diagnosed when I was 11 years old. But before I get into details, what is scoliosis? How is it caused? And why do we need to know about it?

Scoliosis is a medical condition that causes the spinal vertebrae to curve. It is caused by genetics, arthritis, or it may not have a known cause at all, in which case, this is known as idiopathic scoliosis. “Spinal deformity in children and adolescents accounts for the largest share (48%) of all musculoskeletal deformity health care visits – over 857,280 each year” (HCUP-AHRQ 2011) (2018 CLEAR) and this number continues to grow along with the population. But is scoliosis a serious medical condition? Yes, it is and it must be taken seriously.

Scoliosis severity is measured on 3 levels according to CLEAR Scoliosis Institute:

·Mild- Curvature is 20 degrees or less

·Moderate- Curvature is 20-40 degrees

·Severe- Curvature is above 40 degrees

I had 2 curves in my spine.

One curvature was 65 degrees which caused my rib cage on my right side to protrude and constrict my left lung cavity and, the other was 32 degrees which caused my hips to protrude towards the left side. Altogether my curvatures were 97 degrees. By the summer of 2008 my curvatures would have escalated to 100 degrees or above.

The tricky part about scoliosis is that it is a progressive disease. It is like cancer, but without tumors or chemotherapy. It cannot be placed into remission and it cannot be fully cured.

Only maintained and monitored.

“Bracing will NEVER reduce the curvature, and surgery is only a temporary solution for scoliosis treatment” (2018 ST&RC) as for me, I have been through both treatments. I wore a back brace for 2 years and I had a spinal fusion on February 18th, 2008.

To this day, I still have the bars in my back from the surgery and my quality of life has improved since I was first diagnosed in the summer of 2004 so I would say this far I am lucky.

Scoliosis is a disease that most of Americans and society do not think twice about. It is a hidden disease that can only be diagnosed with specific tools and expertise. It is a challenge for those who face it and a burden for the families who witness it. But, with this knowledge I hope we can band together and end this plague, I call

‘The Curvature’.

Works Cited

https://www.clear-institute.org/learning-about-sco...

http://www.scoliosisrehabilitationcenter.com/

My own personal experience with scoliosis. To hear my full story please visit my blog @ https://soccerxlspsu.blogspot.com/

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5 Things To Remember Now that Everyone Is Sick

Will you be next? Hopefully not.
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It’s that time of year when everywhere you go, everyone is getting sick. You walk into work or school, and one by one, people disappear like fallen soldiers. Influenza becomes a word to fear, and "cold" no longer means the temperature. Everyone carries tissues, cough drops, and bottles of cold syrup and wields them like weapons against evil viruses. Are you next?

1. Drink plenty of water:

Drinking water is your new hobby. You must keep water bottles in your car, at work, stuffed between couch cushions, pillows in bed. If you think you've had enough water, you're wrong. Someone coughed on you at the grocery store today... Oh no.

2. Keep track of your vitamins:

Did you know a red bell pepper has over twice the amount of vitamin C as an orange? Red bell peppers are now your new hobby. You figure out ways to put them into every meal, and when all else fails, you just serve them on the side. You thought your throat was sore earlier, but it's probably just dry, right?

3. Bundle Up:

As the temperature plunges, so should you... into your closet for warmer clothes. Scarves and gloves and hats and sweaters. Keep the cold out and warm up! Plus, they act as great barriers for when everyone around you starts to sniff and sneeze. Did you just sneeze? It's just dust!

4. Tell your sick friends to stay home:

As your sick friends begin to grow and grow to an unmanageable size, make sure to gently remind them to stay home and avoid getting everyone else sick. They will probably ignore these suggestions though, so it may be best to just save your breath, which for some reason is a little tighter today.

5. Rest up:

It's official, you've woken up and you're sick now too. Stay in bed an extra hour grieving over all the appointments you're going to miss in the next few days. Rest up and try not to get anyone else sick!!!

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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