If the Buddha Dated

A friend of mine shared a book with me to help in some changes I am making regarding my romantic relationship. It is called “If the Buddha Dated: Finding Love On A Spiritual Path”. There are lots of questions asked and many prompts to sit down with a pencil and paper to answer them. Truthfully. In doing so I realized I have never really thought much about what I want in a partner. One of the exercises has you make a mock personals ad based around what you want, and another has you make one based around negative things you think about yourself. So, for perspective, I will be sharing both of them below. I used to think this kind of stuff was silly, and this doesn’t mean I’m joining Tinder, but I’ve learned a lot about myself by being honest with myself (no matter how silly). I recommend it!

Regular Personals Ad:

30 year old woman with a great sense of humor and adventurous spirit seeks partner to laugh and have fun with! Preferably dark and handsome with a humble spirit and conciousness about the world and issues. A lovely partner, lover and friend all around đŸ™‚

Negative Personals Ad:

Fearful 30 year old woman unsure of what to do with herself or life. Anxious, somewhat annoying, very stubborn and quite aggressive in her opinions. Sad and fed up with being ill, but unable to move forward because of it. Sees that as an excuse.

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Drafts

I have so many potential posts sitting in my drafts folder. There has been a wide variety of strange occurrences in my life in the past few weeks, and I simply cannot wrap my thoughts up tight enough to conjure a single-subject essay of any kind. This week, instead, seems like a good time to share a poem.

 

Masculine energy

Is ever prevalent

In myself

In them

And the female president

 

It’s no comfort

To be accosted

With the deep sounds

Of patriarchy

 

This bench

I chose

Serves it’s purpose

Or so it goes

 

I will not budge

I will not fight

This bench

Is mine

It is

My right

 

This bench

I chose

Serves it’s purpose

Or so it shows

 

Masculine energy is

Ever prevalent

Sinking deeper

And deeper

Into the pavement

 

Off they go

And I still reside

On this beat up bench

That I found

Outside

 

 

Pain in the Uterus!

It seems as those women are expected to endure pain. From high heeled “shoes”, to underwire bras, to corsets (the original underwire bra), to form fitting clothing that cuts off your circulation. We’re pretty much tough as shit because of this, so what’s a little uterus or ovary pain, right?

My mom shared an astonishing article (here) with me about how a woman with extreme abdominal pain had to “wait her turn” at an EMERGENCY room in Brooklyn, New York, because the EMTs, doctors and nurses all down played her pain and they were overcrowded with patients. Lucky for her, her husband was there to advocate for her, as she was in so much pain she was left unable to barely communicate. That sounds like an emergency to me, emergency room personnel!!! And maybe that’s just it. We’re dealing with “medical professionals” who are not taking people seriously anymore. It’s like they think we enjoy coming to the emergency room just to mess with them and that nothing is ever wrong with the human body. If they don’t see blood spewing out of you, then tough luck. This woman was not even physically examined until a male doctor clocked out and a female doctor clocked in right after, showing immediate disbelief at the situation. It turns out that the male doctor said “it’s kidney stones” and basically sedated her with pain killers. It turns out she had something called ovarian torsion—the fallopian-tube twists, and cuts off blood. There was no saving that ovary. They had to take it out and they should have done so 14 hours earlier (the overall time this woman ended up spending in the ER)!

I have been lucky in my recent hospital visits to go to one specifically designed for women and all that goes on inside our nether regions. From one visit, I recall in my oxygen-high stupor, the male EMTs having never seen such pain from a female related issue and looking just as scared and baffled as I, the one with the heart rate of 46. The one female EMT looked calm and said she knew exactly how I felt. The female doctor who saw me did an ultrasound. My current (male) gynecologist doesn’t see a reason to do an ultrasound, MRI or CT scan to look deeper into my pain.

So, what’s the deal gents? Do you need to literally walk a mile in our shoes before you can take our pain seriously and provide us with better medical care? You’ve been warned, they fucking hurt.

Normalizing Discussion on Women’s Health

“Not a mother, just a woman. Not a wife, just a lover. Or am I just water?” – lyrics from an original song

I have never had an abortion.

I have never had a miscarriage.

I have never been pregnant.

I might not even be able to get pregnant.

I am happy about this.

I feel lucky.

I feel empowered.

I believe in honesty.

I believe in normalizing discussion around women’s reproductive organs.

That is why I’m here, writing this blog.

I believe we can all learn from honest, compassionate discussion.

No matter our political views.

So today I would like to talk about Planned Parenthood. About the personal experiences I have had there. I have noticed that there is a common misconception about what Planned Parenthood is and what services they provide. Throughout my 15 years of possible Endometriosis, Planned Parenthood has always been a place of hope. It has always been a place where I felt listened to. Where I felt cared for.

I went to Planned Parenthood when I was uninsured and needed my annual exam.

I went to Planned Parenthood when I was insured and couldn’t find a gynecologist close to home.

I went to Planned Parenthood for affordable birth control when the only one my health insurance “covered” was $90 per month.

I went to Planned Parenthood when I was bleeding for three weeks straight and didn’t know why.

I went to Planned Parenthood to be screened for common STDs.

Essentially, I went to Planned Parenthood when I needed basic health care.

Sexual health care is basic health care.

Basic health care is a human right.

We need Planned Parenthood to stay healthy.

It saddens me that they are constantly under attack.

That women are being shamed as they walk into a Planned Parenthood clinic whether or not they are getting an abortion.

Men can go to Planned Parenthood too.

And free condoms are never a bad thing.

After all, don’t you want to plan if or when you enter into parenthood?

Why I March

The year is 2017. I started it off by turning 30. I have grown up in a society and time that has seemed to have a lot of freedom, rights and equality. Then why did I march on Washington on January 21st, 2017? Why did I need to?

For my health. Which, still, is being talked about by old white men in government as an issue. No, it is a right. A right that all humans deserve to have the first say in.

So, here I am. A 30 year old in the United States of America who has had to fight, advocate and march for basic quality of life healthcare since I was 15. Why did I need to?

Because I might have a very mistreated, hard to diagnose, not talked about, under researched women’s disease called Endometriosis.

For half my life I have experienced extreme pain during menstruation, almost lost consciousness more times than I can remember, been hospitalized with a heart rate of 46, developed chronic headaches, fatigue, pelvic pain and irritable bowel syndrome, among other things (yes, there are more symptoms). My overall quality of life has deteriorated because of this. I have spoken to many doctors in these 15 years, and not until recently did any of them bring up this disease. In fact, I self-diagnosed myself with it years ago, but again only recently learned more about how serious it is. Here are some of the things I have been told by doctors around the country, and even overseas, when I came to them with the above symptoms:

  • Have children and it will go away (told to me as a 15 year old and brought up again in my early/mid twenties – please note I don’t want children!)
  • Cramps are normal, some people just have it worse (Fuck you, doctors.)
  • Take pain killers for a week before and during your period to manage the pain (I am now more or less immune to pain killers, including prescription 800mg Ibuprofen. I guess I am Superwoman.)
  •  Go on birth control pills (sometimes continually)  to manage the pain (I have taken every dosage of pill, but still had attacks, though less frequent. I currently have a hormonal IUD.)
  • A diagnosis of dysmenorrhea (the medical term for painful periods – no shit, that’s not a proper diagnosis.)
  • Go on Lupron (a hormone treatment that tricks your body into early menopause – please note that I just turned fucking 30 years old, not 50.)

So, what the fuck is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a female disease in which the tissues of menstruation causing inflammation are found elsewhere in the body outside the uterus. It is associated with monthly menstrual cycles and is characterized by pelvic pain, heavy periods, prolonged bleeding, severe cramps, and pain with sex (dyspareunia).

Endometriosis is a painful reproductive disorder that affects 176 million women worldwide. The economic impact of endo is staggering: businesses lose billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and work time because of the disease. A leading cause of infertility and chronic pelvic pain, it has also been linked to other health concerns, including certain autoimmune diseases, fibroids, adenomyosis, interstitial cystitis, and even certain cancers. It is also one of the leading reasons for laparoscopic surgery and hysterectomy in the United States.

Here’s a visual component

So, 15 years later, here I am at 30 finally getting closer to receiving the care and treatment I should have had back then. I am lucky that I did not have a hysterectomy in my twenties. I am lucky that I am not currently going through menopause. But to go half your life without ever feeling listened to? That’s some major fucking bullshit right there.

Through a search at my local library for Endometriosis I came across a book written by Dr. Tamer Seckin, an Endometriosis specialist in NYC, called The Doctor Will See You Now: Recognizing and Treating Endometriosis (only just published in 2016, much to my surprise). I immediately requested it, only hoping to seek more knowledge on the subject, but knew from the first page I had to see this doctor. By the graces of my mother (who is paying the out-of-network costs because healthcare still sucks in this country, so what’s the point of my insurance?), I will have an extensive consultation with him in March, that could lead to surgery, which would ultimately change my whole life.

But not everyone with this disease has someone who can help them. I certainly didn’t think I did. There are not many specialists on the matter, and your local gynecologist will claim they know enough about it to “treat” it (as mine did), when in reality this disease is not being researched enough. In fact, some may say Endometriosis is what used to be known has hysteria in women.

In the meantime I am still dealing with my gynecologist, pleading my case for an MRI (which Dr. Seckin needs to rule out cancer if I need surgery). In fact, my gynecologist said today that he has no medical grounds to order an MRI, just an ultrasound (which I will have done with Dr. Seckin anyway). This is the same fucking asshole that told me there is an 80% chance I have Endometriosis. Is that not enough?

So, this is why I march. So that the women who were not heard and sent away by men to institutions, didn’t experience that for nothing. So that I don’t have to go through my asshole doctor to get an MRI covered by my in-state insurance (hello, universal healthcare) and save me an extra $800. So that all women have free access to birth control and abortion. So that we’re not stuck with a child we don’t want and so this beautiful planet is not overpopulated. I will continue to march for as long as I need to, but I honestly hope it doesn’t have to be for another 30 years. As my mother’s Women’s March on Washington sign read “I’m still protesting this shit?!”. So please, come march with me. Come bleed with me.