Did you know that about 10,000 “young” women will get breast cancer this year? I do now. I am one of them.
It all started while my boyfriend and I were away for a long weekend to celebrate my 29th birthday. We were lying in bed and I reached my arm across my body. There it was — a lump, in my breast. It was big, and it was bumpy; it felt like a mutant cauliflower had taken root in the soft tissue of my otherwise pillowy breasts.
This was new. Three short months earlier, I had had a breast exam during my yearly OB-GYN exam. My doctor didn’t feel a thing. I had always been hyper aware of my breasts, ever since an ex-boyfriend found a 2 cm jelly bean (which turned out to be a harmless fyberadenoma) and my doctor had told me that I should pay attention to it and watch for changes.
That jellybean was my first of what would be many biopsies. Keep reading »
Women would be forced to have invasive, medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds two hours before having an abortion if Republicans in Michigan get their way. A male Republican in Michigan’s state House of Representatives introduced a bill earlier this week similar to the one Virginia eventually backed-off of last year after public outcry. Keep reading »
This story begins in a basement waiting room in Brooklyn. My boyfriend and I stare at our phones on a dirty looking love seat across from the reception desk. There’s no service, and cellphone games give me headaches, so I pick up an issue of Parenting magazine, even though I am not a parent and — thank god — this isn’t that kind of doctor’s visit. I’m not thirsty, but I drink a lot of water from the water cooler to occupy myself. It takes almost an hour before my name is called. The nurse is friendly, but she mumbles and I keep having to ask her to repeat herself. I am relieved when she asks me how much I weigh rather than making me step on the scale, but the anxiety rises again when she measures my blood pressure. The machine squeezes my arm and then releases it in slow puffs — panic, panic, panic.
Actually, this story begins on Christmas night. And the night before. And the night after. And all of the nights that I went to bed too early. This story begins with me apologizing. This story begins with my mother’s worried face. It begins with an unquenchable, inexplicable desire for sleep, which actually begins nine years ago when I was in 12th grade and became addicted to going to bed. Because that’s what this is really about. That’s the reason I am waiting in a cold doctor’s office, picking nervously at my nail polish, listening to the paper crinkle each time I move, and wanting very badly to pee.
I’m tired. I’m tired all the time. Keep reading »
For all the talk about Miss America being a “scholarship program,” we all know that at its essence, it’s still more a beauty contest than anything else. And even though the definition of beauty has evolved in so many ways over the years, some notions of it have not changed. Which is why current Miss District of Columbia (and former Miss Maryland) Allyn Rose has received hate mail over her plans for a double mastectomy. It turns out some die-hard pageant fans feel that a woman without breasts can’t meet the requirements of the title.
Allyn is planning to get a double mastectomy after her year of service as Miss DC or Miss America is over. Her mom, grandmother, and aunt all died of the disease and she feels as though this is her best chance of beating it. The preventative mastectomy has long been a controversial choice for women. Some people bristle at the idea of removing your breast before there is a confirmed problem. But for Allyn, it’s the safest option for a healthy future. “For me, breast cancer is not a matter of if. It’s almost a matter of when,” she told “Today.” Read more…
When I got my period for the first time, I cried. Hard. Just a few months before, while waiting to board to the bus to head to camp for a week, I saw a girl from my class bawling her eyes out. “What’s wrong with Becky?” I asked one of my friends.
“She got her period,” my friend replied solemnly. “She has cramps. And she doesn’t want to deal with wearing pads all week.” Keep reading »
It’s that time of year. New Year’s Day is just a few days away, and that implies that it’s time to start planning for 2013. What do we want in the new year? What are our goals? What will it take to finally reach true happiness? Well, all of those things can include a healthier body, mind and spirit. Yes, we all know that most resolutions don’t stick. In fact, by the end of January, a third of us will have let our resolutions lapse. The reason? Our goals and strategies are often based more on willpower than on small, simple changes. So, to help you become healthier, happier and more fit in 2013, here are some New Year’s resolutions you can actually stick to:
1. Only eat when sitting down. It’s true, we tend to eat mindlessly and “graze” more when standing up. Sitting down encourages us to be present and eat with more focus–things that can prevent us from overeating.
2. Use small dinner plates. Using a smaller plate, research has shown, leads to taking smaller portions. If you’re trying to avoid overeating, this is a simple trick. Read more…
Thirty-one-year-old Savita Halappanavar died in Ireland’s University Hospital Galway in October after she was repeatedly denied medical care while suffering a miscarriage.
Halappanavar, an Indian who lived and worked in Ireland with her husband, began miscarrying around October 24, 17 weeks into her her pregnancy. Her cervix had dilated, she was leaking amniotic fluid, and a doctor said the fetus would not survive outside her body. She had the “shakes,” was “shivering” and “vomiting” for several days. Halappanavar and her husband repeatedly asked to terminate the pregnancy, but the hospital refused, telling her “This is a Catholic country” and they could not perform an abortion so long as a fetal heartbeat was detectable. On October 28, Savita Halappanavar died of septicemia (blood poisoning) and E.coli ESBL.
Women in Ireland have had a right to an abortion if their life is at risk since 1992, after an Irish Supreme Court ruling. But today, Ireland’s Minister of Health announced the Irish government will introduce a new law to clarify specifically that abortions are legal when the life of the mother is at risk. However, the health of the mother will still not be reason enough for an Irish doctor to terminate a pregnancy. That is still unacceptable. Keep reading »
Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, calling for birth control to be made available over-the-counter for women over age 18. He argues that if contraception was available over-the-counter, employers who object to covering BC in their health insurance plans would back off.
That idea makes sense. However, Jindal’s advocacy seems less about the principle of women’s reproductive rights and more about being butthurt that Democrats were able to use Republicans’ own words and beliefs to bludgeon them in the last election on the women’s rights issue.
Keep reading »
Men who inaccurately believe a woman’s body “just shuts down” during rape aren’t just all up in your legislature making your laws. They also sit on your courts.
California Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson has been publicly admonished in a 10-0 vote by the CA Commission on Judicial Performance for his comments that a 2008 sexual assault victim “didn’t put up a fight” during her rape and that her rape was only “technical,” whatever that means, and not “a real, live criminal case.” Rape can’t happen because if a woman’s body doesn’t want sex, Johnson said, because her ladyparts “will not permit that to happen.”
Good to know he was also a former prosecutor on the Orange County DA’s sex crimes unit, huh?
Warning, there is a description of a very violent threat of sexual violence after the jump. Keep reading »
A New York City woman is suing a “major Republican fundraiser” after he gave her herpes. What a catch! Not only did he give big bucks to Mitt Romney, but he refused to wear a condom or inform her he had an STD. The New York Daily News reports they dated for two years until she found out that he was allegedly cheating on her and knew that he had contracted the STD. Now this poor woman has herpes for the rest of her life. Keep reading »