This week has been a week of firsts! To start out with, I finally donated blood on Tuesday. For me, this is a huge accomplishment. Why? I hate needles. I cannot stand having them in my arm or wrist or any other part of my body. The pinching feeling of the needle entering my flesh bothers me to no end. So, when my sister repeatedly approached me about going and donating blood with her, I knew it was time to take the plunge and do it.
I have wanted to donate blood for a long time. My father has donated his blood and platelets for as long as I can remember, and I have always admired him for it. I also know that the need for blood is great, and there will always be a need for it. Donating my blood means I may save another person’s life. I am willing to conquer my fear of needles and spare some of my time to allow someone else to keep living their life.
My sister made the appointment for my blood donation. We each had an appointment at 11:15 a.m., but because she has donated before, and had less paperwork do to, she finished faster. I told everyone at the Red Cross Donation center just how nervous I was. I told the secretary, the nurse taking my blood, my sister, and anyone walking by me. Thankfully, everyone was kind and repeatedly asked me how I was doing and if I needed anything. The nurse that also took my blood was very patient. She allowed me to use the bathroom before we started, and was gentle the entire time. She took my blood pressure, checked my pulse, pricked my finger to check my iron levels (which were FANTASTIC, and she commented I was an excellent candidate to donate blood) and took my temperature. After I answered some questions she took me to the area where she would take the blood. It was not as bad as I thought it would be, and it was over quickly. I worried for nothing! However, that is usually how life is. We worry, and in the end our worries never even manifest themselves. I am excited to be a lifetime blood donor and to work on my fear of needless every time I donate.
I also became public about my struggles with PCOS. PCOS is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which is a medical condition that causes my hormones to be imbalanced (that is the quick explanation). I have always feared what people would say if they knew I had PCOS. I know now that I do not have to fear that. When I posted a status on Facebook this week about my PCOS, the response was all positive. Other women thanked me for putting myself out there, and they appreciated it. I even found out a lot of other women also have PCOS and struggle with it like I do. In the status I talked about how I have PCOS and I use birth control to treat it. I posted the status because of the recent Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision that allows companies/bosses to be able to decide whether or not they want to cover birth control and other contraceptives. What SCOTUS does not realize, and what these companies fighting to be able to choose whether or not they cover birth control do not realize is many women use birth control for other things besides contraception. Here is the status I posted:
'Birth control is not just for protecting against unwanted pregnancies. Birth control does so much more than that! I take birth control because if I didn't I would not have regular periods on my own. I have a condition called Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which causes a hormonal imbalance in my body. If I did not take birth control, I would have no period, my rates for different types of cancers would nearly double, I would have a much more difficult time controlling my emotions, and it would be so much more difficult for me to have a child in the future. Because I am now on birth control, my PCOS Specialist now considers me a treated patient. This is great news! If not for birth control, I wouldn't be treated.
So, when I hear that SCOTUS decides that my birth control should be regulated by someone else other than me, I do get really pissed off. This is something that could potentially save my life, especially since without it I am at risk for breast cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, diabetes, ETC. And I do believe that I should also have the freedom to choose when I want to have a child, and when I do not want to have a child. I absolutely consider the Supreme Court ruling to be anti-women, this is no “pro-life” move. This is about controlling a woman’s body, and nothing else. My body, my choice. Everyone else needs to stay out of my vagina.
One last thing. I know everyone has their different opinions about this, but I am putting my story out there because everyone needs to hear it. Everyone needs to understand that women of all ages must have the right to control their own bodies. Say what you would like, but your comments do not bother me. My fight for the pro-choice movement will continue to march on until the day I die. If you’re not with me, that is fine. I know where I stand, and I will not change my position.’
I feel good that I became public about my struggles with PCOS, and that I can now freely talk about it. I have nothing and no one to fear. PCOS and birth control do not define me. Being a woman does not define me. I decide what defines me, no one else. I feel as if I am moving forward in life. I hope to continue to do so.