Gale, who lives in America’s conservative South, shared her story here in 2012, by commenting on a couple of previous posts. I want to draw attention to it, since she raises many interesting points about the politics surrounding women’s reproductive health.
First message from Gale, June 2012:
If you don’t mind my asking, how did you manage to get your doctor to give you the surgery? I’m a 22 year old woman who has been wanting this surgery for more than a decade for many of the exact same reasons you’ve listed (and some more besides), but as far as I’ve ever been able to research, it’s impossible to get a hysterectomy without there being some moderate to severe physical health issues to have the surgery performed. Heck, even my sister’s doctor refused to perform it after she’d already had two children that she could hardly afford to support.
I’ve always been completely infuriated that I haven’t had rights to my own reproductive system (my sister got pregnant the second time despite birth control AND condoms, so I have very bad trust with contraceptives) and I’m wondering if you actually found a doctor with sense or if there were other circumstances allowing you to have the surgery.
You can read my reply to Gale here.
Second message from Gale, September 2012:
Hey, sorry about taking a while to get back over here – life’s been hectic! That sounds like a lot of process and worry. I’m rather amazed at all the steps you had to go through to get it done, but I’m glad for you that you managed to accomplish it. Thank you so much for the detailed explanation in response for my question. I’ll be keeping this page as reference for years to come in case I ever get a chance to get anything done with my own problems on the issue. And yes, I did read that post you made about the staff trying to talk you out of it as if you wouldn’t give the subject proper attention yourself. -_-” Sometimes the medical profession does embarrass itself…
Sadly, yes, I am in the US, in Mississippi (AKA, the deeeeep conservative south), and given that a just a couple of years ago we had to struggle to overturn a proposed amendment defining personhood as beginning at the moment on conception (which threatened not only the only abortion clinic in the state, but also common oral contraceptives as well as the lives of many women whose health or lives would be endangered by pregnancy), I seriously doubt I’d be able to find any doctors anywhere in my area to help with this.
I wouldn’t be able to pursue having a surgery or other treatments anyway because while my insurance is presently excellent, I’m a college student with no money worth speaking of. And Yeah, I’ve never reproduced, so that doesn’t make doctors any more likely to help me. It’s likely to be several years before I’m settled with a job and home to have cash enough to try any solutions to the problem, but I’ve been eyeing them in advance anyway.
Basically my reasons are this:
- My periods are literally debilitating. I would literally bleed out and die if it were not for the hormone adjustments thanks to birth control, and my cramps and other symptoms are utterly miserable no matter what BC I take. Since they took darvaset off the market, I haven’t found a doctor willing to give me a pain medication that can actually touch my cramps at all, and treating them with large quantities of Tylenol or smaller doses of alcohol so I can at least get out of bed just can’t be doing anything good for my liver. Besides, I hate feeling high on medication or drunk as a necessity anyway. >_>”
- There are numerous health problems in my family, including cancer, heart disease, and best of all, varying amounts of mental instability and disturbing amounts of depression. I’m healthy enough myself and have a good grip on what I have inherited or developed, but I would hate to inflict this bag of bad genetics on any child. For the last ten years I’ve been certain I’ll never want children, but even if by some act of providence I do change my mind, I plan to adopt rather than procreate, because blood ties mean nothing to me and orphans need love too.
- As previously stated, I just don’t want freakin’ kids! However, even though when I do have sex I used birth control, condoms, pulling out (it only reduces odds by like 30%, but hell, every bit helps), and not having sex when I’m at higher fertility on my monthly cycle, THAT DOESN’T MEAN I WON’T GET PREGNANT. I don’t want to face the risk, and I don’t want to face the decision of having an abortion or not! I think I should have the right to jump the gun on that constant state of worry/fear and the moral quandary itself.
However, I’m pretty sure I can’t legally “get fixed” in the States without having already given birth (something I never want to do anyway), or having a medical condition that proves that pregnancy or my own cycle is dangerous to my health or that of any fetus (which I don’t technically qualify for) I’d conceive. I really need to get this verified, but I haven’t had much luck understanding the laws I’ve been able to look up online, and I haven’t come across a doctor yet even comfortable with discussing the notion or explaining the laws in any detail after just vaguely stating that it’s a bad idea.
Anyway, I guess the long comment here wasn’t very necessary, but I’ve always been pissed about politics being jammed up MY damn uterus, and I felt like sharing my story a bit. Hopefully in several years when I’ve built a career I’ll be able to afford looking into possible solutions here, or perhaps out of the country if it’s necessary.
Reading what Gale and her sister are currently up against in the US, makes me very grateful for the UK’s National Health Service – provided you’ve learnt how to make the system work for you, and are up for the challenge, that is! (I had a hysterectomy for PMDD under the care of the NHS in 2012).
Gale, I wish you all the best, and I hope that you can find a way forward with your treatment soon. The NAPS forum has re-opened, it’s a great place to post questions.