When I was 24 years old, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS, for those unfamiliar, means that my body doesn’t always ovulate due to a hormonal imbalance. My symptoms can go from mildly unpleasant to painful and scary. For me, during most of my teens and early twenties, I experienced very irregular periods, big weight changes, and painful migraine headaches that lasted for days.*
Worse than those symptoms are the things PCOS could mean for my future. Women like me face a significantly higher risk for diabetes; endometrial, ovarian, and breast cancer; heart problems; and infertility.
For me, hormonal birth control is magic. Not only are my symptoms one thousand times more manageable, I’m healthy. I rarely have migraines anymore. My weight (thanks to a healthy diet and a pretty serious running habit) is exactly where I want it. And as my husband I get more ready to have children, my doctor is confident that I can conceive. See, magic.
It’s weird telling all this to strangers on a blog. But I’m doing it to Keep Ken Out. If Ken Cuccinelli had his way, it would be more difficult for me to access the pill. My employer, or even my spouse’s employer, could deny me the ability to get birth control through my health insurance. It astounds me that anyone would think the right to make decisions about my health lies with anyone but me and my doctor.
*Shameless Planned Parenthood plug: Ladies: if your health care provider tells you “some women just have it hard,” like some of mine did, go somewhere else. Eventually, I went to a Planned Parenthood in Boston. They helped me tremendously.
–Katie, Floyd, VA