One of the awesome little side problems I’ve experienced during my whole fibromyalgia/atypical facial pain mess has been menstrual migraines. For those who don’t know, a menstrual migraine — at least for me — is a series of days-long headaches that occur like clockwork before your period. In my case, they lay me out for a few days and then miraculously disappear as soon as Aunt Flo arrives.
I have other friends with this condition. When you’re a parent, it especially sucks. My friend Debbie was just telling me about a wonderful day she had at a water park when she had to haul a four-person raft up four flights of stairs. She didn’t really elaborate about what happened when she got to the top and had to sit down. There was something about gritted teeth and, “Don’t talk to me, don’t look at me, be happy you’re at the water park.” I can only assume she considered jumping at that point…
So, what to do about this mess? Well, there’s pain medication (like I’m not downing enough of that already). There’s migraine medication (which puts me into a pseudo coma for about a day). There’s meditation and diet change (okay, thanks Tom Cruise — I’ll get right on that after I finish ripping through the first layer of my skull).
And then there’s hormone therapy, aka, birth control pills.
Now picture being me. And you already take THIS every day.
Granted, some of these are supplements. But I frankly don’t feel like adding one more med or “thing I have to swallow” to my daily routine. Not to mention, birth control pills haven’t always been my best friends. They make me feel a bit wonky, and the last thing I need is more wonky.
So, next option? The intrauterine device or IUD.
Some IUDs, including the Mirena, secrete a low level of progestin. The hormones don’t go through my system and freak me out the way an oral contraceptive does, but I still get just enough to:
- Stop my period almost completely (bonus)
- Curb my menstrual migraines
Do I need birth control? No. My husband has been snipped. There’s nothing coming down those pipes. This has nothing to do with procreation. It has everything to do with my health.
Why am I bringing all of this up right now? Because if, in some parallel universe, I just adored crafting or desperately needed a job and my only option was $8.25 at Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court of the United States just told me to go suck it.
Hobby Lobby is a family owned company that is religiously opposed to the use of the emergency contraceptive pills — like Plan B and Ella — and IUDs. So they sued to be exempt from having to pay for them under Obamacare. And they won. Hobby Lobby, incidentally, employs thousands of people. It’s not just some mom and pop shop that has Bobby Joe and Mary in the back room putting stickers on homemade Christmas sweaters. We’re talking major company here.
But the court’s solution (it’s 5-4 solution, all of the women justices voting against, by the way) was that the government could just figure it out and pick up the tab so that women who worked for Hobby Lobby wouldn’t be unduly burdened.
Because, you know, the government is an almost mythical, pie-in-the-sky, limitlessly wealthy entity when it comes to funding social safety nets. The current Congress loves voting “Yay” to stuff like unemployment insurance, food stamps, and veterans benefits…
But all that aside, let’s just pretend for a moment that the Congress would/could figure out a way to fill the gaping hole that’s been left in women’s health care. Where does that actually leave us? As this story rolls along, I think our best course of action may be to try to FORGET — so that we don’t go nuts — that the government is us. We are paying for this. And Hobby Lobby, a private corporation, has just gotten away with what amounts to one more form of corporate welfare.
I’m just one of millions of women who use birth control. For numerous reasons. But the most important takeaway from this story? I need it. It’s none of your business why. That’s between my doctor and me. And if, as a society, we’ve decided not to be neanderthals, join the rest of the first world, and make sure our citizens have health care, then birth control needs to be included in the whole package. NO QUESTIONS ASKED. You can’t attach an asterisk to part of my body and expect me to be okay with it.
So, are you angry yet? There are a few cures for that. Some are free…
- Volunteer with a campaign
- Contact your representatives and give them a piece of your mind
- Don’t yell at campaign volunteers who call your house — they’re trying to help
- Don’t let false information get perpetuated — challenge it
- Volunteer at Planned Parenthood
And some cost money…
- Donate to campaigns — especially the ones in Congressional districts that are being targeted by the Koch Brothers and other crazy people
- Donate to Planned Parenthood
Between this and the latest abortion ruling that takes away the 35-foot barrier between patients and protesters, I sort of feel like I’m in a bad dream. I truly didn’t believe I’d be fighting these battles for my daughter’s generation. I thought these would be stories she’d read about in history books and gasp at with her friends.