BRCA Burnout, Blogging and Birth Control

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You may have noticed (or you may not have, which won’t hurt my feelings in the slightest) that I have been on an extended blogging hiatus. I’m sad to admit it, but in addition to the complete mind-fuck that was DIY wedding planning, I’m not exaggerating when I say that I got burned out on BRCActivism – big time. I love my BRCA sisters SO much, but I just couldn’t handle the emotional commitment on top of the chronic pain, job stressors, wedding planning insanity AND blogging, so I quietly slipped into blogger hibernation mode. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve got tons to share, and I’ve actually written a few private posts that I will make public sometime soon (I mean, I’m practically legally obligated to share some wedding pictures with my followers, right? Check out our wedding photographer, because her stuff is the shit), but it was a necessary break that didn’t really have an end date until……….

@#*&! SCOTUS got me so riled up that I decided to come out of bloggy retirement, y’all!

To avoid offending anyone’s intelligence (I can’t promise I’m not going to offend your sensibilities, though, so proceed with caution), I’ll just link to the Scotusblog posts about the recent decision that pushed me over the edge:  Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Anyone who knows me probably immediately made a mental note to avoid me after hearing about this ruling. Seriously, hulk smash, SCOTUS.

This is a woman’s rights issue – fuck, this is a HUMAN rights issue. This is a religious freedom issue. This is a separation of church and state issue. This is, well, this is fucking insane. Laci Green put it best:

I read a lot of really amazing, passionate responses to this abomination of a ruling on social media … but I also read a lot of crap. A lot of “I’m playing devil’s advocate here” comments and “freedom of religion, yee haw!” posts (don’t get me started on why THAT is crap… read this guys take), and a lot of people missing the point. One of them, a Facebook friend, posted this status today:

What if everyone who is spending time on FB posting, sharing, bitching and complaining about yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling spent the same amount of time advocating for Childhood Cancer???? Contact your Fed Rep and tell them to appropriate $ towards research for childhood cancers. Reach out to a family in your community to see how you can help. Help our future generations or else birth control won’t even be an issue to discuss.

My initial reaction was eye-rolling and exasperation. Railing against SCOTUS shouldn’t imply that we care any less about Childhood Cancer. They have nothing to do with one another! Then I thought about it for a minute, and (of course) my BRCA brain zeroed in on the “Big C” in her statement. Cancer. Oh. My. God. Contraceptives. Cancer. Why hadn’t I thought of that implication before?! Here I was worried about baby-making and choices and women’s rights – but birth control is a LIFESAVING measure for women like me. This whole issue is so much bigger than sex, people.

Ovarian cancer kills people. That’s a known fact, and mutants like me quake in fear at the mere mention at OC – but, what can we do to protect ourselves against it? Uh… not a whole lot, aside from TAKING BIRTH CONTROL. Birth control has been shown to greatly reduce the risk of Ovarian Cancer, and as it turns out, the longer an individual takes it, the lower their risk! It’s so important to women with a risk of OC (not just BRCA mutants, either!) that our gynecologists actively recommend that we use it, despite the slight increase to our risk for breast cancer! This benefit is often thought to be limited to birth control pills, but studies show that ALL forms of contraception (including vasectomy?!) help to reduce the risk of Ovarian Cancer development. Hobby Lobby is so focused on preventing (imaginary) abortifacients from getting in the hands of women who (clearly) can’t be responsible enough to make a decision themselves that they are actively preventing women from protecting themselves from the “Big C”?

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Snark aside, cancer risk reduction is just one of many non-intercourse based reasons that birth control is an essential *medication* for many women. Decreases in chronic acne, migraines, and severe cramps, as well as regulation of menstrual cycles and other hormone levels are seen in patients that utilize birth control. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a painful condition that plagues many young women, is commonly treated with hormonal birth control, among other hormone treatments.

Other posts have pointed out the multifaceted use of birth control in the past few days, so I’m not rattling any new cages here, but the potential harm to women is palpable and will be documented. I like to talk about cancer (what can I say? it’s my wheelhouse), and I felt like kicking and screaming, so there you have it. There are SO, SO, SO, SO many more cans of worms opened by this ruling and I just picked one tiny piece, but any excuse to make a fractious image like the one above, eh?