Recently I had an appointment with a doctor that resulted in a treatment plan for a problem I’ve been struggling with for years. A problem that put me on restricted movement when I was pregnant, and that led doctors to tell me I shouldn’t have any more kids. A problem that, thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act, I was able to treat for free.
Thanks to the ACA, I’m now the proud owner of an IUD. A simple device that has already helped me tremendously. You see, my body doesn’t properly absorb iron, which has lead to me having severe iron deficient anemia. If you have anemia, you know that it makes you feel exhausted, and lethargic. You know it zaps away all of your get-up-and-go. If you have a period, and anemia, you know that monthly blood loss isn’t great for the condition. If you have the kind of period I used to have, you know that it can take weeks to recover, and then you’re just back to square one a few days later.
My doctor recommended a hormonal IUD to me with hopes that it would significantly reduce the length and intensity of menstruation for me. There are other options (ablation, partial hysterectomy) that would cost me not an insignificant amount of money, but, for now, there was an option that cost me nothing. For the next five years, thanks to President Obama, my reproductive system won’t be something that disrupts my life, and exacerbates a medical condition I can’t do a lot about.
I can tell you the relief was instant. The first month after placement, I saw a marked difference. It will take a while to restore my iron levels, and this isn’t a cure for my anemia, but it’s a treatment that will help in a big way.
There are side effects, and I’ve had a couple. But they are, without a doubt, worth it. I had a small scare that sent me to the hospital to have an ultrasound to make sure the IUD was where it belonged (because I can never do anything the standard, easy way), but, again, worth it.
I’m writing this because people like to talk about birth control. Men specifically. They like to call the women who use it sluts, and they like to question why anyone should have to pay for sluts to have their slut pills. Well, here’s the thing, birth control has a lot of uses. One of those uses is pregnancy prevention, but it is also used to treat a lot of medical issues. No person should have to justify to anyone why they need or want birth control. I shouldn’t have to justify my IUD to Rush Limbaugh, or my senators, or Paul Ryan. It’s really between me and my doctor. However, my uterus has been politicized. My sex has been politicized. So here I am, on the internet, talking about my anemia, and Margaret. (Of course I named my IUD, we’re very close.)
The truth is, I’m incredibly blessed, and could have maybe been able to afford an IUD out of pocket, but it would have been a financial strain. I honestly probably would have continued suffering through unreasonably long, heavy periods, and the constant affects of anemia made worse by blood loss. Because I have bills, and student loans, and growing children who need new clothes whenever I blink. A part of the ACA made this possible for me, and I’m incredibly grateful. I’m also grateful that this is something that people who are not me have access to. In two short months, my life has been changed, and I’m glad that’s something that every person with a uterus who is living with the same problem that I live with can experience too.