my experience with lupron/”puberty blockers”
i have severe endometriosis. i was diagnosed at 16 and had three major surgeries for it before i turned 19. i started birth control for my six weeks long, heavy, debilitating periods when i started having them at 12. by 19, i had tried every birth control under the sun (with no success) -- except lupron. lupron, a gnrh agonist commonly used on males as a treatment for prostate cancer, on women in fertility treatments, on women with endometriosis, aaaaand yup, this is the exact same drug parents let be injected into girls with the euphemistic title of a “puberty blocker.” (i promise we’ll circle back to this hold on)
luckily, i live two hours away from one of the most accomplished endometriosis specialists/surgeon in the world, and he is so passionate about finding a cure or at least better treatments for women with endometriosis. he’s an obgyn but he literally doesn’t do the obstetrics part, he purely focuses on helping each woman find their best treatment for this disease. he has such a vast amount of knowledge on surgery techniques and surgical robots and different treatment options, and he is incredibly thorough when it comes to informed consent. if something could happen or has happened-- positive, negative, or neutral-- he will tell you about it. in detail. now this is important, because after decades of observing treatment effects and listening to women and researching side effects, his personal philosophy is that the lupron injection should be a last resort. like, after major surgery last resort. if a woman wants to try it first thing, he won’t stop her, buuuut after he gives her all the possible short and long term side effects, she usually is eager to explore other options.
(enter me) 19, three surgeries, dependent on opioid painkillers just to be able to get out of bed in the morning, and now, a fun new symptom! every time i begin to bleed, my heart develops an arrhythmia and i experience constant, burning chest pain. i begin to violently cough up blood. so, my endometriosis has spread to my lungs, may randomly cause my lungs to collapse at literally any moment, and i’ve exhausted all treatment options. except! lupron. the devil drug. the horror stories i heard from other women were insane, and that was just the short-term side effects. my doctor had to go through the process of explaining both short and long term side effects as i cried in the office chair because i knew that i had to take this drug. there was nothing else left for me, and things were getting worse. so i did. i was on it for a year. you want to know what that year was like?
i was suicidal, homicidal, and fell headfirst into the most severe and detrimental manic episode of my life. i experienced psychotic symptoms, and that along with the aforementioned symptoms led me to a week long stay at the psych ward. i did not have one day without severe joint and bone pain. i broke three bones, all while running or walking, when i had never broken a bone before. i’m already epileptic, but i had two hospital stays for uncontrollable tonic-clonic seizures while i was on it. i couldn’t sleep. i got night sweats and night terrors. i either couldn’t eat a thing or felt absolutely insatiable. regardless, i was always nauseous and got sick a lot. now, six years later, i still deal with worsening osteopenia, making me at high risk to develop osteoporosis. at 25. and the kicker is, it did shit-all for my endometriosis. it made me sick on top of sick on top of sick etc etc. and i’m not a rarity. men and women from all ages and all walks of life have experienced this and worse, and many people, like me, are still dealing with the fallout of it, years or even decades later. i do not believe this drug should be on the market for literally anything at all.
i was an adult and lupron gave me the worst fucking year of my life. and there are parents letting their HEALTHY children be injected with this at age 12, instead of realizing that if their child is so deeply afraid of puberty that they would rather take a decidedly harmful drug that essentially chemically castrates men and puts women in pseudo-menopause for years, let’s maybe try to work out the cause of that fear in some therapy sessions and group art classes and getting involved in sports or something. i can imagine that it’s pushed at gender clinics without touching on the negative effects too much because, well, lupron drugmakers and salespeople have a history of bribing prescribing doctors with trips, fancy dinners, resorts, or straight up telling a doctor they could earn $100K extra a year just by prescribing lupron to their patients. they went to court and were fined $875,000,000 for it, although i’m sure that’s pocket change for a company who profited $826,000,000 off the drug in 2015 alone, and i doubt they cleaned up their act. if a doctor is willing to give a female child lupron simply because she doesn’t “feel like a girl,” while being completely or even just half-way aware of all the negative side effects of it and backlash it’s received in the medical community, they might as well smear their own shit on the hippocratic oath they swore on, and they should probably give up their license while they’re at it.
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One of the most unsettling things about trans discourse right now is how trans women are untouchable — individually and as a group. you can’t even so much as imply that a trans woman has said or done something inappropriate without getting harrassed and dogpiled by people who sound like AI bots regurgitating buzzwords and catchphrases, or even being publicly denounced, fired from your job, etc. you can’t point out data that shows patterns. you can’t debate no matter how sensitive you try to be, no matter how much you hold back. trans women are above reproach, they are blameless, they are helpless, they are victims, they are holy and venerated like saints.
and at the same time, benign words like “female”, “uterus”, even “woman” itself (minus the trans qualifier) are being tiptoed around and literally called TERF dogwhistles. Just talking about female reproductive rights raises people’s hackles, they whisper nervously to each other that this person sounds like they might be making “TERF-y points”, or espousing “TERF rhetoric”. Especially anything remotely referencing feminism. You can’t call yourself a feminist without people getting anxious and looking around to see if it’s ok to interact with you. People comb through blog archives and old tweets feverishly searching for evidence that you’ve ever said anything that could be construed as potentially “transphobic” — and the line for what is considered transphobia changes and moves seemingly every day. If someone agrees with points that a feminist has said, then they find out that that person is a feminist — they gather up their pitchforks and immediately condemn her, frantically throwing cheap insults her way, they block her, they demonize her, they threaten violence and death, they spread lies about her, they try to ruin her reputation. They lose their fucking minds when they find out that they agree with a feminist. It is a witch-hunt all over again.
When will people begin to see how abnormal this is? when will people get sick of walking on eggshells to avoid setting off the fragile “transmisogyny alarm bells”? when will people realize that there is something very, very wrong here?
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