Category Archives: surgery

couch activism for the ACA!

From a fellow activist: For those worried about ACA coverage for themselves and their families.

After hearing about the midnight repeal of the pre-exisiting conditions clause, I called Senator Warren’s office. The woman I spoke to said they are being flooded with calls, as are the offices of Speakers Ryan and McConnell.

Senator Warren’s staff member told me what would help the most would be to call the five Republican senators who have broken away from the GOP to demand a slow down of the repeal. Tell them how much you appreciate their efforts to stop the train wreck and share your story.

They are:
Senator Bob Corker – (202) 224-3344

Senator Lisa Murkowski – (202) 224-6665

Senator Rob Portman – (202) 224-3353

Senator Susan Collins – (202) 224-2523

Senator Bill Cassidy – (202) 224-5824

What has the ACA done for you? I was allowed to stay on my mother’s insurance for four extra years, giving me time to settle into post-college reality and look for work. While I still don’t have that job (the one with benefits), I am insured. I can see my GP for free, and get most of my medicine free. (depression, anxiety, asthma and allergies, hypothyroidism, congenital liver enzyme levels that are whack like crack, and I’ve been on the pill since I was 14 for suspected endometriosis as well as fast-growing rupturing ovarian cysts) Without these medications I would need my left ovary removed, any serious cough could send me to the ER, and I likely would be too depressed to leave home and too anxious to hold down a job. I am grateful for the ACA, and ready to bust-ass to keep these benefits that I PAY for. I want to know why you’re ready to fight for the ACA and any plans you have!

This is a list of pre-existing conditions disqualifying people in Colorado from coverage, pre-ACA. I also have state Blue Cross Blue Shield, and would likely be looking at a similar list.

On inauguration day…

Don’t watch the inauguration, on any channel! But, do have your tv on. Even if you aren’t watching, and you have it on mute (or are out of the house), have your tv on! Trump’s cold grinchy little heart will be devastated by low ratings. This only works by having your tv on, and tuned to anything but him.

From https://www.facebook.com/TrumpResistanceMovement/

[fat] updated, confessions: my stretch marks, scars, hairiness

First surgery scars.

My first surgery scars came in high school from putting my shoulder back together after a weird overuse accident. (labral tear– the tissue that holds the ball and socket in place was torn from the bone) After being misdiagnosed for eight months the 3 one-inch-long scars felt like battle scars. (I also did the classic sports injury side effect: ballooning 30 pounds and numerous stretch marks due to my appetite staying the same and my metabolism slowing down– I had been weightlifting and distance swimming daily and immediately had to stop.)

A year later I had a breast reduction, three pounds and some drainage tubes later there are almost two feet of faint pink scars. I have yet to meet a man who noticed my scars until about a month of pillow talk later… it’s been quite the confidence booster. My other surgery scars are from having my appendix plucked out a few years after that. The scars are consistent with an ovary removal, but luckily it was my appendix that was infected and dying instead. The surgical scars could almost count as battle scars — except my belly and boobs have faced no true trauma.

aggressive-self-love-crankyfatfeminist-stretch-marks-scars
Living life scars.

All along my arms and legs are bug bites. My ankles and shins are regularly disaster areas. Ants and mosquitoes for the most part, but the occasional family of chiggers or no-see-ums will try to take up residence under a flip flop strap. Many bites have scabbed over, and some have finally left smooth purple discolorations that no amount of cocoa butter or shea butter has fixed.

My legs have not seen a razor since January 2011 — thighs alone even longer. Luckily the hair is rather blonde and thin, so I don’t need to worry about shaving over bug bites and opening up scabs. I’ve also got my fair share of old scraped knees and shins from work as well as my years of tree climbing and mud-pie-pancake making in the back yard. Additionally, no guy has noticed my leg hair until I’ve actually pointed it out to him. (Women on occasion have noticed the leg hair… hhm?)

What men have noticed are my stretch marks… on my arms, the underside of my upper arms, up to my armpits. It’s been a (heart-breaking) favorite to point out since my mid-teens. I’ve even encountered a few over my shoulders. Moving down, I have those crazy pregnancy stretch marks all over my belly, my hips, and creeping around to my low back and sides of my waist. I have never been pregnant, and did not “earn” those scars. Of course my outer thighs haven’t been excluded, and my inner thighs have just begun to catch on to the stretch mark idea. (They’re also big on the rub-together heat rash during sun dress season, which is about 9 months out of the year here.) Stretch marks on my boobs are a given, but they are much fainter in the years since the reduction.

My belly has stripes.

My belly stretch marks began arriving about a year after one of my good friends showed me hers in an angry embarrassed confession. I did my best to be kind and comforting, but I was horrified. Then mine arrived in college (unlimited dining plan = forever stopping by for a coffee refill and a handful of cookies for the walk). First one, then three, then six, then you just stop looking at your belly in the mirror because you don’t have anyone to confess your stretch marks to, and you find that you can only be angry with yourself for causing your own stretch marks. (you know, because fat people made themselves fat, on purpose, and it’s all their fault, like trolls love to remind me.)

Hide me.

I love wearing tank tops (my boobs love the ventilation), but they often show off the awkward underarm and shoulder stretch marks. This means tank tops are only ever for confident days. (regardless of whether or not I’ve shaved my pits in the last week or not, because you couldn’t pay me to give a fuck about pit hair ever again) My legs are very skinny (in relation to the rest of me, I’m a V shape– which isn’t featured in any magazines. ever.) and are glow in the dark white, and my belly looks like it has a stress-beer-pizza baby growing in it.

On my not-confident days I feel the need to find a bigger shirt to cover my belly and upper arms and a way to cover my legs down to my toes. (And obviously keep that belly covered, no peek-a-boo allowed!)

Often I have to skip one (I mean, 95 degrees plus humidity for a huge chunk of the year…) and then if I’m not careful I’ll have a near-meltdown in a bathroom over my bug-bitten white legs showing, my shoulder stretch marks showing, my clothes being too tight across my belly… myself conforming to the shame that society places on fat people, and the overwhelming desire to hide my “unacceptable” body from other people’s judging eyes and potential comments.

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Additionally, my pasty porcelain white skin is quite prone to bright red splotches. All over my face, ears, chest, neck, shoulders, and upper arms. When I drink I turn red, when I’m hot I turn red, when I’m embarrassed or uncomfortable or feel stupid I turn red… It’s rather common to find me at some point most evenings– even with taking my anxiety meds — in that bathroom talking myself down from a panic attack while applying wet cold paper towels to my face and neck and chest. If I wear makeup (which is absurdly hard to find in “white as a sheet of fucking paper”) I will turn splotchy under the makeup and be even more embarrassed. The worst is around my parents and grandma — judgement is passed about size and lack of makeup and my blood pressure skyrockets, and then there is constant loud worrying over my red face.

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this very cartoon nipple had me banned from facebook for three days. much thanks to those assholes.
Work in progress. Body love in progress.

I am fully aware that I’m regularly embarrassed by my body (size, stretch marks, farting) but that I’ve personally conquered the hair and scars that adorn me. I often walk around my new place in just my underwear (and not just to save on the electric bill), and my boyfriend doesn’t care. At all. (and since I discovered my body confidence, neither have any of the others, minus a few POS boys that really didn’t work out.) (Yep, when you drink, I definitely don’t look like your favorite porn star.)

I try my best to think and talk positively about my body, and to think and talk positively about all bodies. But this is always a work in progress. It will always be a work in progress. You have to love your body before you can change anything. You have to love your body before you can lose permanent weight through lifestyle choices (eating, exercise…); you have to love your body before you can love the clothes you put on yourself; you have to love your body before you can truly love your partner’s body.

You have to love your body before you can better your body. You must accept your flaws and your fat, you must accept your stretch marks and the hair that does or doesn’t grow everywhere. (Seriously, I have dark blonde hair and light blonde eyebrows, and black pit and pubic hair. You glance over at me and you don’t see eyebrows. Where are my eyebrows?!)

There is no way to tackle your high cholesterol and your overbearing depression, your aching joints and your crippling anxiety, your chronic illness and disdain for leaving the comfort of home until you have accepted yourself. (And yes, this is speaking from personal experience.)

Fuck the haters.

Fuck society’s opinions, fuck the status quo, fuck anyone that has a problem with your body. You and your health is yours and your doctors. (And if your doctor wants to size shame you, or offer any other sort of physical shaming, get rid of that mother fucker.)

Yes, parents/partners/best friends are allowed to be concerned for you. They are not allowed to berate or harass you, belittle or shame you, in any way, in their expression of concern. And you have every right to tell them that, repeatedly, until you become rude. (Once, my concerned grandma gave me money for a 6 month gym membership because I told her– politely– to get the fuck off my back about my belly unless she was genuinely willing to help. Today I’d rather have a yoga studio class card, but don’t underestimate people’s willingness to help you help yourself.) Those that truly love you will help you however they can; once you can express your love and acceptance of your body, and your desire for productive and permanent change of any sort, get rid of anyone left in your life that does not support you in a kind and productive way. There is nothing wrong with having a time-out year (or five), or very limited contact with rules, with a family member.

The golden rule (treat others as you’d want to be treated) is always in effect. Do no harm, but take no shit. Love and accept your body, it’s the first step in treating your body better. And when you value treating your body better, your life becomes better, and you can start to rediscover some of the happiness that society’s ideals have taken from you.

maya-angelou-crankyfatfeminist
To the CFF community — what about your wonderfully imperfect body have you been able to accept and overcome? What has been the most challenging aspect you’ve worked on? What have you worked on and not conquered?

Need more body-love inspiration images? http://bust.com/fck-your-beauty-standards-16-body-positive-illustrations-to-boost-your-self-love.html#.U0Q37K1dU6F

Need some body-love gifts for yourself or others? Check out some of my favorite feminist artists and their work on etsy!

[feminist] review: #Orgasm, Inc

No one truly knows where Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD) comes from, as a medical term and disease. The pharmaceutical industry (the third largest industry in the United States) is promoting FSD as a disease with a potential monetary and medical fix. Drug companies are in a race to be the first company to be FDA approved for their magic libido-boosting drug. Everything in our capitalist world can be commodified, even your orgasms. Because “orgasms should happen and feel this one particular way… therefore your way is wrong.” So we’re going to help you have the perfect orgasm, if you can fork over the money.

your bullshit


Why are we so gullible? The vast majority of Americans did not receive proper sex ed in school. The joke “if you have sex, you will get pregnant, and you will die” is unfortunately not really a joke. Many of us learned that “lesson” in school instead of facts. If we can’t learn about our reproductive anatomy, and the purpose of our anatomy, then we are doomed to learn about sex and sexuality from society– our parents, our friends, the tv, the horrible things anyone can find online…  Continue reading [feminist] review: #Orgasm, Inc

[feminist] why I need birth control

This video should be watched by every voter in America. The idea that all women should have access to affordable birth control shouldn’t be shocking, and it shouldn’t be up for debate. What a person does with their body is their own business, and the way that they take care of their body is their own business, not the government’s.

congressional birth control hearing– the woman on the panel gets to speak

I was put on the pill when I was 15 because the doctor was afraid I had endometriosis, just like my mother. (Who had a terrible painful and extra complicated hysterectomy eventually because of this). I was told if I’m not on some form of birth control, its quite possible that my fallopian tubes will become blocked by endometrium growth– meaning that I could be sterile, and also that I would have an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy.

At 19 my pill had to be switched– I’m over the weight limit for the low dose pill I was taking and I was still ovulating. (period control– not birth control!, which was what I needed) I had terrible pain in my hip, and an MRI showed a golf ball size cyst on my left ovary. Less than a month later after other tests (before the MRI results came back) I had another test which showed that the cyst had grown to the size of a tennis ball. Also, I didn’t get that test result back before I was walking across my apartment one evening and collapsed onto the floor in excruciating pain. The cyst had ruptured, and its contents coated my insides. It took about a month before that pain went away. I was told that if I had another, it could mean the end of that ovary through a necessary surgery. My bc pill now keeps me from ovulating. With insurance its $30 a month. When I had to have the annual beg-and-plead with the insurance company to reauthorize it, I had to go without for a month because it was $120.

The thought of not having insurance truly scares me. The idea of having insurance one day that doesn’t cover all of my medical needs is disgusting and even scarier. Access to contraceptives is not just about unwanted pregnancy through promiscuous sex, its about basic healthcare for the well being of all women.

We have to stand together, call the men and women representing us in Washington, call the people representing us in our state capitals, and let them know that this is absolutely ridiculous and that their time is better spent on other things. Then, come November, we have to show all of America that we have the power to get rid of the idiots who are sponsoring these bills against women’s health. Standing by and doing nothing is just a form of siding with the oppressors. I refused to be oppressed in the land of the free.

[feminist] mass produced bras and my breast reduction surgery

In response to:
Brumberg, Joan Jacobs. “Breast Buds and the ‘Training’ Bra.” 1977. Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions: Classic and Contemporary Readings, 4th edition. 249-254.
Before reading this I had no idea that the first bra was created in 1913, “designed simply to flatten,” and that the more current/modern bra came about in the 1930’s (Brumberg 250). The concept of the bra is so new yet so universal now. Mass production and mass media are so influential in society, and the bra is a prime example. With mass production came sizing—A, B, C, D, the infamous DD, and the realm of un-tamed breasts even larger. (As a person who once wore the “more than a DD,” I know firsthand the impossibility of buying a bra in a department store that will be the correct size.) I was still in middle school when I made the transition to “larger than my mother” and up to DD, and had to face the realization that I wasn’t just larger than normal, larger than my peers, but I was freakishly, abnormally larger than society as a whole. For years I wore two minimizer bras at a time in an effort to “tame” my breasts even more, as they continued to grow. I was known as “jugs” for years in high school before I had breast reduction surgery, after which I spent my final year in baggy shirts so that no one would I know that I had “gotten my tits cut off.”  (which to this day people perceive as a “tragedy” despite the fact that it was practically a medical necessity)
The physical pain I had from wearing underwire bras aimed at “taming” my breasts has always led me to wonder why anyone would wear a AAA or AA (or even an A) bra when to me they so obviously don’t need one. But with stores and brands like Victoria’s Secret a AAA girl can wear a bra that makes her look like she has real B-size breasts. (I’ve always wondered how disappointed the boyfriend is once the bra comes off?) 

The concept of “teenage breast management” developed in the 1950’s by male doctors (I would also like to call them pedophiles) is absolutely sick and totally bullshit (Brumberg 251). The medical world has been cutting people open and examining them for hundreds of years, and obviously know that breasts are held up by more than skin, and are going to sag no matter how great your bra is, and how often you wear it. These doctors were either funded by the bra-industry or had lots of sons looking for perky-breasted women to marry. And the “boob check” sounds horrifying. No one’s breasts are perfectly symmetrical , proportional, with mirror-image nipples. No one should chart your “breast development” to promote the idea that you need huge boobs to breast feed the children you make with your perfect husband. (Were they doing “penis development checkups”? NOPE. I’d personally be a bit more concerned with whether or not my son was becoming a man than if my daughter had the perfectly-growing boobs to go with her period.)
Junior figure control? (Brumberg 251) Great, if you want to wear spanx at the age of 40, I’m all for it. If you want your 14 year old daughter to wear some spanx to make her look slimmer, you’ve clearly not questioned your daughter’s pediatrician properly. Through the mass-marketing of spanx (and knock off spanx) I’ve managed to buy a few pairs myself in my efforts to look slimmer and “fit in” better. (PS- fail.)Through the media and my own lovely mother I managed to spend middle and high school larger than most of my peers and desperate to find solutions to fit in to the stereotypical  image of the ideal high schooler. In the 1950’s junior figure control companies provided “free purse-size booklets on calorie counting”—way to go making the world feel fat by the age of twelve (253). 
In the back of magazines there are always sketchy ads for dating sites, making your long hair more beautiful (you know, the white girl hair that you can flip), and making your tiny boobs bigger. There were never any creams or exercising for making your breasts smaller. The song “I must, I must, I must develop my bust” (Brumberg 253) I learned in 5th grade, as the song “I must, I must, I must increase my bust.” Way to make the mosquito-bite girls feel like crap about themselves. 
I did not wear a B bra until after my surgery—my mother refused to let me wear more than a tank top until I was clearly, desperately in need of something more to cover my breasts in order to fit in at school… she waited until I was a full C. This was how she grew up (a conservative Southern Baptist). This also meant that I was not allowed to have colored, polka dotted, or lacy bras. Not that they made those in 36DD, 36DDD, 38DDD, 38-“hm. Big…” The very first bra that I bought for myself was light blue with a tiny peephole between my breasts. It cost me $20, and had no underwire and held my breasts perfectly. It didn’t cost me $50, squish me until I couldn’t breathe, and come in an ugly nude grandma style. (I know, I’m perpetuating age-ism, but that’s the only way I can put it…) FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE AGE OF NINE I FELT LIKE I FIT IN; I WORE A BRA THAT DIDN’T RESTRICT MY BREATHING; AND I WORE A BRA THAT I FELT BEAUTIFUL IN.