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    Megan Glosson

    How Roe v. Wade Being Overturned Harms People With Health Conditions

    This past Friday, the Supreme Court voted five to four in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade. This landmark court decision from 1973 established the constitutional right to abortion. Now, individual states will get to decide whether or not they will allow abortion. People across the country are experiencing mixed feelings about this perplexing court ruling. However, many people, including the justices who voted in favor of overturning the court’s previous ruling on the matter, are not thinking about the way in which this decision will impact the millions of American women and people with a uterus who live with chronic health conditions. So, here are just some of the people the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States failed to consider when they overturned Roe v. Wade and all but outlawed abortion for over half of the states in our country. 1. The Transplant Recipients Whose Medications Make Pregnancy Problematic Although it is possible for a transplant recipient to get pregnant and carry a baby to term, there are many potential complications. First and foremost, many anti-rejection medications can cause birth defects that would make life unsustainable for the fetus. They can also build up to toxic levels in the fetus’ bloodstream, which can lead to other complications. Although there are some medications that are safe for the fetus, any change in immunosuppressants must be made gradually so doctors can measure if these medications are actually doing their job (because not every medication works for every person). Also, because medication levels are based on weight, pregnancy can impact the medication levels in a way that leads to organ rejection during the pregnancy, making it a life-threatening situation for parent and fetus. 2. The People Whose Autoimmune Disorder Could Cause Complications Many autoimmune disorders cause your immune system to attack healthy tissue. This means that a pre-existing autoimmune disorder can interfere with the pregnancy by harming the fetus. Even if the autoimmune disorder allows the pregnancy to continue, the mother’s antibodies can enter the fetus’s system and disrupt its development and growth. Furthermore, some people don’t even know they have an autoimmune disorder until their pregnancy triggers it. In these cases, a person may find that being pregnant is interfering with their life so much that it’s not possible to continue living while pregnant. 3. Those Who Live With a Genetic Disorder That Could Prove Fatal for the Baby Living with a rare disease is not an easy road. However, some genetic disorders can be fatal, and passing them down to a child can increase the risk of fatality for the baby. These conditions include Huntington’s disease, vascular EDS (vEDS), cystic fibrosis, Marfan’s syndrome, and many other genetic disorders that someone can either have or be a carrier for. Even if the baby makes it through delivery, they will have a hard life (assuming they can sustain life). 4. The People Whose Endometriosis Caused an Ectopic Pregnancy People with endometriosis are twice as likely to experience ectopic pregnancies than the average person. Unfortunately, there’s zero possibility of an ectopic pregnancy becoming viable, no matter what marvels of modern medicine an OBGYN can perform. Usually, ectopic pregnancies are treated with injections that end the pregnancy or surgery to remove the fallopian tube. Either way, these life-saving medical procedures can be considered forms of abortion, and would now be punishable by law in some states. This means that people could face jail time for something completely out of their control just because they chose to save their own life. And without Roe v. Wade, there’s nothing a person can do about it if their state’s court system decides to rule against them. 5. Those Whose Cancer Treatment Would Affect the Fetus Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring type of cancer for women, and breast cancer rates are on the rise for women of childbearing age. Unfortunately, many of the recommended forms of cancer treatment can cause harm to a fetus and are not compatible with pregnancy. There are instances where a pregnant person with cancer can either wait until after their child is born to undergo treatment or select treatment methods that are least harmful to the fetus. However, there are also times when someone may need to decide whether it’s better to end a pregnancy during the early stages so they can undergo cancer treatment, or risk bringing a baby into the world while also dying. It’s not an easy decision to make either way, but the overruling of Roe v. Wade now makes it even more challenging. 6. The People Who Live With Mental Health Conditions That Require Daily Medications There are countless mental health conditions that require daily medications. Some of these conditions include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. However, even with the wide variety of available medications out there for each and every single mental health condition, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists still says a majority of these medications are not safe during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Whether a pregnancy was planned or unexpected, a pregnant person who uses one or more psychiatric medications may be forced to decide whether or not they want to expose their fetus to the risks associated with the medication. In many cases, these medications can cause harmful birth defects or even harm the fetus in a way that makes life unsustainable. Therefore, these individuals need as many choices as possible available to them, including the right to terminate the pregnancy if that’s what they and their medical team feel is best. 7. Those Whose Epilepsy Puts Them At Risk for a Stillbirth Women with epilepsy are up to three times as likely to have a pregnancy that results in stillbirth than women who do not live with epilepsy. Sometimes, there’s no way of knowing whether they will experience a stillborn birth, whereas other times an OBGYN may no longer detect signs of life before the pregnant person even hits the third trimester. Without the option to abort, these individuals will be forced to carry a pregnancy to term even though the fetus will no longer grow and develop. 8. The People Who Almost Died With Their First Baby and Don’t Want to Go Through That Again There’s a lot that is still unknown about how pregnancy impacts the body. Conditions like pre-eclampsia are largely undetectable until it’s too late, as are other rare pregnancy complications. However, people who experience these issues during their first pregnancy are more likely to experience them again. This means a person may take active measures to avoid additional pregnancies. Unfortunately, no form of birth control is foolproof, and a person can still end up pregnant even when actively avoiding it. Should these individuals have to go through the same hell they endured during their first pregnancy if they don’t have to? And is that really someone else’s choice to make? 9. The Trans Man Who Would Struggle With the Dysphoria of a Pregnancy Thanks to the advances in modern medicine, trans men can do many things to counteract the gender dysphoria they experience. However, up to 30 percent of trans men still experience unplanned pregnancies. These pregnancies can lead to depression and other concerns due to the mixture of dysphoria and judgment from society. Before the overturning of Roe v. Wade, trans men could decide whether or not they wanted to go through with a pregnancy. Now that it is overturned, trans men in states with abortion laws in place may have no choice, and this combined with the stigma they likely already face due to society’s general view of the trans community in their geographic location, could cause depression and suicide rates to climb even more. This list isn’t exhaustive. However, it does provide a view into just how many people will be impacted due to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. In many cases, people who live with health conditions are already marginalized and mistreated by medical providers and society as a whole. Now they may face even more problems and harsh judgment just for making decisions that can help them continue to live. This isn’t the type of treatment anyone deserves, especially people who already have to fight for their right to live day in and day out.

    Community Voices


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    I’m new here!

    Hi, my name is bunny. I'm here because I struggle with anxiety, depression, and PTSD stemming from medical trauma (cancer) I experienced as a teenager. I often feel alone in my struggles so I’m excited to explore this community :)
    #MightyTogether #Anxiety #Depression #PTSD #cancersurvivor

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    just saying hello

    I joined this site a month or so ago, I think, but I haven't been very active (here or in general!)

    I've been struggling since summer 2020 with unexplained symptoms, which naturally are pretty non-specific, and a lot of unhelpful tests.

    I was diagnosed in Jan 2021 with a rare form of cancer (goblet cell adenocarcinoma of the appendix) and I was incredibly lucky to be treated by one of the top specialists in the country. I had surgery in March '21 to remove all the cancer (said to be fully successful) and receive a treatment called HIPEC which should have killed off any microscopic cancer growths. I then went through a relatively brief course of adjuvant systemic chemotherapy (thought to lower the likelihood of recurrence, which is high in this disease even with optimal treatment).

    I have been declared "NED" (no evidence of disease) since then, through multiple imaging scans--CT of chest/abdomen/pelvis every 3 months!--and bloodwork (this is not conclusive; the only conclusive way to determine if I have a recurrence would be exploratory surgery, and it's Not Done).

    The problem? I'm not better. The symptoms that sent me to the doctor in the summer of 2020 and got progressively worse are still here. Some of them are still getting worse. Some of them have invited friends.

    The oncologists say it doesn't sound like cancer or lasting effects from treatment (which was brief in relation to many patients'). Most of the other doctors I see say it must be a lasting effect from cancer treatment, or that it's depression and anxiety. My psychiatrist says it's not depression or anxiety!

    Living every day with the uncertainty and the pain of not knowing what is going on with my body and WHY and what will happen next is torture. I already struggle with feeling like I'm not in control of a lot of things (and honestly, many of us aren't) but this is just one more huge thing I have no control over. It has no name. No usual course, no treatment, no prognosis. I might wake up tomorrow and be back to how I used to be. I might wake up tomorrow and be paralyzed. I don't know.

    I DO have some lasting effects from the cancer treatment--mostly issues resulting from the major abdominal surgery--but I feel like I could deal with those so much more easily if I didn't have all these other symptoms that I'm told are not related weighing me down and holding me back.

    And whenever these doctors mention that it's anxiety, I wonder, what exactly do they mean by that? Should I NOT be anxious about the fact that my body is falling apart and no medical professional can explain why? Should I NOT be anxious and upset that my symptoms are being dismissed and written off, just as they were in 2020, and I ended up having cancer? To me it seems like anxiety and concern are pretty warranted and not pathological.

    And, of course, I was told the same thing in 2020--maybe you're just anxious, or you're depressed, or the medications you're taking for anxiety and depression are causing these issues. It's the same song and dance now, and I feel like I'm back to square one after my journey through cancer hell.

    It seems so unlikely that a rare cancer at a fairly advanced stage was discovered incidentally, but that may have been exactly what happened, in my case--either that or this IS all related to cancer, but no oncologist seems to know how or why, even the ones who specialize in it!

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    a poem

    <p>Words<br>a poem</p>
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    6 Questions People With Disabilities Should Ask Before Getting a Dog

    For people with disabilities, getting a dog can be a life-changing experience. In addition to company and love, caring for a dog can get you out of your own head and off the couch at times when you wouldn’t or couldn’t otherwise. Owning a dog is a great way to meet new people and a great excuse to get out in the world (we’re talking pets here, not service dogs). But that doesn’t make dog “parenting” easy, cheap, or something you should get into without fully thinking through all aspects of the choice. For disabled people, getting a dog is even more of an undertaking! If you have disabilities, before getting a dog, ask yourself these 6 crucial questions: 1. Can you afford it? (money) Dogs are expensive… and that’s if they’re healthy. (Ask me about my dog Kismet and her two hip surgeries! Food is expensive (ask me about my other dog Arrow and the prescription food she has to eat now because her butt got too chonky!). Toys and grooming and everything else are, you guessed it, expensive. One thing some people leave out is travel: can you afford to board a dog, or take it with you? (Boarding dogs costs more than you think it will!) Are you willing to stay home if things don’t work out?  You should also consider breed restrictions in your area: even if your dog is a mutt, if they’re primarily what’s considered to be a “dangerous” breed, you may pay more in rent or even lose out on housing options. There are definitely ways to get by on less money! This isn’t to say that no person with disabilities can get a dog unless they have thousands to spare. But it really does add up, even spread over a long period of time …Except for when it isn’t. Emergency vet visits will happen. Your dog might need hip surgery, like mine, or get cancer, like my friend’s dog. How much money do you have/are you willing to spend? Realistically, can you swing a surprise thousand-dollar vet bill? People with disabilities should understand more than the average person that getting a dog who’s in good health now doesn’t mean things will stay that way. 2. Can you afford it? (pain/health) I put pain after money because, shitty as it is, the former can influence the latter. The more money you have, the worse your pain can be, because you can buy toys and equipment and afford to pay someone to walk the dogs when you’re hurting too bad. It’s not just money, though: if you have family members or a partner, or even helpful neighbors, they serve the same purpose. They can be sort of a release valve for when things are just too bad for you to take care of anybody but yourself. If it really is just you without support, look in the mirror and really think about whether your disabilities fit with getting a dog. Are you comfortable making a commitment to walk a dog at least every other day for the next ten+ years? Even when you feel awful? Do you have the spoons to devote to taking care of another living creature? Even on bad days? 3. Can you accept that dogs have innate personalities you can’t train out of them? I got both my dogs as puppies and trained them the same way: the older one ended up smart as a whip, devious, a leader, a little bossy. She can even do a bunch of tricks! The younger one is dumb and sweet and wants to be everybody’s friend and is happy to be a follower. She can sit. And sometimes stay.  (There is one trick I’ve been working on for her entire life that she has yet to figure out, and she’s 9 now.) They’re both crate-trained and better behaved than a lot of dogs I know, but no matter what I do or how hard I try to train it out of her, Kismet will bark at someone that comes to the door every damn time. So I ask you: are you ready to deal with behaviors that fall within the normal range of dog behavior, even if those are unwanted behaviors? As a friend who lives in a big city and got a puppy last year said, “Your dog has its own personality and tendencies. Bringing a puppy home doesn’t mean you’ll be able to fully “customize” a dog’s personality. You cannot program the dog. You can be a friend to dog, and caretaker to dog, but the dog is his own being.  And you will never be completely in control of this other sentient being, no matter how good your training is.” Can you handle that? 4. Can a dog fit into your day-to-day routine and living situation? Is there a place in your world for the dog to be? People with disabilities getting a dog should know beforehand what to expect, especially if choosing a puppy or a large breed with a lot of energy – don’t be like the couple I know from high school who got a Great Dane puppy in a two-bedroom apartment – but it’s important for everybody to ask. Do you have kids or roommates? How often do you travel for work? Do you have a yard, or are you OK to stand outside with them multiple times a day while they go to the bathroom? How stable is your housing? What will you do if your housing situation changes unexpectedly? Is there someone who can take care of the dog temporarily if you are hospitalized or too unwell to care for the dog? What if you die? If a future partner is allergic to dogs, or you have a baby, or you move and it’s hard to find an apartment that lets you have a dog, what will you do? Ask yourself, under what circumstances would you relinquish this animal? If you realize that your dog is not thriving in your care, would you be able to shelve your feelings and rehome it? No matter how much you love your dog, if they have needs you can’t meet, can you find it in you to give the dog the life it deserves? 5. Are you getting the right dog for you and your individual needs? Breeds and individuals have such different requirements: there’s a dog to match any lifestyle and activity level, but not all owners consider this. The difference between a puppy of a large, energetic, wilful breed and an older medium-sized dog is absolutely massive. It’s important for people with disabilities getting a dog to be aware of both size and potential behavioral issues. How are you getting your dog? I asked a friend who runs a rescue organization what new owners should ask themselves, and she replied: “Am I obtaining a dog ethically? Does this purchase or adoption align with my values? Am I educated on issues around dog welfare in my community? Is this dog already spayed/neutered, and do I have a plan to do that?” If you’re getting a puppy from a rescue, do you realize and are OK with the fact that you truly have no idea or guarantee what it will grow into? The “breed” on the card is nothing but a well-intentioned guess. On the flip side, purebred dogs are still dogs and can have characteristics you don’t want. They aren’t insurance against the wrong choice. My dogs sure look different now than I thought they would! Have you considered an older dog? Older dogs are actually perfect for people with disabilities! Because they’re: Already house trained Already spayed/neutered, has all their shots Full-grown, so you know what size you’re getting Past the “constant zoomies, mischief and infinite energy” puppy days Puppies are very cute but in addition to everything above, at rescues, they go fast. Expanding your search to older dogs gives you way more options: odds are that an older dog sitting in a shelter near you would be a perfect fit for your life and needs. 6.  Are you dedicated to being a good owner? Do you understand what a dog needs from you? How much do you know about dog training? Are you willing to learn more? How much patience do you have? How much time do you have to devote to training and petting your pup? If you’ve got a puppy, do you realize that it will wake you up at 5 a.m. and chew on the furniture legs and tear around the house full of zoomies and energy for literally years? Everything you do with a puppy has ramifications later on. If you don’t train them well, the next 10 years aren’t going to be much fun for either of you. Speaking of… puppies turn into dogs, and dogs turn into old dogs. Are you ready for that, emotionally and financially? Still in? Hot diggity dog! This story might give you the impression that dog ownership is hard. That’s because it is! But if you know what you’re getting into, a dog can be an incredibly helpful, rewarding aspect of your life in so many ways. Through some really tough and lonely times, mine have kept me company and laughing. And taking care of them sometimes got me moving, even walking, on days when otherwise I would have been on the couch. So ask yourself these questions… and then go check out a local shelter! (If you’re in central Texas, Austin Pets Alive is an amazing group. That’s where I got Kismet!) All photos by Ken from KenWalksDogs (who is great if you are in the Austin area and need a dog-walker!) except puppy pix or where otherwise noted.