Letter 17: From Alex
I was so devastated to learn about your story. I was heartbroken to think
about the misinformation and confusion that your family had in regards to
your health. Your story left me concerned for people who are trying to
take control of their health and to be as informed as possible about their
health decisions. I know that when I was prescribed birth control, I didn’t
even know what questions I should be asking, and I definitely didn’t think to ask for more information than what my doctor provided me.
As others have written, I was prescribed the pill when I was in high school, and the only information that I remember from that doctor’s appointment was that I had to take the pill at the same time every day. I don’t remember asking any questions, and the only side effect that I remember talking about was that my weight could fluctuate once I started to take it. When I picked up my first prescription, I disregarded the pamphlet that came with the pills since I didn’t think that any serious health problem could come from taking birth control. Taking the pill felt like a part of growing up and not like something I needed to spend my time worrying about.
I’m fortunate that I have never had any side effects from any form of birth control, and my friends and relatives have only experienced minor side effects. I remember seeing commercials to warn women about the dangers of Yaz, Yasmin, and other drospirenone-containing pills when I was younger, and I was upset to learn that women had died after taking birth control pills -- something that was a daily part of my life, and that was almost an afterthought at that point. I wish that those women had known that there were other, safer pills and birth control options out there that they could’ve used instead.
I hope that by sharing your story, people will feel more willing and able to take control of their health decisions. I hope that people will become more educated on the symptoms of blood clots and will learn to ask their doctor questions to inform them on any risks of medications. Your story is a tragedy, but it has inspired me and others who have learned about it to stay informed and proactive about our health.