UPDATE: Click here for the replay if you missed it! Also, leave a comment while you’re there.
I am very excited to speak on HuffPost Live soon. Next Tuesday, September 30, you can watch me live wherever you are at 12:45 pm EST. http://live.huffingtonpost.com
I’ll be discussing the More Than Boobs Initiative, which I previously blogged about. I’ll also be discussing women’s health in general: Why is it that society often dismisses women’s pain? Historically, female chronic pain patients are taken less seriously than male patients. Why are men and women treated differently when they are afflicted with illnesses that affect both genders (example: heart disease)? Why do diseases like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) go under diagnosed when one in ten women has PCOS? Why do women also dismiss each others pain? I’ve included a tweet I saw last weekend dismissing the importance of PCOS Awareness. As Fashionably ill readers know, I have PCOS (with bipolar 2, asthma, psoriasis, and Myasthenia Gravis).
Recap of the More Than Boobs Initiative
The #MoreThanBoobs Initiative is trying to raise awareness for serious, under-diagnosed illnesses that affect women including: PCOS, ovarian cancer, vulvar cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, and vaginal cancer. In addition to being PCOS Awareness Month, September is also Ovarian Cancer Month. You can join the month-long initiate here on Facebook. Also, you can buy a Team Teal shirt to support funding for research. The initiate was started by the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness Association (PCOSAA).
A Heartbreaking Story I Heard Last Weekend
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many Fashionably Ill readers. While people thank me for writing this blog, I have also been blessed by your stories. I was talking with a mom about her very ill teenage daughter who has Myasthenia Gravis, a neuromuscular autoimmune disease I also have. She talked about her daughter’s surgery and other procedures and the pain she is in, a pain I know intimately well. She noted the difference in the way her daughter and another young man in the hospital are treated. This young man has MG. Every time her daughter complains of pain and fatigue (even after surgery), neurologists ask her daughter, “Are you depressed? Are you anxious? Maybe you’re not trying hard enough?” Their response is to the physical pain is to prescribe psychotherapy. In stark contrast, the doctors’ response to the young man’s pain is IVIG (intravenous globulin treatment) and plasmapheresis. I’ve had plasmapheresis; it’s an intense procedure where the patient is hooked up to machines that clean their blood in the dialysis room.
Let’s Figure It Out Together
The sad part of this story is that I’m not surprised. Sexism in healthcare is not a new story. As I previously blogged about, female patients often get later diagnoses and less aggressive treatment than men. For instance, when it comes to heart disease, a woman is 50% more likely to die the first year after her heart attack. And yet, historically we have received later diagnoses and inadequate treatment. Sometimes the results are fatal. Women with multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and other diseases, report similar treatment. Next Tuesday, I’ll be unpacking some of the causes behind this disparity and how we as a society can tackle it. I’m eager to hear your ideas.
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–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno
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