My vagina feels like someone placed a glass in it and then crushed it with their fist. If this is  the "mild vaginal discomfort" I was warned about, I balk to think what classifies as pain. There must be something I can do about this, and so, with the reluctance that only comes when a side effect of my cancer treatment that impacts my hoohaw, I go to the doctor.

"Here's the problem," he explains patiently and gently, "We need to keep estrogen out of your body so it doesn't feed your cancer, but estrogen does a lot more than just feed cancer." Ok, logical, makes sense, so is there some way to put the estrogen just in my painful lady womb?

There is a cream, but it's a form of estrogen (I learn from googling) that needs to pass through the bloodstream and bond with other hormones in my blood before it can be the kind of estrogen that will fix the crippling pain in your pelvis. Estrogen passing through the bloodstream = potential cancer growth. Ok, pass.

There's a ring, that distributes pure estradiol (the converted form) just to the place you need it (hoohaw) but...

-- It's not covered by your insurance. (Why not? Because menopause is not covered by your health insurance, and this is a drug to treat menopause - which is what you *technically* have)

-- It costs about $500,  but the manufacturer offers coupons which bring it down... to $300.

-- It's sold out, everywhere. There is only a single manufacturer of it (love, patents) and the factory had some kind of issue and so it's gone. From everywhere. We expect it back in stock in a month or two.

Now, I am lucky enough to have a Supermom, who upon hearing this called every Walgreens in a two-hour radius and found (and paid for) one of these magical rings for me, involving several multi-hour round trips and some sort of her voodoo witch magic.

They say you can't actually remember pain, but I remember being curled in a ball with a hot pad, weeping over the powerlessness I felt to do anything about the pain I was in, broken, fixable, but unable to access the thing I needed. Forced to choose between pain and potentially feeding my cancer.

It was a nightmare I still have not recovered from, and I can't imagine that the new regime is going to make things like this any better.

Not unless we use our voices, our power, to advocate and fight for the things that are the most important to us, that are unique to us as women, that are not easy to understand, talk about or fight for.

Thank you for marching for me. This may be broken, but it is fixable.




Author's Note: I found it kind of overwhelming to write a short snippet of why I support this march. I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of possible answers. I wanted to write something inspiring, something powerful, something helpful. I wanted to tell a story that only I can. I was paralyzed over a blank cursor. We have a saying in our house. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

So this is just my first bite.