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Pharmacynicism - Lucy Knisley [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lucy Knisley


Pharmacynicism [Dec. 18th, 2009|10:52 am]

The health care thing is really freaking me out. As an artist who is frequently sick in one way or another, I'm on tenderhooks about the public option, but the allotment of coverage is really really scaring me. Especially because while the rights and money for women's care (including abortions and birth control) are being disappeared, meanwhile this health care bill will totally cover Viagra!

Speaking of insane ladymedicine things, yesterday I received the single most disturbing piece of mail to ever cross my hands.
What list am I on that I get this kind of thing?

Every winter, my internet service gets cranky in the cold, so I finally got my service back this morning after almost a week. To fill my need to stare at screens while I was internetless, I watched movies. I doodled my way through Harry Potter 6-- You can see my silly drawings here: Harry Potter Doodles

I have a neat interview up over on the Hideous Energy Comics Blog. We talk music, books, all kinds of stuff!

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[User Picture]From: victorion
2009-12-18 05:05 pm (UTC)
This is such a great comic, Lucy. It raises so many important issues. It makes me so angry that even in Canada, some insurance doesn't cover birth control pills.

I had similar feelings earlier this year - I'm on my 2nd pill brand after the one I used for 5 years was making me have horrible moods. This one seems okay but recently I felt depressed again and wondered if it was the pill. If I could have a reliable birth control method that didn't mean taking hormones, that would be fantastic. I was really considering the copper IUD until I read that it makes your periods heavier. :( That's one thing I love about the pill.. sigh..

Good luck and I hope you find a baby-free solution. I am also striving to stay baby free for at least the next few years!
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[User Picture]From: solipsiae
2009-12-18 05:18 pm (UTC)
I have a copper IUD and it only made my periods heavier/crampier for about 4 months. Now I'm back to normal and baby-free!
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[User Picture]From: popehippo
2009-12-18 05:06 pm (UTC)
The prevalence even among DOCTORS in this day and age when it comes to birth control is sickening. I mean, shit, I went to one to ask about birth control possibly helping my acne and got a HUGE sitdown about how I should be responsible and just not have casual sex instead. Unless I missed somethigng about how getting laid causes pimples, idek. e____e
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[User Picture]From: p_sunshine
2009-12-18 05:09 pm (UTC)
What!?! When I was a teenager, that's exactly what my doctor prescribed! No questions, no reprimands, casual or otherwise. That's ridiculous!
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[User Picture]From: p_sunshine
2009-12-18 05:07 pm (UTC)
I'm right there with you on the scared. It's ridiculous that in order to do something amazingly good (give everyone access to health care), some congresspeople will only vote for it if they can toss women's care out the window.
Thanks for the comic - funny, sad, and true.
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[User Picture]From: guy_jin
2009-12-18 05:12 pm (UTC)
Is your current doctor/hospital of choice Catholic, by chance?
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[User Picture]From: lucylou
2009-12-18 05:18 pm (UTC)
Sort of. In terms of options for people who don't have a lotta money, religious sponsored clinics are pretty good options. My lady doctor is super cool, she's just tellin' it like it is, and even she is aware that it's a hilarious tenant of medicine to have babies early and often. It's true that limited periods have been linked to better health, but that can be achieved through the right birth control, rather than frequent baby-havin'.
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[User Picture]From: solipsiae
2009-12-18 05:16 pm (UTC)
Have you ever considered a non-hormonal intra-uterine device (IUD)?

After years and years of struggling to find the right birth control, I found this and wish I'd found it sooner!

+ no hormones!
+ insert once, good for TWELVE YEARS with practically zero maintenance
+ I forget it's in here unless I talk about it, like right now
- insertion HURTS
- heavy upfront cost
- heavier, crampier periods for a few months (4 for me)
- fishing line sticking out of your cervix hole, but can swirl around the cervix to stay out of place
- does not protect against STIs
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From: dagda_ollathir
2009-12-18 05:19 pm (UTC)
ugh, i know too many people who still have incredibly painful periods after getting an IUD (and this is years later), including one friend whose IUD migrated- she's lucky she had surgery in time to get rid of it.

i'm setting my hopes on the male pill.
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[User Picture]From: finkenstein
2009-12-18 05:18 pm (UTC)
I think it's only fair that they have a female Viagra! Did you know they have FINALLY developed a form of male birth control?? I have always wondered why female birth control was the first to be invented, as if people thought babies truly only came from women.
Of course I'm sure it's more a problem of one set of hormones or body function being easier to stop in women than in men.

I just started taking birth control! The kind that allows you to only have FOUR periods a year! It was HELL for the first 2 months, I had spotted bleeding at random times and cramps just about every day. But now that I'm over the hump I feel fine.

What your Doctor said about the health of having babies is true, but the reason it is healthy is because being pregnant gives your body a break from all the ups and downs of hormone abuse that happens when you get your period every month. It unhealthy to fluctuate so much! Back in the day before birth control women would have babies like, one after the other! One of the reasons I started taking this pill was because of the idea that not having my period and hence so much horemone fluctuation each month would make me happier and healthier. You know how animals live longer if they are spayed and neutered?

Anyway not having a period every month is pretty fucking amazing so far.
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[User Picture]From: lucylou
2009-12-18 05:25 pm (UTC)
Woah, seriously? Male birth control is my DREAM.

That hormone fluctuation thing is craaayzee-- my aunt gave me a whole speil about it not long ago, and frightened me with fantoms of cancer and endometriosis if I didn't get on something that would let me stop having my period so often. What infuriates me is that the only reason the birth control pill makes you have your period is so that religious opponents of birth control would see it as more "natural!" whaaaaat?

That seasonal pill seems cool, but I tried three different kinds of pills before I found the one that worked (until recently), and they all made me crazy or barfy, so I'm going in the other end with an IUD, it looks like. Then I can stop my periods and we can be period-free buddies.
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From: fusis
2009-12-18 05:18 pm (UTC)
I know that this isn't the point of this comic, but NuvaRing is pretty awesome.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-12-18 05:22 pm (UTC)
I know being an anonymous commenter is kind of a shit thing to do, especially when my comment isn't "yeah right on" but I don't have an account. I guess all I want to say is that birth control is not surprisingly an uphill battle. It's your *reproductive* system: I don't know about the doctors wanting you to have babies, but it's not shocking to me that women's bodies want to have babies, in the sense that letting the system run naturally is "best" for our health. At any rate, birth control (including the pill) has never been a magic bullet, and as you are experiencing, different women's bodies make different solutions unusable. The technology's not terribly old, after all.
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[User Picture]From: mechanicaljewel
2009-12-18 05:26 pm (UTC)
No one's saying it's shocking that our bodies want to have babies. We're just saying our minds don't, so we're willing to go through whatever it takes not to have them.

Also, if you don't have an account, the least you can do is sign your comment in some way.
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[User Picture]From: rococomelodies
2009-12-18 05:26 pm (UTC)

Birth Control

I don't know if you found any other successful birth control,
but I love nuvaring. I think it is so much better than the pill and its latex-free. Have you consider that option? Out of all the birth control methods, I think this is one of the best options out on the market.
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[User Picture]From: nervousystem
2009-12-18 05:29 pm (UTC)
I had heard that the health bill was to cover Viagra...but no coverage for any actual health concerns for women. HEALTH concerns.

I stare into space, amazed and unfocused...
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[User Picture]From: wedeconstruct
2009-12-18 05:34 pm (UTC)
My birth control suggestion? The Paragard IUD. I had mine inserted in October and it's been smooth sailing ever since. There are TONS of IUD horror stories, but I haven't had a single issue. No crampy periods that make me want to die {and I'm currently on my third since the insertion}, no super heavy flow . . . it's more or less like every period I've ever had, but with an extra couple days of spotting around it.

They're expensive {about 500$ if your insurance won't cover it} but it last for up to 12 years! So long!
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From: reallife2010
2009-12-18 05:35 pm (UTC)
Male contraceptive is pretty new but around (especially in australia) you get a big ol injection like every month (or every 3?) and your sperm count drops to a meer hundred (instead of millions), takes a while for ti to kick in, but its by far the most physically un-envasive birthcontrol around!

Might be worth talking to your doc about, especially if the IUD isn't working out for you (altho I dunno if america has the male injection thing yet).
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[User Picture]From: burntcopper
2009-12-18 05:38 pm (UTC)
:eyeroll: oh hello, puritanical eejit america. They do know that the more birth control there is, the less welfare you have to pay out and the less female deaths, right? Personally I only support Viagra being covered if it's used for its *original* use - thrombosis alleviation.

Hence why I'm so glad to live under the NHS. Birth control is free and they chuck it at you as soon as you open your mouth. Hmm. have you tried injections or that capsule they inject under your skin? Apparently far more reliable and according to my mate Laura, less side effects than the pill. I got taken off the pill by the doc a couple of years ago because hormone change as i got older meant it was doing scary things to my blood pressure.
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[User Picture]From: flaviarassen
2009-12-18 11:06 pm (UTC)
The same slimebags who want women to be barefoot &
pregnant not only do not care if we die, but also want
a permanent underclass to exploit

(Wait, since when did I turn into a Communist? (-: )
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[User Picture]From: alisa5179
2009-12-18 05:43 pm (UTC)
Insurance covering viagra and not birth control is just insane. As is a doctor trying to convince you to have kids! Great comic.

Love the Harry Potter doodles!
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[User Picture]From: raoin
2009-12-18 05:53 pm (UTC)
the pill also made me kack.

i like that you took the picture while your cat was loving up on/biting the pamphlet on saving cord blood. adorable.
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[User Picture]From: kryptyd
2009-12-18 05:57 pm (UTC)
I've been on depo provera (the injection) for years and years and I find it very good, with no side effects. Well, I get no periods but that's a bonus not a side effect.

Sometimes I feel like I work for the pharma industry, the amount I push depo to people on here.
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[User Picture]From: polarbee
2009-12-18 06:03 pm (UTC)
I remember watching some show on NPR(silly me, you can't watch radio) PBS where they were discussing male birth control. All the women interviewed were enthusiastic about it, but every single one of them said they would continue their own birth control and not depend on the guy. :) Which makes complete sense, as the guys don't have to bear the brunt if they forget.

As far as the cord blood thing, it actually does make sense if you have kids, simply because it is preserving stem cells that are specific to that child or other children you may have (sharing basically the same genes) and is one of the best ways of curing a lot of diseases. (Until more widespread research with stem cells anyway.)
As to why you're getting them... Yeah, that's weird. ;)

Edited at 2009-12-18 06:03 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: pencilears
2009-12-19 01:13 pm (UTC)
yeah but, your kid needing their own cord blood is unlikely and donating your kid's cord blood will save someone else's kid. and possibly the world.

saving cord blood is like donating blood to save it for later, just stupid where you could be altruistic instead.
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[User Picture]From: v3g4n
2009-12-18 06:10 pm (UTC)
Fertility Awareness Management: http://www.tcoyf.com/

It's not the Rhythm Method, it's actually logical. But takes more work than a pill. I suggest it only in that I don't trust any medical device for preventing pregnancy, I fear their long term consequences...
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-12-18 07:27 pm (UTC)
Seconded -- I'm a huge fan of the Fertility Awareness Method. Totally changed my life. It's weird (and sad) that knowing more about how your body works should feel so revolutionary.
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[User Picture]From: quirkybird
2009-12-18 07:20 pm (UTC)
Man, Lucy, I am so glad I turned out to be gay; during my one period of attempting to sleep with a boy, birth control pills gave me a weeklong massive panic episode that scuttled my senior thesis and made hetero-sex into something I was brutally, palpably scared of.

Just thinking about getting it on with my boyfriend-at-the-time would throw me into a grade-A psychiatric freakout. (extra bonus: he was a virgin. Nothing like having your first sexual experience result in your girlfriend turn into a pale, trembling basketcase!)

Luckily a nice therapist friend figured that out and told me to toss the pills and avoid all hormone-based birth control. But then being limited to condom use made the prospect of ever talking myself into having boy-sex even less likely.

Unfortunately, the side effect of my preferred method of birth control is that I can't get legally married...

Edited at 2009-12-18 07:21 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: lucylou
2009-12-19 03:58 pm (UTC)
Haha, that method worked SO WELL for me, too! Poor Nelly has to listen to me panic about this stuff and she just goes, "thank god thank god thank GOD I'm gay."
Boy howdy the pill-- when I was in high school I briefly went on the pill for acne (my boyfriend could in-no-way get me pregnant, as he'd begun trying to be recognized as a boy that very year) during the week we took a field trip to LONDON. In that one week, every single person on the trip went completely batshit crazy, and I blame the pill for my part of it. At one point, I was so stressed out and grinding my teeth that I CRACKED MY JAW and couldn't eat for the duration of the trip. FUN.
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[User Picture]From: tristan_crane
2009-12-18 07:32 pm (UTC)

Just fty...

They do make latex-free condoms. They used to be insanely expensive, and now are less so, but still cost more than the usual latex ones, and a guy should try a few brands to find the best, um, fit.

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[User Picture]From: lucylou
2009-12-19 03:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Just fty...

Yyyeah, those are... a little odd. Expensive, inconvenient, and they... smell weird. I should give them another go, though.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-12-18 07:36 pm (UTC)


It's 'tenterhooks' not tenderhooks.
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[User Picture]From: danicarip
2009-12-19 04:22 am (UTC)

Re: Correction

At least they're not brutalhooks :)
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[User Picture]From: maeths
2009-12-18 07:51 pm (UTC)
I find it interesting/frustrating that non-latex condoms are still so expensive and hard to find. I had a partner who (A) the pill made super depressed (kind of an additional form of birth control in that fact alone that you can't get pregnant if you don't have sex) and (B) as alergic to latex.
You would think that it would be no big deal for non-latex condoms to be readily available (there are like three brands out there) as they also feel quite different.

On the general front of women's health, it seems that women get screwed in regards to health care all around.
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From: dealatedwren
2009-12-18 07:59 pm (UTC)
I have been through so many different types of BC. I'm also allergic to condoms, and any hormonal BC made me a huge mess.

the best birth control experience I've had is in using the Mirena IUD. It still has hormones, but they are localized in the uterus (instead of being in your bloodstream like a pill would). I've even stopped getting a period! It's really great because I am in a long-term, monogamous relationship and I also don't want babies for a while.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-12-18 09:28 pm (UTC)


Hello Lucy,

You should totally try an IUD. It's more effective than the pill, has little or no hormone in it (depending on the one you choose) and is totally reversible. I have one and it's great!!!

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[User Picture]From: squidbeardz
2009-12-18 09:30 pm (UTC)
Have you tried spermacide?
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