Someone I know tried to kill herself this morning. Thankfully, she hasn’t succeeded, yet, but we are not out of the woods. Her suffering, like so many of the women I work with is immense. She lost her daughter to a medication adverse event, a medication that was common and promoted as entirely safe, even necessary. It isn’t.
The pain of losing a child is unimaginable, but when it is compounded by the institutionalized medical malfeasance that plagues women’s healthcare, and more and more, general medicine, the loss is unbearable. How does one continue on knowing that the medication that killed your child is prescribed to millions of others, causing ‘rare’ adverse events, some of them deadly, many of them serious and chronic, in tens of thousands of young girls and women annually? How does one continue on knowing that other families will suffer just as immensely as you and yours are suffering now? How does one continue on knowing that your child’s death was entirely preventable?
As a mom, I do not know the answers to these questions. As a mom, to begin to contemplate the death of one of my children by any means puts a pit in my stomach so deep I want to vomit; but to contemplate a death by medication reaction, especially one that is so frequently forced upon women with such callous disregard for its effects, that must be a special kind of hell.
Few, except those who experience these events understand this hell. There are no support groups for these families. There is little cultural or national understanding of these deaths. There is very little recognition that these deaths occur, they are ‘rare’ after all, let alone that they are connected to a certain pharmaceutical. Indeed, if your family member is unfortunate enough to die from certain classes of medications or vaccines, those that are particularly entrenched in medical ideology, it is more likely that the product manufacturers, the physicians, and everyone involved, will attack the credibility of such an assertion and the person making it, than take any responsibility whatsoever – a more sinister version of the all-in-your-head gaslighting that modern medicine is so fond of evoking.
Who among us would survive such tragedy?
My friend has. Despite the hell of losing her daughter, she swore to not let her daughter’s death be in vain. Over the years, I have no doubt that her efforts have saved many lives. She is a force to be reckoned with, corralling researchers, advocates, families and survivors, all focused on bringing attention and much needed research to the dangers of this class of medications. What she has accomplished is nothing short of remarkable and we are just beginning. Five years from now there will be a sea change, a paradigm shift; one that she brought to bear. Only, I know she doesn’t see it this way. She doesn’t see how integral she is to these efforts. She doesn’t see how deeply her spirit affects those of us fortunate enough to be around her. She doesn’t recognize her strength. She is weary. And for that reason I am worried.
If you read this my friend, please let us help you.
Postscript: It gives us great sadness to report that our friend is no longer with us. We were too late. Our hearts go out to her family and everyone that was touched by the kindness of her spirit.
You will be missed my friend.