The Pill + Me

By CAITLIN SHETTERLY  |  May 9, 2006

Four months after discovering the lump, I turned twenty-five and had the tumor taken out of my left breast. I started to heal, but the bleeding continued. Finally, after days spent on the Internet, I called my breast surgeon, who was the only doctor I trusted, and I asked her to help me make an appointment to have my uterus scanned. Immediately I could tell the radiologist had found something. And I’d finally found a new gynecologist. He diagnosed a polyp — a non- cancerous mass inside my uterus — “the largest I’ve ever seen in my entire career,” he told me. “It’s as large as my hand,” he said, holding out his large man’s hand for me to inspect. “We’ve got to take it out next week.”

My body was growing shit, I thought and started to totally freak out. My mom flew down from Maine and was with me for round two.

In recovery, I went to see a naturopath who told me: “You can’t be taking the Pill, Caitlin. Too many hormones. ... At 25, you’re long term for the Pill. You’re growing stuff. You also have to change your diet. No more soy, no more Pill. Plant estrogens,” he continued, “mimic human estrogens which is why many menopausal women eat more soy because they are losing estrogen. These estrogens in large quantities are dangerous for young women.”

I wasn’t sure, so I saw my breast specialist again, and she found another lump. She wanted to watch it for the next six months. I asked her if the Pill could be doing this, or the phyto-estrogens in soy, which was the predominant food in my diet. She said she didn’t know.

I went home and threw out the Pill and all soy products. Since I’m allergic to milk, I had soymilk, soy cheese, flavored tofu. Soy was the main staple of my diet. I ate it all day long.

When I went back to her in six months, I’d shrunk my second tumor to nothing. She couldn’t find it. She told me I was right, that soy, the Pill, something was too much for my body.

So, I’ve been off the Pill (and soy) for six years. What is this like? Most of my boyfriends have hated it. One wanted me to go back on the Pill even if it might make me sick because he couldn’t keep an erection with a condom on. I was tempted because I felt something was wrong with me to be afraid of something everyone takes. A few weeks later, with no decision made on my part and many thwarted nights with condoms, he broke up with me. Another was afraid of getting me pregnant. He’d already had one girlfriend have an abortion and didn’t want to go through it again. Finally, after a few broken condoms and a couple of morning after pills, the thin structure of our relationship couldn’t handle anything else, and we broke up.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |   next >
Related: Letters to the Portland Editor, May 12, 2006:, Like blood for chocolate, A bitter pill, More more >
  Topics: News Features , Media, Health and Fitness, Ivy League,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
More Information

More on this story:

Shifting Sands By Jeff Inglis.

What Are They? What's in Them? What Do They Do? By Jeff Inglis.

Seeking Help?

Herbal Options By Amy Martin.

Two other women share their stories:

Controlling Birth by Amy Martin.

Don't Mistake It for Easy by Sonya Tomlinson.



Share this entry with Delicious
  •   RECALLING RUSSELL LIBBY  |  February 13, 2013
    When trying to come up with a few words to commemorate Russell Libby, the former executive director of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, who died in December at the age of 56, my first thought was: What could I possibly offer which is not already present in my father's stunning portrait?
  •   MRS.  |  September 05, 2007
    Reader, I married Cowboy.
  •   GET READY, GET SET...  |  August 15, 2007
    That’s just some male fantasy about virginity. It’s totally archaic.
  •   AGAINST THE CURRENT  |  August 01, 2007
    I’ve come to marriage like a fish beating against a tidal stream.
  •   WEDDING MARCH  |  July 18, 2007
    Bridezillas, anyone?

 See all articles by: CAITLIN SHETTERLY