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.