Miscarriages? It May Be From DES!


Life is simple, it’s just not easy.

Have you ever had a stigma placed upon you or your family members for something you did not do?  I’m with you on that if so.  And after all these years, I’ve learned all the info and have the need to “tell all” so that anyone of you who do not know will feel some relief.  Also from your educating other, I hope to reach those people – the hurting women and men who suffered unbeknownst to their parents.

Light at the end of the tunnel

I do want you all to realize that there is life (and light) at the end of the tunnel.  I was very fortunate.  Although surgery by hysterectomy was necessary, I’m a survivor of cancer and have lived a full life thus far.  Hopefully, I’ll continue!

Years ago, I was presented with a serious ailment.  I had a cervical tumor, 3rd stage cancer bordering on 4th stage – extremely serious obviously.  Only years afterwards did I learn why this occurred.  But originally when I received the horrendous news in 1980, they tried a couple of things to maintain my ability to have children, as I had only been married a year and as yet had none.  Ultimately though a hysterectomy was necessary to preserve my life.  At the time it was one of the hardest things I’d ever had to undergo.

My mother had five children, however, she also suffered several miscarriages during her child-bearing years.  She was a devout Catholic and as such pleaded with her doctor to tell her how she could be helped from the trauma of miscarriage.  Her doctor prescribed Diethylstilbestrol (or DES) which was a synthetic nonsteroidal estrogen that was synthesized about 1938.

There are many of you, I’ve learned, and I want you to be aware of the facts to help alleviate any guilt you may be feeling.  As it has been alluded to that this type of cancer can be due to promiscuity at an early age, we now need to clear the air.  So I’m going to SPEAK OUT for myself but primarily for any of you with the situation of being a DES daughter or son, and for those of you who don’t know what you went through – the reason/s – and for those of you who have yet to learn of the problems you may face.

From about 1940 to 1971, DES was given to pregnant women in the mistaken belief it would reduce the risk of pregnancy complications and losses such as miscarriage.

In 1971, DES was shown to cause a rare vaginal tumor in girls and women who had been exposed to this drug in utero.  In fact women such as myself were alerted to having cervical cancer and/or vaginal cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration subsequently withdrew DES from use in pregnant women.  Follow-up studies have indicated DES also has the potential to cause a variety of significant adverse medical complications during the lifetimes of those exposed.  This per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The US National Cancer Institute recommends women born to mothers who took DES undergo special medical exams on a regular basis to screen for complications as a result of the drug.  Individuals who were exposed to DES during their mothers’ pregnancies are commonly referred to as “DES daughters” and “DES sons”.

In the 1940s, DES was used off-label to prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes in women with a history of miscarriage.  And in July 1947, the FDA approved the use of DES for this indication.  The first such approval was granted to Bristol-Meyers Squibb, allowing use of 25 mg (and later 100 mg) tablets of DES during pregnancy.   The recommended regimen started at 5 mg per day in the 7th and 8th weeks of pregnancy (from first day of last menstrual period), increased every other week by 5 mg per day through the 14th week, and then increased every week by 5 mg per day from 25 mg per day in the 15th week to 125 mg per day in the 35th week of pregnancy.  DES was originally considered effective and safe for both the pregnant woman and the developing baby.  It was aggressively marketed and routinely prescribed. Sales peaked in 1953.   By the way, I was born in 1951, right in the midst of this drug’s popularity as a Godsend for preventing miscarriages.

Despite an absence of evidence supporting the use of DES to prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes, DES continued to be given to pregnant women through the 1960s. In 1971, a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed a probable link between DES and vaginal clear cell adenocarcinoma in girls and young women who had been exposed to this drug in utero. Later in the same year, the FDA sent an FDA Drug Bulletin to all U.S. physicians advising against the use of DES in pregnant women.  The FDA also removed prevention of miscarriage as an indication for DES use and added pregnancy as a contraindication for DES use.  On February 5, 1975, the FDA ordered 25 mg and 100 mg tablets of DES withdrawn, effective February 18, 1975.  The number of persons exposed to DES during pregnancy or in utero during 1940–1971 is unknown, but may be as high as 2 million in the United States.

DES was also used in other countries, most notably France, the Netherlands and Great Britain.

From the 1950s through the beginning of the 1970s, DES was prescribed to prepubescent girls to begin puberty and thus stop growth by closing growth plates in the bones.  Despite its clear link to cancer, doctors continued to recommend the hormone for “excess height”.

DES gained notoriety when it was shown to cause a rare vaginal tumor in girls and young women who exposed to this drug in utero.  In 1971, the New England Journal of Medicine published a report showing that seven of eight girls and young women (ages 14 to 22)  diagnosed with vaginal clear cell adenocarcinoma had been exposed prenatally to DES.   Subsequent studies have shown an approximate 40-fold increased risk of vaginal/cervical clear cell adenocarcinoma in women exposed in utero to DES. As a consequence of this evidence, DES is considered an established human carcinogen. DES was one of the first transplacental carcinogens discovered in humans, meaning a toxin could cross the placenta and harm the fetus. It had originally been believed that the placenta protected the developing fetus but we now know that is not true. Daughters exposed to DES in utero may also have increased risk of moderate to severe cervical squamous cell dysplasia and an increased risk of breast cancer

Initially, fewer studies documented risks of prenatal exposure to DES on males (referred to as “DES sons”).  The first documented case study of intersexuality occurring in a male prenatally exposed to DES was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1959 by Kaplan.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, studies published on prenatally DES-exposed males investigated increased risk of testicular cancer, infertility and urogenital abnormalities in development, such as cryptorchidism and hypospadias.

Thus women weren’t alone in this malady … men suffered as well.  And I suspect that women at the very least talk about it amongst their friends far more than most men would talk amongst other men.  Therefore we all need to be well informed for our own peace of mind as well as informing and educating others, perhaps even our own families.

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life:

  

~~Robert Frost

Sharing Your Life With a Furry Friend


Late in 2011, the American Humane Association launched a one-of-kind study to understand why three to four million adoptable pets are euthanized every year in shelters across the country.  “Keeping Pets In Homes” is a three part study to curb pet homelessness. The goal is to learn why some people adopt a cat or dog, some remain pet-less and others surrender them to shelters.  The first phase of the research was just released and the results are very interesting.

While there are 117.5 million households in the U.S., only 46.3 million have a dog in their family and 38.9 million own a cat.  That leaves 27.5 percent of the households in America without a pet.  The first phase of  Keeping Pets In Homes examined the reasons why so many people do not share their lives with furry friends.

Funded by a generous grant from PetSmart Charities, phase one, “Reasons For Not Owning A Dog Or Cat,” interviewed 1,500 adults who previously owned a pet and non-pet owners to determine the reasons behind their decision.  Understanding the respondents’ hesitation to bring a cat or dog into their families is the first step toward developing effective strategies to get more homeless pets adopted.

Phase one also examined if people in the study were open to the possibility of becoming a pet guardian in the future.  Here are the top reasons cited for not owning a cat or dog:

  • The cost associated with having a pet is too high.
  • Not enough time to care for an animal.
  • Grief over the loss of a previous pet was too much to      handle.

Surprisingly, people named the death of a previous pet as the top reason why they did not currently have an animal in their household.  20% of dog owners and 17% of cat owners said the stress of watching a beloved pet grow old and die was so traumatic they had chosen not to go through experience again.

When respondents were asked if they were open to the possibility of pet ownership in the future they said:

  • 45%  of previous dog owners would consider getting another, while 34% of previous cat owners were receptive to another cat.
  • 25%  of those who had never owned an animal said they were “probably” or “definitely” open to bringing a dog into their family compared to 10% for cats.
  • Previous owners said they would adopt from a shelter or rescue organization for obtaining a new dog or cat.
  • Those who have never owned an animal, 51% said they would rescue or adopt a dog and 42% indicated they would use a shelter to adopt a cat.

Some of the data from the study was discouraging.  More than one-third of non-pet owners said they dislike cats and only 22% of previous dog owners and 18% of former cat owners said they obtained their past pets from a shelter or rescue group.  And despite the documented health and emotional benefits of pet ownership, an overwhelming 90% of seniors said they were not open to owning a dog or cat in the future.

“There are still significant hurdles to overcome in helping to keep more of these healthy, adoptable animals out of the nation’s shelters,” said Dr. Patricia Olson, chief veterinary advisor for American Humane Association’s Animal Welfare Research Institute.  “Using the data gathered and the work to be done in future phases of this study, we hope over time to decrease pet homelessness and relinquishment.”

“By understanding the reasons why so many Americans do not own a pet, and learning what we can do to increase lifelong retention of those that do,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of the American Humane Association, “we can take the necessary steps to change minds, change policies and change activities to help get more of these beautiful animals out of shelters and into the arms of loving families.”

Phase two of the study is underway. The focus is to examine people who have adopted a cat or dog in the last six months from public and private shelters in three major cities and determine how they and their new pets are adapting.

More data to come and hopefully better qualified owners will adopt and keep their loving pets.  With so many reasons and such wonderful benefits to owning and loving pets, it’s only natural that the numbers will grow.

My three rescue dogs, all females are posted below because I want you to see first-hand what LOVE truly means!  Best wishes my friends …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can We All Get Along & Enjoy Our Freedoms?


 Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching,  practice, worship and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any religion.[1]  The freedom to leave or discontinue membership in a religion or religious group is also a fundamental part of religious freedom, covered by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [2]

 Freedom of religion is considered by many people and nations to be a fundamental human right.  Freedom of religion is generally considered to mean that the government permits religious practices of other sects besides the state religion, and does not persecute believers in other faiths.

So many people wanted to decide what religion should be followed, who should be allowed in or not, and who didn’t fit the ‘ordinary explanation’ for that particular religion.  Yet throughout history wars were fought, people were persecuted and killed, even witches in Salem, Massachusetts were said to be “of the devil” and burned alive at the stake.

Hardly a day goes by when I do not hear something as it relates to what a human being practices in good faith or not follow upon any faith, or how they choose to worship or which designs they follow and why or why not.

Honestly, why does it matter to any of us?  Have we suddenly decided we are a god/God … do we truly believe that anyone here on earth has ALL the answers we seek spiritually?  Then do I have a multitude of questions for you!

Truth is I certainly do NOT purport to have the answers, nor do I believe I will until my own day of judgment.   And I rather like it that way.  There is only one disagreement I have, though I do not push it on anyone dare I say.  And that is the Atheist argument.  Don’t get me wrong … if you’re an atheist, that is entirely your business.  I don’t and shouldn’t have the right to persecute you to change your mind otherwise.  Although I may enjoy a civilized, intelligent conversation to see why you feel this way.  Otherwise, I’m okay with it.

What troubles me is it appears that in the United States, some people claiming atheists and agnostics argue that “Freedom From Religion” is a right in the United States guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.  And, of course, critics of atheism respond, “The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.”   This argument is understandable as a talking point, not a crisis deciding anyone’s religious outcome.

We enjoy so many wonderful freedoms in the United States, and yet we argue and bicker even between political parties.  No one can seemingly agree.  Although I seem to notice that it’s all for show generally speaking.  In other words, some folks need the limelight in order to make clear their point which they find most important to them.

I’m glad we have the freedom to speak our mind in this country.  In certain other countries, we could be arrested, tortured and beheaded or shot for such evil ways.  I take this freedom quite seriously and it is close to my heart.

The same way we fight over who can and who cannot enter this country provide the same lunatic arguments over which religion should we follow or not.  Many men and women gave their lives in the military so we could have the liberties we now enjoy.  We are now at a time when these liberties are in peril.  I think in some cases, perhaps many, our government has grown so big and powerful that the rights of the individual are at risk.  This is what the Constitution was about.  I plead with all Americans to defend the cause of liberty in this nation for all Americans lest we lose them to our foes.

(1)   Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18.

(2)   The Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. The United Nations

 

Dogs Help Save Lives – Need Family And Home


Be aware that each decade seems to bring with it a new ‘breed’ of dog that certain people tend to run with as dangerous.   However, it is NOT a breed that is dangerous.  It is the way certain dogs are treated and trained to be aggressive and made to be in dog fights, which are illegal in the United States.

Here is fascinating info on civilian dogs.  You don’t get to be the 2008 Dog of the Year for nothing and Maya pictured here is no exception.  Maya took home the year’s honor for courageously saving Angela Marcelino, her owner, from a vicious male attacker.  The pitbull’s act of bravery earned her some high praise from the Animal Miracle Foundation, who was happy to report that, “the pitbull breed can be hero dogs just like any other breed.”

Unfortunately we don’t seem to hear too much about those wondrous acts that often pitbulls carry out.  Some of the media and other people are too busy chasing who is the latest breed of dog to sequester since they’re so dangerous to mankind.

We need to judge every dog by its individual behavior, NOT by its breed.  Pitbulls are no more dangerous than a Chihuahua.  It is through training and utilizing certain dogs for dog fighting that we obtain bad behavior in dogs.

The 2012 Department of Defense K-9 Dog Trials were held recently, where Military Working Dogs from all four service branches competed for the title of Top Dog.  I read of two dog and handler teams:  Air Force Tech Sergeant Justin Kitts and his canine partner, Dyngo; and Army Sergeant Jason Cartwright and his dog Isaac. It was amazing to watch the video for both teams to hear them talk about the bond between dog and handler.

 

Both teams recently deployed to Afghanistan, where their primary job was explosives detection, searching for IED’s and roadside bombs.  Dyngo and Isaac (and their well-trained noses) saved hundreds of lives abroad, but they also served an equally important mission: one of being a companion and a reminder of home for both their handlers and the other service members who served next to them.
These days, both dogs and handlers are back home.  Tech Sgt. Kitts is currently stationed at Luke Air Force base in Arizona where he works as an instructor in the dog program, while Sgt. Cartwright, who was the only competitor from the Army’s Engineer Canine Company, is based out of Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri.  Both men hope to adopt their dogs upon their retirement from the Military Working Dog program.

If you’d like to find out more about the Military Working Dog program, including information about adopting retired dogs from Lackland Air Force Base, check out the program’s website here.

If this article helps improve your thoughts or anticipation of fostering or adopting a rescue dog – great!  This may also help your decision.  Of course there are terrible abuses in this world and dogs unfortunately are not exempt from these attrocities.  There are also other reasons, however, why many dogs end up in the dog pound or rescue sites.

In fact, the most common reasons a dog ends up with a rescue organization, or the pound, include the following:

  • The owners don’t have time for the dog.
  • The owners find that they can’t afford either basic vet care or the expense involved in treating an illness or injury.
  • The owner dies or goes into a nursing home.
  • The owners divorce and neither party can keep the dog. (You’d be amazed at how many dogs the pound gets as a result of divorces!)
  • A young couple has a child and no longer has time for the dog, or the dog no longer fits into their “lifestyle.”
  • The owner is moving to an apartment building that doesn’t allow dogs.

All dogs are loving creatures, but a pup from the pound is even much more so.  Don’t think your dog doesn’t recognize the difference between the crowded pound where he or she didn’t get the love that only a doting owner can give and of course your home.  Every loving dog needs and wants a home and loving family!

Four Little Words: I Don’t Have Time!


How often have you uttered the words, “I don’t have time?”  Were they ever conveyed to you?  Life can be challenging though manageable.  Inaction however harbors fear and fear breeds errors and inaccuracies.  William Shakespeare said, “Defer no time; delays have dangerous ends.”

I once worked with a manager who presented this type of problem to her team.  After shrieking “I don’t have time” an inordinate number of times to her team members, their work became fraught with errors.  They became fearful of making decisions on their own.  If they decided differently than she wanted, they dearly paid the price and no one wished to become jobless.  What she was left with was a team who lost creativity, excellence in problem-solving and their resourcefulness.  What the manager gained was a resentful team laden with distrust and trepidation of her.  A good manager is one who isn’t worried about his/her own career but rather the career of those who work for him/her.  Rather than accept what she had done, she shifted the blame to them presenting nails in the fence of life caused by abuse.

And parents who respond to pleas for their time from their children have done likewise.  Both moms and dads have become too busy and stressed out themselves with work demands, they no longer having sufficient time to know what their children are up to these days or who they’ve become.  Those parents do not realize what their children are going through with peer pressure of their own.  Bullying has become prevalent in schools, along with drugs, guns and other threats.  Life should not have to be this cruel.

If we don’t do something about our lives and relationships with our family, our friends and loved ones, then who will?  Ask yourself how you want your life to be.  Remember that we all have the same amount of hours per day as did Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Michelangelo, Albert Einstein, or Helen Keller.  They didn’t seem to think about time.  They took action when needed.  Which brings me to the following.

We have all heard or read about the epidemic of suicides in the United States.  Nearly 40,000 Americans commit suicide annually.  Almost 1,000,000 “attempt” suicide in American annually that we know of.  That figure could be higher.  And according to suicide statistics, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death nationally.  The latest data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 36,909 suicide deaths were reported in the U.S. in 2009.  That figure is rising annually and is the highest rate of suicide in 15 years.

Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable.  Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness and isolation, a suicidal person can’t see any way of finding relief except through death.  But despite their desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal people are deeply conflicted about ending their own lives.  They wish there was an alternative, but they just cannot see one.

Don’t let yourself, your family, children, friends, or loved ones become a statistic.  Make time for yourself and your family and friends.  Be there for them.  There will be difficult decisions to make from time to time.  We can choose what path is best for us and have loving relationships.

 

I speak from some experience on the subject.  It’s difficult to leave a job, or speak up about the abuse whether at our employment or in our household or in school.  Yet we need to be strong and take action.  We need to confide in someone who cares enough to listen try to help.

My husband suffered from major depression, yet he hid it from everyone until the end.  I cannot tell you how many “what ifs” and could have or should haves I have suggested since that fateful day.  I’ve found what’s important is not the past, however, but how we react to it and create a better future.  Or even more important, what “action” we take to prevent further unnecessary acts going forward.

I chose to write and share my thoughts, experiences and the information learned with everyone I can reach.  I still have moments of pain and tears, though I’ve learned how to live through it.  But you don’t have to – not if you take action now.  What I hope for you is to see the world around you again as the beautiful, happy place it can be.  Life is NOT all pain and suffering.  That’s optional.  We can learn to fill our life with love and joy again by choosing what is most important to us and making improvements.  Much like a house, our life can become cracked from stress and abuse and needs rebuilding.

No matter what has happened in your past, remember it is the present and the future that matter most.  Everyone can start over.  It’s just a matter of deciding to do so.  Nothing stands in the way of you and your future happiness.