{Survivorhood} Year Nine


I can still remember exactly what I was wearing on the day my world broke. Gray cardigan, white button down peasant top, jeans, and cranberry ballet flats. The shoes, I still have them. They are worn and raggedy, I just can’t let them go. Those shoes carried me in the ER and they walked me out days later. Those shoes are a symbol that I survived the worst day possible.

Every day I am reminded that four had to die so I could be the one out of five who walked away. I live each day for those who no longer can. I live each day for the women who lost their lives to the Nuvaring. Those women are my battle cry and I will not rest until there are none. Those women have given me more strength than I ever thought possible.

I survived because God, he wasn’t done with me. God knew my strength before I did. God gave me a second chance and I have cherished each day to the fullest. Fate, she’s a funny one and I know that everything I have lived through was apart of her plan. That this plan isn’t mine and only Fate knows where I am going. I cling to every drop of borrowed time and thank God for every day I rise. For I know this second life of mine is an incredible gift.

On October 22, 2009 I made a choice. A choice to not be a victim. A choice to thrive and live a life worth telling. I want a life filled with incredible experiences and stories that will keep me company when I’m old. I made a choice to stand up and be a voice against the darkness. A voice to bring awareness to a cause and educate those around me about the side effects of hormonal contraceptives. My voice will not be silenced until there are none. I have work to do and I will not rest until there are none. One day there will be none and on that day I will take off my white hat and rest.

This past year was filled with heartache and joy. I became a mama to my 3rd sleeping son. Emmett James left this world before his feet ever touched my hands. I am grateful for the experience and I am thankful to be his mom. When sadness fades to joy life begins. I got to watch Sophia and Jack turn one year older. There faces bring joy to the darkness of the night. I am grateful that I survived and get to hear their little voices say “Auntie! Auntie! Auntie!” They are my world and I am there’s.

I spent my weekends traveling form place to place with my dad at my side. No matter the destination he was game. We went to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; Mackinac Island; The Badlands; Mount Rushmore; Crazy Horse; Wyoming; Jeffer’s Petroglyphs; Milwaukee; Racine; Hayward; Effigy Mounds National Monument; Crowing Wing State Park; Door County; Washington Island; and the North Shore. This summer we traveled more than most people do in a lifetime. Much wine and booze was bought and we have memories to last us until the end of time.

My dad isn’t the only one who got in on the road trip fun. I traded my dad in for Jay! We made our usual pilgrimage to WI Dells and we ventured west to South Dakota and Wyoming. This year was the year of travel and my heart is happy. I am the trip planner in our family. I plan and Jay just comes along for the ride. That is what I love about him, he’s up for anything as long as I’m involved.

My heart she is thankful. Thankful that I got a second chance at this thing called life. This second chance taught me to live in the moment. Fate has taught me to let the little things slide and stand up for the big things. I have more hope and faith than most people. For I’ve seen God work. Long ago I stopped asking “why me,” instead I stand up and ask “why not me.” I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and God knows what he’s doing. Research, saved my life and it will continue to save the lives of others. We need to believe in research and fund research so that others can have my outcome. So that they too can have a chance at living in a beautiful disaster.

YEAR #9:

For the past nine years I’ve asked for motherhood. This year I am just asking to be HAPPY. Happy with myself. Happy with my work and life. I want to feel joy and give joy. I want to be that person whose happiness is addictive and strengthening. That beacon we flock to on a bad day and the one we laugh with on a good day. I simply want to be happy.

{Hearts on 22} National Stroke Awareness Month

On October 22, 2009 I almost died five days before my 27th Birthday. I found myself in the ER unable to breath with unbearable chest pain. A CT scan revealed a clot the size of a ten cent gum ball lodged in the valve that connects my left lung to my heart. My oxygen level was below 50%, my heart was in sinus tachycardia and I was fighting for my life. To make matters worse my blood pressure kept rising and suddenly I lost my words, the staff sprung into action, TPA was administered and my life was saved. I had survived a massive pulmonary embolism with infection and a stroke due to the third generation progesterone in my birth control, the Nuvaring.

At 26 Stroke wasn’t on my radar and until that day I had no clue what a pulmonary embolism was. Strokes happened to old people not young professionals. That day taught me that strokes can happen at any age and your risk is higher if you are taking hormonal contraceptives. My OBGYN never once mentioned that my birth control could possibly kill me, she just wrote the script, shoved it in my hand and went on her merry way.

I could have spent the past almost nine years in hiding. As in not telling a soul I had a stroke because well on the outside I look perfectly normal. I was lucky, I got the clot busters in time and I walked away unscathed. Many of my survivor counterparts are not so lucky, they have physical and mental impairments. Impairments that could have been prevented if they had received treatment in time. This haunts me, some days I wonder why I was the lucky one and on other days I say “why not me!?”

This life I lead is borrowed. I wish I could say it was perfect, but it’s not. I am living a perfectly imperfect life. This second chance is mine and mine alone to live. I made the choice to live my Stroke out loud. My story and willingness to fight this battle has landed me on billboards, fashion shows, tv commercials, news paper articles, magazine articles, and in DC. Oh the places your stroke will take you. Even I have to pause for a moment and think “holy shit AJ you’ve like made a difference!” A difference I have made, because what happened to me is 100% preventable.

That’s right what happened to me was 100% preventable. I had gone to the doctor a week prior with symptoms of a blood clot in my leg. The doctor told me to “drink more water and walk more.” One week later to the day I found myself in the ER fighting for my life. If only my doctor had listened to me. All the doctor had to do was order a d-dimer test. If that test had been ordered the doctor would have caught the blood clot before it found its way to my lung and brain. It’s been almost nine years and that still gets me the most, that this, pulmonary embolism and stroke of mine was 100% preventable.

{Hearts on 22} Life, It Goes On 

Year six

“Dear 26 year old Self,

If I had known what was going to happen today I would never have gotten out of bed. But you being the optimist got up, you put your cranberry colored flats on, left a half eaten muffin on the counter, guzzled some coffee, and drove off to work. You just started a new job, a new challenge always gets us excited you were knee deep in learning the ins and outs of repossessions and collections. Because you were knee deep in lets face it we were trying to impress our new boss, so we brushed off our gut feeling that something was wrong.

Since Monday you brushed away the sick feeling, the raging pain, fever, shortness of breath, and everything else you did not have time for. You made it to the Sun Ray shopping center, you started to feel an annoying stab in your lugs, you being you ignored this. The situation did not improve and by the time you reached Saint Paul you could barely breath. Yet for some reason you thought you’d be all right, truth is you were not all right. Something in you made you take the Lexinton Parkway exit and head back to Woodbury.

Turning around was the best decision you made that day. You contemplated going home, the voice in your head said go to the ER, thank God you listen to it. Within an hour you were told that your situation looked bleak, your chance of walking out of there alive was slim. Your oxygen level was below 50%, a massive clot was blocking the main valve to your heart, and not to mention a few of your lung sacks exploded, and to top it off you had a stroke. You my dear almost died five days before our golden birthday.

Year 26 was to be the end of your story, but something in you decided “today is not the day” and you reached down to grab the last shred of hope you had and fought back. You AJ got the best birthday present. It did not come in a box with a fancy bow nor did it have a pretty gift tag, you got a second chance, you got life. There is no greater gift than the gift of life. Smile young lady, you are the 1 out of 5 who got to walk away and live another day.”


Life, it goes on.

There are not enough words in the English language to describe how amazing my survivor journey has been. I have gotten to do a lot of incredible things that would not have been possible without the fast action of the Woodwinds ER team, nurses and staff. I am alive today because they looked past the norm and dug deeper to find out why this healthy young woman could no longer breath.

The clot was found because the Doctor took the time to ask me five little words: “are you on birth control?” Those five words saved my life, because I said yes a d-dimer was order, that test lead to the CT scan that found the massive clot in my left lung. I have no long term cognitive or physical side affects from my stroke because I received the life saving clot busters, they made all the difference and allowed me to walk out of that hospital on my own.

Ever since that day I set out into this world to make sure no other woman had to endure my fate, I have succeeded in this. My story has educated and saved countless lives. “Oh the places a birth control related P.E. and Stroke will take you!” From billboard, to public service announcement, to the steps of the United States Capital building, my story has been heard loud and clear, and my struggles are paving the way so that others can know the sign of blood clots and stroke.

I do not consider myself a victim and I refuse to live in the Nuvaring’s shadow, I am a survivor and Merck can never take that away from me. It doesn’t matter that Merck does not have to accept responsibility for my injury, I know that there product did this me. In away that moment of disaster catapulted me into an amazing second chance that is filled with passion and purpose. Nuvaring almost took my life, it will not take my second chance away from me, that is mine and mine alone.

Life, it goes on. I became a mama to a baby in heaven not once but twice. I got divorced, rented my first apartment ever, adopted a dog, quit my job without a plan, only to find a job that I hands down love, and I managed to find MYSELF. I got to watch my niece take her first steps, hear her little voice yell “AUNTIE” excitedly, and mostly I get to bond with her as I paint her little toes pretty colors. I’ve gotten to reconnect with my parents through crazy little road trips and spent my summers collecting glass on the beach. I fell love only to fall out of it. I miss Charlie every day, but I have to believe that he somehow lead me to Jay, in Jay I found home and soon I will be his wife. I got to meet and hold my nephew Jack, his sweet little chubby cheeks will melt your heart.

If it were not for the Woodwinds ER staff and medical research the fore mentioned would not have been possible. My niece and nephew would be learning about me through photos. Jay and Charlie would never of had the chance to fall in love with me. There would have been no participating in the Go Red campaign, there would have been no participating in lobby days or giving a speech on the capital steps, and this blog would have ceased on 10/22/2009. My Mama would have picked out my urn instead of my 27th Halloween themed birthday cake, and my story would have ended as silently as it started. I am alive today because of RESEARCH, research is what saved me, and I will support medical research for as long as I am standing. Because if you need proof, its right here, I am proof that it does and will continue to save lives.

Words cannot express how thankful I am for the doctors and nurses at WoodWinds Health Campus, that place is more than a hospital, it is where my second story begins and for that I am grateful, grateful that because of the care I received, I got to walk out of the front instead of being rolled out of the back door.

To learn more about Pulmonary Embolisms and Women’s Heart Health Please visit the following sites:

Pulmonary Embolism: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pulmonary-embolism/basics/definition/con-20022849

To learn more about blood clots: http://www.stoptheclot.org/

Women’s Heart Health: https://www.goredforwomen.org/

To learn more about strokes: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/

To join us in the fight for a healthy tomorrow: https://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/default.aspx

To learn more about the dangerous side affects of the NuvaRing: http://nuvaringtruth.com/

“Educate yourself and safe a life today”

{Nuvaring} The Ultimate Price Paid

“What counts in life in not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what Difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we have led.”

-Nelson Mandela

I am Erika Langhart, you are Erika, your daughter, your granddaughter, your niece, and your wife are all Erika. Erika was a vibrant young woman who endured my fate. The difference between her and I, is that I got to live another day. Erika wanted nothing more than to live and to prosper in this world. Yet her light was snuffed out, she died due to complications caused by the third generation progesterone in the Nuvaring. To this day the FDA still claims that the Nuvaring is safe for women to use.

Erika, if she could speak would tell you that it is not safe. I am not Erika, but I can tell you that it is not safe and that there is nothing good about the Nuvaring. It will blindly launch you into a disaster that will become your every day life. Erika is only the tip of the iceberg. Many more women followed her foot steps, some went before her and some went after her. There names deserve to be remembered, their lives deserve merit, and mostly their deaths deserve to be more than deaths.

Angela, Brittany, Dana, Erika, Jackie, Julia, LaMonica, and Lindsey, they did not want to die and they should not have lost their lives. Their deaths could have been prevented, if only they had been thoroughly educated about the dangerous side affects of the Nuvaring. That is what gets the most, their deaths could have been prevented. If only they had known about the risks, they would all still be alive today. I have no doubt that all of them would join me in this fight. That they would use their voices to educate the women in their lives, in their communities, and states about the adverse affects of hormonal contraceptives.

Doctors will tell you that the occurrence of a blood clot is rare. I am living and breathing proof that rare happens. It happens every single day all over this world. The Nuvaring doesn’t give a shit if you are rich or poor, the color of your skin, or your age, its just a thing and it will strike when you least expect it. I woke up at 5:50 AM, I was a healthy vibrant young woman and by 7:30 AM I was fighting for every breath I took. Rare, rare happened on October 22, 2009 five days before my 27th birthday. The only reason I am alive is because the ER doctor paused and asked me if I was on a birth control. That one question lead to a D-Dimer test and that Test lead to the scan that revealed the massive clot in my lung. I was diagnosed with a Massive Pulmonary Embolism with Infarction, low oxygen, and sinus tachycardia. An if that wasn’t enough, to top it off I had a stroke too. In layman’s terms I was a hot mess and my future was uncertain.

1 out of 5 will survive a pulmonary embolism. You can do the math, that means four people had to die so I could be the one would lived to the tale. No one should have to go through that, it is terrifying, no one should have to wonder “is this my last breath.” I did the only thing I could, my daddy always told me “when all else fails, pray.” Pray, is exactly what I did and I needed to put the why behind the how. I needed to know why this happened to me. It was proven that my pulmonary embolism was caused by the third generation progesterone in the Nuvaring. My birth control, almost took my life. I was almost Angela, Brittany, Dana, Erika, Jackie, Julia, LaMonica, and Lindsey. But for some unknown reason, I was spared, I lived to fight another day and because of that I will not give up. I will not rest until the Nuvaring is removed from the market.

I will be damned if another woman endures my fate. My years are borrowed and in my heart I know that Angela, Brittany, Dana, Erika, Jackie, Julia, LaMonica, and Lindsey would gladly trade places with me, they can’t so I chose to fight for the tomorrows they never got to see.

To learn more about the Women who lost their lives and about the continued fight to educate women on the adverse side affects of the Nuvaring, please visit: http://nuvaringtruth.com/

{Life Lessons} So close to motherhood, yet so far away

WaveOn Mother’s day I got the bright blue positive that we all hope and pray for. That little plastic test proved that my body still worked and that I was still worthy of motherhood. Little did I know, this to would be a test and I would once again have to face loss. Fate she can be kind, yet without warning she can churn the seas. At the end of May Jay and I found out that a gestational sac had developed yet it had nothing inside. There was no heart beat, no yolk, and simply no sign of life. It was not meant to be ours.

Someone else needed a baby more than Jay and I did. This, this just wasn’t our time and as Jay put it “Babes it just wasn’t CoraLeigh in there.” Yes, we secretly wanted a girl. June proved to be a test, losing a pregnancy isn’t easy and it put a strain on our relationship. Words were said, tears shed, yet we came out of it more in love than ever. My body didn’t want to let go of our little sac that couldn’t, so a D&C was scheduled and I began to pray. Pray because the last time I had one, it didn’t end so well and it left me with more scars than healthy tissue.

I picked out the expert, we talked through the procedure and he promised that he was going to do it right. On Monday I went under and he did it right. To my surprise as well as his, my uterus had hardly any scar tissue and the tare in the uterus healed perfectly. My chances of having a healthy pregnancy are as high as they can be for a pulmonary embolism/stroke survivor. I have a feeling that my third time and Jay’s second time will be the charm. I am not going to give up on motherhood just yet, this this is a dream I have always wanted.

Sometimes I look at pregnant women and think to myself “you are so darn lucky.” Most women have no idea the struggles a pulmonary embolism/stroke survivor faces in pregnancy. My world is complicated and most of us are told “no more babies.” I took that statement as a challenge and lord willing one day I will hold a baby of my own. Someone has to go first and tread the waters so others can follow. Right now medical science knows so little about hormone induced blood clots and heart issues, I think it’s time to change it. More research needs to be done and when that happens more women just like me will be able to carry babies of their own.

For now I will settle for the knowledge that my body still and does work. I am blessed to have two children in heaven, my son Lucia and a baby we never got to know. I’d like to believe that this was a test, a nudge from God to let me know I am still capable of carrying a child. The little empty sac will always be apart of me and I will always wonder who it would have been. I have no doubt that my turn is coming and that Jay and I will get to one day share a super cute baby announcement with all of you.

{NuvaRing} Living In A Beautiful Disaster 

Ladies, from my heart to yours I can tell you that no amount of money is ever going to make us whole, it will not undo the harm, and it will not turn back time. I never went into this lawsuit for the money, I I wanted to make a difference and I did. I wanted to stand up for myself and to make sure that no other woman had to endure my fate. 

 I had a massive pulmonary embolism with infarction and because of that I can no longer have children. I used the nuva ring because it was suppose to reset my cycle and I would hopefully then get pregnant. I wanted a baby more than anything in this world, instead I got handed a blood clot. 

We thought the  nuva ring took away my fertility, on April 1st 2010 I found out I was pregnant. Not just a few weeks but  a whole lot a pregnant. Somehow in the chaos of INR checks, scans, and injections a child was made. It wasn’t ideal, yet the timing was perfect. My son was the silver lining to a shitty ordeal. 

God he had other plans, I celebrated Mother’s Day with a swollen belly only to find out that Lucia’s light was no more. On May 12, 2010 Alucious Gregory Beaulieu Cohen was born sleeping. My daddy planted a birch tree in Lucia’s honor, at its base is a plaque that reads “Where there is love, there is life.” 

Tucked into the pages of my Bible is a card from United Hospital, on it are my son’s tiny little foot and hand prints, Lucia is always with me, no foot is to small to make an impact on this world. You see it doesn’t matter how many dollars are placed in my hand it will not bring my son back nor will it change the fact that I will never look my own flesh and blood in the face. 

So please find it in your hearts to be at peace with this, Merck technically under the law doesn’t have to give us a dime, hell they don’t even have to admit wrong doing and they can continue on as business as usual. Be happy that you are getting a few pennies, because a few is better than nothing. 

Be greatful that you are six feet above ground, be thankful that you greet the sun each morning, and never forget those women who would die to take your place. 

  This is my 6th borrowed year on earth and I am greatful that in those six years  I became a mama, got a divorce, found myself, adopted a rescue pup, held my niece, found  the perfect job, fell in love, and in July I will welcome my nephew Jack into this world. I made a life out of a beautiful disaster. 

My story could be different, On October 22, 2009 I had my massive PE with infarction when I was 26 years old, I was 5 days shy of my 27th birthday, and if I didn’t get to the ER when I did my Parents would have been picking out my urn instead of my 27th Halloween themed birthday cake. I got the best gift that year, I got life! I got to live! 

 And I refuse to be angry at Merck, there is no place for anger in a survivors heart. I am living in the moment and taking in every sweet sweet drop of borrowed time. Memories are what I am making and I am living without looking back. Life is a Beautiful disaster and I will ride it until the last grain of sand falls. 

{Women’s Health} Birth Control: Heroine or Foe?

Birth controlAll we are hearing about is the positive stories. About how birth control has revolutionized and changed the lives of women. What about the other side of the coin? Is it really as great as they claim? Is it really a miracle pill? An article published in Women’s Health magazine states that there are 7 benefits besides the obvious. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/birth-control-benefits I was first put on the pill in the spring of 2005 to regulate my monthly cycle. I had suffered years of (sorry over share) heavy bleeding and extremely short periods. The hormones in the pill didn’t seem to help and the doctor suggested that I try the Ortho Evra patch, I was in love and it worked. It worked so well that I used the patch from August 2005 to December of 2008. The bad part about the patch was that it hurt like hell when you pulled it off and it left glue residue behind. Which I racked up as minor annoyances and focused on the benefits.

The benefit was that the patch made my pre-menopausal body into the body of a normal 20 something. In December 2008 I got brave and asked about the Nuva ring, since I was planning on having kids within the next 3 years the doctor thought it would be a great option. So I gave it a whirl and for the most part it did its job. Up until October 2009 I was a believer, I thought the Nuva Ring was a gift from the heavens, until the moment I found myself standing at death’s door.

On October 22, 2009 the Nuva Ring almost took my life. I was admitted to the ER with an oxygen level of 40% and my heart was in sinus tachycardia, I was fading fast and the ER dr paused and asked “are you on birth control?” I said yes and he ordered a d-dime test which lead to a CT scan that revealed the massive blood clot that was stuck in the main valve leading from my left long to my heart and the lower half of my left lung had collapsed. As soon as the clot was found the life saving efforts began, I ended up having a stroke right in the ER, it’s probably the best place to be if you are having a stroke. I was only 26 and this, this whole thing happened 5 days before my 27th birthday. I spent more days in the hospital than I care to count and it took me 1 year to recover fully. My life became a cycle of lovenox injections, INR checks, pulmonology visits, CT scan, blood tests, therapy, and a mountain of medical debt. On the bright side I got pregnant 6 months after my PE/Stroke, it wasn’t ideal and I was considered a very high risk, sadly that joy was short-lived and my son left this world before his feet even touched the ground. After his death I learned that he will be the one and only child I will carry.

It took me even longer to come to terms with the fact I will never be able to have a child of my own. I spent thousands of dollars on 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th opinions, at the end of the day the facts were still the same. I made a choice, I put faith in our government and I believed that I was doing the best thing for my health, in the end my hormonal contraceptive took my health and left me infertile. My body no longer makes the hormones it so desperately needs and because of the blood clot I can never be on hormonal contraceptives of hormone therapy again. Nuva Ring took my ability to carry a child away from me and for that I will no longer be able to say that birth control revolutionized woman’s health.

Recent studies have shown that todays birth control pills may double a woman’s risk of blood clots, pulmonary embolism, and strokes. According to a WebMD article published in October 2011,

Being on the newest kinds of pills, which contain the progestin hormones drospirenone, desogestrel, or gestodene along with estrogen, doubled the risk again, making it six to seven times as high as women who weren’t using hormonal forms of birth control. Still, on average, about 10 out of 10,000 women taking newer kinds of birth control pills had venous thromboembolism in a year’s time. Although that’s a serious increase, it is still only half as high as the risk of blood clots seen in women who are pregnant or who have recently had a baby.

Per drugwatch.com, third and fourth-generation progestin have been linked to increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (blood clots) and pulmonary embolism (PE) (blood clots in the lungs). In addition, the risk of heart attack and stroke is also increased. These complications can lead to death. Other popular contraceptives like Orthra Evra and Yaz/Yasmin also have been associated with blood clot risks. Yaz/Yasmin, which uses a fourth-generation progestin, has been associated with a 74 percent increase of developing blood clots.

Whoa that’s some really great information and is truly something women should know about. Over the past 5 years I have crisscrossed the country speaking to and meeting a lot of awesome ladies. Many have told me that they never knew their birth control carried a risk of blood clots and even in rare cases death. It hurts my soul that women do not know about the risk of blood clots, I too was blinded and had no clue that my birth control could cause blood clots, that was until I saw the fluorescent lights of the ER bay. In that sheer moment of disaster my passion was born, my mission became clear and I set out to take on the world. I lawyered up and found my voice.

My life will never be the same again. I no longer dream of looking at my own flesh and blood. Instead I dream of my “gotcha day” and know that somewhere in Asia there is a child waiting for me, somehow that makes this whole situation all right.

I ask you to do only one thing, the next time you insert the ring, pop the pill, or pony up for the shot, think of me and all of my survivor sisters. Just maybe in that moment you will remember to ask your doctor “so what are my risks, you know of possibly developing a blood clot?

To Learn More Please visit:

Drug Watch: http://www.drugwatch.com/nuvaring/

WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/news/20111026/newer-birth-control-pills-may-double-blood-clot-risk


Cosmopolitan Magazine: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/celebrity/exclusive/blood-clots-young-women

Saint Louis Today: http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/fda-approved-nuvaring-despite-experts-safety-concerns/article_9994f863-f5cb-58d7-b33a-ce519e3dd486.html

Women’s Health Magazine: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/nuvaring


{Collateral Damage} Merck Settles for $100million in NuvaRing Injury Case

NuvaringLast night when I got home from work I pulled a large white envelope out of my mailbox. I didn’t give it much thought, I let the muppet like dog out to pee, and when we came in I tossed the envelope on the table. I went about my routine, bracelet in the clam shell, sweats replaced my dress pants, and I fed the dog. Mundane I know, yet as I kneelt down to grab the muppet’s bowel the large envelope caught my eye.

It’s a logo that I’ve seen dozens of times, normally it rested on smaller envelopes, never a large one. I quickly dumped food in the muppet’s bowel and grabbed the envelope. I ripped it open and read “After more than five years of hard-fought and difficult litigation, Merck/Organon USA Inc. has agreed to a Settlement Program to resolve the NuvaRing claims. I read that sentence a dozen times, it didn’t sink in, so I took to Google. The NY Times, The Huffington Post, and so many other media outlets validated what my letter said. I needed validation even thou the settlement was laid out in black and white before me, I needed someone else to tell me that I wasn’t dreaming.

To be honest I never thought I would see this day. I never thought Merck would ever come to the table. Yet they have, Merck, maker of the NuvaRing, says it will pay out $100 million to settle thousands of liability lawsuits from women who say they were harmed by using the product. The settlement was offered to about 3,800 women who have filed lawsuits in federal and state courts. In a statement Friday, the company said: “We stand behind the research that supported the approval of NuvaRing, and our continued work to monitor the safety of the medicine.” The above statement falls on deaf ears, I am 1 out of 3,800 I will go to my grave claiming that the NuvaRing turned my world upside down and injured me. I know in my heart that the NuvaRing is bad news bears, however in the eyes of Merck I am just a casualty, I am the collateral damage they planned for, and I will be nothing more to them.

Tears are still falling even as I write this. Sure I am angry just like everyone else, however I know it makes no sense to beat a dead horse. We wore the white hat, we fought the good fight, yet in the end it wasn’t enough. $100 million seems like pennies compared to the amount Merck’s pockets hold. However this is the only offer and if 95% of women do not opt in, we risk losing it all. I never went into this to become rich, I wanted to stand up for myself and to prevent other women from enduring my fate.

I never had a number in mind, because Merck can never give me back what I want. No one has the power to turn back time and undo the wrongs. Then again on the same coin, I wouldn’t trade what happened to me. The NuvaRing was my sling shot, in a moment of sheer disaster my passion was born. I could have been just another cup of ashes in an urn, instead of an urn I got to see my 27th themed Halloween birthday cake. Almost dying 5 days before your birthday changes your perspective.

Merck brought the NuvaRing into my life, I chose to use it, but I did not chose to have it almost kill me. In all honesty I had no idea that the NuvaRing could cause thrombotic events. Hell I didn’t even know what a pulmonary embolism was until the exact moment I was diagnosed. In that moment my life was changed forever, I lost my sense of youth and was thrown in to survival mode. It looked bleak, my clot sat in a shitty spot and my lungs were dying, yet I pulled through. Because that is what I do. I operate best in a crisis, mainly because I just keep on keeping on and throw caution to the wind.

My lung has healed, my heart is strong, yet I am empty inside. Empty because of complications due to my pulmonary embolism I can never have children. To be honest I went on the NuvaRing in an attempt to regulate my cycle in hopes to get my hormones in order so that I could become pregnant. A lot of my friends went on it, they got babies and I got a blood clot. I got the shitty hand while they were dealt the motherhood card. I can never be on hormonal contraceptives or under go fertility treatments because I now have an increased risk of blood clots. If by the grace of God I were somehow able to conceive I would need to be put on blood thinners as soon as possible. This in its self is a risky decision, because I run the chance of giving birth to a child who is anticoagulant dependent. Like I said the risks are far to great and at the end of the day I must play the cards I have.

I want more than anything to have a child of my own. Merck will never be able to restore my ability to have children, they will never be able to make me whole. My heart aches when I hold a new born, I feel that tug, yet I know it was never meant to be. The NuvaRing crushed my dreams, I will never know what its like to carry a child and I will never get to hold a baby of my own. This, this is something Merck cannot put a price tag on. They just chalk it up to collateral damage and promise to monitor the product.

In there eyes I am nothing more than collateral damage, my quality of life means nothing to them, my struggles are mine and mine alone. The only thing they care about are the profits that the NuvaRing rakes in, so what if it damages a woman and crushes her dreams of motherhood. For every victim there is another woman to take her place in the pharmacy line.

If you would like to read more about the NuvaRing Settlement Please visit the following:

Birth Control And Blood Clots: Women Still Weighing The Risks http://n.pr/1dvY3OZ

Federal judge in St. Louis endorses $100 million settlement offer for NuvaRing cases : Business http://bit.ly/1h71yk2

Merck To Pay $100 Million In NuvaRing Settlement http://huff.to/1g2BAxr

Merck to pay $100 million in NuvaRing contraceptive settlement http://reut.rs/1jkdWAn