Below is correspondence I sent electronically to many within the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The email was sent after Angela Lynch, one of the administrators of the Essure Problems Facebook group, learned that Essure was included in the Gates Foundation 2011 Contraceptive Initiative. The document is in the link below, and its one simple word, which you can find on page 9.
Here I am, a mom injured by this device, with firsthand knowledge of how crippling the side effects of this device can be if they happen, and one of the most respected women in America, who has the ability to affect change with one word, is dispensing Essure. No, no, no, no, no!!! Can you tell this bothered me? Well, it bothered many of us in the group.
Admittedly, many of us, including me, went off on a tangent that wasn't positive. As I was writing the first draft of the letter, I took a moment to really think about how to approach the Gates Foundation. As large as the Gates Foundation is, there is no way Bill and/or Melinda Gates are involved in every decision made. I have no way of knowing what they actually 'touch' or what is handled on their behalf. Maybe they don't know Essure is included, and more importantly, maybe they don't know about the countless women who have been injured by the device. The letter morphed into knowledge sharing with the hope of establishing a dialogue with someone at the Gates Foundation. I even included my phone number in the email. The email was received by many at the Foundation as only 3 of the 19 email addresses used were not valid. As of the writing of this blog, I've not received a response in any kind from anyone.
Women in the United States struggle with getting relief; who is going to help the women living in a remote village? In a third world country? Living in the mountains? The side effects aren't always gynecological in nature and these women may not know what is making them sick if they become sick. It was the lack of response that inspired the name of the blog. It’s not that I'm against Melinda Gates; she has the ability to do so much good, and she does do a lot of good. There are many working for them and I'm sure each device wasn't fully vetted. Essure is FDA approved, so "it’s got to be safe." If it wasn't safe, the FDA would issue a warning or something. These are reasonable assumptions, until you meet someone like me, who believed the same thing and suffered at levels very few can imagine, appreciate or even understand.
The battle against Essure continues and maybe someday, I'll be able to say that I influenced Melinda Gates to remove the device from those used by the Gates Foundation.
LETTER TO THE GATES FOUNDATION
Dear Sir and Madam;
I recently learned that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting the use of Essure as part of your 2011 Contraception Initiative. My first thought was How Could You! My next thought was maybe you don’t know what Essure really does. It’s the latter of the two instincts which prompted this letter.
It is my sincere hope that this letter will prompt a dialogue so I can share with you the knowledge I have about the dangers of Essure with the hope that your organization will immediately withdraw your support of this device. Essure is a form of birth control in which two coils, made of nickel titanium alloy and PET fibers are implanted in the fallopian tubes of fertile women. It’s touted to be the non-surgical alternative to a tubal ligation. This device, by design, causes an auto-immune response which triggers the growth of scar tissue which blocks the tube and inhibits pregnancy. The Essure sales pitch, which was probably delivered to someone in your foundation who is a professional sales person or lobbyist, is sugar coated and it not true to reality. I can say this as I got the same sales pitch from my doctor. Essure is a classic example of “if it sounds too good to be true…..”
I co-admin a Facebook group called Essure Problems. We are over 2000 women strong and growing, and sadly, joined together because we have been severely and significantly damaged by Essure. When I joined the group in May of last year, there were only 30 members, and we are growing exponentially. Women are suffering with a myriad of symptoms, some of which mirror the effects of heavy metal poisoning or a severe reaction to the metals in the device. These symptoms include, but not limited to, severe and debilitating abdominal pain, irregular bleeding, dizziness, numbness, memory loss and tingling in their extremities and many other symptoms. The women in our group have been diagnosed with a multitude of illnesses including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis and even multiple sclerosis. All of these women, including me, were healthy and presented none of these symptoms before they were implanted with Essure. Coils are also perforating the fallopian tubes, migrating within the body, being expelled into the uterus and breaking inside the body.
Sadly, many women within the United States are not able to get help from their physicians when they do have complications. They are ignored, told it’s in their head, misdiagnosed, and left to suffer with nightmarish side effects that destroy their quality of life. If women in the United States can’t get help, who is going to help the women in a third world country when/if she begins to suffer side effects?
For those who are fortunate to have the coils removed, the majority of the symptoms dissipate, however, no one is ever the person they were before Essure. The only way to remove the coils is with major surgery, a hysterectomy or salpingectomy. Women as young as 24 have had to have a hysterectomy to remove the devices. The removal protocol available in 2012 states only a salpingectomy is necessary, however, when doctors are performing surgery, the amount of damage caused by the devices requires more tissue to be removed. This protocol also only works if the devices haven’t migrated. There is no removal protocol documented for cases where the coils are no longer in the fallopian tubes.
It is NOT stated on any of the documentation from Bayer / Conceptus, specifically the patient information book, package insert or instructions for use, that a hysterectomy is a possible side effect. This seems to have been a conscious decision as the manufacturer knew no one would chose this product if they knew it could lead to a hysterectomy.
Sadly, some women are unable to get relief because they lack health insurance or the financial means to pay for removal. How are women in India, China, or some African nation supposed to get treated? Did your funding plan for that or are you going to leave them alone to suffer?
As you may have noted from my letter, this cause is very personal to me. I chose to have Essure because it was non-surgical. I ended up having multiple medical procedures to repair the damage caused to me by this device. I am very lucky to be here today writing this letter as my complications were so severe that I hemorrhaged and could have bled to death. I suffered for two years and this impacted my daughter as there were times when I was too sick to be a mom. Children have less of a mom, and husbands have less of a wife, and it’s all because of Essure. No one should have to endure this. Its madness and it needs to stop. Its only a matter of time before someone is not able to survive the complications.
I have a myriad of documents which substantiate that Essure is a form of birth control that simply should not be on the market, including the documents from the clinical trials. Don’t be guided by my story alone. Many women have posted their Essure nightmares at www.essureprocedure.net, a website started for us by Erin Brockovich who is also supporting the fight against this device.
I welcome the opportunity to speak with any and all of you, and whomever else within your organization about Essure. I truly believe you didn’t know what was sold to you and this is your opportunity to send a loud and clear message about the dangers of Essure. What has happened to the ladies in my group continues to happen and no one deserves to suffer like this. You have the power to send a loud and clear message about the questionable safety of this device by removing its use from any and all programs supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.