My sister Leah met Tracy the Fall of 2002 when they were both Freshman at the University of Arizona. They have been best friends ever since.
I have had the pleasure of spending a little time with Tracy over the years and have always enjoyed her company. She is witty and smart and has been a good friend to Leah.
Tracy was particularly instrumental to Leah’s grieving process when we lost our parents in 2007 and was there for her the night we found out they had died. Tracy was there for my sister when I could not be. I will always be grateful to her for that.
Last summer, Tracy who lives in New York was visiting my sister in LA.
One night the three of us went to dinner and to see Beyoncé in concert. We had a great time and as always it was fun to witness the banter that only two good friends can share. That was a Friday. Two days later, at 29 years old, Tracy suffered a stroke.
Last week she shared the following on her Facebook wall and with her permission I am sharing it here:
One year ago today, 3 weeks past my 29th birthday, I had a stroke. It was caused by the birth control NuvaRing. Due to this event I lost a significant amount of my left peripheral vision. I’m so BLESSED to say it wasn’t worse – women died. I’m not celebrating this “anniversary”, rather I’m ready to share my story, so that it may help others.
Full disclosure – I entered the class action suit, along with 3,800 other women, against the makers of this product, Merck. The final payout Merck was responsible for was 6% of what a similar case paid out, we’re talking a few millions versus a few hundred billion. Basically a slap on the wrist for a company that is knowingly selling a dangerous product to millions of otherwise healthy women, like me.
So, I didn’t settle and here’s why:
If you had a life altering stroke at 29 years old during the height of a beautiful California vacation that ripped vision and sensation from the left side of your body, would you settle?
If you spent two days in the hospital and worried your entire family, friend and professional circle, would you settle?
If you had to correct your mom in a room full of doctors that glasses wouldn’t help because the injury wasn’t in your eyes, it’s in your brain, would you settle?
If over the last 7 years you told several doctors of your experiences with migraines, never to be taken seriously, would you settle?
If you still walk cautiously through every single intersection worrying that you may not see the motorist, bicyclist or Mac truck, would you settle?
If you secretly dread shopping because it will require you to perform exhaustive and annoyingly slow eye scanning, would you settle?
If you sometimes avoid large crowds because you worry you will bump into, trip or hurt yourself or others, would you settle?
If people still ask you “how’s your vision” and you have to tell them that it’s no better, would you settle?
If something that happened to you on one day of your life is now something you think about every day, would you settle?
If you knew officials claim the type of stroke you had doesn’t “support a casual link” to NuvaRing, but the FIRST THING the ER doctors asked you to do when they identified your stroke was to remove your NuvaRing, would you settle?
If all official medical reports point directly to NuvaRing, but the courts don’t care, would you settle?
If the after insurance amount in medical bills was more than the payout, would you settle?
If you knew that other women died because of NuvaRing, would you settle?
Please share/tell my story to one person, then it’ll be worth it.
For those of you who don’t know, NuvaRing is a birth control option for women. It is a small flexible contraceptive ring, about the size of a silver dollar. The NuvaRing contains the same hormones as many birth control pills. It is inserted manually into the vagina, where it is left for three weeks. There, a continuous, low dose of hormones is released. Then the ring is removed for one week. This is the week you have your period.
According to Tracy, many young women and their common stroke-like symptoms are being ignored. She was given an IV initially and sent home.
Tracy has zero regrets about not settling in the class action suit and is hoping that someday soon there will be enough studies that prove arterial strokes are directly linked to medications like NuvaRing, in the meantime regaining 100% visibility may never happen for her, but she is optimistic in new visual training programs offered by the School of Optometry at SUNY.
I wanted to share Tracy’s story because it’s important and because I have a tiny following here and thought I could help spread the word about the dangers of NuvaRing. I am currently shopping for new birth control and I know many of you may be as well or know someone who is. I’m begging you to take the time and do the research on ANY birth control you are considering. It could save your life.
For more information, here are two articles Tracy recommends, they are relevant and extensive on the subject of the NuvaRing case, Danger in the Ring and Parents of 24-year-old killed by NuvaRing reject their part of $100 million settlement.
Please share this post and if you have any follow up questions for Tracy, leave them in the comments below.