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How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: My Health Is Not My Own, OR, My Story Of Unnecessary Uterine Bleeding

Post Published: 14 February 2010
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Category: Column, How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass, thyroid nutrition and health column
This post currently has 31 responses. Leave a comment

There are alot of things I want to say this week and I want to make sure they’re expressed with the kind of urgency and importance with which I experienced them.   It’s poignant stuff, so maybe I should start at the beginning.   The beginning in this case is the Tampa airport at 6:00 am on the-week-before-last Wednesday morning.   It was me, in full travel garb (tank top, sweater, and baggy yoga pants), in line at the security check-through next to an elderly couple and no one else.   The airport is pretty quiet on Wednesday mornings before 7:00 am, I guess, which explains why the security officials all looked so damn bored.

In order to generate the nude image of the human body, these machines emit terahertz photons — high-frequency energy ‘particles’ that can pass through clothing and body tissue.

What happened next is, I was forced into one of the new full-body scanning machines.   I say “forced” because normally as a passenger, I’ve been given the option to opt out of being wanded and instead, be felt-up manually (which, of course, is so much less violating and invasive).   But I wasn’t given that option: “Ma’am, I need you to step inside…

The manufacturers of such machines claim they are perfectly safe and present no health risks, but a study conducted by Boian S. Alexandrov (and colleagues) at the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico showed that these terahertz waves could ‘…unzip double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles in the double strand that could significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication.

Because I’d only ever read about the full body scanning machines (and their apparent health risks), but never seen a picture of one, it didn’t register at first what I was experiencing.   Only after the fact, did I understand what I had just stepped into — a tube of radiation, my body in full exposure and in someone else’s control.   Not only was this man exposing my compromised immune system to “harmless” “amounts” “radiation” and cellular damage, but he was also seeing every bump and lump in my body — MY body; you know, MY private property? I happen to be a very modest person, you see.

And yet no such long-term safety testing has ever been conducted by a third party. There have been no clinical trials indicating that multiple exposures to such terahertz waves, accumulated over a long period of time, are safe for humans. The FDA, in particular, has never granted its approval for any such devices even though these devices clearly qualify as ‘medical devices.”

Afterward, I felt mad, extremely violated, and then got on my flight.   Once I arrived at my destination, San Antonio, about three hours later, I stopped in the bathroom (only because I always stop in the bathroom; it’s my thing; peeing alot, that is).   Because I am very in-tune with my body’s signals, I notice everything.   And as I went to the bathroom, I noticed one big change — uterine bleeding*, coming out from my body.   I wasn’t menstruating and wouldn’t be for two and a half more weeks.   And I never spot.   I was bleeding for “unknown” reasons, from an “unknown” cause. ,  ,  This continued the entire day.   (*Please note that I think it’s important for me to be very explicit in my description here, because it drives home how serious the situation really is.   If the thought of uterine bleeding scares you, then clearly, my job here is done, because it scares the shit out of me too).

There, study authors conclude: “Based on our results we argue that a specific terahertz radiation exposure may significantly affect the natural dynamics of DNA, and thereby influence intricate molecular processes involved in gene expression and DNA replication. In other words, millimeter wave scanning devices may damage your DNA.”

I have no proof that being exposed to the full-body scan caused my body to bleed.   But, what I do know is that this had never happened to me before, and there were no other stressors besides the scanner. (Unless the plane ride shook loose my uterine lining, that is.)

What if the experts are wrong about their safety and ten years later we find out that there is cumulative DNA damage that causes infertility and cancer? What if air travelers who subject themselves to this radiation wind up suffering some currently-unknown health condition as a result? At no time in the history of human civilization have large numbers of humans ever been subjected to terahertz bombardment of this type and frequency.”

Even more than a week later, I still feel very violated, and in many ways, raped: raped of my highest health potential; raped of my own sovereignty over my health; raped of my choice in deciding what I do with my body.

As the security screening woman felt me up, I mentioned to her that I have an implant, the result of mastectomy. She relayed the information to those unseen through her microphone. A few seconds later, she sent me on my way. And I tweeted and Facebooked about the experience. A friend in Tallahassee mentioned that friend of his had to lift his shirt to expose his colostomy bag to the TSA in Philadelphia.”

We can say small amounts of radiation are harmless, but not in a body with a weakened immune system; not in a body with a pre-exisiting health condition; not in a body with chronic infection.   No one asked if I was sick or had ever been sick; it is simply irrelevant to them.   Let the decision makers at the TSA get their fill of radiation for sake of traveler security.   For me, I choose ZERO radiation for my body and fragile system.   And I should be granted that choice.   A strip search in a stark, cold room with a stranger in latex gloves would have felt less invasive and violating — at least then I would be assured my health wasn’t being compromised.

“The takeaway here is, if you have fake body parts, you should be prepared to explain them to the full-body screening folks at the TSA.”

But the problem is bigger than the damaging/”unzipping” of DNA or radiation.

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. EPA sets standards for approximately 90 contaminants in drinking water. EPA’s standards, along with each contaminant’s likely source and health effects, are available at www.epa.gov/safewater/mcl.html.

When I fly, I can’t even get clean drinking water.   Airports sell polluted water and beverages, and because passengers are not legally entitled to bring our own fluids, I abstain.   I drink no fluids for hours at a time when traveling. I refuse to pollute my body with chlorine, fluoride, and pharmaceutical remnants.   One swig sets my health right back at square one; a swig of chlorine and I wind up with a massive infection.   A few cups of tap water pharmaceuticals and I get massive dizzy spells; my vision goes black before my eyes and I end up on the floor in a panic.

“Total Trihalomethanes. Some people who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of EPA’s standard over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous systems, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

Haloacetic Acids. Some people who drink water containing haloacetic acids in excess of EPA’s standard over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

Bromate. Some people who drink water containing bromate in excess of EPA’s standard over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

Chlorite. Some infants and young children who drink water containing chlorite in excess of EPA’s standard could experience nervous system effects. Similar effects may occur in fetuses of pregnant women who drink water containing chlorite in excess of EPA’s standard. Some people may experience anemia.

Chlorine. Some people who use drinking water containing chlorine well in excess of EPA’s standard could experience irritating effects to their eyes and nose. Some people who drink water containing chlorine well in excess of EPA’s standard could experience stomach discomfort.

Arsenic. Some people who drink water containing arsenic in excess of EPA’s standard over many years could experience skin damage or problems with their circulatory system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

Fluoride. Many communities add fluoride to their drinking water to promote dental health. Each community makes its own decision about whether or not to add fluoride. EPA has set an enforceable drinking water standard for fluoride of 4 mg/L (some people who drink water containing fluoride in excess of this level over many years could get bone disease, including pain and tenderness of the bones). EPA has also set a secondary fluoride standard of 2 mg/L to protect against dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis, in its moderate or severe forms, may result in a brown staining and/or pitting of the permanent teeth. This problem occurs only in developing teeth, before they erupt from the gums. Children under nine should not drink water that has more than 2 mg/L of fluoride.

Unfortunately, this is not unique to airports.   My daily life is polluted too, and my health is often not my own — someone or something else influences and owns it (I am never not in contact or close proximity to man-made chemicals or “technology”).   My question to you this week is, have you ever felt like your health is not your own?,   Do you ever feel you have no sovereignty over your health because our environment and food and water are so polluted? Would you have a problem with the full body scanners too?

I’ll end this week with this: I believe that good health is the basis for all good things in life.   I grasp at any good health I can get.   I hold on to any good health like it is gold-plated, diamond-studded, the most valuable thing in the world.   Without good health, it is so very difficult to have and appreciate other good things in life. ,  I want good things in this life and it starts with good health.   I ever can’t let someone take that possibility away from me again.

And you can be sure the TSA will be receiving a scathing, very detailed letter from my uterus.

Resources:

Until Next Week,

Love Always,

Liz

Also, before you leave — we’re announcing the two winners of the giveaway from Shakeology that we’ve been hosting for the last two weeks.   The winners, as chosen by Random.org, are Quin and Ericka!!!!!!! Ladies, please contact me at Liz@DearThyroid.com with your shipping info and I will get it over to Beth, who will be sending you your Shakeology goodies!

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31 Responses to “How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: My Health Is Not My Own, OR, My Story Of Unnecessary Uterine Bleeding

  1. Woody says:

    I think you have every right to be pissed off. I’m actually mad for you! I’m not that modest (shocker) of a person so I don’t really care who sees what, but I have zero confidence in this machines ‘safety’. I, unfortunately think you were singled out for the reasons we all assume.
    I’m sorry that happened Liz. I wish I could do something to help.

  2. Liz;

    I am so glad you wrote this! I had no idea those damn machines could wreak so much havoc on the body. However, I’m not surprised. What’s worse is that there was/is no proper testing and yet we’re all subjected to these machines when traveling.

    I thought I would die when you mentioned the man with the colostomy bag. How horrific and invasive.

    I’m sorry about the bleeding.

    Great article!

    CONGRATULATIONS QUINALISH AND ERICKA!!!

  3. LizSchau says:

    Mr. Woody,

    Thanks for the support and disgust. Well, I think I was singled out for two reasons: they were bored/the airport was dead quiet, and maybe because I had baggy clothes. Otherwise, it was bullshit.

    But, imagine the many many women with breast implants who will be subjected to the humiliation of everyone in the airport all up in their chest. The woman who wrote the article about her fake breast had it as a result of cancer! That is beyond humiliating to have to explain your cancer to a security guard. How horrific.

  4. LizSchau says:

    Thanks Katie. It’s hard to explain how invasive and violating it really is. But, yes, the woman with the fake breast due to cancer, and also the man with the colostomy bag … that is horrific that they would have to explain their health conditions to security guards. Even more horrific that these people with compromised immune systems were subjected to “harmless” radiation.

  5. HD inOregon says:

    Liz,
    What a horrendous experience!!

    When the government said something is safe, be on your guard. Remember DDT?

    I’m all for safety checks and procedures while flying, but the government should provide an alternative to these terrawave scanners (or “nude scanners” as the Europeans call them). If one does not want to be scanned this way, then it would have to be a strip search, but at least there is an option. It is my understanding, the TSA already has the right to order a strip search if they have a suspicion.

    Radiation unfortunately is also a part of regular flying (especially when flying internationally, meaning a long distance at a great hight and over/near the poles); one gets additional cosmic radiation dosages. Frequent travelers (and flying personnel) should be aware of that too.

    Another little hot button of mine is the fact when employees (TSA folks, police, border guards, and other who have authority over the general public) run afoul of the law. The penalties for committing a crime using ones authority, should be – in my humble opinion – at least quadruple the ordinary penalties. So the TSA folks who send copies of “nude scanner” pics to their friends (as surely will happen soon), shouldn’t just be fired, but go to jail for it. Same for the security people who steal from our baggages that we are no longer allowed to lock.

    HD in Oregon

  6. HD inOregon says:

    Liz,
    You mentioning they (the TSA folks) being bored. — I just wonder how many females are asked to be scanned versus males? — I am thinking of racial profiling by police in certain cities, they always denied it happened until statistics told otherwise. — So, it would be interesting to see “nude scanner” stats in terms of gender.

    HDinORegon

  7. LizSchau says:

    HD, thanks for the comments.

    Yeah, I did read that about the exposure to radiation when flying… in one of the articles I listed. I fly about four times a year and had never experienced any problems, until the scanning. Terrible. And to think, there could be people with much weaker immune systems than me.

    And, you’re completely correct about the images being distributed — it is only a matter of time. That is invasive too. Who knows where those pics will end up, and if they will be turned into something humiliating or pornographic. Just very violating overall…

    Thanks for your comment and support

  8. LizSchau says:

    Oh, and HD — GREAT POINT!! I wonder if more women will get scanned. HMMMM…. amazing amazing point… gender profiling!

  9. amy says:

    I know that I would not like to go through one of those scanners. I have not been on an airplane in almost four years. I hate to have my feet off the ground. It seems like it would be like being in a giant microwave. I wonder if the scanner really did have something to do with your bleeding? How could you know for sure? When we know our bodies so intimately, we know when something is amiss…
    It seems you are a bit like me-You will search every thing that is happened trying to find the answer. To pinpoint it. Why? When? Where? Who? How? I hope I have made sense. Liz, sorry this happened to you! And if it happened to you, How many more people is this happening to?

  10. LizSchau says:

    Thanks Amy. I appreciate it 🙂

    Like I said, I have no way of knowing for 100% sure that the scanner caused the bleeding. That is just an inference I have to make because it never happened before and the scanner was the only apparent stressor. Could it have been something else that caused it? Sure. Of course. But, logically, I have to make the connection.

  11. Kim says:

    I don’t think I’d want to go in any full body scanner, esp when it hasn’t been FDA approved as a safe medical device. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in November 2009, and have no idea how/why it happened. I have no family history, no history of head/neck radiation, only worked briefly in a lab for one summer 10+ years ago (and always used sensible precautions to minimize skin contact with known chemical carcinogens). The one thing that I’ve done more of compared to either of my 2 sisters or anyone in my family is go flying to various regions of the country and also internationally. Probably in the 1 year (2008), when I was interviewing for jobs, I must have gone on flights 10-12 times (I really lost count). A little nagging concern I have is whether the cumulative radiation exposure just from the airports (not even the whole body scanners) may have triggered the cancer. Like Liz, you can never know 100% but it’s hard not to at least question it, when there’s very little else that’s different between your lifestyle compared to others around you.

  12. LizSchau says:

    Kim, wow. What a story you have. SO sorry that this happened to you. It really does make you wonder, doesn’t it? We know these things have the potential to hurt us, but yet we’re told the doses are too small to be hazardous. But, what about a cumulative effect? It sounds like what you were exposed to is definitely cumulative. Really makes you think…

  13. HD inOregon says:

    I posted this link on FB earlier today. It is a good article on how radiation can cause cancers. Interesting and easy to understand read: http://is.gd/8n9dD

  14. Reid Kimball says:

    “Do you ever feel you have no sovereignty over your health because our environment and food and water are so polluted?”

    I’ve been feeling this way in recent months and it’s kind of depressing and I don’t think I’m a depressing person. It’s nearly impossible to avoid high levels of pollution no matter how hard we may try. One can easily feel hopeless and frustrated.

    I think it’s a crime against humanity how polluted the drinking water is and the air we breath daily. I got Crohn’s because farmers dumped dead animals into the Red River up in Winnipeg. Well, that’s part of it. The other half is because the FDA approved Accutane, which destroyed my immune sys.

    “Would you have a problem with the full body scanners too?”

    Yes! I probably wouldn’t notice anything bad, but still it’s my job to protect my body. I think of like protecting free speech. Even though I may not need to protect free speech in a particular instance, if I don’t keep doing it, little by little I will lose it. If TSA ever requests I go into a “nude scanner” I will ask that someone manually search me. I’m not ashamed of my body. It’s the only one I have and I will protect it at all costs.

  15. LizSchau says:

    Reid,

    Thanks so much for your comments.

    I’m sorry you’re also suffering at the hands of pollution-induced disease. Crohn’s is a terrible disease and so life-disrupting. When you avoid certain things, it keeps it under control? Pollution and pharmaceutical damage… horrific and I agree — crime against humanity. And why? — all for profit; all for companies. We are living with the effects of their profits.

    And, so you would avoid the scanners for preventive purposes? Makes perfect sense to me. Someone else can chance their health. I already have a weak system. I will choose no scanning for myself from now on, when I have the choice.

  16. shan says:

    I worry too about the radiation from the computer screen, the transmission of various media through the air, don’t tell me it doesn’t go through me, and that it has no effect!

  17. Lori says:

    Liz, it’s just disgusting really what they did. I think you hit the nail on the head about being singled out, and I think HD is probably correct in questioning the profiling. And how on earth can they claim this is safe? I don’t believe it! At the very least there has to be a cumulative effect.
    I know what it feels like to be violated. It brings tears to my eyes and I shiver every time I hear someone else has experienced it in any way, shape or form. I am sorry you did Liz. I guess none of us is really safe. I am glad you are sending a letter.

    XOX
    Lori

  18. Reid Kimball says:

    I wouldn’t say I’m suffering anymore. I was for years. But then I found a special diet, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (http://breakingtheviciouscycle.info/). It changed my health and my life for the better. In fact, I have never been healthier. I rail against the disease-care industry, BIG-pharma and the FDA but actually, my getting Crohn’s has also been a gift because I eat more healthy than I ever have.

    It’s so-bad-that-it’s-funny to me that I can’t get private health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, yet I am so healthy now that the insurance companies would SAVE money if they had more people like me.

  19. LizSchau says:

    Reid, you are my kind of man. But that’s an understatement. Love the SCD. I do a very similar version myself. Can’t do the carbs/sugars myself.

    You’re amazing and your story of breaking free is amazing too. I feel the same way and have had much of the same experiences as you have. Don’t stop spreading the word, buddy. 🙂

  20. LizSchau says:

    Shan, yep… radiation being emitted everywhere. Again, feeling like it’s out of my control, this technology/pollution… overwhelming really…

  21. LizSchau says:

    Thank you Lori. I appreciate your support and comments so much. Hopefully, those of us with conditions or weak immune systems can be prepared, in sharing this experience.

  22. Lolly says:

    Liz I really feel for you I’m not sure I would have even bothered to go on the plane I certainly wouldn’t have been going through no machine that will radiate any part of my body. you are so right about it being harmful. what do they care do they even understand the implications or health risks do the security guards have any medical knowledge there should be some kind of protocol for people with compromised immune Symtoms but I bet they would even question that “hey Mam you look OK to me, a bit skinny or a bit obese”, what you got to do is wear a big DT fucking sign round your neck pointing to your thyroid and tell them hell no I ain’t going in there.

    Hugs
    Lolly

  23. Lolly says:

    Liz,

    I just wanted to add did you go and get the uterine bleed checked, I would if it was me.Any unexplained bleeding should at least be investigated. Not trying to scare you or anything.

  24. Robyn says:

    Liz,
    I think about radiation all the time. I (and my colleagues/staff) am exposed to huge amounts of radiation in my job. This was even more so whenI was in graduate school.

    Pet are radiographed frequently at my clinic, obviously. We radiograph orthopedic issues, abdomens, lungs, etc. daily. We also perform dental radiography daily. Of course, we wear standard lead aprons/thyroid sheieds and monitoring tags. The tags are analyzed quarterly to determine if we have been exposed to “normal” or “acceptable” levels of radiation. The older and smarter I get I wonder how “acceptable” any level is!
    In graduate school I did a lot of DNA sequencing, peptide mapping, etc.–standard molecular biology techniques. Unfortunately many of these also employ various sources of radiation–tritium, P32, S35. Again, “standard” precautions were always taken. But I can also tell you that many times during our monitoring, portions of the lab were “hot” (traces of these radioactive isotopes found)–many times areas that were NOT intended to have any radioactivity (including our desks). These isotopes were liquid in form, so small bits could become aerosolized, a stray micro-drop transferred to your clothes, your gloves, etc. and then inadvertently tracked amok. When I was 22 and indestructible, I didn’t comprehend (or care) about what this meant or the ramifications for my health possibly decades later. I care now. But now it’s too late. It’s hard to fear what you can’t see (especially when you are young–ah, youth, wasted on the young!)

  25. Robyn says:

    Oops, hit submit before I was really ready(!).

    I worry about all kinds of things that are deemed “safe”. How does the government know my disease was or was not caused by radiation exposure almost 20 years ago? Or by continued smidges of X-radiation for the last 10?

    They can’t. No one would pay for a study that long/huge, if the results could even be compiled.

  26. Lolly says:

    Robyn,

    Before I had my thyroid removed I had to have a facial X-ray I insisted on a thyroid collar to protect my already compromised thyroid, the radiographer said there really is no harm to your thyroid look I have hypothyroidism and I do this daily and it’s done me no harm, need I say anymore.

    I still got to wear my T collar better to be safe than sorry.
    Makes you wonder doesn’t it, prolonged exposure to radiation could have played a big factor in your disease.
    Liz had every right to feel violated by this I would have refused it myself and gone for the body search if that was what it had to take to board the plane there has to be some guidelines with this equipment who can or cannot be exposed to this kind of Radiation.

  27. LizSchau says:

    Robyn and Lolly,

    Thanks for your comments ladies. I agree with both of you. Robyn, sorry to hear you’re inadvertently exposed to radiation just due to your career. It really does make you wonder and make you scared… who knows how much is “safe” and how much is “too much”? In a time where everyone is being diagnosed with chronic and degenerative illnesses, isn’t is best to err on the side of caution? If the EPA says a certain amount of chlorine is okay, but anything more can cause cancer, I’d rather avoid it completely, thank you very much. 🙁

  28. Stephanie says:

    I’d never read about those problems with the scanners, and I have used them… I had a CT scan that could definitely have been avoided a year and a half ago and then after I found out I had an autoimmune disorder and cancer I read about the amount of radiation those expose you to.. and, well, at this point, I’m really not okay with any added risk in any area at all anymore. I used to be one of those people who never ever got sick and I feel like my body has completely given out on me. Everything is terrifying. I’m sure some of that will fade when I get used to the fact that I have cancer (and when the amount of Synthroid in my system drops), but I was on COBRA when I got all these diagnoses, so I don’t even know what I’m going to do about health insurance anymore, much less anything else (I’m HIPAA eligible but scared to find out how much it’s going to cost.. the best thing I could do right now would be to move to another state, seriously).

  29. Jen says:

    Liz, I’m so sorry to hear you went through this. How frustrating to feel out of control of one’s own health in such a situation!

    Frankly, I think the entire TSA is a roaring joke, or would be were the situation not so serious, both security- and health-wise. We’re subjecting millions to radiation and the like when it is not necessary or, really, even sensible. It is for this reason, and because I don’t like the idea of being molested in public, that I’ve not flown for almost four years, and will never fly. This could become problematic should we ever move to Texas, but I’m much happier behind the wheel of my Chevrolet than in an airport (to say nothing of the comfort factor).

    So far as the pictures, last week Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan’s nude-scanner image was printed out and distributed among airport employees (this was in England). So, it can and does happen.

    So far as women being pulled aside for “security” screenings, “pat downs” (yeah, RIGHT) and nude-scanner screenings alike, I’ll bet they are pulled aside more often, out of frat-boy perversity and perhaps even jealousy or the desire to humiliate by female scanners.

  30. LizSchau says:

    Stephanie, I’m so sorry to hear you have a concurrent autoimmune disease and cancer. I can’t imagine your daily struggles just to look and feel normal. 🙁 I’m glad you have a chance now to read up on these mandatory things we’re subjected to as patients, so that we can make our own educated decisions about what we do with our bodies. Those of us with weak systems especially have to be vigilant and prepared. Thanks for your comment Stephanie. Wishing you good health.

  31. LizSchau says:

    Jen, I absolutely LOVE what you’ve said here and love the sentiment. You’re so right about it all. There are alot of parallels between this supposed “security” and the supposed “good health” imposed on us by govt’s and corporations, who pump our water full of fluoride, genetically modify our food, sanitize all life out of us and our food — all in the name of health and public safety. How about we as a population start taking that health and public safety back into our hands, so we can make our own decisions, instead of having people make them for us?

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