In common with other women "guinea pigs" I was given radiation to the ovaries, in the early Seventies, to bring on a menopause. It is hard to believe now. I was promised no side effects and an immediate return to teaching.
Six months later I crawled back to work. In fact, I have never regained my health. It has been one thing after another, mainly loss of energy, total disruption of my digestion and over the last six years severe sinus and ear problems. I understand now that the autoimmune system is affected and whatever governs this energy in fact, the whole constitution.A recent stay in hospital actually brought after 18 years tacit admission from doctors that it wasn't "one of their brightest ideas" and that others had suffered severe repercussions. So I lost my health, was forced to give up my career and have been treated like an idiot for 18 years and the chances of getting any help now are remote indeed.
Is there any way of finding the dose of radiation we were given then? J. R., Umberleigh.....
See our second question on the preceding page for some ideas about how to get hold of your medical records that date before the recent medical records act.
It may interest you to know that this most dangerous procedure referred to in medicalese as "ovarian ablation" is due to make a comeback to treat are you ready? breast cancer. The theory, supported in a recent large study and enthused over by the medical press (The Lancet, 11 January 1992), is that oestrogen aids in the growth of tumours, and so zapping a woman's ovaries will inhibit the growth of the cancer.
Other studies (see Updates, p 4) say surgery alone is most effective. As usual in medicine, the treatment you get depends upon which study your doctor has chosen to put his money on.