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Monifa Thomas is not simply a journalist who works for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Thomas was hired in 2005 as a health and medicine reporter and in 2010 was promoted to the editorial board due to her “particular expertise in medical issues and government health care,” according to the Sun-Times.

And still Thomas didn’t know about the dangers of the birth control pill. Here’s an excerpt of her story, published in the Sun-Times on December 25:

Paramedics came and took me to Saint Joseph Hospital, not far from my apartment on the North Side.

At the hospital, someone asked for my Social Security number. I told him.

Friends were there now, too. I can still picture their worried faces.

Again, the hospital worker said: I need to know your Social Security number.

“Yeah,” I told him, “I know. I’m giving it to you.”

And, in my head, I was. But instead of numbers, all that came out of my mouth were letters.

I didn’t understand then what I do now: On July 8, 2011, a clot blocked the flow of blood to my brain, cutting the supply of oxygen, causing parts of the tissue there to die.

I was 30 years old, and I’d just had a stroke….

Why me?

For some, the cause of a stroke is clear. High blood pressure, diabetes, compounded over the years, maybe with a family history of circulatory problems thrown in, lead to cardiovascular decay and plaque-narrowed arteries, then a heart attack or stroke.

But that wasn’t me.

I was young. And I had done the things you’re supposed to do to keep healthy.

I didn’t smoke. I exercised regularly. I danced salsa and practiced tae kwon do. I stayed away from bad foods, mostly. I literally ate an apple every day.

I had just had a physical in June, after turning 30, a couple of weeks before my stroke, and there was no sign of trouble.

Which led my doctors to a different likely culprit. They told me they thought birth-control pills probably were a factor.

Now, I was even angrier because I’m one of those people who actually reads the warning labels that come with any prescription drug, and I’d read that a stroke was a risk when you’re on a birth-control pill. But none of the other risk factors seemed to apply. So I thought it probably wouldn’t be a problem for me.

Read about Monifa’s long road back. It’s quite scary, yet inspiring. Monifa is quite brave. I especially appreciate that she used her experience to expose just one of the harms of the birth control pill.

A few of the comments:

Amy Hamer: I had a stroke at age 39 in Feb 2011. Mine was also caused by birth control pills. I thank God my boyfriend was with me and knew something wasn’ right…. Women think birth control pills are just a simple little pill, but you are really altering your body chemistry to make your body think it’s always pregnant. I feel extremely lucky that I got medical treatment quickly. I’m still not 100% and probably never will be, I just have to make the best of it and be thankful I’m not 20% or even dead.

Migdalia Bulnes: I too had a stoke at the age of 32, due to birth control pills. I can relate to everything in your story…. I could not even hold a cup of coffee in my left hand or even do a ponytail on my hair, simple things. Thank God that its been 12 years, I am a sergeant for the Chicago Police Department….

MadKatFever: I also lost a 35 y.o. friend to blood clots which landed in her lungs instead of her brain. Three trips to 2 separate hospital emergency rooms and they still could not figure it out. Until the fourth trip which resulted in an ICU admission and her death 40 hours later. Cause of death: pulmonary emboli related to birth control usage.

[HT: Matt Abbott]