By Susan E. Bell
How a well-being catastrophe helped supply upward push to the feminist well-being care circulate
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Extra resources for DES daughters: embodied knowledge and the transformation of women's health politics
Their visit ended with the promise of a federal task force on DES in 1978, only the third ever created by DHEW (the others had been on tobacco and asbestos). 16 The task force comprised “government” members and “consultants”; Wolfe, Fishbane, and Seaman were among the eight consultants. Among the other “consultants” were physicians Herbst and Ulfelder and a mother from the New York DES Action group, lumping together laypeople and scientific experts in this category of membership. The lay representatives to the task A History of DESâ•… 21 force provided, as one physician put it, “a reminder that they were ‘discussing a human, not an academic problem’” (Dutton 1988, 330; italics in the original).
25 Within a few years, the DCN had collected anecdotal evidence of an increasing incidence of cancer recurrence among its members but could find no documentation of late recurrence of DES cancer in the medical literature. Thus, the group initiated a national research campaign to study its membership by joining with the Slone Epidemiology Unit at Boston University. It drew on the expertise of and a longstanding connection forged by epidemiologist Helmrich, who had worked at Slone for five years during the time she cofounded the DCN.
For emphasis, she repeats her age (“I mean I was just twenty-two” [line 022]; “twenty t’twenty yeah twenty-two” [line 028]). Esther’s meaning is a bit ambiguous here. It may be that her doctor, parents, and husband kept information from her because they believed that she was too young to understand it. An alternative explanation is suggested by a reference that Esther makes later in the narrative, in which she connects her age with her innocence: “and I was young / I mean I didn’t know / and I had never had anything wrong with me” (see lines 138–140, below).