Advocate For Yourself

Imagine this:  You are 18 years old doubled over in pain in the emergency room. The on call gynecologist diagnoses fibroid cysts and says they are so bad that you will only ever have a 2% chance of ever having kids and suggests I follow up with my regular OB doctor. I do as ordered and he tells me that the ER doctor is an idiot and things look fine. Fast forward 2 months to a surprising positive pregnancy test result. 2% chance? HA. It was then I realized that the ER doctor was an idiot. 2 kids and 4 different gynecologists later, I was still in excruciating pain and my periods were horrible. I wanted to die for 7-10 days each month. But not 1 of the gynecologists believed my pain. They told me it was all in my head. Several unsuccessful gyno visits later, I found gynecologist #5. She said that based on my symptoms and complaints she thought I had endometriosis and I should have a hysterectomy to remove the cysts that had redeveloped on my ovaries and alleviate the endometriosis associated pain. I was 29 when she proposed this. But since there was finally a doctor who believed my pain, I was not questioning her diagnosis. She was the 1 who went to med school, who was I to question her judgment?

I went through with the hysterectomy and she removed my cervix, uterus and left ovary which was indeed covered in cysts. She left my right ovary intact so that I would not need to be on hormone replacement therapy at such a young age. I thought wow, no painful periods….this is going to be awesome. And it was for 6 solid years. Then suddenly the pain was back and so were periods and all I could think was that the remaining ovary was now covered in painful cysts. But I didn’t have a uterus, so what the hell was I shedding constantly? I went back to my gynecologist and she said, “Let’s do exploratory surgery and see what’s going on in there. Then I’ll let you heal and we’ll schedule the surgery to fix whatever is wrong.”

I’m sorry, I think I hallucinated. You want to cut me open, look around, put me back together and then do it again in 2 months to fix whatever the problem is? She said that was correct. I hadn’t hallucinated, that was her plan. This is where the appointment went downhill. I was pissed and said “I don’t think so. If you can’t fix what you see when I’m open the first time, you aren’t getting a second shot at this. I’m going to get a second opinion.” She was quite offended and said you can do what you want, but good luck getting your records from me.  She would fight releasing those records and then they would mysteriously “lose” them. I was at least able to get my original tests and surgical records from the hospital before I sought out gyno doc #6. 

Get Multiple Opinions

Bottom line is this: if your gut says something isn’t right, go with it. If you think your doctor is losing their damn mind with their plan for you, question it. This may mean getting 2, 3, 4, 5 and even 6 opinions before what you are feeling is actually heard with true intention to help. While it shouldn’t take years or half a dozen doctors to be heard or diagnosed, unfortunately this is not a rare occurrence. The only advocate for your health is you – keep fighting until someone hears you and helps with the issues you are having.

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