|Dr. C's office|
|beautiful landscaping! and a gorgeous sunny day|
Today was the first appointment with a gynecologist about this recent experience of endometriosis. Dr. C was GREAT. Perky and kind and funny and thorough answering questions.
Bottom line (in case you don't have time to read the whole post!):
Dr. C didn't feel that's she is the best person for me and she recommended I see the best pelvic pain doctor in the Valley (Dr. Hibner at St. Joseph's Division of Surgery and Pelvic Pain), with whom I already have an appointment (in May!) Dr. C "happened" (thank You, God, for being involved in this!) to train with him, and she is going to call his office this afternoon on my behalf to see if she can get my appointment moved up.
I found the appointment very very encouraging for many reasons.
#1: I'm not making a big deal out of nothing - I'm always afraid of that!
Dr. C had read through all my paperwork (amazing) and didn't think I was over-dramatizing the situation. Remember when I said that reading my reports made me feel sad because I hadn't realized that things were really THAT serious? Well, this doctor said, according to her interpretation of the reports, things were even worse than I thought. The last laparoscopy (a minimally invasive "take-a-peek-around surgery through the belly button) report that was written (in 2003), my then-doctor basically said, "It's beyond me and beyond the scope of this procedure. I'm not going to do anything more right now." (No more treatment was done after that because he retired and I wasn't told that I was supposed to pursue more treatment - !!!)
I have always been nervous to make appointments with specialists because I figured they would be snooty and tell me my case wasn't bad enough for them to waste their time. I told Dr. C that, and she patted my stack of medical records and said, "This level of involvement definitely needs a specialist, and it's going to be an interesting case for him!"
#2: I'm headed in the right direction
I have been dithering with myself a little bit about whether I really need to go through all of this again. I second-guessed myself about making appointments and would sort of rather stick my head in the sand and just take less estrogen, hoping that the problems would go away. But I also knew that wasn't the best idea. (Plus, Greg & Cindy and my parents wouldn't let me ignore it!) But Dr. C said, "Even if we mess around with your hormone levels and your symptoms get better, it doesn't mean that the actual DISEASE is getting better." This really will require a surgical intervention. I'm not a person to jump at surgery, but deep down I know that this isn't fixable with just hormone changes alone. I was anxious maybe she would say, "Silly girl. Stop taking your estrogen and you'll be fine. Now go away."
# 3: I need estrogen
I have felt sort of weak and foolish for using estrogen, knowing that it feeds endometriosis. But I also know that life is really not fun for me without it. Dr. C affirmed me by saying that it's not reasonable to expect me to be without estrogen and be miserable, especially when it wouldn't even cure the problem anyway.
#4: It's understandable and reasonable for me to be low on energy
Dr. C said that with the level of involvement in my case, it's amazing I was able to finish graduate school. She was not surprised at all that I haven't worked full-time since these problems started (even when there wasn't any pain, I never got my same level of energy back). In spite of the fact that Greg provides AMAZINGLY for our family and in spite of his encouragement to rest when I need to rest, I still have never really felt like it's okay for me to not do more. Her response made me feel very validated for the first time medically - doctors don't often think about what our lives are like outside their office, but she did, and it caused some healing for me on the inside.
#5: Someone in the field read through my records and agreed with me!
Having gone through it all myself, I can't see it clearly sometimes, so it was extremely helpful to have Dr. C read through my paperwork and give me good advice. I feel encouraged that I'm doing the best I can do in this situation to take care of myself and get this straightened out. I'm not making this up, I'm not making a big deal out of nothing, I'm not being silly or wasting doctors' time.
Additionally, there were a few comments made in the paperwork by my previous doctor that bothered me, and I mentioned them to Dr. C. She laughed and said that those comments had bothered her, too, and they weren't the best way to phrase things. For example, during my initial exam with him, Dr. M (my previous doctor) saw endometriosis growing through my cervix, and he wanted to biopsy it right there. With no numbing or anything. He just wanted to chop it off. NO THANK YOU! I asked him (reasonably!) to please wait until I was under anesthesia, since I was already in pain. He wrote in his report "Patient begged me to wait to biopsy suspected endo until anesthesia was provided". That word "begged" really bothered me. Would HE have liked someone to just hack something off him because it looked interesting? I bet not! I thought maybe I would come off as a difficult patient with new doctors when they read that.
Cindy WISELY pointed out to me last week when I mentioned those comments that when she reads a report (she's a special education teacher), she finds out more about the person writing the report than she finds out about the student, and it was probably that way with doctors, too. She said that a good doctor can read behind the report to the doctor writing it and will see through those sorts of comments. THANK YOU, CINDY, for sharing your brilliance with me!
So that's the story! Thanks for asking and praying for me. I appreciate all of you!