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Okay, when I first read about the “Be Heard” posting, I was intrigued. I thought, why not. I wasn’t “heard” from a group of doctors for over 2 years. Yes, 2 years. Let me start from the beginning:
I’m a 45-year-old mom that had my son late in life; okay, 38 isn’t old but for me, it was late. When I became pregnant, I was overweight and I knew it. The thing was I was healthy. Yes, healthy in the eyes of my doctor. My cholesterol, blood pressure, sugars and hormones were well within the normal ranges. I stopped taking birth control when I was 35 because my body had rejected the hormones. This is not a weird thing for some women when any form of birth control is being rejected by your body. Well, early in the pregnancy I found out that I had gestational diabetes. Again, not a big deal because it happens to some women when pregnant. In my family, we didn’t have any diabetics so I was assured that with a proper diet, insulin and twice a month visits to a perinatal doctor that my baby and I would be healthy. So on June 22, 2005 our son was born. Normal, healthy and I was just a healthy as I was before. In fact, I only gained 21 pounds from the pregnancy and I felt great. I was told that I might become a diabetic later in life because of this but I was assured that my chances were low since I didn’t have it in my family tree.
Fast forward on my 40th birthday and I noticed that I was tired and that my stomach was getting flabby and sticking out. I attributed the tiredness and getting flabby because we had just moved and I wasn’t working at the time. I was still getting my annual checkups and nothing was coming back to be concerned about. Two years later, I knew something wasn’t right with my body. Tired, gaining more weight and periods that were so out of whack that I was in a constant state of buying pads because I never knew when it happen. I made my annual check up appointment and I was told that I couldn’t see my regular doctor and would I be opposed to seeing another doctor in the practice. No, I didn’t mind so, off I went. Guess what? When my blood work came back, there were some areas of concern. The doctor assured me that he would talk to my regular doctor and let him know. Did I ever hear from my regular doctor? Nope and I even called his nurse and he didn’t seem concerned about it at all. Grrr….
Next year comes and goes and yes, blood work is showing some areas of concern and this time, I will not let it rest. Physically I’m miserable, bloated, tired all the time and to make matters worse, it was effecting my relationships. I couldn’t focus at work either. I had pretty much figured out that I was pre-menopausal and told my doctor. Did he listen? Nope, he kept telling me that I was healthy “down there” and not to worry. Well, I was worried. Night sweats, not sleeping and the heavy periods were wearing me out. I even cut my hair short because I couldn’t deal with how hot I got at any time of the day.
Guess what happened last year? My doctor finally listened to my concerns about my health. *bangs head on the wall* Here’s the kicker…ready for it…
I am pre-menopausal, iron deficient, elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol and a Type 2 diabetic.
I’m now on 5 different medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol, iron, Metformin (for diabetes) and birth control. The real kicker is that within a month of taking birth control pills, I was feeling so much better. My husband and I still get a chuckle about the birth control pills. Almost a year later with being diagnosed a Type 2 diabetic, I’ve lost 33 pounds and I feel and look so much better. Most diabetics don’t lose weight but I have. My doctor is very pleased with me now but at what cost to me?
My sanity? Health? Relationships? Its been a tough road for me and my family for almost 3 years but now that my doctor finally listened to me, I feel validated in my concerns about my health. And that’s the point of this article. Be Heard by your doctor. Talk to him/her. Do not let his/her brush off get you discouraged. Keep talking to him/her. Do not let your concerns NOT be heard. Women know more about their bodies than their own doctors. Shoot, my husband knows more about my body than my doctor. He could see the changes and was just as concerned as I was.
Did I waste 3 years of my life trying to be heard? In some ways I did but overall, I learned a valuable lesson. I didn’t push my doctor hard enough for him to listen to me. Now every three months, I go and have my blood work done and he actually sits down and listens to any concerns that I have. Nothing is too miniscule for him in our conversations. In fact, our relationship is much better because of it. I talk and he listens.
End of the story? No, the story will continue to evolve but my advice to you is to push your doctor into the conversation. Women know their bodies and what is going on inside. Write down your concerns and take them with you at your next appointment. Don’t be shy…its only your health.
Submitted by Marika Weber