I read this morning that Irish people switch energy provider more than any other country in Europe, thus driving down the price of gas and electricity. Quite a lot of people break out in a cold sweat when they get their car insurance renewal in the post, this year more than ever, and promptly sit down with their friend Google and find as many alternative quotes as possible. They then either change provider or use this information to bargain with the current one, amazing how fast your quote goes down when you mention another company’s name!…. IF we do this for gas, and we do it for insurance, why don’t we do it for health? Why is Health insurance the quote least challenged by people? And why do we accept care that’s just not good enough?
So bear with me while I give the context to the rest of this post. A year ago there were some changes in my life and I moved house and as a result I’ve had to change my consultant, I thought it would be easier than driving 2 hours to see him, but maybe I was wrong… I wasn’t happy with the new consultant’s suggested options but I thought maybe he’s right, maybe I should just go ahead and operate. In fairness to him he suggested a less invasive method of the Mirena coil and maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think its for me. Call me shallow, but when the side effects list adult acne, obesity and depression in that order, affecting 1 in every 10…. I thought knowing my luck I’ll get all 3! And if the last 10 years have been spent dealing with this disease and the multiple symptoms and side effects, I’m sure as hell not going to add those to the mix for the next 10! In the past the Pill (and I’ve tried several!) have never worked so I have my reasons for saying no. His other option was an operation similar to caesarian to remove my ovary, 6 weeks recovery time and lets face it my future reproductive options reduced by 50%. I was just so darn tired at the end of May from lack of a decent night’s sleep that I would have agreed to anything. Yet I hesitated, I googled, I slept restlessly, I tormented my mother and sister with endless discussions, I asked women on the EAI forum for their opinions and I slept some more. There were other doctors, maybe other options but I seemed to only see these. Then a conversation with my sister happened and it gave me the boost I needed.
Conversation between myself and my sister last week:
(I was really ping-ponging about what to do…again…operation now or wait on appointment with another doctor etc)
-Remember when you had your teeth done and your jaw broken?
-Yes! Not something one easily forgets! How is that relevant?
-Exactly how many dentists did you see in Paris? (I lived there at the time)
-Cos I’m a nutcase😂 and just a little OCD or something..
-Ok I went to 7 different ones until I found someone I liked and trusted!
-Duh! Because someone was messing with my face!
-So how is that different from someone dealing with your insides ? Is your face more important than your ovaries and future family etc ! I don’t think so!!
-Much and all as I hate to admit it, you’re totally right!
After that I went and called the Limerick doctor and cancelled the hospital appointment, and I called the other doctor in Dublin’s office to make sure they had my referral letter and I was getting an appointment.
My point… Of course I’m not that superficial that I was obsessed with my face, yes I wasn’t happy with my teeth, I had no confidence when I smiled and hid from photos … And I had pains in my jaw and neck …
But the reason I went to 7 people was because it was a big deal … It was 18 months of braces and 2 operations, two 3 month periods of liquid food…(Man I was skinny then 😂!)
It was a big commitment and yes someone was going to be “messing with my face!☺️”
So why did I not apply the same attitude to my reproductive organs… Surely they are more important than something superficial like my smile …Surely the possibility of becoming a mum in the future, something as big a part of me should deserve the same attention to detail, the same diligence, when it comes to choosing the kind of care I get for my Endo… Yes I want my Endo gone, don’t we all, at the very least I want it mangeable but I also would like to keep my options open….
Im lucky I had the ladies on EAI forum that made me think twice about going ahead with the operation and my big sister to remind me of how much attention to detail I normally give to things.
But another woman’s post reminded me of why I didn’t at first, because I, we, are all in pain…different forms of it, both mental and physical pain. Some days more than others, and for many every day is a pain day. And pain messes with your head so sometimes the quickest solution seems best when in fact we need to step back and pause for a minute. Pain makes you just want it to be over and for it to be gone, but how it goes is also important. In this case removing my ovary isn’t necessarily going to fix the problem or take away the pain.
However it’s the other side of this that bothers me more in some ways, the other reason we don’t speak out is that society in general doesn’t give as much importance to “women’s issues” and all too often we are brushed aside, told to Man up (kind of ironic when no man has ever had period pain!) take a few painkillers and you’ll be fine. When we talk about our desire to take control of our reproductive organs, we are told why would you do that, you might meet someone next week and in 6 months time you’ll want to try and get pregnant with him. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, but in the meantime, Hello! I’m in pain!
It’s sad when the dismissive wave comes from another female when you would expect empathy, and it’s surprising when it appears from the least likely source.
I think we all have the right to choose the treatment we receive, when it’s our bodies and it’s our lives. We should be able to talk to our mothers and our sisters and girlfriends, but we should also be able to be as candid with our boyfriends, our brothers and our fathers as we would if it was arthritis or asthma or diabetes (note: I’m just picking the first 3 well known conditions that spring to mind), and those conversations should be normal… No big deal.
So ladies, all I’m saying is if someone is going to go messin’ with your insides then make sure you feel comfortable with that person, make sure you trust that person, make sure they have experience in this disease, and most of all, make sure they listen to YOU! And get the treatment you deserve! 😊