I have had my share of Gyn issues. Those issues came to a head one year and my doctor determined that for me to have no more challenges, I would have to have a hysterectomy. At the time, I was going through a divorce. I had no clue what the future held. I could yield to my hurt and never trust marriage again, or I could find the man that would turn it all around and end up wanting to have another baby.
I was referred to a top gynecologic surgeon who could handle my problem and anything my riddled insides would throw at him. As I sat there discussing my options with this “great doctor,” he too quickly determined a hysterectomy would be the best solution. Though I sat still on the exam table, inside I was quickly becoming overwhelmed. All the feelings of helplessness, insecurities about my womanhood, and concerns for my future flooded my mind.
To alleviate my concerns, the doctor began to say everything he thought I wanted or needed to hear just to get the surgery done. He was so cold, breaking eye contact, rolling his head and eyes as he told me, “You won’t be any less of a woman If that’s what you’re worried about.” It was as if he were reciting some script he said a million times before that, for him, had clearly lost its punch. He was over it and I was over him. I immediately went from, “I feel devastated” to “This man is buggin’.”
I realized he may be the best at performing medical procedures, but he was not the best at knowing what was best for me. I stopped and met him where he was. I packed up my emotions and began to questioned him like a medical student in clinicals. He told me all my options and the consequences for each one. I set the date for the surgery and continued to research right up until the moment of admission into the hospital. When time came for me to sign the consent form, I went with another option and did NOT have the hysterectomy.
The doctor almost seemed disappointed but did a thorough job. His ego would not have allowed anything less. Even if he did not realize it, I understood I was more than a medical case. I was a woman. I was happy I took power and became my own health advocate, but I wept for all the women I was sure had unnecessary hysterectomies that forever changed their life. Perhaps they did not know they had options. Maybe they were scared to ask questions or “sound stupid.” Or maybe they believed their doctor would only operate in their best interest and never thought to question him/her.
We are quick to take our children to the doctor and ensure their wellness. As mothers and women, we must also become our own medical advocates. Do not assume all the questions have been answered or that who you are and what is important to you has been taken into consideration. Also, resist taking doctors out of the equation and diagnosing yourself through the internet or advice from friends. You must put in the effort to find the best physician fit for you. With the new health laws, do not assume you are being informed about all the medical benefits you are due. Seek information. Be proactive. Don’t be afraid to change doctors or seek other opinions. Make your health and well-being a priority for you and your children’s sake. Click HERE for some ways you can become your own best medical advocate.