Necessary Part V

in All Posts

Hopefully, the very last post in a very drawn-out series!



Before you read any further – as I’ve joked before, this post series should be called, “The posts in which I talk about my vagina.”  You’ve been forewarned.  All kidding aside, I think it’s very important to talk about reproductive health, and I don’t ever want anyone to feel as alone and confused as I felt when I was first diagnosed with high-grade cervical dysplasia back in 2009.


So – where did we leave off?  Oh yes – I had recovered from the painful LEEP procedure, in which they remove the outer cell layer of your cervix.  The LEEP was successful in that I had a series of clean pap smears, but in June, I received news that I had another abnormal pap and my dysplasia was probably back.  Honestly, I was devastated.  I know cervical dysplasia is not cancer, but it was still upsetting because, of course, it can become cancer if left untreated.


My doctor (who we’ll call Doctor M for privacy) recommended immediately coming in for a colposcopy, which is when the doctor looks at your cervix using a high-tech machine.  She can identify any ‘unusual areas’ and, if necessary, take a biopsy.   Doctor M told me that, considering my history, I should come in right away at get looked at.  However, I felt like I was just re-starting the chain of events that led me to the LEEP the first time around.  Although the LEEP is considered pretty safe, there are potential side effects, like an increase in scar tissue, that can cause problems down the road.  And it is very painful.  Since I do not have HPV, no one could tell me the cause of my cervical dysplasia.  I felt like I was being more reactive than proactive.


Instead of going back in for the colposcopy, I decided to wait two months and make several proactive lifestyle changes.  Most of these changes were aimed at reducing overall inflammation in my body.


  • I worked really hard to reduce stress in my life.  When I couldn’t reduce the stress, I tried to manage my reaction to it in a healthier way.
  • I cut WAY back on alcohol and my beloved coffee.
  • I began taking some Chinese herbs to help with general female health.  I don’t feel comfortable saying what type of herb the Husband gave me because it’s a medicine and one size does not fit all, especially when it comes to herbs.
  • I came off birth control pills.  In holistic medicine circles, there is a very loose theory that BC contributes to irregular paps in some women.  I am not saying this is 100% true and it has not be scientifically proven.  But to me, it was worth a shot, especially since I am in a monogamous marriage and if I got knocked up, it wouldn’t be the end of the world (okay, okay – I’d be thrilled!).
  • I cut back on gluten because another test revealed that I may be sensitive.
  • I tried to get more regular and restful sleep.
  • I stopped putting chemical-laden tampons up my hoohah.
  • I began to take a folic acid supplement, as some research suggests folic acid improves cervical cell health.
  • I made a serious effort to eat only organic produce and to eat a lot of dark, leafy greens.


After two months of these efforts, I went back into Doctor M’s office.  This time around, I brought the Husband with me.  I was very nervous and knew that I would cry and not ask the right questions.


Now, I like Doctor M.  She is smart and nice, and she actually pays attention to what I’m saying.  I don’t want to personally insult her or any other medical professionals out there when I say this next bit…  Just trying to keep it real!


I asked Doctor M why I kept having problems with cervical dysplasia, given that I do not have HPV, the most common cause of dysplasia.  She said she didn’t know.  I asked her what were the potential reasons.  She couldn’t list any reasons that I would be having irregular paps beyond HPV and smoking.   I asked about drinking – she said it’s not related.  I asked about stress – she said it’s not related.  I asked about tampons – she said it’s not related.  I asked about Vitamin D deficiency – she said it’s not related.   I felt like I was running up against a brick wall.


Then, I asked about birth control – and she said it’s not related.  She asked me, “Why did you go off birth control, anyway?” because my chart indicated that I had gone off since the last appointment.  I told her I was concerned it was impacting my paps and that I also wanted to get off the pill to allow my natural hormones to reset before I starting trying to conceive.  She said, “There is no way your hormones are not back to normal if you’ve been off the pill for two months. You’re fine.”


Let me tell you something – there is NO WAY Doctor M knew if my hormones were functioning properly.  She didn’t even ask about my cycle!  For all she knew, it could’ve been 60 days between my periods.  She didn’t do any testing.  At this point, I got really irritated because, once again, I felt like the medical system was just pushing me along, ignoring my questions because I didn’t fit into a neat little box.


In the end, I decided to get the colposcopy as opposed to another pap smear.  I wanted to be 100% safe.  The last time I had a colposcopy, my other doctor had to take FIVE biopsies; luckily, Doctor M only had to take one.  And yesterday, I got the news that… my biopsy came back normal!  Normal never felt so good.   I’ll never know if there was something wrong with my last pap smear or if my lifestyle changes improved my cervical health, but I definitely plan to continue with my changes and take care of myself from the inside-out.


This entire process has really driven home one point:  it is extremely important that you advocate for your own health care.  For me, that meant asking lots of questions, doing my own research, talking to a variety of doctors (both Western and alternative), and bringing the Husband to appointments so someone else could ‘watch out’ for me, too.  Not only should you question your care provider, but you should question their answers, too.  As a side note, I hope that all of the Husband’s patients question him and do their own research, because that’s what patients should do.


I’m NOT saying that you can’t trust doctors.  But any type of doctor – Western or alternative – is inherently limited.  They are busy people; they ALL have a biased perspective; and they have to deal with time-suckers like insurance, too.  Doctors are awesome, but just because one person says something is true, doesn’t mean it is.  


Research different opinions and options, and never, ever be afraid to ask questions.  Don’t make medical decisions just because you’re afraid.  Advocate for yourself.


So – that’s it.  Hopefully the last post in this series.  Fingers crossed!


Is your doctor open to questions or is it all very black-and-white?  If you’re a doctor or nurse, how do you feel about patients questioning you (I’m sure Dr. Google is somewhat annoying!)?  What’s the best way to approach patient advocacy?



  • Mary August 4, 2011, 1:35 pm

    As a Nurse, I am open to all questions that patients or patient’s families throw at me. I try as hard as I can to advocate for my patients and their needs and to decipher MD speak into lay terms for my patients and their families (this is super important especially becaus I work in the ICU, a very scary place for a lot of people) I always make sure that the doctors make themselves present and I try to pry in the nicest way possible as to what signs and symptoms the patients are having so that we can better treat them based on what their histories are.

    Im surprised your doc didnt even question your cycle after going off of the pill. Maybe it’s time for a new gyn?

    I am so glad that your pap came back normal though, that is a relief I am sure for you!

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 1:36 pm

      You sound like an awesome nurse. I want you to be my nurse if I ever have a serious problem!!! Will you fly to Charlotte to help me? 🙂

      • Mary August 4, 2011, 1:38 pm

        absoloutely! I don’t know much about women’s health (except that I’ve had a lot of problems with my own period) but i do know a lot about your heart! (I work in the cardiac ICU) so if you or hus have a problem, I’m your girl! 🙂

  • Kelsey August 4, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Unfortunately, I don’t feel like my doctor answers my questions fully. I hate how he makes me feel like I am inconveniencing him by being curious about my health. Thankfully, I am switching doctors soon!
    That leads to my next question, what did your husband think of the book “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal”. You mentioned he was reading it a few weeks back and I think I am going to see if my local bookstore has a copy of it.
    I really appreciate these health posts that you write! It is a win-win for everybody when we share experiences.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 1:45 pm

      He said it was completely transformative for his way of thinking about thyroid issues. He’s even attending a follow-up three-day conference soon!

      Thanks Kelsey. I think it’s important we share knowledge and experiences, too. I hope reading about other people’s pap smear experiences and have been sooo helpful for me.

      • Baking N Books August 4, 2011, 3:34 pm

        I’m not surprised by this at all. I work with Doctors daily – and most don’t give Patients 3 minutes. There was also a special on Dr. Oz and Racheal Ray before with an M.D that exclaimed that most Dr’s actually google stuff when they slip out. – Because there are so many possible diagnoses, obviously symptoms can relate to a lot of things…but still…

        Really, these people aren’t much different than you or I. They just had to memorize the facts and learn to problem-solve quickly.

        When I’ve seen Doctors, I actually end up giving them more information than they give me.

        I went to an endocrinologist about my own hormones before and for white blood cell counts – and I didn’t even get to meet her. She sent a 4th year Resident in with me – who performed a basic GP exam and issued blood work.

        B-Sh*t (pardon me).

        So happy your doing good though now! 🙂

  • Ashley @ Thefitacademic August 4, 2011, 1:45 pm

    what an interesting and thoughtful post! I hate my insurance right now – I’m a grad student so I get student health insurance, which means I don’t have a “primary care” physician…i have to use the student health center and see a different person every time I go. It’s frustrating to feel like I don’t have a “history” with someone who actually really knows me. I’ve got another 2 years in the system though, so I’ve just got to keep at it and then hopefully i’ll be insured (for real insured – student health care can be a joke) through an employer : )

    • Jess August 4, 2011, 2:09 pm

      I’m also a grad student with a health center. I totally share your frustration and can’t wait to leave and find a good primary physician. I’ve had so many different problems over the years, but no one sits down and wonders if any of it is connected. Who knows?!

      The dentist we can use on our insurance is pretty awful, too, and the eye doctor is kind of creepy. Real insurance? Yes please!! 🙂

    • Michelle August 4, 2011, 10:29 pm

      I had the opposite with my school. Our nurse (PA? not sure) was so great. She listened, gave her honest opinion and every possibility and option she had ever heard of, and then gave her recommendation. If you brought up a theory that she wasn’t familiar with the connection (exactly like what Caitlin did) she’d probably tell you that this is her best recommendation at the moment, and she’d do some digging, and she would! Damn I miss that woman. Not a fan of my current provider.

  • Kelly August 4, 2011, 1:48 pm

    I’ve had both experiences when it comes to doctors. I did have the BEST gyno though- luckily I have not had a lot of problems in that area but my college roommate got HPV and since she wasn’t from the area I brought her to my doctor. I was SO impressed with how she answered all of my roommates questions. My roommate is now a doctor and was very interested in knowing EVERYTHING about what was going on- my doctor was drawing her diagrams, it was amazing! Unfortunately, she moved offices so I switched since then, but I have had good experience with everyone in this particular practice and I’m hoping that is good when I do start a family. My mom has taught me to be very questioning about my health and I think it’s a good thing.

    Also, did you ever think the gluten may help in this area and are you still eating a low gluten diet? I haven’t seen anything about it in awhile but I wasn’t sure.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 1:52 pm

      Your doc sounds pretty epic.

      Ah yes, I should add that to the list of changes. Since another test said I was slightly intolerant I decided to go low gluten to reduce inflammation. I am trying really hard to stick with it and probably have gluten 3 – 4 times a week. Baby steps!

  • Lara August 4, 2011, 1:54 pm

    Ugh, I can completely relate to the frustration! I’ve been seeing so many specialists over the past few months and no one can find the root of my problems. I’ve been having severe insomnia, fatigue, and haven’t gotten my period in over 4 years! And every single test has been normal. I just keep getting told I’m a “challenge” or a “difficult case”. Yesterday I got my (normal) MRI results, and the doctor responded to my frustration at a lack of a diagnosis/treatment with “modern medicine has limitations”…in other words, don’t expect any help! I’ve been getting acupuncture for the past few weeks, and maybe that will help, but I’ve almost lost hope at this point 🙁

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 2:16 pm

      I’m sorry you are suffering through this! Have you spoken to a naturopathic doctor yet?

      • Lara August 4, 2011, 5:55 pm

        Not as of yet…it’s a bit pricey for me, so I’m trying everything insurance will cover first (only standard western medicine). I’m getting to the point where the western doctors have pretty much tested everything they can think of…my gyno wants to pump me full of hormones in the hope I start menstruating again- which I’m not really comfortable with- and as far as the insomnia/fatigue goes, I’ve been told to just “try meditating or something”- which is a condescending response I do not find helpful. So I think I may have to scrape together the funds for a naturopathic doctor quite soon! Do you have any advice about finding a good one?

    • Amber K August 5, 2011, 2:30 pm

      Sounds very similar to my problems! I haven’t had a period in almost four years, insomnia, fatigue, etc. I did the hormones which were supposed to “kick-start” my period, and nothing happened. All of my tests always came back normal. Since I was slightly less than normal on my thyroid test my doctor finally prescribed me a tiny dose of thyroid medication and that has helped the insomnia and the fatigue, but still no period. I hate being “diffuclt!”

  • Amanda in Pittsburgh August 4, 2011, 1:55 pm


    I admire your honesty and opinions. You’re NOT alone and valued by your readers! 🙂 LOVE this post. <3

  • Tricia August 4, 2011, 1:56 pm

    I’ve had similar experiences when talking about BC with my doctor. I’m married now and we are considering NFP instead but I need to secure a full time job before I’m ready to make that leap. My concerns have definitely been brushed aside. I also get recurrent UTIs and all I’ve been told is that this happens for some women. Wtf?! Your last post has me considering the diva cup but I haven’t made that leap yet (although I’m probably going to do it).

  • colleen August 4, 2011, 1:57 pm

    Great news! Normal is a great feeling! I am definitely taking a more active role in asking questions and conducting my own research on health related issues for my kids, need to do the same for me – baby steps.

  • Wendy August 4, 2011, 1:58 pm

    Honestly, I see my chiropractor more regularly and more often than my primary care physician. While he’s super busy, he knows me, my history, and even my family history since my mom and dad see him, too. And he also has a more whole-person approach to treatments as opposed to treating just symptoms. Last time I saw him, he suggested that I might be vitamin D deficient because I keeping getting all these little injuries. I am going to ask him more about it next week, but since you mentioned it, do you know what some of the symptoms are?

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 2:15 pm

      Husband says it can appear like so many different diseases that you should just get a blood test (that’s what I did).

      • Wendy August 4, 2011, 2:17 pm

        Thanks. I will talk to my chiro about the blood test.

    • Hannah N. August 4, 2011, 2:17 pm

      I absolutely adore my chiropractor! I see mine every single week and feel totally comfortable asking him questions about everything. I trust his opinion and sometimes he does suggest I should go to my primary care physician. But more often than not, he suggests other holistic suggestions (which for me is way better than getting put on some medication right away!)

      • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair August 4, 2011, 2:53 pm

        I LOVE my chiro too. When I had a running injury I went to see a traditional doctor, a physiotherapist and finally a chiropractor – who has been the most helpful so far! I feel like she looks at the WHOLE picture of what’s going on with my body and not just the problem I’m having.

  • Me-Linh @ Sweet and Sweat August 4, 2011, 1:58 pm

    It’s funny how even doctors can contradict each other. I’ve been off the pill for months now and my hormones are still out of wack! But yours said you’d be normal by now. Oh doctors!

    But it’s great you biopsy came back fine. Always a good relieved feeling 🙂

  • Hillary August 4, 2011, 1:59 pm

    I went through a scary mystery health issue in February, and it was the first time in my adult life that I realized that doctors are just people. They are not psychics, they are not perfect—I LOVE my doctor, and she was very open with me about having NO CLUE what was causing my issues. I did my own research, and she did hers, and we talked a lot about what was going on with me. She was not at all threatened by me taking initiative—she actually encouraged it. It’s a little scary when you realize that your doctor is just a person, too, but it’s also empowering. It made me realize that I need to be my biggest advocate, because no one else is going to take care of me!

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 2:16 pm

      Sounds like you have an awesome, caring doctor, even if she doesn’t have all the answers.

      • Hillary August 4, 2011, 2:19 pm

        I do, although I was a little freaked out when she thought my issue might be kidney related, and then openly admitted that kidneys were her downfall in med school. Luckily, that was not the issue ; )

  • colleen August 4, 2011, 2:00 pm

    Congrats on being normal! I am starting to ask more questions and conducting my own research on health issues on behalf of my kids. Need to do it more for myself – baby steps.

  • Maryea {Happy Heatlhy Mama} August 4, 2011, 2:01 pm

    I have a high distrust of traditional doctors. They seem to think that everything needs to be “by the book” and rarely do you find a regular doc who will look at the whole person and not just the symptoms. Also, they totally discredit nutriton’s role in healing, which is ridiculous.

    Congrats on your normal biopsy!

  • Jill August 4, 2011, 2:03 pm

    First of all, I’m glad your biopsies came back normal. Great relief, I’m sure!
    Secondly, THANK YOU THANK YOU for reminding your readers to be proactive advocates for their own health. I have had many similar experiences with doctors who were quick to make a judgement, guess, prescribe medicine and even push me towards major surgery (gall bladder removal) without considering all possibilities and answering my questions.
    And kudos to you for taking your husband with you and to him as well for going — it never hurts to take an another person with you to an appointment to have another set of ears in the room. I’m 37 years old and my mother (a nurse) recently came to the doc’s with me because I trust her and she knew questions to ask when I didn’t.
    This was a great post, Caitlin! I hope your candor helps other people to have the courage to be just as brave as you were.

  • mi-an d. August 4, 2011, 2:03 pm

    As a future physician (just graduated from MD school last yr), I totally know what you’re talking about re: doctors not asking enough questions or any questions about the pt! We are taught in med school that you can get 95% of your diagnosis from pt’s medical history (that includes social, allergies, work environment, food, everything!), we are taught to ask everything. But these days, doctors get so jaded. They just want to see as many patients as they can in a day, insurance dictate what they can do with the patient, all in all, i think it’s a messed up system but doctors don’t have to conform to this. As I start my residency next, I want to make sure I give enough time to each patient. Then you run into the problem of the next patient complaining because they have been waiting forever. I think A HUGE KEY component is having a great communication with your patient. And so many doctors these days forget that. All I know is that I won’t and don’t want to be that kind of physician and also want to integrate both allopathic and homeopathic medicine because I believe both are important to create a healthy lifestyle.

    anywayss….ha! sorry for the long comment. and Thank God your Pap is now normal! 🙂

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 2:17 pm

      You should like an awesome future doctor in training!!!!

      • mi-an d. August 4, 2011, 6:39 pm

        thanks 🙂 have you heard of dr. andrew weil?? he started Integrative Medicine in U of Az…and I would LOVE to do a fellowship there!

  • Carly G August 4, 2011, 2:04 pm

    I just had a colonoscopy done. Prepping was so awful.

    I feel like the doctors just pass me along because they can’t figure me out. It gets really frustrating. I’ve been on different kinds of medication for the past 7 years and this year I finally decided to see what it would be like if I went off of them. I feel a lot better both emotionally and physically. Love it!

  • ashley @ cooking for john August 4, 2011, 2:05 pm

    yay! i’m so happy to hear you’re in the clear! congrats!! 🙂

  • Anne August 4, 2011, 2:08 pm

    Thank you so much for driving this point home. Tomorrow my husband is having hernia surgery, and I will be there to listen and ask questions for him (since he’ll probably be a bit out of it).
    I’m glad everything appears to be normal for now! Now about those babies . . .

  • Paige August 4, 2011, 2:08 pm

    Congratulations on being back to “normal!” As an aside, do you include pictures of flowers in these posts because you’re talking about your “flower?” 🙂

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 2:18 pm

      Haha yes. I’m glad someone noticed!!!

      • Mary August 4, 2011, 3:21 pm

        That’s epic! I didn’t notice that until just now!

  • Mellissa August 4, 2011, 2:12 pm

    I get really upset when medical professionals get annoyed when you question or challenge. Every medical person is giving you their interpretation of what is happening with your body, they look at symptoms and think back to textbooks or training and come up with an answer. Most times they don’t think to look outside the box to understand the whole picture. If x body part is broken, that is what they fix. Most don’t think to see how x body part fits in with the whole body and what is impacting it. We should always question what is best for our bodies! Not take a one size fits all approach.

  • kalli August 4, 2011, 2:15 pm

    caitlin you are so wise for your years and very lucky you have a husband who is very well versed on alternative care. i switched to a holistic doc about 2 years ago when i kept getting recurring yeast/fungal infections. same crap-no it can’t be this or that but here take diflucan. i was infuriated how small minded the regular medical community is. yes i have to pay out of pocket but my new doc treats me from the inside out with nutrition and supplements and bioidentical hormones. do you know i have not been sick for 2 years and i am a high school asst. principal? crazy but wonderful! good for you for making those changes and sticking to your guns girl……you are very smart!

  • Theresa @ActiveEggplant August 4, 2011, 2:17 pm

    Hi Caitlin! So happy to hear your results came back normal & that you’re standing up for your health!
    I have a very similar story – I had a LEEP procedure in 2004 and then had to have another procedure done in early 2005 because the dysplasia came back. After 3 or 4 colposcopies with multiple biopsies during each, I can totally attest to how terrifying and stressful it is! I was seeing my doctor for repeat paps every 3 months for 2 years before I got the all clear! The only thing I changed during that 2 years? I finally went off the pill!
    While going through all the procedures I asked my doctor why I kept getting the abnormal results & told me that some women are just more “prone” to get dysplasia & “we don’t know why”. He talked about how some women will only ever have 1 abnormal pap a year & others will have one every year…but that the medical industry has yet to figure out exactly why some women are affected by it more than others.
    In the end, I’ve been “normal” for several years now & I kid you not – every time I get the results back from the doctor they go up on our refrigerator! Seriously.
    And on behalf of women everywhere – thanks for getting the word out there about regular paps! Way too many women don’t get them every year & if this series of posts means ONE MORE woman gets checked, you’ve done a wonderful thing!

    • Theresa @ActiveEggplant August 4, 2011, 2:19 pm

      oopsie…meant “some women will only ever have 1 abnormal pap *in her lifetime* while others have 1 every year.

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 2:19 pm


      I’m glad you are all better now!!

  • Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep August 4, 2011, 2:21 pm

    Congratulations on your “normalness”! I remember getting that call, and it was one of the happiest days of my life! I sobbed the happiest tears ever.

    I went to the ER last week for something that happened to me in my female area, and I was scared! I didn’t know what it was or why it happened. The nurse was extremely nice and comforting, but the doctor just laughed it off. And the doctor was a woman! She acted like I had no reason to come in the ER. I’m sorry, but after 18 years of having my period, I know my body, and whatever it was was NOT normal. I left with no reasons or diagnosis. Just a $1900 bill.

  • Rebecca August 4, 2011, 2:22 pm

    So happy to hear this news. Wishing you many, many, many more years of good health!

  • Rachel August 4, 2011, 2:22 pm

    I always come in to my yearly physical appointments with a HUGE list of questions/concerns/things I want to talk about with my doctor. I know she has a million patients and a ton of insurance crap to deal with, but I don’t feel guilty about taking up her time to discuss my health. She is a good listener and always has good suggestions. But I can tell she’s busy.

  • Laura @ My Reason to Tri August 4, 2011, 2:23 pm

    i feel that most doctors are very black and white. if it wasnt in their medical training then its just not possible. i am a nurse and i am very open to questions and suggestions, and i tend to lean more towards natural alternatives before throwing conventional medicine down your throat! and i truly believe that YOU are ultimately responsible for your own health, YOU are your best advocate! so glad to hear your biopsy came back normal….i cant believe your doctor just completely dismissed all of your lifestyle changes, they should at least be considered as possible helpers!

  • Kat August 4, 2011, 2:23 pm

    Yay for normal! I think that in any medical situation, you have to be your own advocate – you know your body and what is normal for you the best, and if something’s not right – you have to say something! Taking a trusted person like your hubby is always great too. They can reduce the stress and, especially if you spend a lot of time together, they can pick up on things you might miss!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife August 4, 2011, 2:23 pm

    Yes, talk to every doctor you can and get lots of opinions. Doctors go to med school where all the answers are pretty black and white….too bad that isn’t always the case!

    YAH for being’ normal’! 🙂

  • Amanda August 4, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I honestly couldn’t agree with you more about being your own advocate. I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease after years of suffering horrific stomach aches. I was misdiagnosed with endometriosis, IBS, PCOS, and a slew of other things. I was put on way more medication and had more tests than I could afford. I pushed the celiac testing because I suspected it might be the culprit. Several doctors flat out refused because I’m overweight and they didn’t believe overweight people could have celiac.

    Turns out, I have major damage to my small intestine and definitely do have celiac. I’m glad I pushed them to test me and listen to my opinion. I realize this isn’t related to your story exactly, but I can relate to this sort of situation. I knew my body, I knew something was up and I had to change things for myself.

    I think your healthy changes are awesome and it’s great that you are proactive!

  • Amanda August 4, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I honestly couldn’t agree with you more about being your own advocate. I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease after years of suffering horrific stomach aches. I was misdiagnosed with endometriosis, IBS, PCOS, and a slew of other things. I was put on way more medication and had more tests than I could afford. I pushed the celiac testing because I suspected it might be the culprit. Several doctors flat out refused because I’m overweight and they didn’t believe overweight people could have celiac.

    Turns out, I have major damage to my small intestine and definitely do have celiac. I’m glad I pushed them to test me and listen to my opinion. I realize this isn’t related to your story exactly, but I can relate to this sort of situation. I knew my body, I knew something was up and I had to change things for myself.

    I think your healthy changes are awesome and it’s great that you are proactive!

    • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 2:28 pm

      Oh, you poor thing 🙁

  • Laura @ Cookies vs. Carrots August 4, 2011, 2:27 pm

    Wow, thanks for sharing! It seems that you were in a really difficult situation, and I’m glad it all worked out to be alright in the end!

  • Natasha August 4, 2011, 2:27 pm

    My doctor is not informative at all. I’ve switched Dr’s 3x in recent yrs. They are all the same. It’s so frustrating. My most recent complaint was I had a hard red lump on my thigh and I research and was pretty confident it was a varicose vein. I went, she said no your leg is infected. We bantered back and forth and she said I’m 99% sure it’s infected and you need antibiotics. I questioned myself and took them. Guess what? It was a vein! I wish I listened to my gut. I took 10 days of antibiotics for the first time in yrs….for NO reason! ARG…it’s really hard to find a good dr who will listen. I think you send a wonderful message about being your own advocate!!! Congrats on your biopsy coming back normal!!! Yay!

  • Amy August 4, 2011, 2:28 pm

    Hi Caitlin! Hooray for the clean bill of health! I just graduated from school and am now a nurse practitioner. I love when patients ask questions, because it often challenges me to think outside of the “evidence-based protocols.” However, always keep in mind that there is a polite way to ask questions. When a patient rudely interrogates me, I automatically become defenseive and shut down, doing everything in my power to get them out of there quickly :)Most providers I have worked with welcome questions, and enjoy teaching. But they also need to make money and thus see a patient every ten minutes. It’s a tough business to be in!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 4, 2011, 2:29 pm

    Oh wow, great post Caitlin (and congratulations on the normal test results!!) I agree that you have to advocate for your own health, and ask tons of questions too. I am in the process of switching to a new doctor as I have graduated and am no longer using Health Services at my university. I haven’t been in for my first appt yet (it’s this month though) and I’m hoping for the best.

  • Caitlin August 4, 2011, 2:29 pm

    oh man. that is so scary!!!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) August 4, 2011, 2:30 pm

    So glad you came back normal this time!

    I know I don’t do a good enough job advocating for my health and just take the Dr’s word for things when they say things are OK. I just don’t like looking like a hypochondriac or something, but you are right — it is important to tell them about everything.

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me August 4, 2011, 2:31 pm

    I couldn’t agree more on the medical doctors. YOU have to be the doctor nowadays. I haven’t been to the doctor in years and that’s mostly because when I do go all I feel is brushed aside because they don’t want to take the time to sit with me or ask questions or anything. They want me in and out as fast as possible. It’s very frustrating and defeating. I always think then why bother?

    And I’m tired of gyno’s shoving birth control pills or other types of birth control down my throat! If I don’t want to mess with my hormones then leave me be!

    Sorry for the rant… I’m so glad things are looking up for you. 🙂

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday August 4, 2011, 2:32 pm

    As a patient it can be really tough to get the right information. You rely on your doctor to steer you in the right direction but, like you said, it’s extremely important to ask questions of your doc and offer up additional information that might help them come up with a diagnosis (they don’t know what you don’t tell them right?).

    It’s a good idea to get a second opinion from medical professionals from a variety of backgrounds but a lot of times that isn’t possible for patients. So they end up relying heavily on self-diagnosis through information that they get online which can really be a double edged sword. I mean, it’s great that patients are educating themselves but how often have you googled something simple like ‘stomach cramps’ and ended up walking away from the computer convinced you have some sort of flesh eating disease?

    I have a bunch of doctors in my family so luckily I have lots of places to get educated second opinions.

  • Sarah for Real August 4, 2011, 2:36 pm

    Congrats on being NORMAL! Yay!!! Love being normal in this sense.

    I agree with being your own advocate, asking questions and doing your research.

    I’d add not to take things personally in the office. You don’t’ have to do anything right then and there, it’s always ok to say “I’d like to think about that.”

    I actually had a pompous OBGYN laugh in my face once when I was simply explaining the mix of information I was getting from her and my naturopath. RUDE. Won’t be going back to see her again but I didn’t take it personally. I assumed she had personal biases that made her feel insecure about her position.

  • gabriella @ embracement August 4, 2011, 2:45 pm

    Another great post in the series! First off, congrats on the normal results. I’m sure that was a HUGE weight off your shoulders and at least you know for sure that everyhing is okay, so that is one positive.

    I’m currently going through the Holistic Health Coaching Program with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I’m absolutely loving it. I’m learning about things from so many different dietary theories that I’ve never heard about. There are so many conflicting standpoints out there is it amazing.

    My sister is currently completing her 3rd year of medical school. Right now she’s studying for the Step 2 of the boards for her licensing.

    We are basically like oil and water at the moment. It is really difficult to talk to her about anything that isn’t scientifically “factual”. Even if a diet works for someone, helps them feel better, etc she’ll discount it if tehre haven’t been multiple tests on multiple people.

    I think that’s the case witha lot of doctos. If it hasn’t been proven, they just look at your like you have a billion heads. I lost my period for 6+ years. I was on BC because of my incredibly crazy hormones. Hormones that basically told me I was going through menopause. I went off the pill and had a period. My doctor had zero explanation. I’m back on BC because that’s what my doctor thinks is most help at the moment (and I don’t want to get pregnant, and I’m not a fan of condoms [been in a relationship for 3 years], and I don’t have the pleasure of being able to count the days between my periods), but I sitll don’t really know what’s going ON with me.

    I’m hoping to make my own lifestyle changes through what I’m learning in my program because it’s at least some information that could potentially help me and very doubtfully would it do anything negative. I think knowing the most information possible is the most important. That being said, I also can’t consider myself smarter than a doctor, but I think when things are just unexplained you need to continue to investigate them as much as possible.

    • Jill August 4, 2011, 3:52 pm

      Gabriella, I was just reading through comments and noticed that you’re in training at IIN. I’m an IIN grad! Enjoy the program. It’s fantastic and I’m sure you’ll make a terrific health coach. Best to you!

  • Whitney August 4, 2011, 2:47 pm

    What a blessing with your biopsy results!!

    I really have a great gyno myself. I ask him a million questions about random things everytime I go for my yearly visit and he really takes the time to listen and answers them with thought. He never tries to rush me out and if anything I always feel like I stay too long there, which is better than the alternative. My mom and sister also see the same doctor so he is familar with all of our flowers! LOL 🙂

  • brandalyn August 4, 2011, 2:48 pm

    besides researching, changing your diet and using wester meds did you think about trying to get a second opinion from another gyno? Like you said she didn’t even ask about your cycle yet said your hormones were normal. I know i’ve run across similar problems. I never had regular cycles and always felt like it wasn’t normal i asked dr’s and they all just wanted to put me in birth control. I also was always a lil more over-weight and no one else in my family was. FINALLY when i turned 25 i found a mid wife who actually listend to me and ran some tests. I found out that i was producing way too much testosterone, diagnosing me with polycistic ovarian syndrom. I’m still trying to figure it all out, but one thing i’ve learned is get a second opinion!

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 2:53 pm

      If the biopsy relates weren’t normal, I was planning on a second opinion prior to another leep!

      I’m sorry you’ve had so many scary problems 🙁

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen August 4, 2011, 2:49 pm

    So glad you got good news on this. I couldn’t agree more about being your own medical advocate!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) August 4, 2011, 2:50 pm

    My doctor listens to my questions- but her answer is always ‘Oh, that’s normal.’ Yeah, apparently not getting my period for almost two years is normal!!! Ugh…

  • Katherina @ Zephyr Runs August 4, 2011, 2:54 pm

    I don’t go to doctors anymore because I’ve had way too many appointments like the one you described. I had over a decade of surgeries because it was an easy decision and now I’m practically half deaf as a result. I never knew what questions to ask because I was young and trusting. Now I’m so skeptical of any medical professional because of the multiple, unsuccessful interactions I had. Boo to uninterested, uninvested medical professionals.

  • DadHTP August 4, 2011, 2:54 pm

    ok, so where’s the baby if everything works?

  • Kelly August 4, 2011, 2:54 pm

    I, unfortunately, don’t take much stalk in what doctor’s (of any nature) tell me. None of them seem to care anymore and they just push you in and out so fast. It’s pretty sad, and definitely scary. I am not a stupid person and my questions are well-researched and well thought out. I am sick of having them look at me like I’m nuts. Or, what REALLY pisses me off, is when they look at me and say, “But you’re too young to be sick.” Had I been my normal “not sick” self, that doctor would have gotten a big “FUCK OFF”! I am sick, that’s why I am here, and I don’t appreciate the implications that I’m in here for the shits and giggles of it all. I mean, seriously. Or, better yet, I asked a chronic pain doctor about a chiropractor for my severe arm, back, and neck pain and swelling. I had spent a fortune on her routines, so I was asking about any and all other possibilities. I have known people who have been seriously screwed up by a chiro, so that’s why I was being cautious. She looked at me, and said, “You have nothing that they can screw up.” Arrrrgghh. Needless to say, she is a BAD doctor and I reported her to my insurance and wrote all the nasty reviews I could. Seriously. I have had a rough go with them, and stupidly, this makes me put off going…which is not healthy either.

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 2:57 pm

      I am so sorry 🙁 I thoroughly enjoyed all the cursing in this comment, though!

      • Kelly August 4, 2011, 3:31 pm

        Sorry! Is that a gentle reminder that we’re on a cursing hiatus?! I just get so fired up about doctors these days, and sadly, what I wrote above is quite mild compared to what my husband, friends and family had to endure. I have a potty mouth, but like you I am trying to be more lady-like. Just don’t ask about doctors, I guess!! lol

        • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 3:34 pm

          No, haha, i REALLY did enjoy it. 🙂 cursing is like a catharsis.

  • Kattrina August 4, 2011, 2:57 pm

    I am so glad that your results came back normal. I have had a colposcopy once and it was not something I wanted to go through again. One of the most important things I’ve discovered is getting second opinions. My friend kept getting bad paps and then she’d have a colposcopy and it would be fine and then she’d have another bad pap and the colposcopy would be fine, etc., and the doctors couldn’t explain why she kept getting bad paps and said that it was probably nothing and she’d just have to get used to having bad paps. So she went to two other doctors and the third doctor told her it wasn’t normal and searched her entire cervix and uterus and found a cancerous spot that was hidden up inside her uterus that was causing the bad paps. It was just the doctors that were not looking hard enough so they never biopsied there. In the end she had to burn all the cells in her uterus which means she can’t ever have kids (she was only 25 at the time). Had the doctors found the cells earlier she might have had a different result, but if that third doctor hadn’t found the cancer cells she probably wouldn’t have survived. So, not only is it important to advocate for yourself, it’s important to trust your gut and shop around.
    Good for you for taking your health into your own hands!

  • Kara August 4, 2011, 2:59 pm

    My doctor told me (well, I have 3, but they all said it) that it normally takes 6 MONTHS for your body to be 100% back to normal after extended BC use. That’s not to say that you can’t get pregnant (believe me, you can), but your hormones aren’t 100% after just 2 months.

    I get peeved at doctors too when it comes to girl issues. I swear I almost killed a doctor or two when I was pregnant and asking questions. They never, ever gave me a straight answer. I swear if I had asked them “Can I go sky diving?” they would have said “Technically, no. But many women have and deliver healthy babies, so do it if you want”. Seriously, that was their response to every…single…one of my questions. I guess it’s better than them just saying “No” all of the time, but I was looking for medical advice, not permission.

    Kudos to your husband to coming with you for the procedure. He’s totally ready for pregnancy now. 🙂

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg August 4, 2011, 3:00 pm

    I love my doctor but thankfully I haven’t had any reason to ask questions since I have not (knock on wood!) had any issues that I would need to talk to her.

    I’m glad the biopsy came back normal!

  • Stephanie August 4, 2011, 3:01 pm

    I completely agree! For me, it was hard not to feel intimidated at first; some Dr’s aren’t open to patients asking too many questions and/or “challenging” their perspective on your health. I had a horrible experience with one doctor a few years ago-at our first meeting, she made condescending comments on a tattoo that I have and had me convinced I was dying of nearly everything. Needless to say, I never went back and have since learned that nobody knows my body better than me. My health is worth it and if I don’t advocate for myself, who will?

  • Kathryn (Flopoodle) August 4, 2011, 3:05 pm

    My old doctor was pretty awful. She hardly listened to what I said and once asked me the same question twice within two minutes. She also suggested that I get botox injections in my armpits to stop me from sweating…are you kidding me?!

    • Britt August 4, 2011, 5:50 pm

      I’m sure your Dr. was awful, but I wanted to say that Botox injections for sweating can be done with a lot of success. I worked for a dermatologist in college and we had patients who were really helped with this treatment. But it should only be for cases of extreme sweating because it is expensive. 🙂

      • Kathryn (Flopoodle) August 4, 2011, 5:57 pm

        Totally, that makes sense. It was just weird because she suggested it without even examining me first, haha!

  • Jen August 4, 2011, 3:06 pm

    I found a highly rated gyno on Yelp and had the worst experience ever. First she told me she was taking me off a long-term medication because of potential side effects. I asked her what the side effects were, and she said she didn’t know, but that there “could be side effects.” What the heck kind of answer is that?

    Then when I expressed concern about a condition I thought I had, she brushed it off and actually said “Please, that’s nothing. I treat patients who have HIV.” She rushed through the exam (which wasn’t exactly, ahem, pain-free) and left the room immediately after. I will never be going back to her again!

  • Kristine August 4, 2011, 3:16 pm

    As a nurse I view my relationship with patients as a partnership. I’m certainly not the expert on their health and their body – they are! So ask away (I’ve been known to encourage them to ask MORE questions of their doctors).

    And sidenote: I have almost entirely switched from MDs as my care providers over the years (except for specialists). My primary care provider is actually a naturopath and I LOVE her. My OB provider is a nurse-midwife and I love her too. I do acupuncture for stress and pain relief and I also see an energy healer. I’ve found that this collection of providers has given me a much more holistic understanding of my own health. And it’s made my nursing practice much more patient-centered…I would encourage health providers to try new practices themselves and learn the potential benefits!

  • Meghan August 4, 2011, 3:16 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! Everyone needs to know that while doctors are not inherently evil, the patient needs to know when to push for more answers and to switch doctors.
    When I was 19 I was diagnosed with a severe case of mono and a year later was still not back to my full health (physical or mental). My primary care physician could only (repeatedly) come up with ‘well, you had a bad case of mono.’ Two months later I had some issues with my period so I went to the gynecologist who found a lump on my thyroid. One biopsy later I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It took a GYNECOLOGIST to find a lump in my neck! This November I will officially be a 10 year cancer survivor. 🙂
    Does the Husband think that “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal” would be beneficial for someone like me who doesn’t have a thyroid anymore but still has hypothyroid symptoms though my labs are normal? I LOVE my endocrinologist/oncologist (it’s a 10 hour each way drive to see him) but I still wonder if there is too much relying on the lab work versus how I feel.

    Keep on advocating for patient education and persistence! We deserve the best care available even if we have to get it aggressively.

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 9:20 pm

      The Husband said yes, it would still be helpful to you! 🙂 I am so sorry about all that you’ve been through.

  • jen August 4, 2011, 3:21 pm

    i cannot begin to tell you how thankful i have been for all these “girlie” posts. It can be so hard to advocate for yourself with a doctor sometimes! i went off BC 2 months ago, and have had a pretty alarming (but not life threatening) reaction. My hair starting coming out! after 2 months of freaking out every time i showered i went to the doctors and she was so blase about it. I told her about my online research about this, that hair loss after ending BC can be fairly common and asked why no ones tells about that when you sign up for it in the first place! She kind of brused this off and told me that i was stressing out about something thats normal (losing your hair is not normal, its scary!) Im getting married in a few weeks and im terrified over how i will look! i understand that medical professionals deal with patients questions all day long, but i hate that feeling i got during my appointment, like i was bothering her with my issue.

  • Emily August 4, 2011, 3:22 pm

    Doctors can be very annoying sometimes. I have two doctors treating me at the moment. One says I have Crohn’s disease and gives me drugs that make me better. The other says I don’t have Crohn’s disease but has absolutely no other suggestions of what is wrong, what might help, or why Crohn’s drugs make me better.

    That kind of brick wall is really hard to work with.

  • Laura August 4, 2011, 3:23 pm

    WOO-HOO! I’ve been worried about the follow-up and I’m so excited that everything came up normal! And it’s exciting that your positive life changes have probably played a big role in this. Good job in taking care of yourself 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 9:20 pm

      Thank you for caring for me!

  • Orla August 4, 2011, 3:24 pm

    I was diagnosed with pretty bad endometriosis a couple years back. My previous (and coincidentally male) doctors all said to deal with the pain and would prescribe strong pain killers. My current doctor, a female, has an all female practice (doctors, nurses and patients) and when I raised my concerns about terrible period pains she referred me for scans. While nothing showed on the scans, I ended up in surgery after a cyst ruptured and was in a pretty bad way. While she and I have had a disagreement about the positive effects that homeopathy had on my ( she poopooed it) I am thankful that she finally started to listen to my symptoms and arranged that I be referred to the people I needed to see.
    I think that things are starting to change here – doctors are not the all being powerful people they once were and patients (thankfully) are starting to question doctors reasons for taking one course of treament over another and are no longer afraid to seek a second opinion, or look at non western treatments.
    I am glad that your results were normal!

  • Krystina August 4, 2011, 3:31 pm

    I’m very happy that your biopsy came back normal ! As a med school student (I’m from Quebec, Canada), we are teached to always consider the patient’s needs, questions, worries, etc. first, and that should be the main concern for every doctor. We pretty much understand this when we’re at school and “only”learning, not practicing. Unfortunately, when you go in the “real world”, it is sometimes left on the side for some. Personally, I try every day to give my best, answer questions the best that I can and be supportive for my patients, but sincerely, it isn’t always easy. We all have bad days ! But I agree patients shouldn’t suffer form theses bad days.
    Also, we must recognize that there are a lot of questions and causes/factors of diseases that we still don’t know about. Sometime doctors are afraid to say that they don’t know. Your doctor should have given you a better view and teaching of what dysplasia is, and if there were some points that she ignored, she should have told you that she isn’t sure and that she’ll do a little research for you. After all, it will be a benefit for you, but also for all the other patients with dysplasia she’ll have. And you’re right: all patients should inform themselves and be more proactive about their health 🙂

  • Paige @ Running Around Normal August 4, 2011, 3:34 pm

    Ahhh I am so glad to hear this. It’s been a year since my last pap, and I go in next week. I kept myself up last night because I was so worried, because as you may remember, I went through the same thing. I’m praying and crossing my fingers it comes back normal!

  • Shannon August 4, 2011, 3:36 pm

    So glad to hear the biopsy results were good!! Excellent point about needing to be proactive with our health as a whole!

  • Mandy August 4, 2011, 3:39 pm

    I have a history with cervical dysplasia, too, and a couple of years ago I had my first abnormal pap since my LEEP. I was so frustrated and upset, but I went through with the colposcopy and biopsy, which was normal. I asked my doctor what could have caused my abnormal pap then, and she said that friction in that area can be a cause. So since then, I’ve avoided tampons and any activity in that area before my paps. I haven’t had an abnormal pap since. Just food for thought. I don’t know if she’s right, but it makes sense to me.

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul August 4, 2011, 3:39 pm

    Yeahh many times I was intimidated to ask questions b/c I always got yes or no answers, etc. But with this doctor (family dr.) he’s so understanding, caring, and willing to listen and explain everything! I think now I’m learning to ask Qs more to professionals. And so glad that you’re okay Caitlin!! Take care <3

  • Michelle August 4, 2011, 3:39 pm

    Unfortunately, I completely agree with having to be your own advocate (or someone else’s), especially in an ER setting. My son has had 3 febrile seizures & the first time he was already taking meds for an ear infection. The second time, the doc gave me a handout about reducing fevers & told us to go on our way. I demanded to talk to the doc in charge, he came in, addressed my concerns, checked my son out & guess what? He had a double ear infection. The last time it happened, it came on very quickly & he seized in front of me. I begged the ER nurse/doc to check him thoroughly and they gave me lip service until I cried & refused to leave. Strep throat was the official diagnosis, which caused the fever to spike.

    Once again, just my bad experience in the multitude of good/mediocre experiences. But I completely agree with your thoughts and concerns. And it’s just a bonus that the Husband is a doc, in your case! 🙂 Glad to hear you got a clean bill of health!

  • Amy August 4, 2011, 3:40 pm

    It’s time to find a new doctor! I feel that specialists are usually “better” than general docs, but this OB/GYN sounds horrible!! Would you want this doctor delivering your child? If not, move on!!

    Congratulations on the positive news!!

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 3:50 pm

      I’m not going to traditional OB/GYN route for delivery, anyway. But yeah – definitely not.

  • Lisa August 4, 2011, 3:42 pm

    YAY for normal!!! I’m so relieved for you.

    My current doctor is very good about listening in detail. I usually have to wait quite a while, but she doesn’t rush me.

    My DH has been battling thyroid cancer for the last four years. At one time he had more than three different doctors. I really had to take notes and keep up with each one. Sometimes I questioned things that I thought had fallen between the cracks and some things I felt they were duplicating. DH’s doctor now is hyper and dictates into his recorder while you are in the room. It kinda drives me nuts, but I think he is brilliant and the best around that treats this type of cancer. He never discounts even the weirdest ideas. He tells us when the “box” procedures aren’t working and lets us know what all the options are, what he recommends, and why. Fortunately, DH’s cancer has been “undetectable” for about six months. (fingers crossed) This is a huge relief after many tests, three surgeries, two radioactive iodine pills, and 35 IRT radiation treatments.

    I think anyone who doesn’t take the idea of getting your whole body as healthy as possible to fix any kind of physical or mental condition isn’t very bright. Not that it will always cure it, but it can never hurt.

    • Lyn August 4, 2011, 4:13 pm

      Caitlin, I’m really happy that your biopsies came back negative 🙂

      Sooo… I’m a doctor… (a 3rd year resident in Internal Medicine). In case anyone isn’t totally familiar with how medical training works (I didn’t know until I went through it!), being a resident means that I’m officially a doctor (for the past 2 years – I graduated medical school in 2009)… but still in training and working in a supervised environment until next year, when I’ll be out on my own as an independent practitioner. But the supervision is less and less as you get closer to the end of residency, so I see and manage patients mostly on my own, and consult with my attendings (supervising physicians) for advice. Oh, and internal Medicine is general medicine (primary care) for adults only. Many people go on to specialize further (like cardiology, etc), but I like primary care, so I’m going to stick with general medicine.

      These posts are really interesting for me to read… I enjoy hearing about the good experiences people have had, and it’s important for me to hear about the bad ones too. I can tell you that in medical school, most of the things we’re taught are very black and white. In practice, however, (aka in the real world), you find out that patients don’t always follow the text books. And one of the worst things about practicing medicine (espeically in primary care) is not having enough time with your patients. It’s especially difficult when my priorities don’t jive with the patient’s priorities. Their main concern may be their depression, back pain, etc… and I’m concerned about that too… but it’s also my job to be concerned about their high blood pressure, diabetes, etc (which are diseases they don’t feel now, but can lead to devastating complications in the future). And make sure they’re getting their age-appropriate cancer screenings, etc. Very challenging… and try slipping in the “oh by the way you need your pap smear, colonoscopy, blood pressure medicine, etc” to someone who’s sobbing about having just lost their job or a breakup? Of course it’s going to seem like you’re not listening! And I do always want to try and help with those types of problems, but I’m not a good doctor if I keep letting the other stuff slide by too.

      Anyway, I’m super grateful that I’ve never personally had any health problems, but what does help me relate to patients is that I had a loved one go through (and pass away from) cancer while I was in medical school, so I’ve been on the other side too. You’re absolutely 100% right about advocating for your health, and having family and friends advocate for you too. It’s necessary. And if you feel like a doctor isn’t really being there for you or you’re not clicking, you definitely need to find a new one.

      I’ve learned from my mentors (and my experiences) to always talk in lay person language (which is actually much more difficult than you would think, because now that I’m in my 7th year of medical training overall, you start to forget what you knew and didn’t know before, and what language is “normal” vs medical)… and I know to ALWAYS be honest… that’s key.. I would never pretend to know something that I didn’t… and to always listen to my patients. But medicine is not easy! I’m still working everyday to get better at this stuff! 🙂

      • gabriella @ embracement August 4, 2011, 4:34 pm

        This is exactly what my sister always say she experiences in her rotations too. She is currently taking her step 2 and wants to be an OB actually. But definitely a doctors priorities can differ from the patients, especially in something like internal medicine. I think the place where I find difficulty is when I’m at my OB for something specific, I’ve gotten my pap and I still have questions about things that are abnormal to me and they still kind of stare at me like well that’s why you’re on the pill as though that the only option. I feel like I’m at my OB because they can concentrate on the more specific things I’m dealing with and it can be frustrating when things such as insurance companies get in the way. For me and the doctor.

  • Justine August 4, 2011, 3:52 pm

    I’m a NICU nurse (sick babies) and definitely advocating is a humongous part of my job because the babies can’t speak for themselves and parents are often reeling over the fact that their premature or newborn is in the hospital that they don’t know what to ask.

    I welcome parents to question anything that I do or about their infant’s diagnosis or plan of care–it is their baby after all! As well as making sure the parents get to see the docs and the nurse practitioners. The problem is that sometimes parents don’t see the “big picture” and get stuck on little details. I had a mom get upset with me because her baby’s oxygen percentage was pretty high (room air is 21%, highest is 100%) and was telling me about how it could cause her baby to need glasses/go blind (retinopathy of prematurity). Of course that’s true and I know all about that. But…if the baby’s oxygen saturations in his blood are not high enough, then he is not getting enough oxygen to the brain and can cause brain damage. We’re very careful about weaning the oxygen down to prevent this, but sometimes we’re not able to depending on the infant’s status.

    While some docs may find it annoying that patients question so much, I think there’s more good than bad. It holds health care professionals to higher accountability and also may present them with an angle they may not have thought about before…

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 8:30 pm

      You sound like an awesome NICU nurse to me 🙂

  • Johanna B August 4, 2011, 3:55 pm

    Caitlin, let me add one bit of information. When doing your own medical research be sure to check out your local medical/health sciences library. Most larger hospitals have one and most are available to the public to use. I know the one I work in is open to the public. We believe in health literacy and patient advocacy. Make friends with the medical librarian. She’s a good source. Check out your libraries folks. They’re a virtually untapped source of tons of info.

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 8:31 pm

      Great idea, Johanna!

  • Steph @ A Life Without Ice Cream August 4, 2011, 3:57 pm

    Happy to hear you’re all “normaled up” now!

    Also, thank you for writing this post! These issues are things that women don’t really talk about… and then when you finally do muster up the courage to talk to your girlfriends you find out that many of them have dealt with similar issues.

  • Amy August 4, 2011, 3:57 pm

    Yes, please, be your own advocate. A few years ago, my husband came down with what seemed like the stomach flu or food poisoning, but worse. Because it was New Year’s Eve, his regular doctor’s office wasn’t open, so we went to urgent care. They told him it was a virus and gave him an IV of fluids, and sent him on his way.

    By the next day, he had stopped vomiting, but days later, his fever still wouldn’t go away and he couldn’t stop burping (SO WEIRD!). He called back multiple times with concerns, but his doctor keep telling him to wait it out. After a full week, I finally demanded that he be seen. After fervent insistence, they finally did a scan of his abdomen, which revealed an enormous abscess. He was immediately admitted to the hospital for surgery, and in the hours before, it was horrifying to see how much worse he was getting. The surgeon said his abdomen, specifically his intestines, was basically a giant infected mess. He was in the hospital for three weeks, and because the infection had gotten so out of control, he had several complications. This was six months before our wedding, and I remember being so mad and sad and scared and overwhelmed.

    Once he had healed, the surgeon was able to figure out that his appendix had actually ruptured, and because he presented with unusual symptoms (e.g. no pain, when it should have been excruciating), no one (understandably) thought to check. The rupture caused the infection, and it just got worse and worse as time went on. I absolutely shudder to think what might have happened if we didn’t demand he be reevaluated.

    This is obviously a horror story, but ever since then, I’ve been very proactive about my health care. I’m never afraid to ask questions, and my doctors have largely been supportive of my attitude. They ARE regular people, and sometimes they need help, too, even if it’s from their patients!

    And with that, I’ll say that I’m glad everything worked out for you, Caitlin!

    • Evelyn August 4, 2011, 4:42 pm

      it is crazy how often doctors miss what should be a standard diagnosis of appendicitis. This happened to my husband too in college (before I had met him). He went to student health with very intense abdominal pain and a fever, but they ruled out appendicitis because he wasn’t vomiting and because he’d walked there so he must not *really* be in that much pain. Um, college kids walk everywhere? They told him it was just gas!! So he went home and spent a few days in a fever delirium state. Somehow though his body managed to wall off the ruptured appendix, so after a few days he felt better – only he had this hard lump in his side. After a few months he started having symptoms again and the doctors finally figured out his appendix had burst months ago. He is SO lucky he didn’t die from infection! He had to have it removed along with portions of his small intestine, when it should have been a simple procedure. I think he was in the hospital for 2 or 3 weeks as well.

      So scary to hear this happened to your husband too! Message is: symptoms present differently for different people even in supposedly “classic” cases like appendicitis. Very important to speak up when you know something is really wrong!

      • Amy August 4, 2011, 5:44 pm

        So glad your husband is ok, too, Evelyn, though that’s awful about his small intestine. That was a concern for my husband, too–at one point, they thought a part of his had a tear and was leaking…stuff into his body (gross). I will now forever be paranoid about my appendix…every time my I have a stomach ache, my husband is like, “Wait, where does it hurt?!”

  • Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf August 4, 2011, 3:58 pm

    OMGOSH. I had something of the same reaction from my OBGYN. I mean, he’s a fantastic person and out of all the western docs I’ve visited in my adult years, he’s probably the best. But when I told him I how birth control destroyed my libido and dried me up two years ago, and how after 1.5 years of being off the pill, my libido hasn’t returned (or the lubrication, for that matter), he told me, “99% of lack of libido is in the head. Birth control has absolutely NO affect on libido.” And in response to the lube issue, he said, “I recommend more foreplay.” SERIOUSLY. Like after two years I hadn’t though of that?!

    I fumed for several days after that. Part of me wanted to be a smart alleck and say, “yes, my pituitary gland is in my head!” and the other part of me wanted to scream, “no affect my foot!” My husband noticed a drastic change in my demeanor and physiology IMMEDIATELY, before I even told him I was having problems. My disposition and physiology pre-pill is like night and day compared to post-pill. So it infuriates me when doctors won’t even consider that pumping the body full of supernatural-strength foreign hormones couldn’t POSSIBLY be damaging to the endocrine system!

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 8:31 pm

      Ugh. I’m sorry about your situation. Many women have told me about similar experiences.

  • Krysty August 4, 2011, 4:10 pm

    You most certainly need to advocate for yourself. No one knows your body better than you.

    I have stage 4 endometriosis (yeah- I had no clue there were “stages” either, but stage 4 = no babies)and it took 15 very painful YEARS before the doctors finally figured out why I was constantly in pain, I was admited to the ER in 2009 with dangerously low BP after almost passing out from the pain- the radiologist and Doctor told me I was constipated and to go home and take a laxitive. One year later…twice the pain and finally was able to convince another doctor to do an ultrasound…I had a softball sized endometrioma (endometrial tissue formed into a mass) on my left ovary. It was so large that it was twisting my fallopian tube, cutting off the blood supply to my ovary. As well as half a dozen other golfball to marble sized endometriomas on the outside of my uterus, tubes, bladder, and intestines. I now wonder if that ER doctor had bothered to do their job, or if I had fought more would that mass have been smaller? Would I have that totally awesome c-section scar? Would I have had to take an insane amount of hormones to shut off my reproductive system entirely for over a year? I dunno…but I learned the hard way that when it comes to your reproductive health- you cannot advocate too much!

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 8:32 pm

      I hate that you have to play the what if game now 🙁 I’m so sorry!

  • Amanda August 4, 2011, 4:21 pm

    Amen amen AMEN for advocating for your own health care!!! Good for you!! I am so proud of you for all the positive health changes you are making and how you are looking after your own health! You rock my socks 🙂

  • Kelly@foodiefresh August 4, 2011, 4:25 pm

    I feel the EXACT same way about doctors. They’re well meaning, but sometimes I think they’re just not listening or their answers are just too finite like “that couldn’t possibly be causing that!”. It is really really important to make yourself be heard by your doctor and advocate for you health, just like you said. Excellent post! Glad you’re putting all this out there!

  • gabriella @ embracement August 4, 2011, 4:40 pm

    I agree with this to an extent. Living with my sister a med student for the past three years has exposed me to what a doctor has to go through to in order to ever become a doctor. And it is more than most people can ever imagine. I actually thin the entire medical school process is ridiculous. It is by far one of the hardest experiences someone can have. I think a lot of people have tough jobs, but I don’t think a lot of people will ever experience the stress and time that a medical student goes through. It is truly unbelievable until you have watched it. So on that note, I think my doctor definitely knows far, far more than me. But at the same time I think the way the medical world is at the moment with insurance companies and whatnot that a lot of patients have issues that are pushed aside or explained by what is most likely because there just isn’t time for the doctor.

    • CH August 4, 2011, 4:45 pm

      Oh I completely agree with you about insurance company BS. Insurance companies are causing a lot of problems, and doctors do sometimes have to go with the “most likely” solution.

  • Dori August 4, 2011, 4:45 pm

    I had two doctors tell me, at age 26, that I should have surgery to remove my colon. I walked out and haven’t been back to a doctor for my GI problems since. I can manage them on my own, with my colon, and my life is not totally destroyed. Always be wary of what a doctor will gain by you taking their advice.

  • Lisa August 4, 2011, 4:47 pm

    Just like with MS Windows, there is more than one way to do things and they can all be “right”. I say continue to question what they say even if it is just to find out why they are recommending it and if there are any other alternatives. Of course, do it in a respectful questioning way not argumentative.

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss August 4, 2011, 4:54 pm

    I’ve had bad luck with doctors lately where they won’t listen to anything I have to say as they spit out their diagnosis within minutes and walk out the door- sometimes without even checking me out.

  • Kate August 4, 2011, 4:54 pm

    Caitlin — I really appreciate this series! It’s horrible that you’ve had to go through all the stress and anxiety, but the information you’ve present is so valuable. So thank you and congrats on a clean bill of health.

    I’ve been repeatedly let down by the Western medical world because my body doesn’t seem to want to cooperate the way they think it should and my symptoms don’t line up with my blood work. Anyway, I was wondering if The Husband knew of any naturopathic doctors/herbalist/acupuncturists in the Tallahassee, FL area. I know he went to school in Orlando, so I was hoping maybe one of his colleagues might have ended up in that area. I just moved back to Florida and had to stop seeing my acupuncturist. It was the first time I felt like someone was actually concerned about my well being and listened to my symptoms and not just my blood work. Or does The Husband have any book recommendations for PCOS/hormonal/thyroid issues? I’m trying to be informed and proactive about my health since the other doctors just want to get me in and get me out.

  • Katie August 4, 2011, 4:58 pm

    I’ve had such frustrating experiences with doctors. Once I was diagnosed an antibiotic, after telling the doctor that I was on birth control. It wasn’t until I read the drug info at home that I learned antibiotics render birth control ineffective! I now know 3 women who got pregnant that way! It’s so important to research any drug you’re prescribed, because, although they should, doctors, don’t always fill you in on side effects and such.

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write August 4, 2011, 5:02 pm

    Scream! I have been off birth control for 22 months after being on the pill 9 years. My hormones are SO FAR from being back to “normal” that it’s not even funny. I haven’t had one single regular period in all that time (which means no matter how hard we try, we cannot seem to get pregnant – it is devastating). So, I call MAJOR BS on your doctor saying it’s impossible that your hormones aren’t back to normal. MAJOR BS.

    • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write August 4, 2011, 5:29 pm

      Perhaps that was a strong comment for me, but well… it’s such a touchy subject. Infertility issues are beyond hard. <3

      • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 5:39 pm

        I just twitter bombed you.

  • Kelly August 4, 2011, 5:10 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. We all must participate in our healthcare in order to get the best possible care. I changed my gyno because of some really insensitive remarks about my cycle and the level of pain I was experiencing. The only solution was to put me back on the pill which I was not going to let happen. Very long story short, I was able to find a doctor that not only listened to me but helped me find a natural way to deal with my symptoms. I find that a lot of doctors don’t like being questioned and resent it (at least the ones I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with). I’m one to research and question EVERYTHING!! Knowledge is power!

  • Kerry August 4, 2011, 5:12 pm

    Well done for taking control of your own health! You’re right, doctors on the whole aren’t incompetent or uncaring, they’re just incredibly busy and no matter how qualified they are, at the end of the day, nobody knows your body like you do.

  • Amanda @BlueDrishti August 4, 2011, 5:13 pm

    Great post! We all need to be an advocate for our own health. When I moved to an new area, I was lucky enough to find a MD who also studies Chinese Medicine. I initally went to him with a bad acne problem. He told me to cut out dairy from my diet and magically me skin cleared up. No other MD ever told me that and people still don’t beleive me when I tell them to cut our dairy if they are getting pimples. I also take BC for my hormones. I’m a fan of both traditional and alternative healthccare.

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 8:36 pm

      Hus thinks cutting out dairy is the answer to all of life’s problems 🙂

  • Megan August 4, 2011, 5:19 pm

    I’m a nurse (Labor and Delivery and also ICU- what a combo!! I don’t like it when those two areas merge though!!). I always try to be receptive to patients and families questions, and also appreciate when they realize that ‘we’ (the medical professionals) don’t always know why something happens, and give us time to research/run tests/ etc.

  • Jen August 4, 2011, 5:21 pm

    I’m so happy to hear everything checked out ok this time around. You are giving your readers a really valuable lesson. I wish I had thought to question my Drs when I was younger. Thankfully, I married a really awesome chiropractor and he’s taught me so much. I’m about 6 months pregnant right now and we just changed caregivers. I was seeing a Dr who came really highly recommended but after about 7 visits with her clinic, I just didn’t feel right. I wasn’t sure if she would follow our birthplan. So, we just switched to a midwife group and I feel SO MUCH BETTER! It’s a longer drive but I know it’ll be worth it in the long run. I feel more comfortable about the approaching day. 🙂 Now, we just have to find a trustworthy pediatrician who won’t vaccinate the heck out of our baby!

  • Dana August 4, 2011, 5:30 pm

    I’ve enjoyed reading this whole series, and I’m so grateful that you keep it as real as you do. I love, love, love what you said about being “reactive, and not proactive”! So often – too often, probably – we blindly trust what our doctors tell us and fail to advocate for ourselves, or investigate. I’m so glad that you had the outcome that you did! I think there is SO MUCH to be said for lifestyle and diet changes in an effort to correct a health problem!

  • Maria August 4, 2011, 5:33 pm

    As a teen girl I loved this series of blog posts. In my family, or even among my friends, we don’t talk about anything like this, it’s too embarrassing and it’s a shame because there’s a lot I could do with knowing! You’ve opened my eyes to women’s health (particularly the chemical-tampons) and I just wanted to say thank you for daring to talk about stuff others would shy away from. You rock!

  • Shayla @ The Good Life August 4, 2011, 5:50 pm

    I used to have a horrible OBGYN. I’ll never forget how awful and guilty she made me feel for when I was diagnosed with HPV. I was only 18, had never heard of HPV before (this was 11 years ago and HPV wasn’t talked about like it is now) and didn’t understand how I got it and what was going on. Was only told I had precancerous cells and had to have part of my cervix lasered off immediately. It was the worst experience of my life…it’s now behind me and thankfully I have been having consistently normal paps.

    With that, the first thing I did once hubby and I started trying for a baby was to change OBGYN’s stat! I wanted someone with great bedside manner and who I felt comfortable asking questions to. I’m happy to say I now have an awesome woman OBGYN who is so helpful and compassionate and will be my doctor for our entire pregnancy 🙂

    • Shayla @ The Good Life August 4, 2011, 5:52 pm

      …that is once we get pregnant! 😉

      Btw, I love your dad’s comment above…yay for babies!! 🙂

  • Christena August 4, 2011, 6:00 pm

    Awesome comment, caronae. I work in healthcare and interact with Western doctors all day every day. This sums up my thoughts, but I could not have written so well.

  • michelle August 4, 2011, 6:06 pm

    She’s a health care advocate. I heard her on the Jillian Michaels podcasts. Really great info!

  • Kaitlin With Honey August 4, 2011, 6:10 pm

    Oh, Caitlin, what would we do without you? You cover all of the things that seem scary to talk about but so NEED to be talked about. I so agree with your message to advocate for your own health care. THANK YOU for being the blogger you are.

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 8:37 pm

      Thank you sweetie.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 4, 2011, 6:16 pm

    I love that you use your blog to cover ALL aspects of health – not just nutrition and exercise. This stuff is just as important! I’m glad your biopsy came back normal this time. It looks like all your changes worked! 🙂

    I actually find that my doctor is very open to different ideas. I had to go through a lot of testing a few winters ago and she explored all possible options. I really appreciated her thoroughness and willing to explore MY ideas about my health problems. In the end, it turned out she was right though haha. 😛

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas August 4, 2011, 7:04 pm

    Way to be proactive about your health. You have inspired me to do more research and ask more questions. While my problems are not eh same as yours – I have been having problems in the same… errr area. I had a biopsy taken from something in my uterus on Monday – and I am (un)patiently waiting to here the results. I feel like I don’t know as much as I want to know about what is going on with me – and I am ready to DO MY part in my health care and be as prepared as possible – and get all of the information that I need to know to feel comfortable with myself. (Crossing fingers for negative biopsy…)

  • Gráinne @ I Want It Blog August 4, 2011, 7:05 pm

    Absolutely delighted that your tests came back normal this time, our health is the most important thing in our lives, we can’t enjoy life to our fullest if sick or injured.
    I nearly left my doctors surgery to move to another in the last few years as she wasn’t listening to what I was saying to her at all, I had been constantly run down, getting migraines, every bug going, nose bleeds, tonsilitis, bronchitis and sinus infections as well as flare-ups of my IBS which I hadn’t been having since I did food intolerance testing a few years ago and cut down/cut out my foods I have problems with (dairy, apples and pineapples, and no nuts at all, never ate them anyway).
    Finally two months she admitted that my tonsils were the route of the problems and gave me a letter for a surgeon, the tonsils came out two and a half weeks ago and so far I’m feeling amazing, healing up great, been back for my post-op check-up and all is going great, hoping it’ll be the end of my visits to the GP for awhile. I was so put off though as for at least 2years I was trying to explain to her how I was feeling and she wouldn’t believe me and kept dismissing me saying it was my IBS etc, there has been alot of cancers in my family over recent years and to be honest I was freaking out thinking was there something wrong like that, I’m just delighted now to hopefully be on the road back to a healthy me.

    Essay over 🙂

  • Heidi August 4, 2011, 7:29 pm

    My ob/gyn is EPIC! Even though she works in a very busy practice, I feel like she always takes the time to answer any and all questions that I have. Last year I got pregnant after 2 miscarriages in a row and started spotting around 8 weeks. I called my doc’s office in a panic, thinking I was going to lose another pregnancy. They had me come in for an ultrasound. My doctor was out of the office that day, but she came running in just before my appointment, asking the receptionist, “Is Heidi here yet?” She told me she wanted to be there with me during the ultrasound in case something was wrong again so I wouldn’t have to wait for an explanatation from her. How amazing is that?! I LOVE her! Even more amazing-we heard and saw the heartbeat that day and now I have an incredible little girl who will be 1 at the end of this month. 🙂 Last year my husband started looking for a new job and I told him, “I don’t care if we have to move, as long as the new place is within commuting distance from my ob/gyn!” I don’t want to have to change doctors EVER! 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 8:48 pm

      I am so glad your baby girl is happy and healthy!!!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) August 4, 2011, 7:33 pm

    Thank you so much for talking about this. I know it’s hard to share personal things, but it really does help! I actually had a situation where I went to a doctor when I discovered a lump in my abdomen. The doctor sent me in for a CT scan which came back showing a had a small cyst on my pancreas, but nothing else. He actually did not call me to tell me that, I was lucky enough to have a very proactive OBGYN that called and got the scans and called me with the results. I then went to see the OB and he sent me to a great surgeon. The thing is, there was no denying I had a growth of some sort so for the first doctor to brush me off since it did not show up on one test, was horrible. Turns out, what I had was a desmoid tumor. The surgeon actually said that he suspected that just from the feel of it. He did a small surgery to do a biopsy and then had to go back in for a full blown removal of my abdominal muscles in that area with clear margins. The tumor was not huge, it was the size of a golf ball and desmoids are not normal tumors, they are the type of tumor that grows and strangles your organs. So, had I not gotten a third opinion, I would have been in major trouble. You should always investigate any changes in your body. I’m missing a massive part of my abs, but luckily, that is it.

    Thanks for sharing Caitlin!

  • Marissa C August 4, 2011, 7:43 pm

    Whoop! That is wonderful!

    I’ve mentioned this before, but you really might want to try going to an NFP-only OB/GYN to see if they can shed any light if this happens again. They have the same training/qualifications as a regular gyn, but they know SO much more about NFP, will look at your cycle, and will look for underlying causes…they have to because they cant just treat everything with a BC pill!

    The only directory I can find is Catholic and there is a huge chance most of the docs have chosen to go NFP-only for religious reasons, but I honestly do not think it would matter and they certainly shouldn’t be pushing the religious aspect on you. This is the directory…there are some in NC, though I don’t know how close they are to Charlotte:

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 8:50 pm

      This is awesome. Thank you!

      • Marissa C August 4, 2011, 10:45 pm

        You’re welcome! Thank YOU for making me think about how I’m treating myself every day.

        PS…wait until pregnancy…it’s a whole different can of worms!

  • Alanna August 4, 2011, 7:46 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    This is my first time reading your blog and I am so glad I came across it today because of this post. I have also had an encounter with high-grade cervical cell dysplasia, although it can be traced to my having HPV. But what really got me was how well you advocated taking control of your health and HOW TO DEAL WITH DOCTORS and the medical system in general. Having had to deal with the health care system on a frequent and unpleasant basis, I firmly understand where you are coming from when you talk about feeling pushed along because you don’t fit a certain description. I have also learned that the best way to deal with this issue is to stand up for yourself and what you think you are going through, do as much research as possible and pay close attention to how you are feeling and how you treat your body. And ask never-ending amounts of questions!! My motto whenever I have to see a doctor (or otherwise get advice about my body) is “I know me best” — I find it helps keep things in perspective for me when people are telling me what to do and I get some funny feelings about it. So I really just wanted to say ‘thank you!!’ for spreading such knowledgable and honest advice about how to best look out for your health when having to deal with doctors– this is stuff most people don’t know and stuff I certainly had to learn the hard way, which really shouldn’t be when it comes to such important issues. Best of luck and hope those paps stay normal!! I will be keeping an eye on your blog for sure

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 8:50 pm

      Welcome to HTP!

  • Molly @ RDexposed August 4, 2011, 7:47 pm

    I’m always encouraging pts to ask “why” 20,000 times during an appointment. Why do would you not speak up if you had no idea what someone was telling you to do?

    Also, sometimes pts freak out when they do get an answer or jump to conclusions. Example: I tell them that fruit is a carb. They translate that to “I thought fruit was good for you and now you’re saying that I can never eat fruit again??”

    It’s important to ask questions, but just as good to actually listen to what you’re being told. Also, don’t assume that just because you heard about a friend who has the same condition as you that you need the same treatment.

  • allpointswhole August 4, 2011, 7:54 pm

    I am so proud of you! Way to take your health into your own hands and question!

  • Amanda August 4, 2011, 7:59 pm

    I’ve been on both sides myself. I’m a Pedi ICU nurse and have a horrible bladder/pelvic floor disease. As a nurse I know that my kids and their families can’t fight for their own care and its up to us, their nurses, to help them through their stay in our unit to be the most comfortable it can be. And I fight hard for them. Whether it be more sedative if they are on a breathing machine, or the ability to go outside with their parents on a nice day if they can, I’m a nag in the residents ear until I get what I can for my kids. I listen to the families and help them understand what is happening to their child, I also try and relay their concerns to the drs. I was actually just involved in picking out the new curtains for our unit to make the families stay more enjoyable by blocking out the light from the room next door at night.

    Now as a pt for the past two years with Interstitial Cystitis with Pelvic Floor Disorder my trip through the medical profession as a pt hasn’t been a good one. I’m on my third urologist (who is the nicest, most caring person by the way) and now have a whole team looking after me. I have had to meet with nurse managers to discuss the care I got at a visit for a bladder instill while going to my second urologist. I believe it was because of this awful care that my vulvodynia came back. And this Dr didn’t believe that I had a probably with candadisis, when I have had a systemic overgrowth since 2009.
    My first urologist didn’t even recognize that I had the disease in the first place so I went 6 months without any care at all! So if you are not happy with the answers you are getting, don’t hesitate to try out another dr or two!

  • Shell August 4, 2011, 8:09 pm

    It’s hard to be a doctor. I went into it hoping to heal and help the world. Then came the wake up call that most patients don’t even want to help themselves. I work long hours, make enough money to barely cover the interest on my student loans, never see my family… And for what. To hear people constantly berate the profession. I spent the majority of my 20’s studying and working 80+ hours weeks to feel useless at the end of the day. Did I make a difference? Will my obese patients even try to go for a walk tomorrow? Will my favorite elderly patient make it through the week? No one understands how hard it is… People just think we don’t care, are money hungry and want to rush everyone along. Not true. I want to help you but I am tired.

    • Lyn August 4, 2011, 8:18 pm

      If you could do it all over again… would you? (Please say yes.. please say yes… haha)

    • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 8:51 pm

      I feel you Shell. I really do!!! You DO make a difference. Look at all these awesome comments of people who searched and searched until they found the right doctor who DID care, and then everything was better. 🙂

      • Marissa C August 6, 2011, 12:35 am

        My husband is in med school…I blame the health care system for setting things up they way they are!

        OB/GYN is one of the most demanding specialties, by the way. Family Practice has sucky salaries! Many med students flock to the competitive “ROAD to Happiness” specialties…Radiology, Ophthalmology, Anesthesiology, and Dermatology. It’s really interesting to see on the back end.

    • PGY2 August 5, 2011, 12:43 pm

      I know how you feel, Shell.
      To answer Lyn, I would…but probably only if I could start at the same age I did this go-round (would NEVER EVER do it later in life). Even though I am a resident and that sucks, I love my job, I love my patients, and I love that I at least have the potential to make a difference. However, I do not recommend this lifestyle to anyone. I would seriously recommend reconsidering to any premed student. Do almost anything else. These days NPs and PAs can do almost just as much as a doctor with far less up front costs for training, better pay once you start working (resident salaries are ~50k in most places…spread that over ~4 years and try to pay back 300k of loans…good luck), and better hours. That said, this is an awesome profession, and I feel incredibly lucky to have been given this opportunity.

      • CaitlinHTP August 5, 2011, 12:45 pm

        Ugh. There is something wrong with our educational system, too. No one should be $300K in debt for an education! Especially a doctor.

        • PGY2 August 5, 2011, 12:47 pm

          AGREE. Not sure where my $$ really went..I’d rather have donated it to the hospital.

    • Marissa C August 6, 2011, 12:36 am

      The benefit of Texas med schools: tuition is $15-18k a year vs $30-50k in other states. We are SO lucky it is ridiculous.

  • Lauren August 4, 2011, 8:15 pm

    I can relate to this so well. I went through countless doctors, specialist and even a cancer treatment center when I got my wisdom teeth out last year. Basically what was supposed to be a routine procedure turned into a severely rare and dangerous infection as a result from a surgery gone wrong. The doctor’s told me I was crazy but I KNEW something was wrong. No one wanted to listen to me and they kept trying to give me drugs and push me out the door. I gave up on medical practice a long time ago when I realized the only person who truly knows my body is me. Great post Caitlin!

  • CaitlinHTP August 4, 2011, 8:33 pm

    This is a great comment and I agree with so many points!

  • emily August 4, 2011, 8:44 pm

    Love! My husband is in medical school (and I’m in school to become an RD) and I agree with everything you said 100%. It seems like there’s a trend in healthy living blogs to be distrusting of doctors and it makes me sad. While we shouldn’t accept everything that doctors tell us with blind faith, it is no more sensible to have blind faith that Western Medicine is always wrong.

  • Amy @ ahealthyandhappyheart August 4, 2011, 8:46 pm

    Praying that this is the last “post!”

  • Kelley August 4, 2011, 9:11 pm

    I have been a clinical research coordinator for almost three years and work closely with doctors. It actually shocks me how annoyed they get when a patient doesn’t understand. It’s extremely important to ask all of your questions- just make sure to do it concisely and effectively. It is not appropriate to go in for one thing and try to bring up other issues.

  • Kelley August 4, 2011, 9:11 pm

    I have been a clinical research coordinator for almost three years and work closely with doctors. It actually shocks me how annoyed they get when a patient doesn’t understand. It’s extremely important to ask all of your questions- just make sure to do it concisely and effectively. It is not appropriate to go in for one thing and try to bring up other issues.

  • Claire August 4, 2011, 9:13 pm

    So pleased for your clear result. I had high grade dysplasia 9 years ago with no HPV and underwent LLETZ (an alternative to LEEP), then endured heaps of follow up monitoring (colposcopies etc), but happily I’m back to two yearly paps, and have had three lovely kids in the meantime! I love your attitude to looking after yourself from the inside out and electing to wait before diving in to medical interventions. A friend of mine was diagnosed with cervical polyps and in the time between finding out and surgery she decided to focus on shrinking them herself through good self care. When it came time for surgery they had gone. As you say, medicine is very important and following advice of doctors is important, but there are things that happen that are outside the current understanding of medical science.

    • Claire August 4, 2011, 10:01 pm

      Ooh, in the interests of accuracy I just checked on Dr Google and found out that LLETZ and LEEP are the same procedure – in the US you call it LEEP, in Australia we call it LLETZ. ….and to think we all speak English!

      • CaitlinHTP August 5, 2011, 10:53 am

        “large loop excision of the transformation zone” sounds better!

  • Dori August 4, 2011, 9:34 pm

    One more thing I remembered! A doctor told me I am too pale to run a marathon. Yes, some doctors actually believe this.

  • Rachel August 4, 2011, 9:38 pm

    HUGE congrats on your great results! Like everyone else, I’ve been so so grateful for the chance to follow along in this post series (the comments are fantastic-you have such great readers!). And your timing today was perfect–the post arrived in my reader right after I got home from a long morning getting care established with a new doctor in my new city, after getting a blood clot in my leg right before our move. We’re in the middle of figuring out what caused the clot, but the only obvious risk factor (before running labs) is that I take birth control. She immediately took me off the Yasmin I’d been taking and switched to another one, but I may have to consider other options entirely. Good thing I’d already read all your earlier posts and been doing research on this way before the blood clot! Looks like I may have a good reason to do what I’d been wanting to do for so long–stop the pill. We’ll see though. Anyway, great post, great topic. I never ever go to a doctor visit without a list of things I want to cover that day. I print off an extra copy for my doc if there are more than just a couple questions. Works wonders!

  • Brandy August 4, 2011, 10:01 pm

    For the past ten years every pap (and I’ve probably have had 20 or so paps) I’ve had has been abnormal with no HPV. I had cervical dysplasia and has cryosurgery seven years ago. This February I had my first normal pap smear- ever! I had a baby and didn’t go back on birth control (that I was on the entire time of my abnormal paps). I do believe there is a connection. Hope you continue to get positive results too 🙂

  • Katy August 4, 2011, 10:08 pm

    I’m so thrilled to read this, Caitlin! It’s amazing how easy it is to get wrapped up in the lives of people you’ve never met; I’ve been checking your blog everyday waiting for this news! What a relief it must be to you!

    I feel like my ob listens to me well, but it might be because I’ve never had many problems. One of my best friends sees the same one, and she went in for months saying she hadn’t had a period and had signs of being pregnant, but because her pregnancy test was negative, no one paid enough attention to actually take a look. Maybe there was no fixing it, but maybe if someone had listened, that baby would’ve had a heart beat.

    You’re so right when you say don’t just ask the questions, but question the answers!

  • Jenny August 4, 2011, 10:13 pm

    I’m really glad to hear you’ve got the all clear Caitlin; however I don’t understand why you think your doctor is wrong about your hormones being back to normal though. 2 months is plenty of time for you body to begin producing its own hormones. Once you stop taking the pill, those synthetic hormones will be broken down by your liver – they don’t hang around in your body for long hiding amongst your tissues. The half life of oestrogen, which is one of the main hormones in the pill, is about 13 hours. This means that after 13 hours, half of the oestrogen in a single pill has been broken down by your body. 13 hours later half of that half has also been broken down. So after a single day you only have around 1/4 of the original amount left. Another day and you only have 1/16 left. Multiply that up by 2 months and there will definitely be no synthetic oestrogen left.

    Your doctor is correct. Whatever your reproductive hormones are doing now is normal. Normal for you. Normal for you sounds like they are producing a period, which is great. Normal for other people including Jasmine @ Eat Move Write, sadly doesn’t mean a nice regular period. Normal for me meant no periods for 5+ years and a diagnosis of polycystic ovaries. Jasmine @ Eat Move Write, I’m so sorry to hear your having to deal with infertility. If you’re not already, you need to go and get some testing done to see what your hormones are doing. After 22 months there is no way that the pill is still controlling your own hormone production.

    Sorry, this comment probably sounds like I’m having a dig Caitlin. I’m not, I just feel you are being a little unfair to your doctor.

  • Kate August 4, 2011, 10:27 pm

    Hi all – I’m all for patient advocacy but I think it’s important to note that all physicians are not as most of you have described. I’m a stage 3 melanoma survivor and see both an oncologist and dermatologist regularly at a large teaching hospital – and they are FANTASTIC. They answer my emails, listen to my every concern, encourage me to embrace alternative forms of healing – they even have massage, yoga and dietary classes at the cancer center. I am not a number to them – I am a person. I’ve sought second opinions and they encouraged I do so to ensure my treatment was the best for me. I feel they truly care about me. I think everyone needs to consider that it’s all about finding the right doctor

    • CaitlinHTP August 5, 2011, 10:54 am

      I am so glad you are the right type of doctors!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) August 4, 2011, 10:35 pm

    After going through several doctors I finally found a NP at my new doc’s office that listens to all my questions and networks with my other doctors (psychiatrist, GI, sports medicine, neuro).

  • Mary August 4, 2011, 10:50 pm

    As an OB/GYN physician I am glad to see you looked into lifestyle changes as a way to strengthen your immune system. Many patients are unwilling to even consider this as an option. I am sure something you did made a difference. Also, as a physician we have an obligation to recommend the standard follow-up or treatment for a patient’s condition. However, the patient ultimately always has the right to decide for themselves as long as they have been given the information to make an educated choice. Keep asking questions until you are satisfied with the answers.

  • Rachel August 4, 2011, 11:19 pm

    My dad’s a journalist, so I remember he used to GRILL my doctors on problems I had as a kid. I’ve had my share of great, patient doctors and ones who were hasty and a bit presumptuous. On two different occasions I was asked by new physicians if I had had breast reduction surgery. The looks on both of their faces were priceless when I told them that my scar on my chest was actually from a heart surgery, which was clearly listed in my file. They were so embarrassed!

  • Laura August 5, 2011, 12:24 am

    I’ve had an interesting experience with Yaz –

    I went on it with no issues. About 2 years into it, I had my annual exam with a NP at the gyno office. She FREAKED out that I was on it, told me that it was being banned in Europe because it was so dangerous and yada yada yada. I didn’t make the change at that point.

    Then, I asked my pharmacist and she hadn’t heard anything or seen any research that indicated it was different than any other birth control (i.e. standard risks).

    Last year, I started having wicked headaches and there was some concern of a blood clot or aneurysm (no worries, it turned out being the worlds most epic sinus infection) so I was told to stop taking it immediately. This was from a doctor in the practice I visit, but not my actual primary care. This doctor had heard of some increased clot risk with Yaz, so we decided to play it safe.

    But when I finally saw my primary care and she saw that I had stopped taking Yaz, she very rudely asked why I had gone off it. I related the whole story, and she basically told me it was crap and the pill was safe and I should go back on it. I said no, and I wanted a prescription for a different pill. She agreed, but she also told me that nothing was wrong with me and it was in my head. (In your face, MRI said otherwise biatch).

    Vindication – the other day I saw a commercial for a class action law suit about clots and Yaz. I want to tape that and send it to her. And then find a new doctor.

    Moral – doctors are human, but they shouldn’t be jerks. (Sorry, long comment)

    • Jen August 8, 2011, 4:54 pm

      Actually, any bc pill can give you clots, not just Yaz.

      • Laura August 8, 2011, 5:23 pm

        Yes, but there was evidence that the risk is increased with Yaz vs. other BC.

  • Kris @ tryingtotri August 5, 2011, 12:27 am

    I’m late to read and comment, but i have two things to say:

    1) I’m so glad your tests came back OK! I have BTDT, had TWO laser procedures, and finally last year had a hysterectomy after developing a massive growth on one ovary (done having babies, so not too traumatic).

    2) Finding medical professionals you like and trust is super important. Last year, after going to the ER and finding out I had this growth (they told me it was cancer!), I tried to go see my Doctor who was on vacation. When he got back, and he received my ER results from an associate, he had his office call ME and insist I make an appointment to see him! He cares for me and my whole family, and I adore him. 🙂

  • Jen August 5, 2011, 1:09 am

    Yea!!! I am so happy that your biopsy came out normal – this is the news that I have been waiting to hear!

  • Dynamics August 5, 2011, 2:43 am

    My daughter has a rare disease and in our quest to find out what is wrong with her I decided it was the “PRACTICE” of medicine and that is why we struggled finding the right physician. I am happy to say we found a DEDICATED doctor that stuck with us. Although there is no cure, this Dr. sees my daughter and is documenting her journey hoping someone down the line can use the info. I love Dr. who are willing to say “I do not know” AND search to get the answer vs the arrogant sob who lies. The first Dr. my daughter went to ran all kinds of tests. Irrelevant tests!!!! He came back with a diagnosis of “idiopathic edema” Which in layman’s term means…”I do not know swelling.” Yep, we never saw him again.

    I am glad you are strong enough to fight for your health. You are lucky to have a husband who helps in that fight.

    • CaitlinHTP August 5, 2011, 10:55 am

      Ugh. I am sorry about your daughter’s condition!

  • Sarah August 5, 2011, 5:10 am

    I really do sympathise with you about the doctor ignoring your questions. I don’t know, but I always think that women’s reproductive health is the WORST area when it comes down to trying to get answers. Well, that’s the impression I get from my own experience and that of so many others I’ve met.

    My periods were never ‘normal’ – too heavy, too painful and too irregular, right from the start. But my doctor said it was ‘normal’ and that normal normal wasn’t actually normal at all. Does that make sense to you? Basically a 28-day cycle is rare and every woman is different. Which is true, but I’m one woman and I didn’t even have a personal average cycle. Long story short, I ended up taking the pill at age 18 for no other reason than to fix my periods, which sucks because all it really does is mask my true symptoms. A few years later, after much persistence following a long absence from Aunt Flo (which one doctor said I should be glad about, as periods are such a hassle! I couldn’t make it up!) I was finally diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

    I had to do even more digging (thank God I have an uncle who’s a GYN/OB!) I found out PCOS is usually associated with Insulin Resistance, which I have. So, it all goes back to food and exercise. It’s not a ‘cure’, things still aren’t perfect, but I have noticed an enormous improvement in my symptoms, just from eating healthily and exercising.

    I still don’t have a great doctor, but I am working on it!

  • danielle August 5, 2011, 5:47 am

    Hi Caitlin,

    I have to say I completely agree with your sentiments in this post. I recently had some very frustrating interactions with my own GP, without going into too much detail (that you probably don’t want to hear!) she brushed off all my symptoms and made me feel like a hypochondriac. After turning to a naturopath who did run all the tests I asked the doc for I WAS hypothyroid and he diagnosed gluten and dairy allergies also. I hope I am on the road to recovery and I hope you are too!

  • Heidi @ The Balance Project August 5, 2011, 6:27 am

    I couldn’t agree more. A few years ago I had an immediate life threatening condition that untreated could have killed me. If I (and my mom who is a nurse) hadn’t been an advocate for my health I may not be here today. I tell everyone no matter your age, health, or anything YOU are responsible for your own health and to make sure you do your research and ask questions!!

  • Erica August 5, 2011, 8:01 am

    First of all, I’m so happy for you that your colposcopy came back good!!! Jump for joy and being normal!! 🙂

    Second, I’m so happy you reinforced BEING YOUR OWN ADVOCATE. If I hadn’t been so insistent in getting a mammogram when my ob/gyn told me me wasn’t necessary, I probably would not be here today. It leaves me disheartened when I think about the time (a year and a half) that was wasted when I questioned my dr about my lump to when I was diagnosed. I’m certain that it wouldn’t have gotten to Stage 3 breast cancer, but at least by my insisting on getting my mammogram we caught it at Stage 3 and I am here today vs. the alternative. If I had listened to him, well, I can’t even go there… Anyway, thanks for spreading the so important message to your readers to be their own advocate when it comes to our health. We only have one body and we have to stand up for it and take the best care of it.

    • CaitlinHTP August 5, 2011, 10:56 am

      You’re a survivor!!!

  • Katherine August 5, 2011, 8:07 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed this series.
    My family on my mom sides (her and her two sisters) all have problems with their reproductive systems-part of the reasons I went to an OBGYN, at 15, on Monday.
    I am terrified of this happening to me, so I think I am going to start, now, doing some research on holistic methods to prevent it.

  • Julie August 5, 2011, 8:27 am

    I agree 110% about making sure you advocate for your own health care! My sister recently recovered from Lyme disease, but it took over 2 years for it to be diagnosed because our family doctor and the drop in clinics would not test for it. They said it was impossible for her to have it- but when she finally got tested, the blood test came back positive!

  • Melissa August 5, 2011, 9:54 am

    This is a great comment thread!
    I really appreciate your openness and honesty on these subjects.
    I know it has been said a lot of times already, but it is so important to share experiences and knowledge, and I’m so appreciative that you are being so open (and thorough) in sharing this very personal experience.
    I’m delighted that your results came back “normal”! I was concerned.
    On a different note, I bought some firm tofu the other night and planned to bake it and eat it with salad and homemade balsamic vinnegrette, but I’ve never used this kind of tofu before and can’t find the post where you described how you cooked it.
    There have been several times I wanted to come back and make something you talked about, but then couldn’t find it. I guess I need to start copy and pasting it when I see it. 🙂
    It might be a hassle sometimes for you to take pictures and post, but I love reading and looking at your pictures. Thanks for taking the time to share your life.

  • Katherine August 5, 2011, 10:37 am

    I have recently been having some really scary medical issues and have been borderline frightened by how I’ve been treated by my doctor. Several weeks ago I had a grand mal seizure out of no where – have no history of one – was not sick. My fiance heard me fall and found me on the floor, rigid, and not breathing. I started breathing again after 2 minutes and regained consciousness after 5. Following the seizure I experienced severe nausea, disorientation, and diziness. One day a week after the seizure I passed out and hit my head giving myself what was diagnosed (by a nurse) as a mild concussion. My MRI showed mild lessions (which I know are common in many people) and my eeg was normal. But it’s been several weeks and I’m still getting dizzy and have been feeling very depressed and helpless. When I told my doctor this he told me I shouldn’t be experiencing symptoms anymore and should get a therapist.

    • CaitlinHTP August 5, 2011, 10:58 am

      OMG PLEASEEEEEEEEE get another doctor. That is ridiculous. I am so sorry you were treated that way after such a serious problem!

  • PGY2 August 5, 2011, 12:36 pm

    Thank you so much for this comment. I totally appreciate, and actually love it, when my patients ask questions — I love to teach. I’ve been known to draw pictures of how the placenta works, act out acid reflux, send them home with some nice flowcharts of type 2 diabetes to process, and do anything else I can to make physiology and disease processes more relatable and less esoteric for my patients. What is hard is when my patients are closed-off from the start and have no interest or respect for what I know and how I can help them. It is unlikely that I can help unless you believe you can be helped, and more so unlikely unless you come in to it believing that I can help you.
    To devalue a doctor for not pinpointing a specific syndrome, especially one that was not life-threatening, is pretty out of line. Not to mention, sometimes there really is no answer! And I appreciate how frustrating that is, but not everything has an explanation. The body is so complex, no one is the same, and sometimes shit happens and we do the best we can to help you deal at least with your symptoms. Patients say it themselves: it is impossible for any person to know everything all the time. Sure, I can look it up & read about it if I forgot, but I can’t know it all, no matter how hard I try. That doesn’t make me an idiot, it makes me a normal person with an average brain vs someone with Asperger’s who would probably diagnose you pretty fast, but wouldn’t be very pleasant to work with. Some doctors for sure are dismissive and arrogant (I can certainly attest to that from my days being screamed at as a lowly med student), and so are some patients. It’s impossible to be the right doctor for every patient (or the right patient for every doctor), just as it is impossible to be the right match for every partner (or friend, or what have you).
    But we try hard, and we study well, and we sign right up to give away 15+ years minimum as well as a whole boatload of debt just for the most basic medical training before we can even call ourselves attending physicians.
    My colleagues and I have studied countless hours so just perhaps we can help you feel better. I certainly do not believe patients should just blindly go about treating doctors’ orders like the word of God — I hope you educate yourself, ask questions, and make us think!! We love to think and be challenged — give us a challenge!! But, like was said, a 5 minute google session does not equal 90+h/wk of clinical work and even more time studying. I am trying hard to understand the recent trend of hating on doctors, but I really just cannot seem to grasp it. It’s interesting what being so privileged can do to a country. I haven’t heard about anyone from the Congo or Haiti denigrating medical care recently.

    • CaitlinHTP August 5, 2011, 12:40 pm

      I’m not ‘hating on doctors’ and I am not ‘denigrating medical care,’ just an FYI.

      • PGY2 August 5, 2011, 12:46 pm

        Oh no I totally know — not directed at you specifically at all. That end part there was me getting worked up obviously haha. Post call fatigue-fog sorry about that! Absolutely no offense to you.

      • CaitlinHTP August 5, 2011, 12:47 pm

        Okay just wanted to be sure 🙂 I love nice and caring doctors!

      • PGY2 August 5, 2011, 2:15 pm

        We love you back! 🙂

  • Kelli August 5, 2011, 1:28 pm

    I’m really fascinated by the need for patient advocacy in the first place. I have a very skewed view because I grew up as the child of a doctor (my dad’s an anesthesiologist). Every doctor I have ever seen (other than in emergency situations) has been a personal friend of my dad’s, went to school with him, or was recommended by someone he worked with. I’ve never had any of my questions poo-pooed or my opinions invalidated without a thorough explanation. I think the biggest reason is because my dad was in the back of their minds as my advocate, so I never had to step up.

    Now that I’m finally stepping out on my own, I’ll be interested to see how different the quality of health care is and how differently I’m treated.

    Glad to hear your results came back normal!

  • Amber K August 5, 2011, 1:45 pm

    I have had some really awful experience with doctors. I feel like my current one isn’t doing much to help me, but it feels strange to go for someone else because I have been seeing her for something like two decades. My husband really wants me to find someone else, because he doesn’t like her. The times he’s gone with me she just really rubbed him the wrong way. It’s such a pain!

  • Jolene ( August 7, 2011, 12:20 pm

    I find it strange that she said it is not stress related. I believe that stress can trigger all sorts of things, and my doctor has told me the same thing. In some way, I think all health problems are stress “related” … not necessarily caused by stress, but potentially triggered or worsened by stress.

  • Angela August 11, 2011, 11:29 pm

    LOVE THESE POSTS! So awesome. We women need to start freely talking about all these lady issues because it should not be such a secret. I am on cycle 2 off BCP and as of a week and a half ago I thought I was going to have to be committed. Out of nowhere I started having EXTREME anxiety, depression, non-stop sobbing, crazy thoughts…just totally batshit crazy for lack of a better way to put it. I called my gyno to see if there could be a connection and her nurse told me that the Dr. said no way it was related, that it was just stress from my upcoming wedding (which coincidentally is 16 members of our immediate families and I am not at all stressed about) and that I should see my GP regarding anxiety and depression. Yesterday I was back to “normal” and today I got my period..what do you know?? Luckily, I’m not buying her answer and have an appointment with a new gyn on Monday and an appointment with my GP who I am sure will just hand me an RX (But at least when I go get my medical records I can tell them I followed through). You are 100% right about advocating for ourselves…nobody else is going to do it, that’s for sure! Thanks again for these posts… your posts are so informative and I always find myself reading the comments and saying “Yes!”. BTW, I’ve made the switch to the Diva cup and love it!

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