I feel like I'm on a Dr. merry-go-round. The traditional part of me says "don't question your doctors, they know what they're doing". But my body & mind are telling me something's missing. I've changed my diet, took the "compromise" medication, started practicing yoga & qigong & took steps to try and control my stress. I love all of my doctors each in their own way. I appreciate the years of study & practice in their careers. But it wasn't until this week that I began to feel cheated by all of them. A lot of this is personal and more than you might want to know but the blogging community has meant so much to me through all of my struggles I'm sharing this journey in hopes it might help someone like me who's searching too.
After years of following my doctor's suggestions & still having to go into surgery for the fourth time, I got sad. Really sad. How in the world can no one figure this out? What did I do wrong?
In my last year of desperation, I called Vanderbilt's Center for Integrative Health. I knew they had an integrative doctor who took insurance. That is so incredibly rare that I thought- this has to be the answer. I'd prefer to go to a friend's Integrative Dr at the Mind Body Medical Center but it's expensive and why do that when this doctor at Vanderbilt takes Humana? Upon calling for an appointment, they tell me there's a 4 month wait.... 4 months? This guy must be good. But unfortunately it will be too late then, I'll have to have surgery again before that but just in case, I made the appointment. Lucky for me, two months later, I got a cancellation appointment!
I couldn't wait to meet him, I had read so much about his practice & so badly wanted his advice. I arrived, filled out an extensive questionaire & signed in. After just a few minutes, the nurse practitioner came to get me. We sat down and she proceeded to walk through everything with me. We talked about my past surgeries, my nonexistent immune system, food intolerance, etc. After about 15-20 minutes the doctor finally comes in and sits down. She gave him an abbreviated medical history & the first thing he says is "well your real problem is your doctors who think surgery's the answer." Ok, touché, sure, I can subscribe to that... So... What do you suggest I do? He says "tell them you won't be having anymore procedures".
So at this point, I'm drinking the kool-aid. I said "Alright, and what else do I do because I'm in pain?". And he says "well, you've already done the research & diet/exercise modifications I would normally tell you about, so at this point it's all stress in your head. Because your pain invokes certain feelings in you, you're perpetuating the pain. You need to do some mindfulness exercises & start believing you won't have any more surgery."
Hmmm... That sounds wonderful doesn't it... but we'll see! He tells me to make sure that I'm continuing the acupuncture, qigong, modified diet, etc. He said the longer I keep that up, the better the cyst pain, migraines, etc will get. He walked me out saying "tell those doctors I said no more".
From that day, I did everything I could to not feel stressed, to keep exercising, to work through the pain. It definitely lifted my spirits that this well respected doctor would be convinced I won't have any more surgery. I believed it too! I needed to, I wanted to. I had the best two months of the year after that. The pain was less, I felt more centered.
Then I went in for a checkup. My cysts were double the size. How is that possible? I did everything I could & felt great! My doc told me they were getting too big and I needed to start thinking about surgery. We both agreed that since I felt good, we'd wait until the pain returned and it wasn't bearable anymore. That only took two months.
After a few weeks of crying from both physical and emotional pain, I broke down and called my dr. I left a message saying "I cry uncle, it's time for surgery". Here's the complicated part - my dr is pregnant and coming up on her due date/maternity leave. She won't be able to get me in before she's out. She called me back with the news but also let me know about her colleague who was an amazing surgeon and she thought we'd get along really well. Ok, I thought - I trust her so surely I can trust her recommendation. I setup an appointment and was shocked to hear there was a three week waiting list. Par for the course right? (to be continued...)
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