Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Outside looking in

Yesterday, upon arriving home, I ran into a neighbor who was coming home with her daughter following a doctor's visit. Over the past month, this young woman who is in her early 20s has gone from being completely mobile to requiring a walker to get around. When originally asked, there were snippets about an ovarian cyst that needed to be resolved. Yesterday, it became clear a lot more was going on.

In a fit of despair, I overstepped and reached out to Moon for help. Given her training as a nurse practitioner specializing in women's health, I asked if she could talk. Then I walked over to the neighbors apartment, knocked on the door and rapidly explained that not only was I extremely worried about her, but that I had someone she could chat with to get a second opinion.

The long and the short of it is that as a young woman, she's already lost one ovary, her other ovary has a large cyst and there are two additional large masses in her pelvic region. She's in a substantial amount of pain and yet fears going to the ER as she doesn't want to lose her remaining ovary. All the while the doctors telling her they cannot understand why she would be in the amount of pain she's in based on what they are seeing.

All this made me want to cry. Here's someone who shouldn't even be having to think about her fertility and is choosing pain in an attempt to preserve it. Here are doctors who are failing her (her regular OB/GYN is apparently on vacation, leaving her no one else to see over the course of 2 weeks) and she's being minimized for something that is life altering. Though our stories are different, the emotions involved are extremely familiar.

I feel helpless in all of this. To scream about how if her heart was failing how differently the treatment plan would be. How what's she's facing isn't a trivial matter. And yet I know that even if I frighten her physicians, nothing will change. Just as no part of what I went through changed any part of the current system. Fertility is still seen as this taboo element that society then uses as a moral measurement, not a something that qualifies as life-threatening or altering.

Friday is this young woman's appointment; Friday is also my appointment with the Rheumatologist to begin exploring my own lingering fertility issues. All with me not expecting much from either situation.


  1. You're such a good person...and a wonderful advocate! I wish you luck on your appointment...I hope it yields some answers.

  2. When others understep like this, I think it's all right to overstep. Was Moon able to offer anything new?

    I'll be thinking of you tomorrow.

  3. In this case, I think you were right to step in, given your own experiences. You've reminded me of a friend from university who told me she'd had one ovary removed and had a cyst on the other that needed to be removed. She was 21 years old and didn't even have a boyfriend and her dr was telling her if she ever wanted kids to get busy. I sadly lost touch with her after university, but I've wondered where she is & how she's going and whether she ever did have a family. (I've tried Googling her several times over the years, without a lot of success. Not everyone my age is as comfortable as I am online...!)

    I haven't read further yet, but I hope your appointment went well!


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