What are you to do when your doctors orders are: GROW UP.
True story. Here goes:
I’ve had chronic neck pain & headaches for 11 years. Got an MRI at my mother’s urging, and discovered what could possibly be the physical source of my pain – a T1 and T2 hemangioma, basically a benign tumor growing out the vertebre in my neck.
Good news: it is benign
Bad news: taking the thing out is risky as hell.
I was actually thrilled that they found SOMETHING, because prior to this diagnosis I chalked my neck tension, chronic headaches up to one thing – anxiety.
When it came to anxiety treatment, you name it, I’ve tried it- and with vigor:
Meditation, yoga, PT, OT, trigger point injections, pain specialist, behavioral therapy, stretching, strengthening, crying, and finally- the dreaded meds.
Anxiety medication became my friend four years ago. I was done. Done with struggling with chronic pain, debilitating headaches, and just plain misery.
Mostly though, I was missing out on life. Missing out on the moments with my children, and nothing- nothing is going to take those moments away from me.
My anxiety centers around ruminating thoughts, picture a hamster on a wheel, and you’ll understand how my brain works. I don’t have a doubt in my mind I am an ideal candidate for anxiety meds.
These medicines changed my life. Literally, changed my life, on a level that can’t even be expressed. Put it this way…I will take 20 more years with this healthy mind, then 50 years living how I used to. I don’t ever want to go back there.
When you are faced with the fact that you need medication to control a mental disease, rather than a physical one, the process of shame you go through is, frankly, sad.
What people will think? I’ll just hide it.
But you can’t hide it from the pharmacist, what will she think of me? I know exactly what she thinks….just another weak, suburban soccer mom, popping pills to get through the day.
So damn it, today is the day. I am here to say…rather PROCLAIM in the words of my father – PISS ON ‘EM!
Back to the neck story….
So last Thursday, I am sitting in the office of the best Orthopedic Surgeon in the city. I anxiously await the results of my lastest MRI scan, jotting down my questions for the M.D.
I want to know this:
Is the tumor the source of my pain? Could it be that anxiety is not my cross to bear, instead there is a real physical reason for this suffering?
He enters the room. Tells me right off the tumor has not grown.
We discuss options, no new options, he can’t even be sure this is the cause of my pain.
Surgery is high risk and it is the only option. My solution? Daily yoga, keep taking my anxiety medicine as prescribed (its the muscle relaxant effect of the drugs that keeps my pain at bay). If figure, when the day comes that these medicines are no longer doing the trick, I will figure out a new plan, but I am not even considering a surgery that puts me at risk to lose my voice and swallowing ability.
The mention of my anxiety medicine stops this guy in his tracks. He doesn’t buy it. He doesn’t buy anything about a persons need to take any mental health drugs. I can see it in his eyes, to him I am a weakling.
The guy turns to me, totally deadpan, and in his all incompassing genius proceeds to tell me that psyhiciatric medicines are “uneccesary.”
I urge him to tell me more, because now I am intrigued, thinking “hey, maybe he’s right, maybe he knows something I don’t, have an open mind.”
He says he really shouldn’t express this, since it is not his field of expertise, but since I opened the door, he decides to tell me the big solution to my 11 year chronic pain problem…….
Grow up. That’s it. Shrug of the shoulder. Simple as that.
Followed by “maybe you are trying too hard,” along with a few other words of wisdom weaved in for fun.
Huhh? My head was spinning, and I found myself actually pondering this viewpoint.
The pondering continued until I picked up my cell to call my husband, and the first word out of his mouth was “Who is this dude, Tom Cruise?!@#!?
So what is the moral of this story?
I am constantly hearing from ED suffers these outrageous stories about doctors that just totally and completely treat you like your ED is some kind of joke. Some kind of attention-getting, frivolous phase. You are all just selfish really, just appreciate what you have will you, you silly, silly child?
Here are the new rules for how you will STAND UP FOR YOUR SELF when you encounter a total knob of a doctor or nurse:
Cut him/her off- fast. You know your suffering, you know your pain. The thoughts that you are held hostage to with an ED is the closest thing to hell one can ever experience. Tell the Jack to get out and demand a new doctor/nurse assigned to your case.
Don’t fret over how someone judged you wrongly, just do what you need to do to find one that understands. I am practicing what I preach by the way, I called for my records, spoke to Mayo Clinic today only to find out I should be seeing a Neurologist! Mr. “Time to Grow Up” M.D. isn’t even the specialist I need. It would have been nice for him to mention this in passing don’t you think? His over inflated ego wouldn’t even let him refer me to the right help. Is that totally insane or is it me?
You and only you are responsible and in control of your own health. Ask for copies of your records, know what they are diagnosing you with, do your research online (even if half the stuff you find scares the hell out of you). Face it. Conquer it.
Search and search until you find that medical professional that understands YOU, and works with YOU to prescribe a tailored plan for recovery. YOU deserve nothing less.
Your health, both mental and physical is everything in this life. Protect it.