Hey there, hope everyone is well. Thanks for stopping by.
I haven’t written a blog for a few weeks, I have been quite busy leaving my job and making plans etc. I also auditioned to be in a band! Something I have been wanting to do for quite some time but I haven’t felt the confidence to do so. And I was nervous, so so nervous but after many encouraging comments from friends and family I took the plunge. I will find out soon if I made it or not 🙂
Anyway, the real reason for my blog today is to share the experience I had during my specialist appointment this week. OH BOY was it an experience. Thing is, when you are waiting for your specialist appointment, you can feel anxious, apprehensive and have high expectations. When these aren’t met it can be very disheartening and stressful.
The ‘specialist’ I saw was a locum gynaecologist. He did not appear to have read my notes before I saw him and the majority of the first part of the consultation was spent answering questions about my ‘diagnosis’, that my GP had already outlined in the letter he sent to the specialist. He appeared to have no prior knowledge as to why I was there. His general manner did not fill me with much confidence, as he seemed very vague with the information he was trying to give me. During the consultation I felt very distressed as he simply did not know what to do with me. I could feel myself being defeated as I have already been through so much and come a long way already.
Then, after what felt like some wasted conversation he told me he wanted to examine me, which lets face it, is never a pleasant experience to go through. The chaperone came in and asked me to undress from the waist down. I did not even know why he even wanted to examine me or what he was meant to be looking for?! Anyway, as I am undressing the chaperone literally stands there and watches me, which was so uncomfortable. I had a towel to cover myself with which was no bigger than a small hand towel, hardly enough to protect my dignity! Then the specialist walked around the pathetic excuse of a curtain, that did not even come all of the way around and said I did not have to take my clothing off just pull them down, this could have been avoided.
Anyway, for reasons that were quite unclear and confusing he then said he had to examine my breasts. So as I am putting my bottoms back on, the chaperone watches me still and then he comes around the curtain. As I stand there utterly embarrassed by the whole situation, I then have to undress my top half in front of them watching me, I was offered no gown to cover myself.
Now, those who know me well will understand that this was a big deal for me because I hate my appearance. I know we all have to learn to love ourselves and whilst I agree I also cannot stop feeling this way, yet. So to have to expose myself in front of strangers, who had no compassion or kind bedside manner left me feeling rather distraught. To some people this may not sound like a big deal. This is not something I have to do often, so I am not used to having people stare at me whilst I undress, I felt like an animal at a zoo. I have already been feeling extremely vulnerable lately and lost a lot of the spark I once had, this experience has left me feeling broken.
The specialist went on to make comments like ‘if you do have what your GP is telling you then it’s not good’, he then went on to say ‘Good luck’ to me as I was leaving. What specialist says good luck to someone who is desperate for answers? At some points he was even looking up my symptoms on the internet, he researched chromosome abnormalities and informed me that I could have an abnormality from birth. After waiting over 8 weeks for this appointment, I feel very disappointed, disheartened and left not knowing which direction is the best one. I believe I am now waiting for a transfer to a different hospital but right now I am just giving up all hope. I cannot see through the clouds.
This week I sparked a discussion with a women’s group on Facebook, regarding the fact that most hospitals have the specialists in one place. Therefore, you may be going for a gynaecology appointment knowing that you cannot have children, yet you are then expected to sit with pregnant women. Some responses I had from other women also informed me that women who may have experienced trauma during pregnancy, such as still birth, are then expected to sit in an open ward with other women who have just had their baby. I am sure I do not have to elaborate any further on how much women and their partners must be psychologically damaged by an experience like that. As much as I appreciate the NHS, words do fail me sometimes.
Somehow, somewhere deep inside my heart there is still this strength to keep fighting. I am aware I may be at risk of sounding a little ‘overdramatic’, as the menopause is not the end of the world, but I do have other things going on that I have to process and deal with too. Everyday struggles can affect us all in different ways, I know I have said it before but you really just do not know what someone else is going through. I was very lucky to have my sister with me at the appointment to support me and I cannot stress enough how important it is to have someone with you for extra support and reassurance. So please, where possible do not go through challenges alone.
I am usually a very independent woman and would tend to go to appointments on my own but even I need a hand to hold sometimes. There is nothing wrong with accepting that you may need some additional support, whether it be physically, emotionally or financially – although money can cause many issues!
In general menopause news, my symptoms are still in full swing and I feel like shit most days, it is hard. The vitamins are helping though and I shall do a review on those soon. I do hope that anyone else who is experiencing the same are doing ok.
It would just be nice to live a stress free life, but I do not think this is possible. So, instead it is about learning how to ride the waves rather than get swept by them.
I am working on it.
Until next time