Sometimes you have that moment… where you think the worst, you anticipate the worst, and you start wondering about the worst case scenario.
This was true for me. All because I had an expert in a particular field, who did not understand my health history or my perspective, decide that I had a very bad road (at best) in front of me with this future surgery.
Things turned around for me today. I saw my GP who has seen me for 14 years. She has seen me through each child, each health issue, and knows how many specialists I have to see. I told her my experience with a recent “NEW” specialist who didn’t know me or the weird but positive outcomes that have happened when doctors had anticipated the worst.
She knows not just all about my physical health, but my mental health, all of my family members (including parents, in-laws, siblings and nieces and nephews), She has a broader perspective on understanding who I am in so many different ways.
She once reassured me in a particularly bad year where I contracted an “unknown” virus that caused me to forget, lose my speech, and movement (almost like a stroke) – yes lucky me. She asked me why I hadn’t told her about my forgetfulness during this time (thankfully no longer an issue), and I said “I was worried ‘they’ may take my children away from me… what if I forget about my children?” She knew me so well she said “are you kidding me? You are one of the best people I know, they’d be giving extra children to you, foster children, before they take anyone away! You are incredibly balanced and mentally healthy considering so much you have gone through – you are actually one of my most mentally healthy and balanced patients I have”.
I was surprised at this and discussed the times where I have asked for help and she explained “But you actually ASKED FOR HELP! YOU KNEW when you needed help and you asked for it! You didn’t let the fear of asking for help stop you because you knew what was important”. This made me see myself in a different perspective. YES, I have issues to deal with, but I am open and I’m honest about them and I am usually okay with admitting my problems because I always find out that others are dealing with similar things. To me this is one of my goals. If we were all more open about our struggles, a lot of us would find out that we are dealing with similar issues and feel supported. I love it when people find out they aren’t alone and do feel supported knowing they aren’t alone. To me just knowing you aren’t alone is such a healing concept.
Anyway (as per not feeling alone) – today she told me that she had several patients that had gone through the exact same surgery as I’m going to have and they were doing fine. She said some had to go through the surgery because of similar issues like me, and some had to have emergency surgery and some had to go through it because of diseases – but that despite the fact I am “higher risk” she felt I would be okay because none of her other patients who had gone through what I am going to go though have ever had any major problems. They “function like everyone else”, I was told.
Well… in that case – maybe I just needed someone who knew ME, who was also in the medical field who also expressed positivity. She was excited when I told her “if I meet the surgeon and don’t feel like he is positive I’m getting someone else”. She seemed quite surprised but happy I was standing up for myself. Hey! If this is really a high risk surgery – I want someone who feels just as positive. My GP may know people who have gone through this – but my other health issues provide slight more complications that make surgeons nervous.
A good example was in the exact same appointment today when I asked her about a piece of gravel in my knee (Yes you heard that right!). We both know that I can’t have the possibility of any sort of infection going into this surgery so I told her that the gravel which causes chronic issues with a small piece of skin – needs to be removed. She said that I need to talk to a hospital doctor about that. I said “Wait a minute!! I thought you could do this?” She laughed and responded “Yes, but not for you I don’t!” – See? I have enough health issues for my GP to be nervous about getting a small piece of gravel out from the surface of my skin.
I should explain the amazing situation of why I have a piece of gravel in my knee (It was only 6 months ago and it involved being dragged by a car) but that’s a post for another day.
Anyway – I got this idea from two books that have helped me a lot in this situation. Robin Robert’s book Everybody’s Got Something – her chances were extremely small – and her first doctor was quite negative – so she changed doctors and got one that was positive.
The second book I recommend tells of Dr Ben Carson who performed some of the most difficult neurological surgeries in the world talked about the state of mind he tried to make sure he was in before he performed surgery. I never realized it until I have had to go through a high-risk surgery, that I must…. and I will ONLY find a doctor who is positive about performing this surgery. I am working on being positive with my mindset going into surgery – but it is equally important to find a surgeon who is positive about performing the surgery!