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So, I had a doctors appointment today. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, my hormones are a massive mess and it is basically another name for “everything sucks.”
It was diagnosed over a year ago, but it wasn’t a huge shock. We had been trying for a baby for four years, I had gained weight, my skin had gone to crap and I had become depressed. Along with the cysts, it wasn’t difficult to diagnose.
Part of my PCOS is that I get super infrequent periods. I had to see a specialist and was told that I ovulate twice, maybe three times a year. I can have a period once every three months, sometimes once every six months.
The thing is, they are so painful I am unable to move, pain in my stomach (obviously), in my back and in the tops of my legs. I get nauseous, like I could vomit. I am also exhausted. I bleed heavily. It is bad.
My nan and my aunt both have/had endometriosis. I know the symptoms.
So, I sought medical help a few months ago. The doctor I saw put me on birth control, as a first step, she said to come back if it didn’t lessen my symptoms.
On Friday, I got my period. The symptoms have not lessened.
I went back to the doctors today. I’m not sure how it works in the US, but in the UK we pretty much have to sit and wait for the next available appointment.
I sat for two hours.
When I went in to see the doctor, he was male. No problem. My symptoms were still the same. My pain was still as crippling. I would not be embarrassed.
I sat and explained, wanting some compassion, another treatment method or a referral to a specialist to fix this.
The response I received, “A lot of women have painful, heavy periods.”
I was dismissed. I was told what a lot of women experience. Funny. Being a woman, you’d think I’d know what a lot of women experience.
He then said, “You’ve just looked this up on the internet then, and decided this is what you have?”
Are you being serious? No, I have family history and I recognise the symptoms.
I fought it. I got my referral.
But how many women didn’t?
How many women took this man’s condescending crap? How many women were forced to live in extreme, intense pain because A MAN told them it was a normal female experience?
I am furious. I am upset. For a few minutes I felt stupid, and then I remembered, I was right about my PCOS. I know my body. I know that bleeding through a tampon, a sanitary towel and my underwear in an hour is NOT a normal female experience.
My message to any women out there who have experienced this: Fight it. Get your second opinion. If something is not right, make sure your voice is heard.
You do not deserve to be in pain because a man decides you aren't worthy of treatment. Pain is your bodies way of telling you that something isn't quite right. When you are in severe pain, you need to get checked out, by someone who is actually looking for the cause of the pain.
I will wait for my formal diagnosis and then I will be putting in a complaint about that doctor. I fought back today, not everyone will and God forbid he tells someone with a very serious condition that "A lot of women experience this..." and prevent them from getting their diagnosis early.
I know my story isn't uncommon. 68 percent of women with endometriosis were originally misdiagnosed with something else.