Stomach Follow-Up

If there is one thing I have learned in the last 5 years it is that in Canada, you have to fight for the best medical care possible (I suspect this may actually be an international thing).  You have to be your own advocate.  You have to research.  You have to get yourself in front of doctors.  You have to push for answers.

Yes there are great doctors out there.  Sometimes we are fortunate enough to have great doctors in our lives – I have a phenomenal family doctor.  And when I say phenomenal, I mean truly phenomenal. I also had a great immunologist who was beyond supportive, went out of his way to do research and was excited to learn from the reproductive immunologist we went to.  And I have friends who are doctors who I like to think are great doctors because they are great people (but since they are friends, I don’t know for sure because they are not my doctor as that would be awkward for all involved).

But like all professions, not everyone is great at what they do.  I have had more then my fair share of horrible emergency room doctors – the list is too long to write out.  And, I also had a horrible Reproductive Endocrinologist who wouldn’t look at the latest research, who didn’t support our decision to seek out leading expert medical advice, and who didn’t care about our mental health as we went through more and more losses.  As much as that experience was horrible, I did learn a lot about the Canadian medical system and I learned to advocate for myself – lessons that will probably serve me well in life.

And, most recently I had a Gastrointestinal doctor who did a top to tail procedure back in September.  He appeared phenomenal.  He promised to keep searching for an answer.  And then, nothing happened.  As in, 4 months later, no follow-up.  No confirmation of any results.  No follow-up appointment booked.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  (I did have my family doctor look into the results to confirm they were basically normal – microscopic gastritis – so at least I knew there wasn’t something super sinister going on that fell through the cracks).

Since I had confirmation that nothing scary was going on, I’ve been putting off following up myself.  I tried once back in October and never got a return phone call.  And then I just gave up, knowing that at some point I’d have to push for proper follow-up and more testing.  I’ve been putting it off, because I hate navigating the medical system – it’s so time consuming and so darn hard sometimes.

Yesterday, I finally put on my big girl pants and summoned everything in me to prepare for battle as I called the clinic.  I was all prepared to beg for an in-person appointment if someone actually answered the phone.  And, on the assumption that I’d just get an answering machine, I promised myself I’d call every single day until I could speak to a real human being.  And then I’d call every single day until I could get an actual follow-up appointment – I even made Mr. MPB promise to neg me every day to make sure I actually did it.

Well, to my surprise, when I called, a living person answered the phone and she booked me an appointment in February!

There was no fight just to get an appointment.  I kid you not, I had tears in my eyes I was so excited and relieved.

Now, I just have to push for more testing.  I believe there is a link between all the “weird” things my body has done throughout my life – drug induced lupus years ago, recurrent pregnancy loss, and gastritis like symptoms every few years.  I my mind, these things have to be related – people don’t have that many random, rare, non-diagnoseable coincidences.  So, I plan to keep pushing for an answer, if for no other reason then I’d like to prevent the gastritis from happening have 2-3 years.

Wish me luck!

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17 Comments on “Stomach Follow-Up

  1. Ugh. This. #truth #sometimesfreehealthcaresucks

    I had a horrendous experience with 3 different fertility specialists….and finally we moved back to my hometown and I got back on with my childhood GP (who is AMAZING) and I am so, so thankful for that. I beg her to do everything she can before sending me to a specialist because…they’re a huge hit and miss with whether they’ll be any good. The list of horrible Doctors I’ve had is significantly longer than the list of good ones. As someone who works directly with the entire Dept of Medicine at a large Hospital – some of them have become my friends and I know they are excellent Doctors but that is just a few out of hundreds….I just can’t believe how hard good Doctors are to come by in the overall system. There is so much positive associated with free health care, but there is also so much negative. Good for you for being your own advocate, and being ready to push for your needs (and woohoo for not having to).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes it sucks, but I still think I’d rather our system over many other ones out there.
      Like you, my GP was my saving grace during our losses – he was beyond amazing and I will never forget his kindness and willingness to support us through everything!
      Also, thank you for helping push me to start the follow-up process. Truthfully, I only made that call yesterday because of you.

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  2. I agree sometimes the Canadian medical system leaves a lot to be desired – finding a family physician can be a nightmare and I have to admit our loss was not handled well, but I haven’t felt too lost during my cancer diagnosis and treatment. Although, if your problem isn’t an emergency or time dependent be prepared to wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I find the Canadian system is actually really good when it’s an emergency. I have no personal experience, but I’ve also been told its really good with cancer diagnosis and treatment because it well oiled machine and funds are always going toward care and research.
      But I agree, if it’s not an emergency, then be prepared to wait and wait and wait. Which I guess is better then having nothing at all?
      And, as much as the system isn’t perfect, I do like that I don’t have to worry about the cost of a medical appointment or treatment. And since i have a really good family doctor that I trust immensely, I don’t feel lost when it comes to the easy stuff.

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  3. Don’t get me started on Canadian doctors. I come from the 3rd world and I feel like packing my bags and going home every time we need to see one.
    I was in treatment with a psychiatrist, who said I was *a little* schizophrenic and gave me all kinds of meds until I googled my fingertips off and found out my actual problem were worms. I begged the doctor to get me tested and told her my symptoms. I begged for MONTHS until I finally got tested. I had them for so long, they released a substance to my brain that mimics depression. Within 3 days of worm medication, I never needed anxiety pills again. Thanks to the doctos? No, thanks to me. This is terrible. Just terrible. I feel very unsafe here and I feel like we are not being taken care of. I feel like I can never ever trust what doctos say and I need to do the research myself. This is scary, specially when it comes to my daughters. This is the one factor that makes me consider not staying here, sometimes.

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    • In my experience so far, the key is to get a really good family doctor and to keep searching until you do. Once you have a good family doctor it’s like you have a great starting point.
      I say keep trying until you get one, because they do exist. In my province they have a list of family doctors accepting patients, so used that list as a starting point and booked appointments with everyone until I found a good one. Maybe you can do something similar?

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      • this is what I have been trying to do. I got a new family doctor last week and she told me I should work things out with my old doctor cause she didn’t see a reason to change but my husband talked to her and she took us. It’s so so hard. ☹

        Liked by 1 person

      • Keep trying and keep pushing. I know it’s hard, gosh do I ever know how hard it can be. But honestly, if you don’t push for the best care no-one else will do it for you.
        I hope your new doctor works out better for your entire family! 🙂

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  4. Good luck! I hope you get some answers. I wish we had a free health care system in the US. We have our share of bad and good doctors as well (I work with both types) so I don’t think it has anything to do with free vs paying. Some people are just not meant to be doctors. Or nurses for that matter……

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I think that’s probably the same for every single profession out there! there are always people who excel at their job and others who really don’t. and unfortunately for medical professionals we always hear about the ones who aren’t so good.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a friend who has a baby that has been in and out of the hospital (usually pulmonary issues). She told me she has perfected the stare down to the nurse’s station. I have been lucky to have an OB and MFM who are serious, interested, and holistic with their approach to my pregnancies, although I have begun to be a little braver in my questions than I used to be.

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  6. Even with good physicians, we often have to be an advocate for ourselves. Here’s hoping that you get some answers, and more importantly, some treatment to help you avoid further episodes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good luck! And yes, I totally agree. Going through our infertility journey and reading about so many others I have realised that we really do need to do our own research and be our own advocate or things just get missed. It’s ridiculous that it’s like that unless you find that one in a zillion Dr. I hope you find answers. I bet it’s all linked too.

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  8. I hope you get some answers soon. I can confirm this chasing and being your own advocate is definitely true in the UK and variable per county you live in. Good Luck! xxx

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