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February 25, 2020

Today was the day I would see my former gynecologist; former, only because she opened her own practice 25 miles away from my house. She was the woman whom I first told that I hadn't menstruated in over two years. She was very thorough with testing; she sent me to several specialists. That was in 2015.

Countless other doctors have praised her work since then, trying to figure out "what was wrong" with me. Later, others did not care to know. No blood for 3+ years = case closed.

I left it aside; I was living my best life without pain, blood, or fluctuation of moods. When your hormones are even (or non-existent?) just live easily. Not to say you you won't have bad days, but it's so extremely different from the monthly cyclical life.

Still, curiosity always beckons me over time. After eight years of no real answers and frustration that doctors in general seemed entirely unconcerned by this, I went to see my original doctor, Dr. M, upon my mother's suggestion. It was annoying. Inconvenient. She had moved her practice 25 miles away. Why do I have to lose a day of work or leisure for perhaps nothing? There are thousands of OB-GYNs in the vicinity. It was the miserable middle of winter. There was no rush. And there was no guarantee — of anything. But I did it. I gathered all of my paperwork and left the house.

After traveling the 30 minutes to get to the Dr. M's new space, I waited a long time. Even with a morning appointment, there were several other women waiting, and very long intervals before a patient was brought into a room. I waited 2 hours to get called back, and another hour and ten with frozen fingers and toes in a hospital gown. It was February. My toes and hands were blue, black. I finally opened the door, gowned and barefoot, to ask if the Dr. was going to see me or if the staff forgot I was in the room...any information. Yes, yes, she's coming. It was maybe 20 or 30 minutes after that, that yes. Patients must be patient, I thought. I was here to see this doctor.

Dr. M is brilliant, and later I learned that part of the reason she is so good at what she does is she spends a lot of time with the patient. [Still, I advise scheduling less patients and not making people get undressed if they have to wait more than 10 minutes. Keep them in the waiting room!]

When Dr. M did come in, she was just as lovely as I remembered — as in super-personal and not as unemotional/methodical as many doctors tend to be. Dr. M is professional, but was not concerned that I was croaking out my words. She shook my hand with her bare hand before putting on her gloves.

[Side note: I felt I was losing my voice the day before. But I didn't feel sick. I didn't break the appointment. I had tons of honey and cough drops and fluids. It was day one of feeling this dry throat. I speak all of the time and had spoken to my good friend for maybe four hours the day before. So I figured it was just the combination of that plus damp, cold weather and dry, indoor heat. I am using my voice too much. Still, I felt apprehensive in the waiting room when I coughed a dry cough. No one — the patients or the front-desk ladies or the pharmaceutical guy trying to get the doctor's time — seemed to care. And at the time, I was just thinking, I don't want to get my doctor sick, or anyone here. If this is laryngitis, I'm contagious.]

We finally got down to business. I showed Dr. M all of her own paperwork (lab reports and notes) to remind her; she photocopied everything. [Note to reader: Always save the work — doctors will not necessarily remember your case until they are reminded.] Dr. M remembered my case, remembered me, once she saw everything. She remembers delivering the bad news and still not quite believing the science, or rather, the conclusions the lab made based on the testing results.

Dr. M proceeded to do a routine exam and all that jazz. [I had just been to the OB-GYN two months' prior at the Dr.'s former location. Another not to reader: Every doctor also likes to do their own work. They want to make their own conclusions and not rely on others'. This happened with every single doctor throughout this journey, so I will say it is common and that's my guess as to why.]

After that, I went to the next room for bloodwork, as her blood people are one site. And, it just so happened that Dr. M's ultra-sound person was on-site this Tuesday. If I waited another 15 minutes, I could have my uterus and ovaries checked. So, two pints of blood and another hour or so later, I walked out feeling — well, drained of energy and physically intruded upon with all of the poking and prodding — but good, like I was finally going to get answers from years of doctors.

So even though I'd left my house at 10am and got home at 5pm, I felt like I'd accomplished something in a forward-moving direction. It was worth the time and all of the many previous wasted dollars, tears, arguments, and hours spent. But not really — not yet.


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