I am an acquaintance of 13th Monkey. I found her email address via another message board and saw that her symptoms were almost identical to mine. I started emailing her to compare symptoms. She mentioned this board (which I had never seen before) and I came to check it out and have been following this thread (and others) since then.
I understand completely why 13th Monkey doesn’t trust or want to go to a doctor. Before I begin, let me make it clear that I don’t want advice from any of you, but I do want to relate my story, thus far, so that maybe you can understand that my story might just be the horror scenario that 13th monkey is worried about and how hasty some of you might have been in “judging” her. BTW, if you go back and read her posts, I think you will see that she wasn’t asking for advice from any of you, she was asking for technical information.
Ladies, doctors are not gods even though they would love you to believe they are. They are not perfect and they are not always right. Sadly, most people swallow what they dish out hook, line and sinker. Then they get caught up in a downhill spiral of pills on top of more pills on top of more pills to the point that they are taking pills to counteract the side-effects of pills. This is not to mention the tally of their pill and medical bills. I saw this happen with my own Mom before she died.
It seems that these days (in my experience) doctors treat you more like a “case study” instead of really listening to you, and giving you a thorough, old fashioned, hands-on exam. It seems that instead of taking your symptoms into account and seeing what they might add up to, they are more interested in pushing pills or avoiding being sued. They immediately order this test and that test to “rule out stuff”, whether they think you need that test or not. They know they can get sued if they don’t. They are covering their butts. In my opinion, it is a “racket”. They know the insurance companies will pay for it so, why not? The insurance companies are who are really paying their salaries anyway. While I am not saying that all tests are bad or unnecessary, I do think a lot of tests are ordered for the reasons mentioned above. Also, I know there MUST be good doctors out there. Maybe what it boils down to is those few that are truly "called" to that profession and helping people, and those who are in it for the money.
So that you might understand 13th Monkey, I’d like to share my nightmare story with doctors. This will be long, so grab your popcorn.
I missed one period and had a very light spotty one after that, and I had also been noticing that I was starting to get thick around the waist (thinking I had just gained a few pounds). I don’t think I have ever missed a period in my life. I didn’t even know what the symptoms of pregnancy were except for missing a period. I didn’t even really consider that possibility at first, seeing how my husband has had a vasectomy. I came to terms a long time ago with the fact that I would never have children and I have been okay with that. My DH and I love each other’s company and have a great life together.
When I mentioned to my husband that I had missed a period, he said, “maybe you’re pregnant”. I was shocked! I immediately reassured him that I would never cheat on him, etc. His response was, “I know and I trust you completely”. He is the love of my life and I can’t even fathom ever cheating on him. His suggestion really confused me. We both place a lot of trust in our faith and would not think it impossible that I might be pregnant if God deems it to be so. All three of his children from a previous marriage defied three different types of birth control so he believes there is a higher power at work in His life and I believe the same.
One thing I don’t understand is that women who have tubal ligations get pregnant ALL THE TIME, but the minute a lady gets pregnant after her husband has had a vasectomy they all think she has cheated. It IS possible, folks, although rare. In fact, if you do your research, you will find that the human body has a tendency to want to compensate around what we do to it. (i.e. when the human heart has a blockage, when there is no medical intervention, will send out veins around blockages to compensate). This includes vasectomies. This is why some doctors even suture or sear the ends and sew the vas to the inside of the testacles (to prevent them from growing back together).
There are stories all over the internet of pregnancies that defied tubal ligations and vasectomies and also of first hand accounts of ladies who have bled, gotten negative urine and blood tests and then found out they were pregnant. Check it out to see if I am right. Don’t just dismiss it like most doctors do if they can’t “see it with a test” or it’s “outside of the box” or "not black and white".
One other important point…my DH mentioned that he had noticed symptoms he noticed with his first wife when she was pregnant that I couldn’t possibly fabricate or make up regarding smells and textures of personal places and fluids.
Anyway, back to the story. I took a urine test and it was negative (I have actually taken many). I then got on the internet and started researching vasectomies and their reliability (to see if that could even be possible) and then looking up the symptoms of pregnancy. As I began to read, I recognized symptoms that I had just dismissed as something else before. I never even knew they could be from pregnancy. I also did my research on reliability of pregnancy tests.
I made my appt. with the Ob/Gyn (I believe my “wait” time was about 2-3 weeks before I could get in). I took my husband with me. Since this was a first appt. with this doctor, he took us both into his office to talk to us before the exam (and Doc charged a mighty hefty fee for that, I was to find out later. In fact, I had two bills for that first visit causing insurance company problems).
I told the Ob/Gyn that I had all the symptoms of pregnancy. I wasn’t insisting that I was pregnant or anything like that, I said it sort of incredulously. At that point he looked at me with a sort of sneer and said, “Do you WANT to be pregnant”? This reaction of his was not very conducive to making me feel like I could talk to him openly. It felt like an accusation to me. I told him I wasn’t opposed to pregnancy. At that point, he told me (without my asking) that my DH’s vasectomy could be reversed if I wanted, but that he wouldn’t recommend it. He then told me that I had all the symptoms of ovarian cancer. He had written off pregnancy before he even looked at me, before any tests, all based on my DH’s vasectomy and the negative urine test I had told him about. I don’t think he even knew how far along I would have been at that point if I was pregnant.
When he examined me, He did the vaginal exam, he barely felt of my abdomen. He pushed on it a couple of times and then it seemed to me that he gave up and suggested a transvaginal ultrasound. I had told him repeatedly that my abdomen was “swollen” and that it was NOT NORMAL for me. I told him that I had lost five pounds and had outgrown my clothes in spite of this. He did a urine test for UTI’s, a pap smear and then looked at my ovaries with a transvaginal ultrasound. He found three cysts on one ovary and two on the other. He said they all were under 3cm and they didn’t even start to begin to worry about them until they were 5cm. He mentioned possible treatments. He told me my uterus was “thin”. It seemed to me that what he did was just a “token”, cursory search of my uterus, as he seemed to be obsessed over the cysts. He took blood to do a blood pregnancy test, test hormones and the CA-125 (for Ovarian Cancer). I asked him about the swelling (telling him again that I was very concerned and that it was very abnormal for me) and he said that the cysts could probably cause me to feel kind of tight around there and I could try taking a water pill.
I knew at that point he wasn’t “getting it”. For some reason, my abdomen sticks out and is firm when I stand up (looks distended), but is sort of mushy when I sit, and disappears when I lie on my back. He didn’t see me standing up, only lying down.
I left that appt. feeling very confused. I called about a week later to find out the results of my blood tests and the Doc said my hormones were “in normal range”. When I asked him about the menopause test he said that I was “getting close”. I didn’t ask him if that meant getting close to the end or getting close to starting to go through it. I would be extremely early for menopause, but my Mom went through it early. I am assuming he meant “getting close to starting to go through it” since I have only missed one period.
While I had him on the phone, I again mentioned the swelling, I even asked him if there was a chance it could be peritoneal cancer and he said that was very unusual. He mentioned possible “PCOS” that it could cause weight gain around the abdomen. At that point, I hadn’t gained any weight and had actually lost some. He said we could do more extensive testing on the thyroid, and I said, “but wouldn’t I be gaining weight if it was the thyroid?” He said, “yes”. (At this point, he still hadn’t given me a plausible reason for my swelling and seemed to be “blowing it off”).
I hope you are understanding that I’m not hunting on the internet to see if I have symptoms of some horrible disease (I don't have OCD or hypochondria), I’m looking on the internet to find out what is causing these alarming symptoms I have since the doctors are not giving me plausible answers.
Two weeks later I got a call saying my pap smear was abnormal and to come in for a “wet smear”. I asked the nurse if this meant that it could be cancer and she said no, it was probably just an infection. There are apparently several different levels of “abnormal” with pap smears. The morning I was supposed to go in to the Doc, I started bleeding heavily. At first it was really dark brown/black, very liquidy, discoloring the water in the toilet (unlike any period I had ever had). I went ahead and went in to my appt. Doc said that it could be bleeding from my cervix. He attempted to “stop the bleeding” to see if he could get the wet smear and see if he could pinpoint where it was coming from. I had never had any bleeding after sex and hadn’t had sex in three days before it started. I wasn't having any pain, either. He couldn’t do a “wet smear” because of the blood so he prescribed antibiotics and a 10 day round of progesterone to “jump start my period”. He did another transvaginal ultrasound and one cyst had disappeared, all the rest were around the same size. He said they looked benign.
I again asked him about the abdominal swelling and if taking the antibiotics would make the swelling go down and he said no. I asked him about PCOS. Asked if my ovaries looked enlarged and he said “not really”. Ladies, I rarely eat cookies, cake, ice cream or sugar of any kind and for the most part, I eat a low carb diet, although not to an extreme. I get plenty of veggies and have started to add even more fruit to my diet. I am a petite 5’2”, small boned, never been more than 10 lbs overweight in my life. No one in my family is overweight. I come from "little people". I wear the same size jeans as my Dad. My body normally looks like a teenager’s because I have never had any babies and I have always kept myself in relatively good shape. I have never gained weight in my abdomen.
Doc said we would take a “wait and see” approach, as he knew I didn’t want to go on synthetic steroids (i.e. low dose birth control) “to try” . He said to come back in 10 weeks and we would check on the progress or lack thereof on the cysts and do another pap smear. He said if I had any severe abdominal pain, to call him, as sometimes if the cysts get really large, they will twist the ovaries and cause problems.
As it turned out, I bled off and on for 2 ½ weeks (at times heavily) and rather than being runny like it was at first, after a few days it eventually turned kind of mucousy like my periods have always been (sorry if TMI). There were no clots or tissue in it. I didn’t take the progesterone because I was already bleeding like a “big dog”, and I didn’t take the antibiotics because I had no concrete reason to take them. I think they are generally over prescribed and I don’t want to take them unless I know I have an infection.
At this point, I started doing research on the net about ultrasounds and found that the accuracy of ultrasounds depends on the technician and the equipment and that doctors who do ultrasounds in their office are often not qualified or trained to do them and their equipment is often cheap and/or out of date. I also read of one account where a 12 month pregnancy was missed by an ultrasound because a woman had a bicornuate uterus. In my case, at this point, I hadn’t felt like the Doc had paid enough attention to my uterus anyway.
I’m not grasping at straws to ‘make myself pregnant’ here ladies, I’m trying to figure out what on earth could account for this abdominal swelling as well as all of my other symptoms.
I went to visit an ex-nurse ( ICU Nurse ) friend of mine who seemed very perplexed at my abdomen. She touched it and said it didn’t feel like ascites and just said, “what is that?” She thought I looked pregnant. She wasn’t saying she thought I WAS pregnant, I’m trying to let you know that this was just not some puffiness in my abdomen. In fact, I am swelling all the way up to my ribcage.
My nurse friend suggested I find a “D.O.” because she went to one herself and found that they took a more holistic approach than regular doctors with less attitude. She also suggested that I find a woman who could understand a woman’s body better.
In the meantime, my abdomen was continuing to get larger.
I found a doctor that was both a woman and a D.O. I went in armed with a list of my symptoms. I was sorely dissappointed and she was just like every other doctor I had ever been to. I had a new symptom which had cropped up and that was a pain that came and went underneath my ribcage and radiated around my back, but I made it CLEAR that I was EXTREMELY concerned about the abdominal swelling.
She barely even touched me or looked at me and didn’t seem to want to look at or address any of the gynecological aspects. She immediately wanted to run “tests”. So she did a blood test to test my kidneys, liver, cholesterol and did another blood pregnancy test just because I insisted (after reading all of the stories on the internet about women who didn’t show even on blood tests until well into their pregnancies). So I had to come back in a week to “find out the results of my tests”. (More $$$) Everything was normal, pregnancy test negative.
The next thing on her lists was an abdominal scan. The technician didn’t scan anything lower than my ribcage. I had to make another appt. with the Doc (more $$$) to find out the results of the scan. Everything normal (liver, kidneys, gall bladder). I took my DH with me to this appt. She tried to tell me (at that point) that it was probably IBS. I told her that I hadn’t had any extra gassiness, no abdominal cramping, no real constipation or diarreah, and no intestinal pain. She said, “well sometimes you can have it and not have any symptoms”. (???) She wanted to give me samples of medication for IBS to “see if it helped” and/or give me a cat scan (which was “the next step”) or send me to a gastroenterologist. Oh, I also took into this appointment a before and after pic of me (since she wouldn’t look at me or examine me) to which she asked if I had been nauseous and told me to continue going to my Ob/Gyn.
My DH asked her more questions about IBS and if that would show on a cat scan and she said, “no”. I asked her if this was liquid in my abdomen or what and she said it was probably trapped gas. (DUH! I haven’t been having abnormal gas and my abdomen doesn’t go down after having a bowel movement or passing gas)! I haven’t been having abdominal pain, yet after every appt. she wrote “abdominal pain” as the diagnosis. She clearly, wasn’t listening to me. I had made it CLEAR that I was extremely worried about the abdominal swelling.
DH and I were “blown away” at that point. DH and I told her we would talk about it and get back with her. We have a deductible with our insurance plan and then after that is met, we still have to pay 20% so you can see that this is adding up. I told her that if the cat scan was “just a shot in the dark” that I would rather not have it. At this point, bills are starting to add up and I am really not like her or trusting her and I could tell she didn't care about me and wasn't taking me seriously.
So early next month, I am awaiting my follow up with the Ob/Gyn. I went ahead and took the progesterone about a month after he asked me to, and only because I’m getting incredible frustrated. After taking the progesterone, I had a three day period (normal for me). Nothing else changed.
In the meantime, my abdomen is larger still. I have been measuring. I can’t fit into any of my regular clothes, and I can’t really go out and buy a larger size because I’m not growing anywhere except my abdomen. Trying on larger sizes makes me look ridiculous as they bag in the rear, hips and thighs. I have never ever gained weight in my stomach, always in my hips, butt and thighs. I have been bouncing between five pounds up from my normally steady weight of 120. I was able to find a pair of stretchy jeans and stretchy shorts from Walmart that have a band in the front and elastic in the back (allowing for stretching) which I have been practically living in.
I have started a walking program (so no one can accuse my problems of being caused by being sedentary or lack of exercise) and I usually briskly walk 2-3 miles as often as I can, averaging about 4 or more days per week.
I have been feeling some really wild things in my abdomen. If I knew I was pregnant, then I would say they are “kicks”. I have never felt anything like this in my life, however, I have to assume that it is or could be gas or muscle twitches. At times, it even feels like squirming. It usually shocks me when it happens, I’m not sitting around waiting and watching for something to happen. I am not normally hearing or feeling what feels like gas at the time, either. It startles me every time. However, when I try to push on my abdomen to find a “fundus” I don’t think I can feel it lying down. When I stand up, it feels firm, almost like a water balloon and I can feel what I think is a “ledge”, however, when I lie down if I press down hard enough, I can feel something hard in there but nothing shaped like a baby.
Pregnancy is the only thing that accounts for ALL of my symptoms, two or three different things going on at the same time could explain them. At this point, that is what I am thinking it must be (two or three different things going on at the same time).
You might think I’m crazy to still even be considering this (after all of that bull about planned parenthood being able to notice a pregnancy at 18 months, blah, blah, blah). Please keep in mind that you all are stuck in your own reality. I know that at least a few of you have told others that every pregnancy is different and I have personally seen it--every different shape, size, etc. you could ever imagine. I saw a picture of an average looking woman who was 24 months and just looked “thick” in the middle, not pregnant at all.
I have also (through scouring the internet) run through myriads of stories of women who didn’t even know they were pregnant until they went into delivery. There was even one story (told second hand) that said she saw her brother’s girlfriend the week before she delivered looking fabulous in a bikini, and the next week she has a surprise delivery of a healthy baby. Rare, yes. Incredulous, yes, but it happened and there are many stories like this out there.
Ladies, I’m not clinging to some hope beyond hope that I am pregnant, and I don’t think 13th monkey is either. All we want is a plausible reason for why pregnancy is the only thing that accounts for ALL of our symptoms (and we pretty much have all of the same ones). I don’t think either of us trust doctors based on our past experiences. I know 13th monkey doesn’t have the financial resources, and even though my Dh and I are better off and have insurance, we will be paying on these bills for a while, all the while, nothing has been resolved or gotten any better. This has been going on for months.
The following is a list of my symptoms just so you can see what has been going on with me and see why I feel so crazy that the doctors seem to be blowing this off.
My symptoms are: missed and/or scanty periods, negative pregnancy tests, fuller breasts which I no longer recognize as my own (darker, larger nipples with bumps on and around the perimeter of the areola), watery, almost constant milky, odorless vaginal discharge, darker purplish perineum and vulva, growing abdomen, can’t wear my contacts without my eyes getting all bloodshot and swollen around the cornea, lots of sinus drainage (both of these last two have started around the time as everything else), frequent urination (test for UTI’s normal—It is not just feeling like I have to go and then going a little, I am putting out a lot of urine when I go, and get up 3-4 times at night), very yellow, strong urine in spite drinking plenty of water, low back pain, pain in groin muscles, insomnia, normal to higher than normal temps to 99.4 (varies), very faint linea negra, intermittent ache in the area of ovaries, light colored peach fuzz on face, belly, butt, thicker, healthier hair on head, blue veins on BB’s and abdomen, spider veins popping up all over my body in various places, flakes on nipples when I take my bra off, yet my nipples are not dry, cracked, etc. In fact, they are much softer than they have ever been. I am also exhausted all the time.
Please don’t accuse me of “Phantom Pregnancy”. I didn’t even know these were signs of pregnancy when I started having them. I'm not interested in what you all think about my symptoms anyway.
I know you all will probably pick this story apart and try to find “holes”. I have tried to relay it the best I possibly can, although I am not even near as concise and well-spoken as 13th monkey is. I don’t care what you say or do regarding me or my story. Please don’t give me your advice or your diagnosis on my condition. I’m not asking for you sympathy either. Hey, I’m not even asking you for your technical knowledge.
I have told you my story because I have “been there, done that”. I am your "model counselee". I have done pretty much everything I should do in this situation and I am no closer to an answer for my problems.
I am pretty outraged and appalled at some of your reactions to 13th Monkey's situation, and I think you need a swift kick in the butt or a slap in the face to get you to examine your own motives in kicking someone who is already down, someone who didn’t ask you for anything but your knowledge, yet some of you have turned into paranoid schizophrenics accusing this girl of things which you have no facts or basis for. Why on earth would you do that? It is beyond me to understand what is running through your heads. Do you honestly think a “troll” would come to a pregnancy message board and ask the intelligent questions that she has asked, done the research she has, just to get your dander up? GET-A-LIFE!!! Come back to the real world!
It’s almost as if you have gotten mad at her or think she has some ulterior motive because she won’t take your advice?!? What’s up with that?
The sad thing is that you all seem to be very intelligent and have given some really great technical answers! I have learned a lot from reading them. I am guessing here, but I think 13th Monkey came to this board and felt free to ask her questions because she thought you all might be smart enough not to follow the pill-popping majority who want quick fixes for their ailments instead of trying to get at the root of the problem. I think she thought (and again, I’m just guessing, not trying to put words in her mouth) thinking she might actually get real, intelligent answers to her questions here without all of the immature, High School drama that most messageboards have. I think, too, she is probably putting off going to the doctor because she fears her situation might turn out like mine has (i.e. taking tests, spending lots of money and still having no answers).
When you think about it, it’s none of your business what her personal life is like. AGAIN, keep in mind, that she didn’t ask for your advice, she asked for your technical knowledge. She didn't seem to be looking for any "fast friends" either.
Who cares if there are holes in her story. Based on what she has told you so far, I can understand why she hasn’t given you all of the details. It doesn’t sound like a very pleasant situation. It’s really none of your business and she doesn’t “OWE” any of you the details of her personal life, ya know?
Sadly, I doubt she will ever come in and fill you in after some of your reactions to her posts. Would YOU come back? I don’t think so. I don’t think I will either based on what happened to her. I have really laid myself on the alter to be slaughtered by you who are after blood by giving you my intimate details. Well, hack away, ladies. After all, it is Halloween. You sure did a good job on 13th Monkey.
My point in writing this is just to try to snap some of you back to reality. I think both 13th monkey and I already feel crazy enough, feel like everyone else thinks we are crazy, are at our whit’s end, feel pretty much alone (thankfully I have a loving, supportive DH). I don’t think 13th monkey has anyone on her side. Ladies, I am living a nightmare and I think she is too.
Sadly, I truly think that most of you are caring people, and really care about her, her situation and hope the best for her. Unfortunately, because you weren’t able to "control" her into doing what you think she should do, or you don’t understand her decisions, or they are not what YOU would do, then you turn on her, start judging her, and falsely accusing her. (Some of those accusations are pretty nasty and far-fetched, ladies).
Is this the way you treat your own children? Do you only love them as long as they do what you want and then turn on them when they don’t? I certainly hope not. If so, you are probably going to turn them into paranoid schizophrenics like yourselves.
Anyway, sorry for such a long reply. Please examine yourselves and your own motives and get back on track. This girl is hurting. Unfortunately, you probably won’t ever know what happened to her.
Here are my pics if you are interested so you can see this is not some "symptom" that I am "OCD'ing" about.http://www.geocities.com/rayneedayze...yneeDayze.html