So as we went through the pelvic exam, I was listening carefully. The conversation with my doctor went like this:
Doctor: One of the symptoms of ovarian cancer is constipation.
Me: Well, since I have a Neurogenic Bowel, I am always constipated; my bowel is chronically sluggish.
Doctor: The other symptom is feeling bloated.
Me: Since I am chronically constipated but use stool softeners, the bloated feeling is not foreign to me.
Doctor: Discomfort in the abdomen is another clue.
Me: There are a lot of reasons that I get twinges of pain once in a while. It is just a way of life for me.
My ovaries were tender after the exam, which is another symptom of ovarian cancer. But the topic was dropped, and, quickly, we were onto the next body part. As much as I like my family-practice physician, I felt like my doctor forgot that I had some nonworking parts and did not really understand that my body had its quirks. As I left the appointment, I wondered if I should have persisted and asked how I can know if I may have ovarian cancer, given that the usual symptoms occur as part of my daily experience with Neurogenic Bladder. I discussed the situation with my urologist, and she suggested that I work with her in the ovary department.
My point in all of this is that, no matter how well we get along with our doctors, we need to prepare for our visits with them, because even “normal” issues can be more complicated when combined with the symptoms of any chronic illness.
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