Issued in Public Interest

I have been debating with myself for the past few months about publishing this post. But today I decided I should.

May be I won’t get another chance. May be it’ll help many others. Or at least it’ll be a wake up alarm for some needy ones.

After my routine consultation and check-up with the gynae last month, I underwent a lot of medical tests as part of the prescription.

Nothing serious but a few notes and counts were highlighted and underlined. A bulky uterus and cervical erosion said the USG (ultrasonography) reports. Pre-diabetic said the HbA1C, increased triglycerides and a few highlighted counts in the LFT (Liver Function Test) and KFT (Kidney Function Test) in the blood report.

If it was about a decade ago, I would have been worried. But for now, I somehow did not feel any kind of worry. No. I mean it.

Why?

May be because I have recently seen a teenager within family fighting a deadly disease in severe pain. My prayers for her and I sincerely wish she is completely cured.

The way I am, I read a lot about each of the highlighted and underlined areas. Bulky uterus is due to my endometrial tissue which are growing (I have a history of Endometriosis) again. And cervical erosion is nothing but a wound at the cervix (mouth of the uterus). If left unattended it might develop into cervical cancer over the course of time (a few years). But for now, it is completely treatable: said the doc and the articles on the net. The LFT and KFT counts were just indicative of some infection and there’s nothing serious which needs to be worried about.

This post is to highlight a point I have always been trying to tell everyone I come in contact with.

NEVER EVER IGNORE ANYTHING CONCERNING YOUR HEALTH

The slightest of fever, pain, allergy…whatever, should not be ignored. Especially in case of females.

I have endured a lot of pain  since my teenage days. Trust me when I say it was extremely unbearable; much more than labour pain that I’ve endured during both my deliveries. All this courtesy our then family doctor who never bothered to do a physical check-up citing that I’m an extremely active girl and nothing can be wrong with me. Blind faith is really dangerous. That resulted in a surgery to remove a 2.5+ Kg mass from my tummy after over a decade. The problem was the pain was during my periods and everyone, I mean every single person I confided in, repeatedly said all girls have pain during periods and I was just over-reacting. Many hushed me saying this is not something girls should speak about. What I didn’t explain to anyone was that my tummy used to swell up to about three times on the 3rd or 4th day of the periods. This is indicative of endometriosis which I learnt much later. Mom was taking care of us all alone and I didn’t want to increase her worry and so endured it all along. With the passage of time I had learnt to live with it and stopped consulting any doctor. When I was about 19 years, I started having pain near my waste-line on the right side. I used to limp and couldn’t keep my leg stationery. It was very uncomfortable. Never thought it would also be connected to this pain. Anyway, the leg pain subsided after about a year and a half and I never bothered to think about it later. It was only after a year of my marriage when the pain was so unbearable and I collapsed that we consulted our physician (mom’s diabetologist) who immediately informed us that it was not any stomach infection but a gynecological disorder. He suggested a few blood tests and ultrasound to be done at the earliest. That was when we finally got to know that it was not just the pain that all girls have. It was because of the endometrial mass that I was fondly carrying as a baby over the years, ovarian cysts, blocked fallopian tubes and a completely damaged ovary. Endometriosis can result in infertility and it was only because of my gynae that I could be a mother. If treated well in time, it will not affect your fertility. As part of the treatment, I had to take hormonal injections (Gonadotropin and Leuprolide; these are extremely costly) once a month which resulted in osteoporosis and vitamin D3 deficiency. And so calcium supplements have to be taken.

All this because I and the doctor I went to in the first place ignored it.

The point I want to make is, we should not ignore any pain or uneasiness. It can be really really dangerous. Another point is when you comment on someone’s physical appearance, please keep in mind that the person might be undergoing some problem and your comment may hurt them beyond your understanding.

I wrote this post only so that people are made aware that the simplest of symptoms can be because of deadly diseases. DO NOT IGNORE!

And last but not the least, the first war you got to win is with yourself. Fight yourself and you’ll be able to fight every disease. BE MENTALLY STRONG!

Please do not comment with sympathetic responses.

My intention is not to gain sympathy. I have grown way beyond that.

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23 thoughts on “Issued in Public Interest

  1. Thank you for writing this post, Rekha! Indeed, women especially tend to neglect their healths often. And another total menace is self medication. Often it is lack of knowledge or shame in raising gynaec issues that keeps them quiet. This is changing in cities to some extent. I also try and seek second opinion because sometimes one does not know about the caliber of the doctor giving the diagnosis.

    • Well said Rachna! Self-medication is definitely on the increase because of the high consultation fees. I myself wonder many a times that how will a poor guy survive if he ever falls sick.

  2. I think people ignore health issues because of a combination of:
    a. Ignorance (this is less these days because a lot of information is available on the net and in health/lifestyle magazines).
    b. Wishful thinking that the warning sign is something minor.
    c. Lack of confidence in doctors and hospitals. (Fear that the doctor/hospital will take the patient for a big, expensive ride and/or make the condition worse due to incompetence.)
    d. Reluctance to speak of any problem related to the reproductive system, mental health, visible skin problems, etc.

    I think the main reason is ‘c’. A person who has complete confidence in his/her doctor’s abilities and ethics will have no hesitation in consulting his/her doctor the moment anything unusual is noticed. My family is really lucky to have a doctor in whom we have complete confidence.

    • I feel the main reason is the cost attached to it. Not everyone is able to afford the kind of medicines and tests that are prescribed by the doctors/hospitals. We are all lucky to have been born in an economic class which at least helps us afford such expenses. Every time I pay for the blood and various other tests, ultrasounds and CT scans, I’m always worried about the poor people. All I do is pray to the superpower to not let anyone fall ill ever.

      • In most places, there are social organisations e.g. Lions Club that have clinics where treatment and tests are conducted at nominal charge without compromising on quality. This is a big boon to people from economically weaker sections. Of course, when even these nominal charges are beyond their means, their employers can help out.

  3. dont worry I am never sympathetic.. But you are right HEALTH is the most important part of life ALWAYS.. I do feel that to be true.. I recenly wrote my views so when you get time do read .. http://mannbikram.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/how-to-live-and-die-1-sad-post/

    although saying that I am myself very bad , I hate visiting doctors and the result has been bad because of that when i had my MOT done a month back..

    and in todays world there are so many things that can have a effect on you a simple thing like pollen.. a Sunny hot day here in UK and I am dead almost from the constant sneezing , eyes watering , nose running , coughing , temperature.. no medicine works and I lived in india for more than half my age , in a village where we did not have electricity..

    Take care .. and god bless

  4. Respect the intentions of writing this post. You are lucky to get proper diagnosis and a good doctor. It is true, may times our ignorance and take everything silly attitude is the issue.

    • Yes. Getting a good doctor is one big boon. Ignoring can lead to drastic consequences. As the saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine.

  5. hugs!! I hope you feel better soon with the meds and the treatment.
    I completely agree with you. I had severe thyroid issues and every single doctor I went to said it was fine! I knew the levels were high, but the doc said – you have gained weight. reduce. thyroid levels are normal!! I was scared and frustrated. Then I came here to the US and thankfully the doctor took me seriously and when the blood report came – she was shocked at the high levels. I was put on meds immediately and thankfully, everything is normal now!
    So, yes.. the smallest of ailments needs to be taken care of and paid attention to!
    I make sure I go for my annual check up each yr without fail.

  6. Think its good to highlight on how we tend to ignore symptoms and medical check ups,,,I am an expert in avoiding check ups n all coz of the scare. Many of us do that and we must pay attention to the minor ailments.

  7. Wish you all the best with your help! Thanks for this very important reminder of the importance on caring for not only our mental and emotional self but first and foremost our physical self too!

  8. I have been asked not to tell about my experiences. Why, I have never understood. Has it been to avoid sympathy or to keep it private, I really do not know.
    I had my miscarriage and then I started putting on weight. After a year the Doctor put me on gonadatrophin and kept on saying that I was not responding well. And I kept on screaming that the injections are giving me a lot of pain. I revolted and went to India only to discover it was tumor-pituitary adenoma. By that time it was hemorrhaging inside and my visual nerves are damaged forever. The first question that the neurosurgeon asked me was which fool gave you injections without proper investigation!!
    A relatives daughter a very jovial and a happy go lucky girl suddenly became dull, started losing weight and one fine day died. Later we came to know she had bone cancer. The family never told anyone. Why I will never understand. Does your family prestige go down if you have cancer? Does it hurt business? Leave the telling part I would have been happy if they had been at least open to the doctors and had given her best medical treatment. Now they live in a BIG house, running a good business. for what and who?, That also I do not understand.
    Sorry for the long comment.

    • Bhagya, I have also been asked not to share my personal experiences. But for some reason, I feel we all must share and let others learn from our experiences. And you rightly pointed out about people hiding diseases like cancer. People behave as if it is a communicable disease and ostracize you as if you fell ill because of your own will and sins. A 17-year old in our family is suffering from Ewing’s Sarcoma (4th stage) is currently undergoing treatment (chemo sessions). She has lost all her hair. Her parents have rented out a house near the hospital and are staying far away from our family just to ensure that their daughter does not feel uncomfortable with the awkward gazes and unprompted comments. I do not think I can blame the parents for this act. They are only doing something keeping in mind the welfare of their daughter. The pain this disease brings along is unbearable; I know from personal experience. But the hair loss due to chemo and skin reactions due to radiotherapy are side affects that affect the overall mental state of the patient much more and faster than the disease itself. You can imagine how difficult it will be for a one time national level dancer to loose her long locks of hair. It is terrible. I sincerely wish to see this disease eradicated out of our lives.

  9. This actually makes me angry more than anything else that women’s ailments are ignored, hushed up, or swept under the carpet until something that was completely treatable early on becomes an unbearable burden. The fact that women who suffer in silence are hailed as Devis makes it harder for the rest of us!
    I’m glad that you finally got the treatment you needed, but am frustrated at the amount of pain and awkwardness you had to go through before something was done.

  10. I feel, we need to be more careful with our food habits/work pressures/lifestyle choices. I come across many young people with old/new ailments these days. We have ignored many good practices that were a part of our culture and we have failed to replace them with equivalent (and proven) modern ones. For some reason, I find it difficult to trust a modern medicine practitioner and the system in itself. I think, we’ll have to revive our ancient/alternative medical system.
    Destination Infinity

  11. My mother screams your emotions too. I used to wonder how even a little cold and she would take me to doctor..one ear ache and doctor! But now I know.
    Thank you for writing this one!

  12. Agree with you completely! Having worked in pharmaceutical companies for a decade, I am very conscious of our health, As you rightly mentioned, one should never ever ignore the slightest of symptoms. Though my husband hates this, but I wouldn’t mind consulting 2-3 doctors if the problem persists or we don’t get satisfactory answers. Thank you for writing this post, Rekha!

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