Trust your gut; be your own advocate; fight for your health

Check out my favorite yoga workouts here (click pic).

You’ve probably heard this recently, especially with it being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, “You must take charge of your own health, be your own advocate”, because no one knows your body like you do. If something feels off, take action! If you’re not being heard, speak louder. This is an experience that has recently happened to me and I feel it’s important to share my story.

As many of you know, I’ve been lucky enough to live a pretty healthy life thus far. I give healthy food choices, regular exercise and a dedication to yoga the credit for helping me maintain my health. In August of this year, everything seemed ok as always, but after a run on a Monday and an intense yoga practice on Tuesday, something was wrong.

I looked down at my lower left leg and it seemed to be very blue, veins popping out everywhere, some hurting others just under the skin. I showed my husband and he told me not to worry, but my gut said to take action, so I called my primary care doctor and went to see her the next day.

At the appointment my doctor assured me that I wasn’t going to die and that I didn’t have a blood clot. She went onto to say that as we get older, veins appear more on our legs and not to worry. I explained to her that I understood that but I was also having pain and she said, “you’re fine.” I left the doctor’s office with an unsettled feeling.

The next day I got in to see a vascular doctor, who after an ultrasound, informed me that I had deep and superficial venous insufficiencies; which means that the veins deep in legs weren’t working properly anymore, the valves were broken and therefore causing the outer veins to protrude. What? How could this happen so suddenly? I challenged him with this question and he had no answers. So I got a 2nd and 3rd opinion and both showed no vein issues whatsoever. Hmmm. I didn’t give up.

A few days later I went to see a sports medicine doctor who did an x-ray that showed nothing, so he ordered a full body bone scan, which also showed nothing. He advised me to start physical therapy where I could build up my thigh muscles and make my legs stronger. But I was still experiencing pain? I asked for an MRI of my left knee, an area of my body that has posed problems on and off for years, maybe that’s where all of this is stemming from? He disagreed but ordered the MRI anyway.

Low and behold! The MRI came back with a torn meniscus, surgery is scheduled and I should be back to my old self in no time. The moral of this story is don’t ever let anyone, even a doctor, tell you what you’re feeling is nothing because most of the time, it’s something and maybe something much more serious than my experience.  Throughout this journey I took note of the numbers of patients in the waiting rooms, wait times and how overwhelmed doctors are right now.  Keep a journal, remind them of things they may not have on your chart, do your research beforehand and ask for tests you feel you might need.  Take charge of your own health, don’t be afraid to speak up and demand the best possible care, no one is looking out for you more than you.

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