Guest post by Gillian Mackenzie
My first published blog post was on the subject of the menopause, which is my current state of affairs, dealt to me 4 years ago at the age of 42.
Although my journey to this point has been peppered with positive NHS experiences (and I wouldn’t be here today without it) there have been ample, brutally insensitive blunders made (mostly) by males.
Age 20: I visited the university GP complaining of ‘ovary pain’ during sex.
“Have less aggressive intercourse,” he laughed and sent me on my merry way. Prick.
Age 21: My left ovary was removed.
Let’s back track a bit.
After university, I visited my GP on a number of occasions complaining of lower abdominal pain, pressure after sex, pain after going to the loo, empty feeling etc. I was told to keep an eye on it as it may be appendicitis. Fair enough.
For a week or so symptoms continued and I had trouble lifting things at work. At night time, I was beginning to feel a burning sensation in my kidney or thereabouts.
Sunday came. I had intercourse. My boyfriend left for lunch at his mother’s (cheers for the invite by the way). My stomach inflated to the size of a balloon within seconds. I was alone. There was no phone so I walked home, sitting on walls to rest where I could.
Nobody passed by. I got to the house. I was shaking. My sister helped me to shower. She called a doctor.
A male locum (reluctantly) came out to the house that evening and PRESSED down on my abdomen. I told him it was lower. I told him that it felt like my ovary. I told him. His advice was…wait for it…to eat more bran flakes and bananas!!! Dick head.
That very same evening I was rushed into hospital tended by a scared young buck (bless him) unsure of what to do, so I was heavily dosed with pain killers until the consultant could see me the next morning.
And see me he did, along with a whole effing team of student doctors. Only one held eye contact with me throughout the examination – the woman – God bless her. The others stared at my fanny, their feigned professionalism belied by titillated eyes, secretly
relishing their career choice at that precise moment. Wankers.
The consultant, an older male, shoved his fist into me as if I was a cow in calf – showing all those young ‘uns how it’s done. Bastard.
I was rushed to theatre to have my left ovary removed – a cyst had grown so large that it had cut off the blood supply to my ovary which had turned gangrenous. Sexy (nearly dead) me.
Age 31ish: A miscarriage. I hadn’t known I was pregnant but after that my deliciously regular and politely light periods became long, perpetual, spilling and splurging.
I was sent for a scan with a piece of paper. I sneaked a peek, thinking it would be all Latin and mgs but I read the words ‘suspected perimenopause’. F**K – thanks for telling me!
They scanned my left ovary. They could find nothing there. I wonder why? A woman’s mistake this time. Stupid bitch.
Later a wonderful man, an exceptional consultant, tried his very best to solve the problem but couldn’t. He tried and I will never forget him for that! What an angel.
Fast forward to age 40ish: I was going for investigations as to why I couldn’t get pregnant. I was sent for infertility treatment. (Why not fertility treatment? Seriously, why not? Positive Mental Attitude and all that jazz). And guess where they sent me to? An antenatal clinic. “How many weeks are you, dear?” FFS!
Anyway, a smear came back with precancerous cells so a hysterectomy was looking inevitable. A sweet caring surgeon (but with the sensitivity of a… male gynaecologist), explained the process and said that they’d whip out my womb and send it to the lab.
‘It’s not a fucking pork chop!’ I thought. ‘It’s me – my womanhood, my essence of femininity, it’s my children and grandchildren. It’s me!’
So, my uterus, Fallopian tubes, remaining ovary, the works were removed. The biopsy was then done. The wait was long. The results were good – so very good. I got the all clear, thank God!
I’m a vegetarian now. Poor cow.