– There have been so many
times when my doctors have not believed me when I
told them that I was in pain. The first one happened
when I was 15 years old and during basketball practice,
while running wind sprints, I started to feel this horrible
horrible pain in my abdomen. You know how they say your
body can’t remember pain but like I almost remember
this pain so vividly. I just thought I was dying. – There was a big period of my life where I was in chronic pain. And went to my doctor time and time again. I just wasn’t taken seriously at all. – About two years ago I had surgery to correct some of my jaw problems. After I woke up out of
surgery I immediately knew something was wrong. – I had just installed my air
conditioner, turned it on, and I was talking to a
friend, I was completely fine. After we hung up and I tried to stand up, I got really woozy,
like literally the floor and everything kind of
flipped upside down. My chest started getting really tight, and I just felt like I
couldn’t get up off the floor. I was on the floor for maybe 15 minutes just trying to figure out what do I do? – About two years ago, I
started to develop a little pain in my vagina. Mostly during sex. I didn’t really think anything
of it when it started. A couple months later, it
became almost unbearable. At the first gynecologist that I went to, I asked her if anything looked abnormal, and she just laughed at me. – Basically, I was getting
very bad abdominal pain, to the point where sometimes
I would be paralyzed by pain. There was one time I was
just struck by this pain and I couldn’t move. I just laid down on the airport floor and they had to call the ambulance. – I was having a ton of pain, even though I was on a
shit ton of morphine, and I told the doctor this, and he said, “Let’s up the dosage of morphine “and you just got out of
surgery, there’s gonna be pain.” But I knew, I fucking
knew something was wrong. – I laid off sex for a little bit, and hoped that the pain
would just go away. It didn’t. It just kept getting
worse over the next year. – My mom took me to the ER. I had my letterman on the chair next to me and I had an in memory
button for a classmate that had passed away. And the doctor saw the button on my coat and asked me what it was for. And I told her that my
friend had passed away. Immediately her tone changed
and she looked at my mom and said, “I know what’s going on here.” – Four days later when I went back in to post-surgical check-up,
the doctor went, “Huh.” And he told me, “Hey, in
the 20-something years “that I’ve been practicing this
has never happened before.” So he actually had to go
back in four days later on New Years Day and re-do the surgery. – Generally the pain was brushed off as just being period pain,
and I was just losing it, because I was like, “Is
this really just my period?” Like, is this how it’s going
to be for the rest of my life? – She looked at my mom and
then looked at me and said, “Your daughter is just sad. “This is very common
for teens to go through “after one of their classmates passes away “or goes through a tragedy.” She then took the button
off of my letterman, held it up to my face, and told me to say goodbye to my friend. – There was a whole crew of them. There was maybe like ten EMTs. The first thing that they
said to me, they were like, “Did you go through a bad breakup? “Are you sure you’re not pregnant?” All of these belittling,
demeaning things to say, “I think that you’re overreacting.” – I noticed I couldn’t feel my face. And the doctor said,
“Sometimes post-anesthesia, “that can happen, the
feeling will come back.” Cut to three months later,
still having this intense pain, can’t feel my face. I go in for a check-in,
and the doctor says, “Sometimes it takes up to six months.” So six months go by, I come
back in six months later, and he says, “Well no, no, it’s for sure “just the anesthesia wearing off. “It’s kind of like,
your face fell asleep.” What? Okay, I’m listening
to this guy, he’s in such a specialized field I
had no one else to listen to. – So I looked at the button
and I’m like, “Goodbye?” She’s like, “Say it like you mean it.” So I looked at the button and tried to do whatever she was asking
even though I still wasn’t totally sure and just tried to say goodbye to this button. Once I got through that I
kind of just looked at her and waited for her to tell me
what test she was gonna run or what she was gonna do to figure out what had caused my pain, but
instead she left the room because she thought she had
figured out why I had the pain. – Eventually they were just kind of like, “Well, you know, if you were
actually all of these things, you’d be this that and the other.” Kind of with an attitude. And I was like, “Listen, I
called you because I need help. I didn’t need you to chastise me about what I’m going through.” And so they decided not
to take me to the hospital and they just kind of
walked me back upstairs and I think one more
time they had asked me if I was sure I wasn’t pregnant. – Even when we’re paying top
dollar to see specialists, who you would assume would give
you more time and more care, it was like $250, $300 to see
this person for five minutes, and they said very similar things. And it was only until I
really broke down and demanded that I get ultrasounds that they saw that there was a bigger problem at hand. It wasn’t my period after all. – Over the next year I saw
four additional doctors. Two of them also told me
nothing was wrong with me. One of them treated me for herpes but then when that didn’t work she said
nothing was wrong with me. The fourth one wanted to
put me on antidepressants because she thought it was all in my head. – So a year goes by, I still
have no feeling in my face, and the doctor says,
“You have what’s called “trigeminal neuralgia. “A trigeminal nerve, during surgery, “either the first one or the
second one, we’re not sure.” He cut the nerve that controls
all the feeling in my face. So not only will that feeling
ever return to my face, but the signals are all
screwy coming from the brain, so now I get intense, excruciating pain in other areas of my face. – It ended up being a cyst that was the size of
about 13 to 15 centimeters and it was just sitting
there that whole time, getting worse, because
it wasn’t being treated. Because apparently it
was just period pain. It was the most infuriating thing and it honestly is five years of
my life that I see as missing. – Less than four years later, I had very similar extreme pain. This time I was running on a treadmill, and the pain became so bad that I ended up basically falling off the treadmill and crawling my way to the
women’s bathroom to vomit. My friend heard, called 911. At the hospital, my dad met me there, we waited hours to be seen by
the time he came to see me, and at that point he told me it’s PMS and take Advil next time. I didn’t know at the
time, but I know now that in both of those instances I actually had ovarian cysts burst. – They gave me some pamphlets. There’s not really a lot of
information about the vagina. What I learned in my own research is that there’s just blanket terms. Vestibulina, vestibulitis, vulvadina, and they’re all just blanket terms for “there’s pain in different
parts of your vagina.” But there’s no cure. The pamphlets say “use lube!” Or “Try to think of something
else, other than sex!” – I started going to
see some other doctors and as soon as I went in
and explained the situation another doctor said,
“I cannot believe that that doctor did that technique on you. People haven’t done that in years.” – The one emotion I
remember feeling the most is just shame and embarrassment. I felt stupid for going to
the hospital both times. I felt like I was being a crybaby, and I felt like I was imagining the pain that I had gone through,
even though deep down I knew that the pain I
was experiencing was real. And so the next time
that it happened to me I didn’t want to go to the doctor. I just wanted to lay alone in my room and die if that’s what it took. – These are the people that
are supposed to fix you. They’re the people that
are supposed to help you. And while I know what he
did wasn’t intentional, when I decided to take legal action, I was told that the statute of limitations for this type of surgery was one year. Guess how long he had told me to wait? He kept saying, wait
six months, wait a year. Just wait a year. Come back after a year. – I’m just so gobsmacked that doctors don’t know more about female anatomy, because I’ve spoken to
so many women about this and they’ve all had very
similar experiences. So even once we found
out that it was a cyst, they told me everything under the sun. They said it could be cancer. – I’ve heard countless women’s stories about bad gynecology. – When I was finally
diagnosed with endometriosis and also told that I had ovarian cysts quite often on my ovaries, I
felt vindicated but also angry. I wanted to go back in
time and look those doctors in the eye and say, “You know what, “something is wrong with
me, and if you actually “did your freaking job, you
could have told me that.” – I just find it so crazy. It’s like, would you have asked a man, “Oh are you going through some shit?” “Did you have a really bad
breakup with your girlfriend?” I just, I can’t imagine them asking those series of questions to a man. The hard thing about biases
is that it’s so subconscious. It’s so just like, rolls
off of your tongue, maybe because you did deal with someone that was having a problem
in that particular area. But why does that then
demean whatever it is that they’re going through? – Sometimes women don’t want
to be seen as complaining, or dramatic, or attention-seeking. But why wouldn’t you want
attention when you’re in pain? Like, why do we make ourselves feel bad that we want someone to listen to us? Why do we get pushed aside
and don’t get me wrong, I know doctors, they have the
hardest jobs in the world, but their job is also,
changes peoples lives and that can also mean for the worse. So I think you gotta stop, get that idea of being a
complainer or an attention-seeker or a hypochondriac out
of your fucking head because your health, when you lose that, what else do you have?

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