Things that have happened since my last post:
- I got a full time job.
- I moved into an apartment like an adult.
- I developed a miraculous gag reflex that activates whenever I see a John Green book.
These are all wins.
The big loss that is that I met with a new neurologist and he was THE WORST.
Side note: I’ve had a pretty wide range of encounters across specialties, with no real trends, except that I realized that I’ve had only positive experiences with cardiologists, and only negative experiences with neurologists. What’s up with that, neurology? You need to start attracting some better doctors, stat. That’s a thing doctors say, right?
Anyway, this neurologist asked me zero questions about my medical history, my past treatment for migraines, my triggers, my cancer, how long I’ve been having migraines, any specifics about how the migraines manifest…basically anything useful. He did, however, take the time to NOT read my chart and then ask me if I “work outside the home.” Of course not, because I, the 24 year old single woman sitting before you in a chef jacket and kitchen pants, have so many opportunities to be gainfully employed inside the home.
Then when I said that of course I was, he nodded in a VERY patronizing manner and said, “so you’re under a lot of stress, then?” To which I replied, “No,” because compared to any other point over the past six years of chronic migraines, this is probably the lowest stress level I’ve had. I have a full-time job that I enjoy, I have a stable housing situation, I have a good oncologist, I’m not in college anymore, and I’m not commuting.
But he clearly didn’t believe me, because his advice to me was to take some medication (that he did not explain to me at all—usually doctors tell you side effects and and dosage and the whole, “don’t take and operate heavy machinery thing”, but not this doctor—he’s a rebel), and to “get those stress levels down,” cue patronizing head nod. Also, his clever plan of not asking what medications I had taken resulted in me shooting down his first three treatment suggestions because previous neurologists have already tried them on me and they didn’t work. “What do you mean, they didn’t work?” replied the doctor.
At this point I would like to give a piece of advice from a frequent patient to any aspiring doctors or nurses who may be reading this: “What do you mean, it didn’t work?” is just about one of the most irritating questions a doctor can ask.
Obviously I mean that it didn’t accomplish what it was prescribed to, namely, prevent headaches. If I had an allergic reaction to it, I would have written that on my chart, under “allergies to medications.” How many ways can you take “it didn’t work”? I’m still having headaches daily and the medication is supposed to stop the headaches, soooooo…it didn’t work. I’m not sure how much clearer I can be about that one.
He ordered me an MRI and an EEG (after I asked the nurse to remind him, because apparently in the legendary trek from the exam room to the front desk, he forgot that he wanted me to have an EEG), but I’ve decided to seek treatment elsewhere. Life is just too short. Also, my temper is just too short. I mean, if I have to get yet another MRI and EEG, then I want the results to go to a doctor who is at a bare minimum engaged enough to read my chart.
But I think that on the whole, I’ll still consider this a plus. Two years ago I would have assumed the whole thing was my fault, that I was being too picky and not providing the information in the right way, and I would have stuck it out and tried to make it work. And here I am, looking for a new doctor right away. I’ve learned a lot through having a terrible oncologist for so long, and I know that there’s really no point in seeking treatment with a doctor in whom you have no confidence. It may take a little longer than I’d prefer to find someone I trust, but it’s definitely worth it.
So yes, I’m going to call this win #4: I’m not wasting any more time with doctors who don’t care.
Tiny cancer note: I’m waayyyyy over 2,000,000 ppm (platelets per microliter), but as my new oncologist has a different treatment philosophy, he hasn’t immediately jumped the gun and started me on chemo again. As long as I refrain from throwing clots or other such worrying symptoms, he’s going to keep me off the chemo. Which I greatly appreciate.