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Another visit to the doctor
Going to the doctor, for yearly check ups, is uncomfortable for all women. For women who have been sexually abused, it can, and has been traumatic. I don't fear it, as I have most of my life; triggering flashbacks and getting small, but making the appointment, and getting there, staying present... staying adult, and being able to function, the rest of the day, has gotten easier for me. At one point, I waited 8 years between check-ups. Not smart, or advisable, but I just couldn't do it.
I went to the doctor yesterday, for my Pap smear, and, "I am so lucky to be a woman", checkup. The doc that I have seen a few times, with minimal trauma, retired, and I had to find someone new. My husband is a RN, at the local hospital. He works in day surgery, and was impressed with a new gynecologist. I figured SHE, might be a good option, because she is young, and up to date on women's health issues. I have never seen a woman GYN before. It was a good choice.
I walked in to her office, and was greeted by a very cheerful woman. She introduced herself, as Joy (perfect name for her) handed me an attractive bag, telling me it was a bag of goodies for me, just for coming in. That appealed to my inner child:). I glanced in the bag, and saw a pink water bottle, and several other items, and had to restrain myself from going through it right then. I filled out the required paperwork, and was lead to an examining room (after getting on the scale, one of my favorite things, first). The nurse came in and introduced herself. Hmmm first Joy, and now Misty. I was impressed. I have never had health care professionals do this before. Misty took my blood pressure, asked me a few questions regarding my paperwork, and then asked how I was referred, or learned about the new doc. When I told her my husband referred me, and told her his name, she said,"I love Doug, he is a great nurse." She went on to say that she even requested to have him, as her nurse, when she needed surgery. It makes me feel good to hear good things about people I love, so with the exception of having to get on the scale (I really need to get serious about losing those 20 extra pounds) I was at ease, feeling cared for, and cared about.
I was told the doctor would want to talk to me before I undressed. This is a big thing for me... I feel less secure wearing a paper gown. When the doctor came in, she shook my hand and introduced herself... Dr. Amber Bradshaw 3 for 3:)... And with her first and last name. She is young... I would guess mid thirties, she is confident, and looked me right in the eyes. I knew, she knew what she was talking about. After asking me several questions, and about any concerns I have, about 20 minutes went by... She left to let me get undressed. She had cloth gowns... Not the cheap, small paper ones. Of course the Pap smear, and exam was a little uncomfortable, but it was just uncomfortable, not mentally agonizing, and physically painful. She explained things to me in a way no one else had before, even giving me hope that a physical issue, I have due to the sexual abuse, can be improved, and maybe even rectified. (I have nerve damage, that causes me pain ). NONE of my previous doctors, even asked me the right questions, in order for them to find out I had this problem... I was told that some pain is normal, and I figured it was.
I am glad this doctors visit is behind me again, for another year. But, this time maybe it will be a year when I go again... Not a year and a half, or two years, or eight. I need to go back in 3 months just to check if a medication, and other suggestions, work to lessen, or eliminate my pain. I am 46 years old, and didn't even know it was a possibility. I can do this.
About Stacey Lannert
Stacey is free. In January 2009, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt commuted her sentence of life without parole. She is currently speaking out about sexual abuse and sharing her message of love, healing and forgiveness.