How I Deal With Disappointment
Last updated: November 2022
It’s time for me to find a new OB/GYN. I haven’t seen one regularly in more than a decade. That may seem unusual for someone with a chronic reproductive condition.
But the last time I tried to establish care with a new doctor, I left her office in tears after only the second visit.
If you have endometriosis, or any chronic condition, you know starting over with a new doctor is stressful. Past medical trauma, such as gaslighting, denying medical treatment, and saying I should be grateful things aren't worse, is one of the main reasons I often delay non-emergency medical treatment.
I was excited when my urogynecologist suggested I see an endometriosis specialist at the same hospital he works for. I wondered why I hadn’t heard her name before since I see many doctors through this hospital network.
I waited two months for my appointment. Then, a couple of weeks before my visit, I realized why her name had never popped up. While she works in the same building as my other doctors, she’s not covered by my health insurance.
I had to cancel the appointment.
Dealing with stressful setbacks
There are so many ups and downs in life with endometriosis. I’ve found a few ways to handle things when I get bummed out.
Let the tears flow
When I told the nurse I couldn’t make my visit, I started crying almost immediately when I hung up the phone.
I don’t hold back my tears because I almost always feel better when I cry. I’ve read that’s because tears release stress hormones. Studies also show crying is a self-soothing behavior that can boost your mood. 1
Talk to someone
My husband heard me cancel the visit. I didn’t have to explain or justify why I was upset. He knew I’d been looking forward to meeting this new doc and how hard I’d searched to find someone.
He didn’t try to tell me not to worry or that it wasn’t a big deal that my search was back to square one. He just hugged me while I cried.
He told me he wished I didn’t have to go through what I was going through.
I know I can reach out to my chronic illness buddy. She has ulcerative colitis and is very hip to the highs and lows of ongoing medical care.
I know I can always count on her for a sympathizing text message.
Look for the positives
My behavioral therapist pointed out a while back that I tend to catastrophize. That means I quickly go to the worst-case scenario right away.
In this situation, an extreme view I may be more likely to think I can’t see a particular doctor, that there are no other specialists in my city, then I may never get good endometriosis care from an OB/GYN.
But after I cried and vented to my husband, I turned to the skills I’ve learned through cognitive behavioral therapy. That means I started considering what good might come from this canceled visit.
I’d talked to a nurse in the doctor’s office beforehand. So I had a good idea of the kind of treatment this specialist could and couldn’t offer me. Here’s the positive spin I came up with:
- This doctor uses hormonal suppression as first-line therapy. I’m not interested in trying that kind of treatment again.
- I had excision surgery recently, and I wouldn’t want a repeat surgery so soon. That means her surgical expertise wouldn’t be necessary right now.
- She would refer me back to a general gynecologist to treat other conditions like fibroids or menopause symptoms, which I may have as I get older.
- She’s new to the hospital, and there’s a chance she might be covered by insurance later on.
Keep up with my health care
I’ve had bad experiences with doctors in the past. But I don’t ignore my health.
I see my primary care doctor regularly, especially if I have new or worrisome symptoms. Currently, she’s helping me rule out other causes of new pelvic pain and irregular periods.
I feel she has my best interest in mind.
I may not find an OB/GYN for a while. However, I do feel supported by my friends, family, and regular doctor.
It’s easier to deal with setbacks knowing I’m not alone.
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