Sixteen years ago I sat alone in fear while waiting for the doctor to enter the room. I was fourteen years old, covered in cuts, scratches and bruises with no hope for a future. I was in foster care and taken to the gynecologist to be put on birth control and that is where I met a doctor who ultimately helped saved my life.
I was taken to her because the treatment center I was at wanted me on birth control, but she gave me so much more than birth control. A week or so after my appointment with the doctor I received a package in the mail from her. The package contained an encouraging card telling me that I was beautiful and that I had a purpose. There was also a self-esteem workbook, which was helpful in learning to care about myself. I wrote her back and she sent me more books to read and I remember feeling so special because someone actually cared about me. Someone was taking time to show me that they care.
Years passed, I moved out of that city and I lost contact with this doctor. Three or four years ago my primary care doctor was at a loss for how to help me with the medical problems I was having and told me I needed to see a gynecologist, which I was not happy about. I didn’t want to go to another doctor. I was comfortable with my primary care doctor because she knew my past and how hard it was for me to have exams. When she told me there was nothing left she could do and I had to see a gynecologist I of course remembered this amazing doctor from when I was fourteen years old. I didn’t know if she was in pediatrics, if she was in network with my insurance, if she was even still in the area where she was or even if she was accepting new patients.
A few weeks later I was nervously waiting in her office. I was so excited to see her again, but I was worried she wouldn’t even remember me because it had been about twelve years since I last saw her. To my surprise she walked in the room and knew exactly who I was. It was so great to reconnect with her.
Due to medical issues I’ve seen her many times over the last few years. She tried everything she could to keep me from needing to have a hysterectomy. A few years ago she started preparing me for the possibility of needing a hysterectomy. She didn’t want that to do a hysterectomy on me because I'm still "young," but she knew we were running out of options so she started preparing me early… and that helped me A LOT emotionally!
Friday, October 6, 2017 was the day of my hysterectomy. My doctor knows my past, knows my fears and how anxious I get, so she did everything she could to make surgery go as smoothly as possible and made sure I knew I was safe and that she wouldn’t let anything happen to me. She arranged to work with the surgeon so she could be there with me during surgery. She came in the pre-op room prior to my surgery and she held my hand and talked to me about everything we had already talked about.
She reminded me of the strength and courage it took for me to make the decision to have the surgery, rather than to continue suffering. She reminded me that everything was going to be okay and that she would be right there with me. Once we went into the operating room she held my hand until I was asleep and then she was back at the hospital the next day bringing me books to read.
It has been four days since my hysterectomy and I’ve already found myself holding onto her words of encouragement.
Sixteen years ago she ultimately encouraged me to keep living and today she’s encouraging me to keep thriving.