Guest Blogger Trudy Triumph writes at www.neurogenicbladder.me She blogs about her real life, not a medical textbook, to empower herself and others to shed the shame, get real and be proud. This is a post she wrote addressing Pelvic Pain. It happens for all kinds of reasons and having a neurogenic bladder and bowel is just one of them.
I had my yearly physical last week. Thanks to my handy-dandy Speedicath catheters, I have not had a bladder infection for a while. I feel great and vibrant. I have only two more weeks of school before summer vacation. I seem to be rolling along with my urological issues just fine, for which I am truly thankful! The world is my oyster!
At the appointment I sent in blood to be checked out. There was a listen to my heart, a look in my mouth, my weight and height, blood pressure and the rest. I know that during my yearly physical the other parts of my body are checked. My bladder, bowel and nervous system are not a big part of the appointment.
During the exam, the doctor felt my ovaries. I have read that one in seventy women get ovarian cancer. There are distinct clues for ovarian cancer, yet many times it goes unnoticed. The conversation with my doctor went like this:
One of the symptoms of ovarian cancer is constipation, well I have a neurogenic bladder so I am always constipated, by bowel is chronically sluggish.
The other symptom is feeling bloated. Once again I said since I am chronically constipated but use stool softeners, the bloated feeling is not a foreign one to me.
Lastly she said that discomfort in the abdomen is another clue. Again I told her that there are a lot of reasons that I get twinges of pain once in a while. It is just a way of life with me.
After the feel of my ovaries was over, they were a bit tender (which by the way is another symptom) but the topic was dropped. We were on to the next body part. The whole scenario was kind of an out of body experience. I felt a disconnect because I like my family practice physician. I wish that these great ships in my life, my doctors, were a little more aligned. I have so many questions. How do I, a woman with a neurogenic bladder and bowel, know if I have ovarian cancer? Are there other ways I can find out besides the classic symptoms? Once again I felt a little vulnerable.
As well as I feel now, I realize that I am a bit physically fragile. After the exam, the topic of ovarian cancer was dropped. As I left the appointment I wondered if I should have asked the main question that burned in my brain on the way home….Should I settle for not being able to feel the classic symptoms?
This is a perfect example of how we with disabilities need to be our own medical advocates. I plan on taking the issue a step further next year during my yearly physical. One more note for my medical journal.
Thank you for sharing the word and helping women.
Thank you Trudy for sharing your story. A chronic health problem masking a potentially fatal one is a scary complication to face. Pelvic pain can be so complex; it's rarely straightforward to identify where the pain is coming from, much less what that sensation indicates. All the more reasons to ask "our ships to align," requesting our doctors to communicate with each other so we can receive the best care possible.