Category Archives: V’s These Days

Women and chronic pain: The issues with getting fair treatment

Women and chronic pain: The issues with getting fair treatment. Found at


It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog post. I’m still sick. I’m still untreated. My GP thought it was rheumatoid arthritis. He’s the third doctor I’ve seen in the last year who had that same thought. I haven’t wrote anything here because, frankly, I’ve been depressed and I feel beat down and discarded. I feel like I’m swimming upstream trying to find out what is wrong with me, and getting treatment for it. Or even getting help with pain management.

I saw a rheumatologist at the beginning of October. The visit involved giving a lengthy medical history during which his nurse chastised me for not knowing the exact dates for every CT scan, MRI, and doctor visit I’d had in the last 10 years. She chastised me for not showing up with my medical records and imaging results from every single past doctor visit. For not having every single test result with me.

As if I was suppose to know that sometime, in the future, I’d experience chronic joint pain and fatigue, and need to have those things in my possession.

I’d originally been told I wouldn’t be getting in to see the rheumatologist for about a month. That would have given me time to get any medical records and reports. Instead, they called me just a few days after receiving my referral and said they had a cancellation, so I could go ahead and go in. I had no time to prepare.

Yet at the same time, symptoms I have now and in the  past were brushed off as unimportant. The wrist pain I’ve had for at least five years was considered inconsequential – even though I was in their office for joint pain. It was inconsequential to them because it was usually brought on by doing something with my hands, such as typing. Because apparently, chronic pain only counts if it is never worsened by doing manual labor.

Makes total sense, right?

Because I show no inflmmation in my blood work, and show no visible inflammation in my joints, the joint pain was basically ignored entirely. The rheumatologist refused to take into account that I never have swelling when I am injured. Serious sprains and surgery has never – and yes I do mean never – resulted in visible swelling. The pain can be at a 10, but there will be no outward appearance of injury.

No one thinks that might be a little bit… odd? Or I dunno, maybe a reason why inflammation isn’t in my blood work. Why is my body not responding to injury the way most people’s do? Why is that not a puzzle to figure out?

Where the hell is House, M.D. when I need him?

They focused on the timing of onset of symptoms: Shortly after stopping Zoloft. They’re sure that the Zoloft was keeping the pain at bay. In other words, the doctor chose not to look at symptoms I’ve had for years when not on an antidepressant and instead imply that the symptoms I have right now are all in my head.

Cause you know, women be crazy. We can’t be trusted to know our own bodies and surely any pain we feel is exaggerated for attention.

It’s not like we are designed to handle pain. Do men forget that we’re the ones that push human beings out of ourselves?


The rheumatologist ordered more blood work. Results showed that my iron levels are high, but my kidneys are functioning “better than they should be” (doctor’s wording) and my liver function is also good. He finished up my last appointment by telling me, “Come back if you feel worse, but I suggest you get a job because working takes my mind off my pain.”

Yeah, that’s the answer. Just distract myself. Forget the wonky blood work and forget that some days, I can barely handle grocery shopping, and forget that if I do too much – like vacuum the living room – my joints will be throbbing in pain for hours after. Surely the answer to my problems is to do more things.

I plan to go back to my GP to follow up on the iron issue. The rheumatologist wasn’t interested in doing further testing (even though high iron can explain my joint pain).

I’m not alone in seeing first-hand how women are treated as less sick, and less likely to get treatment, than their male counterparts. Studies and reports have shown women receive inferior health care.

In a clever 1999 study, researchers from Georgetown University videotaped professional actors portraying people with chest pain. The researchers showed the videos to more than 700 primary care physicians and gave them data about each hypothetical patient. The doctors were much less likely to believe that the women with chest pain had heart disease. Similarly, when European researchers looked at the records of 3,779 heart patients, 42% of them women, they found that women weren’t worked up as thoroughly. It was the same story in a 2000 Mayo Clinic of 2,271 men and women who went to the emergency room with chest pain. 

I do not think the rheumatologist would have been so blase about my symptoms if I were a man. I feel fairly confident that I won’t get that same treatment from my GP, as he didn’t brush off any of my symptoms or complaints when I saw him, and he was proactive in getting a battery of tests ran and referring me to a rheumatologist. I don’t think he will be so quick to tell me that there’s nothing he can do for me.

I think there’s plenty the rheumatologist could have done for me. I don’t think the issue is that he couldn’t, it’s that he didn’t want to.

I already have an appointment for a workup with another rheumatologist, but it’s not until April. This time, the doctor is female. I’m interested to see if I will be treated differently by her, if I do end up needing to see her. Maybe treating my high iron levels will make a difference, and I won’t need a rheumatologist at all. One can hope, right?

Have you had problems getting healthcare practitioners to take you seriously?

Five on Friday – Wildfires

It’s the end of the workweek (not that I work anymore), which means another Five on Friday! I wish I could say it’s been a great week, but for so much of the state, it has been a nightmare.

1.Mr. V was called up on Sunday to go help with the fires in Central Washington. He’s acting in an administrative role with the Washington National Guard, so he’s not in any danger, but I worry for all of the personnel who are battling these fires and the residents who are in the path of danger. So many homes have been lost, and now three firefighters have lost their lives: Tom Zbyszewski, Andrew Zajac, and Richard Wheeler. Daniel Lyon, the fourth crew member involved in what is thought to be a vehicle accident while escaping the fire, suffered third-degree burns on 1/2-2/3 of his body.

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More than 400,000 acres are burning across Washington, with gusty winds forecasted for this weekend. DNR is setting up a coordination center to handle offers of help or equipment. Omak City Hall and the state Department of Transportation office in Colville will organize training sessions for those not currently qualified to serve on the fire line.


To volunteer your time: For Omak, call 360-826-2546 or email; for Colville, call 509-675-7847 or email Offers will be reviewed starting at 7 am Friday.

The Community  Foundation of North Central Washington is collection donations for victims of the fires through the Chelan Valley Fire Relief Fund. or 509-663-7716

Okanogan County Community Action Council is providing aid for immediate needs such as gas, food, and shelter. 509-442-4041

Room One in Twisp is accepting donations. or 509997-2050

The Salvation Army office in Wenatchee is collecting money to supply fire victims with gas cards and thrift store vouchers. or 1-800-SAL-ARMY (designate gift cards to “Northwest Fires”)

The Red Cross is accepting donations. or 1-800-RED-CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.

The United Way of Chelan and Douglas Counties is taking donations through its Sleepy Hollow fire relief fund. You can specify in comments a specific fire to direct donations. or 509-662-8261

Vern is taking advantage of Mr. V’s absence to stretch out on that side of the bed. Since both Mr. V and Vern snore, it’s almost like I’m not alone in bed, although one definitely has worse breath than the other.

2.It’s hard for me to use the blow dryer anymore, so I went to my wonderful stylist and had her color and cut my hair. My scalp is still a little pink and I clearly don’t bother with more than running a comb through my hair but I’m happy with it ;p


3.I’m pet sitting this beautiful kitty once again while her humans are on vacation. Isn’t she just a gorgeous cat? She’s very cuddly and insists that I pet her while she eats.

Sophie sophiebandw

4.It’s been a good week for photos, for a change.


5.Still no word on my referral to the rheumatologist. I did a home sleep study  last weekend and that came back normal, which I expected. I’m surprised they learned anything from it – it’s not easy to sleep with a big chunk of plastic stuck to your forehead.

What I posted this week:
There were some amazing photos linked up at the Macro Monday Mixer.
Have you tried Lip Monthly? I posted my review of the monthly subscription service.

6.Bonus item, I guess?

Madonna quietly released a new video not too long ago. No waves were made, but it’s everything I wish music videos still were.

Linking up at: Friday Favorites, Momfessionals, Friday Favorites @ DofaRH

Faves of the week (Five on Friday)

This week has crawled by, but hey, it’s Friday! That means Five on Friday! Here’s five of my favorite things from this week:

1.This video of otters chasing a butterfly. I could watch this over and over.

2.This dress I bought from Retrolicious Clothing. It’s on clearance right now, along with some other awesome dresses. Get you some!


3.This awesome recipe I made. No more boring peppers. Promise!

Balsamic sauteed peppers from Janus Lane


4.These stuffed animals I found at Ikea for my daughter. It’s the Fox and the Hound. (Haha, get it? Yeah I know, it’s not a basset hound, but still a hound, and plus we are a Dachshund family.)

the fox and the hound


5.SparkPeople. I signed Paul and I up so we can keep track of our fitness and make sure what we are eating is healthy. It has a huge amount of resources and articles on staying healthy, and best of all, it’s free!

What was your favorite thing this week?




Five New Faves (Five on Friday)

This week was awesome for one big reason: My new macro lens, a Micro-Nikkor 105mm with vibration reduction, came in on Wednesday, and I’ve been learning how to use it. It’s a lot different than shooting with my stock Nikkor 18-55 lens. I didn’t expect the learning curve to be quite so steep. Additionally awesome is that I’ve applied for six jobs that I really think I’d like, so cross your fingers, toes, and eyes that I get a call back on at least one of them soon. I’ve also registered on to be a pet sitter, which is right up my alley because animals are better than anything else, except maybe chocolate brownie ice cream.

Now on to my five new faves:

1.This eyeshadow palette, “Cafe Classics,” from Bonne Bell. The colors are shimmery and light, they stay on all day, and it was only $4 at Fred Meyer.

Bonne Bell Cafe Classics eyeshadow palette

2.These gorgeous flowers from Tacoma Boys. They were only $13! The tag says they are “Senetti, Magenta Bicolor.”

Senetti Magenta Bicolor annual from Tacoma Boys
Click on photo for larger size

3.Tacoma Boys. Local to the Tacoma area, they have the freshest local produce I’ve ever seen at lower-than-box-store prices, and so many awesome locally grown flower, fruit, and vegetable plants. They also carry a lot of exotic foods, tons of flavored oils, and an insane variety of wines. The employees were so nice and helpful there, and as an extra bonus, it’s the closest grocery store to me. I’ve never had a store like that before, so it’s a pretty big deal. I scored a big container of organic spring mix lettuce for $2. $2 for organic!

4.Meal planning. I know, you’re like, “WHAT?!” but hear me out. It’s so nice to know what I’m going to make for dinner each day. I know how much time I’ll need in advance, which means no more 8 pm dinners.

5.Pureology Serious Color Care shampoo oil for red/copper hair. Any of you redheads will know how hard it is to keep red from fading.

Pureology Serious Color Care shampoo oil for red/copper hair


Did you find anything you loved this week?


diary link up

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