What Happened When I Didn't Self Advocate
When I was 21, I had my first child.  After having an epidural, I experienced a lot of back pain and went to a back specialist.  He offered to adjust my back as he felt my hips were misaligned.  He had adjusted my back a few times before, but when I told family members that I was getting my back adjusted, they warned me to be careful of being adjusted because early onset osteoporosis runs in my family.  I expressed my concerns to the doctor, and he literally laughed in my face, saying it wasn't possible to have osteoporosis at my age.  His tone was derisive and scornful.

Looking back now, I should have walked out of the office right then.  He was so disrespectful and didn't even offer to check with an X-ray or bone density test.  But hindsight is 20/20.  I didn't have the confidence at that point to stand up for myself.  I didn't have all the information I needed.  I had a deeply held respect for authority and the belief that doctors knew best.  As he wielded his "I know better than you" card, I shrank and felt so dumb for even bringing up the possibility that he dismissed so completely.  I felt so embarrassed that I didn't even think to ask to be tested.

I humbly climbed up on the table.  He proceeded to crack up, up, up my spine until I heard a crunch and felt pain.  I yelped.  As I stood up, that pain was still there.  I twisted and stretched and told him it hurt, and he brushed it off, saying adjustments are sometimes uncomfortable and it would work itself out.  The pain didn't go away that day, and the next morning, that one spot on my spine was throbbing.  I was traveling for the weekend and sat in a car all day while the pain worsened.  My trip was physically excruciating and miserable, although I tried to smile through the pain. 

When I returned, I went back and demanded an X-ray. I told him the pain started when he adjusted my back before my trip and only got worse each day.  Sure enough, I had a compression fracture.  He and I both knew exactly what had happened.  I was also diagnosed with osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis, which was clear from looking at the X-ray.  He was wrong. 

Doctors can be wrong.  They are often wrong!  Much of what they do is guesswork. And they hurt patients because of it!  Many of them are so full of themselves that they won't listen when a patient expresses concerns.  Many of them think they are infallible and don't bother looking into things further when they should. This is a huge problem!  

But another problem is that patients trust too much as I did.  They don't advocate for themselves or walk out when they should. Patients don't do their own research and aren't armed with the knowledge that builds confidence to stand up for themselves.  This can be corrected!  This is one of the biggest reasons I created this website.  I am arming moms with knowledge and confidence to advocate for their own health, both at home and at the doctor's office.      

Read how I got through this time with an infant and a broken back here.
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