Reading the series of medical blow offs Gilda endured hurts my heart — not just because she didn’t deserve to be so ignored and dismissed, but because it’s so familiar. In 1994, one of my dearest friends began the same process, beginning with trying and failing to conceive. By early 1997 we were burying her. She had just turned 25. Fast forward to 2005 and I began my own cycle of the same blow offs, excuses, misdiagnoses, everything except the trying to conceive part. My only saving grace was that the tumor which was finally diagnosed and removed eight years later wasn’t malignant, but the damage done to my bones, organs and life is permanent, and will have negative impact so long as I live.
Doctors continue to be, in Gene Wilder’s words, ignorant. They continue to not listen to patients with gynecological woes. They continue to dismiss pain, especially pelvic pain, and continue to pretend that justified concern that arises because we can feel that something is wrong in our bodies is anxiety built on empty worries for worry’s own sake.
Doctors are ignorant because they don’t listen to patients. They don’t take the first step in learning how to find and deal with this cancer early.
And it’s killing women.