Osteoporosis and I recently celebrated our six month anniversary. We commemorated the occasion with a follow-up visit to the endocrinologist. However, two weeks prior I received a phone call from the office informing me the practitioner I saw during my last visit had left the practice and I would be seeing someone named Katie. Fantastic!
Katie walks in and looks to be about 12 years old. I mentally call myself out for making judgements and try to keep an open mind. She asks what questions I have regarding the Prolia; I offer my concerns, fears, and thoughts. For one, people who have weak immune systems or take other medicines that affect the immune system may have an increased chance of having serious infections with Prolia. When I started to tell her I had discussed it with my GI doctor, she interrupted me.
“Well, Crohn’s really wouldn’t be an issue; we would be more concerned about someone like a transplant patient that would be taking immunosuppressing medication.”
I quickly told her, “Well, that’s me. I take the same immunosuppressant drug that transplant patients take! So …?”
“Like I said, Crohn’s is not an issue.”
And my plan of eating better, taking my supplements, being more active, and rescanning in a year? Katie squashed it like a bug stating my insurance probably wouldn’t pay for another scan so soon; I would be wasting time.
While Katie claimed to understand my stance, she put up every roadblock she could as she insisted the osteoporosis would only get worse, best to slow it down, start the medication now. She also did her best to scare me (my perception) as she spoke of the dangers of falling and risking a fracture. Her big whoop-di-doo advice? Find someone else to shovel snow this winter and use lots of salt on my driveway and sidewalks. I thought, “Good lord, does she think I’m an 80 year old widow?!”
As a parting gift, she addressed my elevated glucose and the risk for pre-diabetes. She recommended I cut back on carbohydrates and rattled off a list of the usual suspects. When she mentioned rice and corn, she tagged on “I know you don’t eat those.” In the next fleeting seconds, I thought to myself, “What the hell does she mean by that? Is she making assumptions about Crohn’s and diet… should I school her? Nah, I can tell she already knows everything.” I nod in agreement.
As I am leaving I tell her, “I’m not being cavalier and careless; I love medicine, it has saved my life. I just want to make sure I have a solid understanding of my situation and the available options before I am injected with yet another medication.” She reminds me again of the many other people who tolerate the medication just fine.
Six months ago, I left this office in tears. Today I left feeling frustrated. I didn’t feel cared for and I certainly didn’t feel listened to. So I’m digging in, there is no way in hell I’m taking this medication until I read more about it. Yes, I realize there are people who have taken the injections and have had minimal or no issues but to quote one of my favorite villains of the cinema, Miss Lina Lamont, “People? I ain’t people!” And I’ve decided to search for a new Endocrinologist practice. Not for a second opinion per se, I know I have osteoporosis; I would like to have an honest conversation with my healthcare provider, one where there is listening and learning and not a lecture.Why is that too much to ask?
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