Question Everything

Those of you who have read the “About Me” section will know that I spent 4 years throwing money down the toilet at a fertility clinic where I remained undiagnosed and where in the words of my new RE, the very wise Dr Gobetz, the cart was placed before the horse so to speak. I was literally a square peg that they tried to force into a round hole.

Its only now that I’ve changed RE’s that I realize how much was missed. There were a large number of blood tests and of course the all important HSG that were never done on me before and that have been invaluable in finally getting a diagnosis. But changing RE’s was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I simply did not want to believe that the RE I’d been seeing was not right or that he’d failed me in any way. I really got angry when fellow IF’ers tried to show me what had been missed in my treatment, I got really mad when a friend of mine who’d been at the same RE changed to Vitalab and finally had success with Dr Gobetz because I was, after all, at the RE I believed to be the very best in the country.

Grudgingly I gave into W’s requests for a second opinion, I remember being really determined to find fault with the new clinic from the moment I typed up my first email to Dr G. My first surprise came when I was able to locate his email address directly on their website. At my previous clinic, where I’d received treatment for 4 years, I was never once allowed to have my RE’s email or cell number. I had to communicate with him via a network of IVF Co-ordinators, Nurses and rather unfriendly reception staff, kind of like playing a game of broken telephone, so I was never sure of the messages I was receiving. Now here I was, only considering getting the opinion of Dr G and wham, there was his email address for the world to see. Stunned, I typed him my first of many emails. Within hours I received a phone call on my cell from a man calling himself Lawrence. I had no COOKING clue who this person was. It was only when he heard the confusion in my voice and told me he hates calling himself Dr, but that it was him Dr G, that I realized who I was speaking to. I was so surprised that I wasn’t even a patient and yet he’d taken the time to phone me. I was even more surprised when he asked if I would like to send him copies of my file. The even bigger surprise came when he phoned me back after receiving copies of my file and went through some additional tests that in his opinion were critical. So I relented and made an appointment to go and see him.

The day of my appointment arrived and boy oh boy, did I go to the clinic with a bad attitude, DETERMINED to find fault with everything. To date, I’ve been unable to do so, but the point of my posting today is not to do a pom pom shaking, rah rah post about Vitalab but rather to share something I learned from this experience.

I have learned that Dr’s are not God (despite some of them thinking they are) they make mistakes and some times over look important information. I’ve learned that having success in my fertility walk is more important that remaining at a clinic, failure after failure, out of a sense of loyalty. I’ve learned to question everything. I’ve learned that because I’m paying for my specialist time, he should be committed to giving me his time and expertise and not be trying to get me out of his office after 10 minutes and two questions.

I get really concerned when I see how defensive some people get on Infertility Forums when questions are raised about why certain clinics/RE’s don’t offer certain types of testing and treatments. I would never want one of my IF sisters to have to go through what I went through, and I’d encourage every single one of them when on hearing about a new test or procedure, if you clinic is not offering it, then ask them about the procedure/test, don’t just accept that because its not being offered to you it does not have relevance to you.

The greatest lesson I learned is to question everything. If the staff are rude or unpleasant, then make your RE aware of it, that is unacceptable behaviour, they’re dealing with fragile, hormonal women who’ve been through hell to land up at their doorstep, they have no right to be rude or dismissive. I’ve learned that my thoughts and opinions are just as important as those of my RE’s so my treatment should be discussed with me and my POA agreed to by both myself and my RE. We do not need to go through these procedures like mindless little mice, silently accepting what is told to us. And most importantly, I’ve learned that I can be wrong to and that’s ok, the most important thing is getting the best treatment available to me, so when new treatments and tests become available, I email Dr G and ask his opinion and whether or not the clinic will be offering it.

Sorry this is such a long posting, I just want to re-itterate, I’m not suggesting everyone leave their clinic, I’m simply saying don’t get defensive or worked up when you read about a new treatment/test that is avaialble that your clinic is not offering. Research it, ask your RE about and question it!

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  • Reply Michelle

    FANTASTIC post Shaz!! Thats all I can say! Fabulous!!

    October 29, 2008 at 11:01 am
  • Reply Murgdan

    Excellent points. Very good—and I hope all that extra testing, and them taking the time to know YOU, results in a plan of action that pays off very very soon. 🙂

    October 29, 2008 at 11:11 am
  • Reply dee

    So true. I have never been at another clinic other than VL so I cant compare, but VL are excellent but hey they also only human aswell and can make mistakes.

    October 29, 2008 at 11:38 am
  • Reply Sian

    I couldn’t agree more. I think that sometimes we feel so defeated that we almost just accept what we are told. Great post! It reminds us that we must ask and ask and ask!!

    October 29, 2008 at 11:49 am
  • Reply Adel

    Totally in agreement! I also suffered with my previous FS – I think sometimes he was to “scared” to make a diagnosis.

    But, at least Dr G is honest and not scared to tell it like it is!

    October 29, 2008 at 2:07 pm
  • Reply monica lemoine

    You know, Shaz, you’ve inspired a future blog posting for me. This is a point I really grapple with. On the one hand, I really value all of the information we have available to us, and agree that we should all be empowered to stand up for ourselves, ask questions, be assertive, all that. On the other hand, I sometimes get so…well…TIRED of needing to know everything and be in control. I worry for myself and my future pregnancy, if that ever happens. I worry that I’ll be a total stress-basekt control freak (which I sort of was while preggers with Zach), wanting an ultrasound thrice a day because I know it CAN be done and can catch early problems in the fetus. I’m still trying to find that balance where I’m being assertive about my own health, but not to the point of stressing myself out.

    Anyway, I totally get what you’re saying. This is something I philosophize about all the time.

    October 29, 2008 at 5:51 pm
  • Reply samcy

    Hear hear sister!


    October 29, 2008 at 9:14 pm
  • Reply keystoclaritycoach

    Great post Sharon. You bring up a very important point. Ultimately we need to take charge of our journey! You are so in charge now! Go girl. Lawrence sounds like a great doctor. I am also in the process of switching drs, and am looking forward to seeing if there is something new to learn. Good luck with the next chapter of your journey.

    Coach Louise

    October 30, 2008 at 12:31 am
  • Reply Maritza

    Fully agree, educate yourself & take charge from the word go.

    October 30, 2008 at 7:52 am
  • Reply Misty

    Hi S. I agree with you completely. I do sometimes find it hard to just e-mail Dr’s (I’m with Dr V) and ask him for his time. I always feel guilty about bothering him (note: he doesn’t make me feel this way in the least, but it’s probably my Afrikaans “Verskoon my” upbringing.) You’ve made me realise that I pay for that time (quite immensely, as u know) and that it’s okay to ask questions – no matter how stupid they seem! Thanks!

    October 30, 2008 at 10:50 am
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