From: Christine M. Smith (
Fri Jun 11 08:45:48 1999

At Thu, 10 Jun 1999, Helen Dynda wrote: >
>The author of this article did not say that you HAD to go to a
>university medical library or even to a hospital library! She simply
>suggested these two places as an example - places which were helpful to
>her when she began her search for information about her health
>As you mentioned, Chris, she had the intelligence and mental ability to
>be able to read and understand articles from medical journals, etc. This
>is an option for anyone who has similar abilities - those who want the
>challenge of educating themselves in this way.
>As long as each one of us has access to the Internet, we have a medical
>library right in our own homes. Medical information can easily be found
>on a wide variety of health concerns. It is time for each of us to take
>charge of our health situation and become an active (rather than
>passive) partner with our physician(s) in our health care.
>I would like to quote from a letter I received this week from a
>gentleman: "I am amazed at the amount of information you have sent me.
>Only a few days ago I felt that my future and any hope of even having a
>future was desperately bleak. Two dramatic changes have now happened,
>one being hope and the other knowledge. With the information that you
>have sent, I now have both. When your every wakening minute is in pain
>and controls all that you do and all that you are, and you don't know or
>understand why, then how is that being alive? I am now feeling alive. I
>will devour all the supporting information over the following days or
>weeks. I know that I won't find a physical cure possible yet, but you
>have helped me find a mental cure and that's the powerful healer. My
>deepest thanks for your care and consideration. Your help has put the
>lights on, in a very dark tunnel." This person now at least has HOPE and
>he knows that he is not the only person suffering from chronic pain!
>For now HOPE is all that any of us can expect. If we are going to
>maintain our saniety while living with daily chronic pain, it is time
>for each one of us to take charge - reach out for knowledge - reach out
>to others. Those of you who are participating in this forum are already
>taking charge. Your care and concern for someone else who is struggling
>with constant pain is the beautiful part of a forum such as this.
>Thank you, Thank you, Dr. Wiseman, for having the wisdom and foresight
>to make this adhesions forum possible for us and for the many people
>around the world who also suffer from adhesions. As members of the
>International Adhesions Society, we too have HOPE!
>- - - - - - - - -
>At Thu, 10 Jun 1999, Christine M. Smith wrote:
>>At Thu, 10 Jun 1999, Helen Dynda wrote:
>>>Here is the web site for this *must read* article:
>>>" What You Don't Know Can Hurt You: Knowledge Is Power in a
>>>Doctor/Patient Relationship "
>>Hi Helen:
>>As interesting and "empowering" as this article is, how many women do
>>you think can do what she is suggesting? I don't know what this lady
>>does for a living but I am betting she has advanced degrees. It is
>>very, very difficult for the average person to research medical journal
>>articles. Maybe a little, but definitely not at the level this woman is
>>suggesting. I have a college degree in biology as well as a year of
>>medical laboratory technology and I find it difficult to research
>>scientific journals to come to the conclusions she is suggesting. If
>>you can do it, great. But to suggest everyone do that, this is unfair.
>>Chris S.

Hi Helen:

I understand what you mean. This is what I do all the time-when I have a problem (any kind, not just medical) I read as much as I can on it to get a general overview. But I also know that some people don't do this because they can't do this. The way they are programmed they do not turn to the written word for knowledge and understanding. Some people have no idea how to do research. To someone like this, the article you referred to is frightening. To have to be in complete charge , with possibly dire consequences if you are not, would cause them great anxiety.This does not mean that you go to a doctor and say yes doctor, no doctor. The questions she suggested asking are excellent. I just think she goes too far. As far as the internet goes, it is very hard for the average person to evaluate the credentials of the person providing the information. Anyone can get on the internet and give their two cents on a subject. Unless you go back to the original, *primary* source of the information you are just getting someone else's opinion. In some cases, this someone else might have the credentials to evaluate medical research, in other cases he/she might not. So then the person has to research the author's credentials. To search the Internet is fine for a general overview of the problem, to give you hope, to ask the doctor you are dealing with his/her *professional* opinion. If this is what you are suggesting, that is fine. I don't think that this is what this woman is suggesting.

I guess doctors in Maine are very special because I have not experienced anything like she is describing. I have yet to hear "learn to live with this" or "Swallow the pain pill and buckle up". My only complaint about my current problem is that perhaps the doctors were too slow to act. However, I'm sure this was based on the experience obtained from working with many patients. It took my gyn 9 months to do a laparoscopy. (well, at least he can't be accuse of being knife happy) However, NOW it is looking like maybe he had a valid reason to wait that long. Right at the very beginning he suggested my back as a source of the pain I was experiencing. I *insisted* that it was not my back. (based on the fact that I had no back pain and no knowledge of the fact that sometimes abdominal pain is the primary symptom. Despite many hours of research on the Internet I have still found no research that would help me realize this. Instead, my realization has come from talking to many doctors, whose opinions are based on both knowledge and the *experience* that comes from working with many patients ) Back to my gyn and the start of my problem. He listened to me when I insisted it was in the right side of my pelvis. (even when he told me that most disorders in the pelvis refer pain to the right side) Now it is looking like it *could* be my back, as much as it could be any other problem, including adhesions. As far as the hysterectomy at an early age -a doctor's professional opinion may just be, despite what the woman thinks, that a hysterectomy at age 23 is NOT in the woman's best interests in this case, all things considered. Because you can be sure if it turns out that it wasn't in her best interests (like she returns with endo problems or adhesions from the surgery) she will be back at HIM/HER with "what now?" It wasn't too long ago (and maybe is still the case) that doctors were being lambasted about their high rate of hysterectomy done to women.

I'm sorry this is so long. As I said, I understand what you are saying about getting as much knowlege about a problem as you can but I get the impression that Jennifer is suggesting a lot more than that. In fact, her article scares me and I consider myself having a good grasp of medical matters.

Chris S.

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