Hepatitis C,  Ovarian Cancer,  Scoliosis,  Spines & Livers & Bones, Oh My!

Anne Glamore’s PSA

Natalie Cole is the latest celebrity to be diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Readers who have been with me since the beginning have read plenty about my own battle with the disease. I probably contracted it in 1980 during my original surgery for scoliosis, although it wasn’t diagnosed until 1997. I underwent a year-long treatment from 1999 through 2000 and, God willing, this August will celebrate eight years of remission.

I don’t know why I’ve been given two diseases to deal with that have very non-specific symptoms and are hard to diagnose. (My mom died of ovarian cancer and I am screened regularly for that disease, which has symptoms that can mimic IBS and a host of other illnesses.)

I’m also still dealing with my spine, and had my most recent spine surgery in 2004 to correct a symptom known as “flatback” caused by the Harrington rods used to prevent the curvature of my spine from increasing. You can read about that here, complete with sexy pictures.

I figure that all my medical problems, combined with my background as a medical malprctice defense lawyer, make me one of the most well-educated health consumers around.

What I’ve learned from all my dealings with the health care system is that you can’t ignore your body when it’s telling you something’s wrong. Second, if you must receive medical treatment, it’s up to you to manage your health care. Ask questions. Make sure all the proper tests have been ordered. When your blood is drawn, ensure that it’s labeled with your name and not the patient’s next to you. Follow up on test results– don’t just rely on the doctor to call you back.

And run, don’t walk, to get a copy of the book I shill from time to time, Jerome Groopman’s Second Opinions: Stories of Intuition and Choice in the Changing World of Medicine, which is a wonderful view of medicine from the other side.

I’m always happy to answer questions about any of these diseases, and you can read more about them by clicking on the link under Categories in the left sidebar that corresponds to the illness you want to know more about. I’ve done enough research and interviewing doctors for all of us– no need for you to reinvent the wheel!

Hope to see you at BlogHer, where you can say, “Damn, you look so good on the outside to be so screwed up internally!” I consider that a compliment.
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Two years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Atten-shun!

9 Comments

  • Cecelia

    Excellent Post!

    The importance of managing your own health care came to light when my mom was in the hospital. While the care she was receiving was good, it improved greatly once my sister and I stepped in and took over managing it and following up with the doctors, test, etc.

    If my mom had listened to her body sooner, or at least been honest with my sister and I about what was going on, I know that she would still be with us today.

    Thanks Anne!

    Cecelia

  • Elmo

    I don’t know if this is relevant to anything – I cut my finger at work two months ago and went to the Hospital. I opted for “super glue” instead of stitches and the Doctor applied a tube of glue and gave me an finger splint.
    Hospital sent me a bill for over $500. I just received another bill from the Doctor for $225. $725 dollars for squeezing a tube of super glue on a cut. Yes- Insurance is paying for most of it – my god – what is wrong here folks ? I apologize again if this veered from Miss Anne’s blog –

  • Jamie

    I had NO idea you had gone through all of this. You are one strong, kick ass woman! I love that photo of you horseback riding.

    Speaking of kick ass, I hope you are doing lots of that at BlogHer! 🙂

  • Val

    Anne,

    Love this advice on working the medical system. I already went to Amazon and ordered the book you suggested on second opinions. Have you read the one suggested with it called “How Doctor’s Think?”

    Go Blaze!