Who Am I Anyway?

Who am I anyway? Am I my resume?”  These are lyrics from the opening number of the musical A Chorus Line. Last Friday I had a consultation with a surgeon. I wanted him to know who I was . Who I was. Not just my medical resume. My medical resume is this: the number of birthdays I have celebrated and my considerable and rather interesting medical history.

If you follow this blog you may know I had a bit of a medical adventure at the end of August that involved a long weekend in hospital. I shall leave a link to the blog post I wrote about it at the end of this post. The medical staff did a great job for me in the hospital and were responding to a rather dramatic episode in the ER. Fair enough. But here’s the thing. They saw my medical history before they saw me.

I saw my GP a week later and he noticed from my hospital report that no ultrasound had been done. He said he wanted one done. He suspected I had experienced a biliary colic. A colic!   Just like a horse. This human colic happens when a gallstone gets stuck at the exit point of the gall bladder.

Long story short I have gallstones.  I was referred to see the surgeon to discuss surgery to remove my gall bladder. What were my concerns?

  1. Now that I had a diagnosis of gall stones it would be a pre-existing condition and I would be unable to get travel insurance for the USA and my winter season of training and competition in Florida.
  2. If I had the surgery how long would I have to be off riding  and would that impact my training with Biasini?
  3. How could I convince this surgeon that riding a horse and training and working with him was my passion in life. It is not that I am brave, it is that horses and riding have got me through 5 major surgeries, cancer, auto-immune disease, and hip replacements.
  4. How could I get him to see me, ME, and not see a senior citizen tottering gently toward old age.

I decided to take two 5×7 photos of Biasini and me competing last winter at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington Florida.

After we shook hands I placed them on the surgeon’s desk. “I don’t want to take up too much of your time,” I said.” But it is important for me that you know that this is my passion in life and this is who I am.” He looked at the photos and broke into a huge smile. “You are an equestrian. A dressage rider. What is your horse’s name?”

And so we went on from there. He drew diagrams and explained why gall stones cause gall bladder attacks, what  would be involved in the surgery to remove my gall bladder and that he usually advised people to take a week off work after the surgery.

“But for this,” he said and tapped one of the photos,” for this it will be six weeks.”

My surgery is booked for November 15. My pre-op visit is next week. I am not looking forward to it. But I will get to Florida, I will get back to riding and I will be able to train over the winter.

Today I took Biasini out to the grass field and did a few gallops around the loop trial in the forest and gave thanks for all  my blessings.Hacking-1445346

Here is a link to my post about the visit to the ER and my weekend in hospital and how my Oakcrest Farm family helped me through at a critical moment.

https://horseaddict.net/2017/08/23/theyre-in-my-corner/

 

45 Comments Add yours

  1. Good luck with the surgery. Hope you feel better soon.🐎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. Surgery is coming up on Nov. 15. It is not major and only involves the removal of a body part I do not need to live! I’ve been through worse. Thank you so much for your kindness.

      Like

      1. You are welcome. Good to know, and hope all goes as planned. Have a wonderful day. ☺

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, SO valuable to get to where the surgeon truly “gets” you!
    I’m so glad! Smart with the pictures, and oh my, he knew the discipline of dressage!!!!
    Fingers crossed for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Equestrians are made of tougher stuff than other people. I’ve lived through abdominal surgeries, fractures, and my auto-immune disease and I’m doing OK. I will say that I was always envious of the U.K. Health Care system until I read this. I pay an arm and a leg for my health care, but I’ve never had to convince a Dr to treat me properly. I would have just fired him and gone to someone else!

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      Sounds like we have a lot of health history in common. Just to clarify I live in Canada and so far our healthcare system has served me very well. I took the photos with me to give the surgeon an idea of what my life is all about. Had he not had a positive reaction, which he did, I would have left and gone to see a different surgeon. If I gave the impression in this post that I was not treated properly then I apologize as this was not what I intended.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very impressed, I see you do proper riding and you know what you are doing – unlike me! Had my gallbladder out and and it was sore for about a fortnight – immediately after I wanted them to put it all back in again, but then I was fine 🙂 Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I am sure it will be sore and I will just have to be patient. I’ve had a major abdominal surgeries before for rectal cancer but that was a long time ago and the memory has faded of that recovery. The important part is that I did recover so I will remind myself of that this time. All the best to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for the reblog!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. dray0308 says:

        You are welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. cigarman501 says:

    I hope your recovery is quick, satisfying and you find yourself back in the saddle soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. I still have a few weeks before my surgery so I am making the most of it with riding.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Best of luck for the surgery Anne! I love your approach to helping your surgeon see you rather than your diagnosis.
    One of the things that I love most about my job is finding out about the things that people do with their lives and have done in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you! Someone at the barn yesterday said she thought I was brave to post about something personal like my health situation. I told her that I do it because someone else might see it and be helped by it. Also I think it is important to let people know that a great many health situations can be worked around . I am fortunate to not have chronic illness or pain but I do have a chequered health history and I want to give people hope. Thanks again for your nice comment.

      Like

  7. Get well soon to be right back on your horse again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. I still have 4 weeks before mu surgery so I am making the most of it and also enjoying some beautiful fall weather and riding outside as much as possible.

      Like

  8. youngeventhorseblog says:

    Good luck with everything!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you! I’ll be having the surgery 4 weeks from today. So I’m going to be riding and enjoying it for those weeks and then a bit of time off to recover.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. youngeventhorseblog says:

        I’m sure your lovely boy will take very good care of you before you go and when you come back.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. anne leueen says:

        Yes he will. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Sorry for the medical challenge facing you. You are going to come through this well!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I am very optimistic that it will go well. Thank you for your good wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Most doctors would want to help their patients in this way and this is how things used to be when I grew up. Bringing in those photographs was a great visual prompt for your GP to see how passionate you are about your riding and now the timings will still support your dreams. An amazing blessing Anne and I will pray that all goes well with your surgery 😇💖 xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for the good wishes. I have been lucky with most of the surgeons who have operated on me. But as I get older I want to make sure they understand I am active and involved in sport more than perhaps your average Senior!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Nicole says:

    Good Luck with surgery and recovery, I will keep watching for updates on your winter season

    Liked by 1 person

  12. dprastka says:

    Prayers for a speedy recovery after your surgery. And I’m going to steal your idea the next time I go to the doctor and need to be laid up for recovery, bring photo’s of me on trail as a resume of what I need to do as soon as I’m healed. Most in health care do not understand horses or all that we do with them. You’ll be back in the saddle before you know it! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you! And thanks for the prayers too!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Alli Farkas says:

    Just a couple of very short and/or silly side notes–
    1) I hope your husband is not like my uncle, who while my aunt was still in the hospital after gall bladder surgery, went out in the back yard and dug up some nice big stones, took them to the hospital and said, “Look what they found in your gall bladder!”
    2) I will be having shoulder repair surgery next week, and the surgeon assigned to me just coincidentally happened to be the go-to guy for two universities with equine programs. He made a big point of assuring me he will get me back on my horse. Nothing like have a doctor who understands, right?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Haha, my husband had learned over the years with my surgeries it is best to not get too humorous! Best wishes for your shoulder repair. My hip surgeon told me that I absolutely would be back riding but it was forbidden to fall off!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Avery says:

    continue giving thanks! Here is to the other side of your surgery and getting back to the grass field and loop!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks so much Avery!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Austen says:

    What a great way to approach your doctor, and what a great doctor for giving you a realistic prognosis and plans. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you I appreciate your comment!

      Like

  16. sandyjwhite says:

    It is so unfortunate our resumes…be they medical, work, etc. precede us.
    It is a real challenge to be seen as who we are.
    I wish you surgery without complications and a speedy recovery!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks so much. I think the older we get the more aware we must be of how we are perceived in the medical world.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. sandyjwhite says:

        You are right about that.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. What an excellent idea you had for your surgeon! I am so glad for the way he responded. Prayers and blessings for an easy surgery and quick recovery!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you prayers are much appreciated. They have helped me through all my surgeries.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I hope it all does ok and wish you a speedy recovery once you’ve had the surgery. I love your idea of taking in photos to the doctors. I am aware that a lot of the time doctors do just see you as your medical records. Not that its there fault as they are so tight on time but just taking in a photo can give them a lot of information about you in seconds. 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. I’m sure that medical history becoming your “resume” is something you have experienced as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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