Private Medical Care For Peace Of Mind
So, let’s rewind a few years. I was 37 when I started to have many odd symptoms. I had read many a story on Menopause and had been told by friends and family that it can be somewhat of a rollercoaster ride from start to finish.
After visiting the doctor several times about the way I was feeling, they decided to carry out a routine blood test. It may sound a little odd but when woman know something is wrong, we know, instinct kicks in.
The phone call that came when results day were in was one that threw me of my feet. I remember it well, the feeling of hanging onto every word of the doctor, hoping that at any time he would say, “we will retest you as it may be wrong”? Nope, it didn’t come.
My dinner that night was a bowl full of Menopause, not spaghetti Bolognese, Menopause!! Yup, it didn’t really go down as well as I would have liked.
Off I went the following week to sit face to face to discuss what the plan was going to be. I’m still in shock at this point but hey, surely ide feel better soon with medication, right?
HRT, otherwise known as Hormone Replacement Therapy was offered, as I guessed it would be. I’ve never been a fan of medication, so for me, this was like, hmmm what do I do now?
The discussion was straightforward, I needed to take the pills to function properly and to stop the possible risks of Cancer, Heart Disease, Osteoporosis and high Cholesterol as I age. This means I would have to take them for at least 13 years until I hit the ripe age of 50.
The other options were to go all herbal, which I do believe works for millions of woman around the world. I decided to go with option 1, what could possibly go wrong? I would have more oestrogen for my hair and nails, ide hopefully be able to sleep better and my feelings would settle down gradually, just maybe ide get back to normal.
A good few months in, the pills really wasn’t working for me, so off I went to the doctors again. This time I had the oestrogen patches and a coil offered, even though I was sterilized, apparently you can’t have one without the other due to cancer risks.
I wasn’t keen, to be honest, but what do you do, the doctors know the best ide like to think! After a year of the coil and patches, I sadly came to realize they were not right for me. I can’t begin to explain the effects of progesterone on my body.
The amount of reading I did was crazy, book after book, I researched people online to gather thoughts and views on their medication for menopause, and still, the doctors in the back of my head, going round in circles. I was on that famous rollercoaster of hell ide been warned about.
Step three, again back to the doctors, this time there was nothing. I had tried several drugs a coil and patches that ranged from 25 up to 75. I was not sure if I was hearing right at this point, the thought of possible heart disease, Osteoporosis and Cancer scared me to death.
How could I be going through this torture at 37? I felt I had nowhere else to go, no one to ask, it was like a dead end road of, “well, you have tried several types of medication, maybe go and have a think of where or what you want to try next”? I wasn’t the doctor, how on earth would I know what to do next!
All I did know was, I wasn’t me. I felt the need to dive into the herbal side of things, you know, check out the options. Online we found a lot of remedies for menopause, which was great although I wasn’t sure if they were for me, so I decided against them.
Whilst time was passing by and every day was a struggle, I wasn’t offered any follow-up appointments with the doctor to check how I was going, nothing at all, not even a phone call. The knew I had gone away to think and quite frankly knew I was at my witts end with not knowing what to do next.
As you do, when your not in the right frame of mind you get along with it, thinking ok, so that’s me screwed. I had been through hell with medications and had countless days and nights worrying about my health.
I eventually accepted the fact that everything was on the decline, going downhill so to speak. My energy was non-existent, I wasn’t sleeping, and life, in general, was just flat. Its a bit like a blurry screen someone pulls over your face and you’re behind it, waiting to return back to the person you once were, being able to see more clearly the future ahead.
Not long after my menopause began I started to have severe back pain, what was this? was that menopause as well? as they do say you feel aches and pains much more when in the menopause, great, something else.
Doctor after doctor and one x-ray later, much later, like a year later and after being told twice I had Meralgia Paresthetica and to sit on a rubber ring, which I must say were extremely comfy, I was much worse with only physiotherapy as a form of help.
I’ve never felt so out of shape with such a lack of help ever. I totally lost trust, and the heart to keep plodding back and forth which was now in total three years. I had hormones coming out of my ears, a back that was severe with all the added bonus of pins and needles, shooting pain and a sore Coccyx, christ almighty I was 40 and a wreck.
Alongside all the health issues, I was dealing with organising our relocation abroad to Spain, a task in itself for sure. This had been on the cards for years and was coming around fast.
The thought of moving abroad was amazing. The weather to me was a godsend in itself. The freedom to spend more time outdoors and see and live in a whole new way of life, we couldn’t wait.
In early 2018 we had made our move and were loving every minute of it, I then began to think, Healthcare. We had already discussed what we would do about this prior to the move. We would go private.
We signed up with Sanitas, Spain’s premier private medical insurance provider. That’s where I began to arrange tests for my back pain which was still severe and to see if I could again sort out my hormones once and for all.
I was offered blood tests and an X-ray to start with. She could see my back was not great and I was in a lot of pain. Blood tests in Spain take 24 hours, its truly amazing, already a huge difference as regards to waiting times.
Test results back and of course my FSH levels were sky high and a reading of high cholesterol, hmmm not great. You can read my other blog here on healthy eating with cholesterol.
The X-ray was next, the results were instant, it was incredible. I’ve never had that before, normally its a weeks wait. The doctor confirmed I had a herniated disc and arranged for an MRI scan.
I was given the scan appointment that same day for the following week. The day arrived and it was time to get this done. As suspected it was way more than just a herniated disc, it was Osteoarthritis in my spine and a herniated disc, a double whammy!!
The results of the MRI was back with me with a CD with images within 48 hours, incredible. Finally, an answer to my pain.
My hormones were investigated fully in a short time and a plan of action was arranged including a bone density test.,which I am hoping is normal.
Its been a hell journey for all of us. It’s only now I can start to get on track again. My back will only get worse as I get older but I now know what’s wrong and also how to deal with it and help myself every day with exercise.
I can’t stress enough how going private has helped me tackle my issues one by one. The stress is taken out of it by not having to wait months on end for treatment or even an appointment.
The cover enabled me to book appointments, be seen and to have results back fast, from start to finish, 12 weeks is all it took to get me back on track.
When it comes to health, we worry and we wonder what’s best, we all have different opinions on where and how we should be treated and by who. It’s a personal situation. All I know is, I was back and forth for years trying to get help and it took me to move to Spain to get real help.
You might ask, “Why didn’t you go private in the UK”? well, the short answer is, in Spain, it is more affordable and the area we lived in the UK was not close enough to any private hospitals.
We didn’t move to Spain for healthcare alone, we moved because it was our dream to live a healthier life abroad.
The NHS is limited and stacked out with patients, it’s rushed and health care is not 100%, it is what it is, I’m honestly glad that I and my family are no longer a part of it.
I now have longer than 5 minutes of doctor time per appointment, I am under no pressure to get out what’s wrong and leave again.
Sometimes you have to take your health in your own hands and do what you have to do to get real medical care. I’m so glad we did, its time to now start moving forward for us.