These “celeb doctors” are at it again. (Link to video at the bottom of this post.)
On Loveline last night with Dr. Drew Pinsky, a man from Florida called in presumably with a question about his fiancee. He states that his fiancee has endometriosis, IC, lactose intolerance and stomach issues and, before he can really even ask a question, he is interrupted by Drew and Crew with the following statements, which are both disgusting and damaging:
“These are what we call sort of functional disorders. Everything you mentioned, everything you mentioned, are things that actually aren’t discernibly pathological. They’re sort of — they’re what we call ‘garbage bag disorders,’ when you can’t think of anything else, you go ‘eh, well it’s that.’ So it then makes me question why is she so somatically preoccupied that she’s visiting doctors all the time with pains and urinary symptoms and pelvic symptoms, and then that makes me wonder, was she sexually abused growing up?” The caller goes on to say that his fiancee received these diagnoses before they were together, and Drew takes this smug, laughing tone, and tells the caller “TRUST ME, she saw *lots* of doctors before you were together in order to get those diagnoses. So, was she sexually abused growing up?” (Turns out she was.) Drew is gleeful, his staff laughs. “It only took 16 minutes” to get this “proper” diagnosis from Pinsky, states a female member of his crew. Drew presses on and insists that “unexplained pelvic pain” is often associated with sexual abuse because that’s the only way the body “can tell its tale of woe.” He then tells the called his fiancee “really needs to see a trauma specialist, and not a urologist. So really work on that.” The end the call without actually hearing a question or issue from the caller. Mike then proceeds to joke that another way a person can have unexplained pelvic pain is by having sex with [that evening’s guest] Alan Thicke.
All this happens in a matter of less than three minutes. He doesn’t even know why the Florida man called in; no question is asked, just background on his fiancee. LESS THAN THREE MINUTES. That’s all it takes for a radio show doctor to plant seeds of doubt in the mind of a fiancee, to dismiss a woman who has suffered and is about to now question herself and her mental health, and to reinforce the horrific, damaging ideas that anything causing pain in women comes down to being preoccupied with being sick and as a result of sexual violence. And these statements will stick, because Drew Pinsky makes himself known and visible and somehow “trustworthy.”
So much for “do no harm.”
I don’t deny that sexual violence causes damage to body and mind. I don’t disagree that she could benefit from seeing a specific counselor. I don’t even deny that some people really are preoccupied with being sick, and that is its own disorder.
But I began suffering with endo at age 10, before any sexual violence in my life. Can you tell me that a child just entering puberty has a preoccupation with being sick, Drew Pinsky? Really? What is your quick-hit radio doctor opinion on why, at age 12, I would be incapacitated during my period, to the point of fainting from pain, blood loss, clots? And can you explain the burns and lesions and adhesions our doctors took pictures of when they were inside our pelvis, trying to cut our organs apart from each other, trying to save our intestines and our fertility and give us a better quality of life for, at best, six months? Have you been hiding in our corners all this time, knowingly watching as pain meds fail and fertility treatments fail and birth controls can’t bring our monthlies (or daily pains) to heel?
OF COURSE YOU WEREN’T. Because you are not our doctor. You are not the doctor(s) of the fiancee you were so quick to judge and toss aside. You are not a women’s pain specialist or an expert in endo, adeno, IC or PCOS. You haven’t seen it or lived it.
We have. Millions and millions of us.
We have seen our photos and videos from surgery. They’re out there on YouTube if you haven’t. We have been to doctor after doctor — yes, including therapists — and suffered the consequences every day of being in pain and trying to function. Being in so much pain that even yoga pants hurt to the touch. Missing work and school because we can’t get out of the fetal position and if we do, blood is rushing down our legs. Missing sex. Miscarrying. Having very real complications, like endometriomas (which cause my right ovary to explode), and GI inflammation. Endometriosis and interstitial cystitis both have very real, tangible, observable pathologies. Just because Drew Pinsky doesn’t have experience with it doesn’t mean it is a “garbage bag” diagnosis. And since you don’t know what you’re talking about, Dr. Drew, maybe you should just shut up before you do more harm than you already have.
And I say, tell him so. Tell him now. On Twitter (@drdrew and @loveline). On his Facebook page. In your local newspapers and on blogs and the news.
I’m about to post to his page, and Twitter. Please do the same and tweet at me too when you do. (@endosucks) I’ve already posted in the Endo Sucks! Facebook group, on.fb.me/endosucks.
We deserve so much better.
Here is the link to the page and video; it begins at 30 minutes in. http://www.lovelineshow.com/b/Loveline-Live-w/-Alan-Thicke-04/24/2014/820367087189488288.html#commentsection