Women and Pain

I read multiple books on vacation in the last few weeks. One of them was written by Fred’s partner’s wife, Francesca Grossman, called Not Weakness, Navigating the Culture of Chronic Pain, which came out in April. An incredibly well-written personal book that follows her story and a group of women living with pain.

As more information about women’s health comes to light, her timing in this book is spot on. I happened to catch Sasheer Zamata on Instagram discussing how some period pain can be as painful as having a heart attack. But women get up, go to work, take care of the kids, and take care of their lives while having period pain. Can you imagine if men had this monthly pain? Ummm…no.

The healthcare system has not given women the respect we deserve. Francesca writes about her chronic pain, starting with Crohn’s disease at nineteen. She writes about doctors who don’t listen to their patients and chalk it up to complaining, being depressed, or being weak.

When my sister was born, she cried all the time. My Mother took her to the doctor a few times, and the doctor told my Mom she was overwhelmed by having two children. She knew something was wrong and took her to another doctor, who discovered that my sister was born with a dislocated hip. This was something more common at that time. My sister was almost a year old when someone finally figured it out.

I have had my share of medical issues. One was when I was younger with my right arm, and the doctor listened to my pain, although he couldn’t see anything because MRIs weren’t available then. It is impressive, considering I was only sixteen, and he believed me.

As I began menopause, I started having new health issues. It took four years and a four-day hospital before an incredibly brilliant doctor who does not believe in coincidences put all those moving parts together. At one point, I had gone to see one of the top disease specialists at NYU. I was trying to understand why I kept getting different illnesses. He just said, these things happen, no matter how hard I pressed. It ends up he should have looked under the hood.

Hopefully, AI can take our data, regardless of male or female, and look deeper into our medical issues that create pain or illness. The world of medicine is changing, and considering we are all getting older, it is a positive shift for everyone.