Core Lessons

Core Lessons

I learned some important lessons in New Orleans. The most important lesson was to completely trust what my patients were telling me about their bodies and the pain they were experiencing.

I had one patient in particular who came to see me six weeks after she had surgery with another physician. She brought in the operative report that had been dictated by the surgeon. The report said that she had a normal pelvis – no evidence of endometriosis. I had the report in one hand, stating that she had no endometriosis and her sitting across the desk from me saying, “Dr. Cook, I am not a doctor, but I live with my body and I am telling you something is wrong. Will you please do another surgery on me and look for endometriosis?” I looked at her and looked at the operative report. I agreed to perform a laparoscopy to double check for endometriosis. After all, if there was nothing, a diagnostic laparoscope is a brief procedure from which a patient recovers quickly.

I did the laparoscopy. She had endometriosis all over the place. I was astounded. I removed the endometriosis and her pain went away. What a success story! What if I had not trusted her? Many physicians would have started blaming the patient or would have thought her pain was originating from some other cause. In the years that I have listened to patients dealing with this disease, this lack of trust in the patient seems to be a significant reason why patients are invalidated and do not receive the correct treatment, thus remaining in pain. I believe that trusting the patient is a critical factor in caring for patients with endometriosis and pelvic pain.

You might ask, “How could a surgeon miss endometriosis like this?” It is easier than you might think. It may seem that looking for endometriosis is like opening a door to a room and looking inside to see whether there any pictures hanging on the wall, but it is not that simple. It is more like trying to find a quarter in a bed when the bed sheets are all messed up. Unless you pull the sheets straight, it is easy to miss the quarter. Endometriosis is a tumor, it can have a lot of different appearances, and you have to be methodical to find it all. I had refined my surgical techniques and was using wide excisional techniques to remove all of the endometriosis, in contrast to the burning or coagulation of endometriosis. Proper diagnosis and complete removal of the endometriosis provided success where others were unable to fix the problem. Unfortunately, complete surgical removal of the endometriosis is often not all that the patient requires. Pelvic pain and the health care issues that endometriosis patients often present require a multi-disciplinary approach to address all of their health care needs. This includes disciplines outside of traditional medicine as well as other medical disciplines, such as urology, GI, and pain management. Other disciplines may include physical therapy, Functional Medicine, nutrition counseling, mind/body medicine, sex-therapy acupuncture, and other treatments. How I treat patients is continually evolving as our understanding of endometriosis and related diseases develops.

With a thriving practice, I decided to move back to California, where I started my own practice with the vision of a new paradigm in healthcare. I wanted to create a health care center where women are listened to, their disease process is understood, and the whole range of effective treatment options are embraced and utilized. At Vital Health Endometriosis Center, women are respected and included in their health care decision-making process.

Summary
Core Lessons
Article Name
Core Lessons
Description
I learned some important lessons in New Orleans. The most important lesson was to completely trust what my patients were telling me about their bodies and the pain they were experiencing.
Comments (5)
Diane G.

I saw Dr Cook when the doctors in my hometown would not touch me and stated there was nothing they could do. Not only did Dr Cook listen to me and did the surgery but he gave me my life back and took away 99% of the pain, I am forever grateful to him and his staff.
Sincerely, Diane

colleen

Thank you for sharing this story, Dr. Cook. I have had more than one dr. tell me that the pain was all in my head. By the way, I did read the book that you suggested. Thanks.

Heidi

After having my first endo surgery in November, my dr told me I had stage 4 endo and wouldn’t touch it. He said I should have a full hysterectomy. This didn’t sit well with me and I sought out Dr. Cook for another opinion…during the first phone call his calm, soothing voice came through the line telling me he would do the surgery. That a hysterectomy was not necessary. I am now a little over 4 weeks post-op and Dr. Cook continues to be that calm, soothing voice on the other end of the phone working with me, listening to me, and answering all of my questions. I was terrified after my experiences with previous doctors and Dr. Cook has had to put up with my fears and questions, and yet even when I question him…he treats me with respect and patience. Thank you Dr. Cook for fighting for all of us women who suffer from this disease. Thank you for all you do!

Laura

I was also shocked when my doctor at home, said he didn’t want to do anymore surgeries. He was all like, someone else can, but I wont. His attitude and my feeling from him was, you are (me ) full of xxxx, you don’t need another surgery, and if I do, one it will just cause more trouble for me cause of your horrendous pain after all surgeries. Sorry, not my fault with that one, but how selfish and unethical is that?? He was supposed to be the best surgeon and pelvic laaroscopist in Alaska. So apparently that isn’t saying much and i am not a bit surprised. Thank you Dr. Cook for not making me feel bad for wanting a surgery, when I knew I needed it against any reports or previous data or previous doctor’s judgements.

joy

my endro is back for the 3rd. time. I’m looking forword to talking to Dr. Cook, cause the doc. i’m seeing is not wanting to go forword with treatment. I’m very thankful for all of your stories but most of all my inner spirit telling me to seek more info. and stumbling into this site.

Comments are closed.
Summary
Core Lessons
Article Name
Core Lessons
Description
I learned some important lessons in New Orleans. The most important lesson was to completely trust what my patients were telling me about their bodies and the pain they were experiencing.

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Summary
Core Lessons
Article Name
Core Lessons
Description
I learned some important lessons in New Orleans. The most important lesson was to completely trust what my patients were telling me about their bodies and the pain they were experiencing.