An Open Letter to Dr. Drew, Who Thinks Endometriosis and Interstitial Cystitis Are ‘Garbage Bag’ Disorders
Dear Dr. Drew,
You realize that you've seriously ticked off hundreds of thousands of women worldwide, right? You can't be THAT clueless, can you?
What did you mean when you said Endometriosis and Interstitial Cystitis were "garbage bag" disorders? I know the topic was brought up on your show Loveline last week, and I've been thinking about your comments a lot. A guy calls in to your show because he's worried about his girlfriend and the pain that's ruining her quality of life. He tells you she's been diagnosed with Endometriosis and Interstitial Cystitis, and instead of offering kind or thoughtful advice, you spit out this gem:
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...
Then you went on mocking the caller and his girlfriend, suggesting that the pain she feels is all in her head, that she must have been to lots of doctors to get her diagnoses because Endometriosis and IC aren't REAL conditions. Crazy women, amirite? LOL! HAHAHAHA!
Really sound medical advice, "Doctor" Drew. I know you've offered a half-hearted "apology" since making your idiotic comments last week, but I don't get it. Do you have any idea what it's like to live with Endometriosis and Interstitial Cystitis?
I do. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis when I was 16. SIXTEEN. I've had about ten different surgeries to remove ovarian cysts and Endometriosis. After each surgery, I would be shown photos of the problems my doctor had corrected: Endometriosis that covered pretty much every organ in my pelvis, scar tissue that literally knotted my intestines and Fallopian tubes, ovarian cysts filled with blood and surrounded by layer upon layer of adhesions. Fun stuff. REAL stuff.
You may find that hard to believe--my doctor found REAL problems. The pain I felt wasn't all in my head. My pain was caused by a real disease with actual pathology, not a bunch of enchanted unicorns and rainbows and leprechauns. Why would I make something like what I suffered up in my head? I wouldn't wish Endometriosis on my worst enemy. It's hell.
I had a hysterectomy when I was 28. After just 12 years of pain and surgeries and pain and surgeries, I decided I'd had enough. I was fortunate enough to be able to have a child of my own--before she was born, I'd been told the damage from Endometriosis, cysts, and ahesions would prevent me from ever getting pregnant. DAMAGE, dude--actual damage--not something I made up. Not some "garbage bag" sob story--there was so much actual damage to my body I was told I'd never be able to conceive.
You realize there are thousands of women out there who are just like me, right? Women whose bodies are irreparably damaged by Endometriosis, women who live every day in pain, women who want to have children but cannot because their bodies are permanently damaged by a disease you dismiss as a "garbage bag" disorder?
Do you even know what that's like? Do you know how it feels to see your friends and family members getting pregnant while knowing you can't? Do you know how hard it is to touch their pregnant bellies or hold their sweet newborns and realize that your body will never let you have the same thing? Do you know what it's like to live with the physical pain and emotional pain Endometriosis and infertility causes? To feel that as a woman, you are broken? To have your spirit broken by the pain, too?
My guess is no--no, you do not.
Here's another fun fact for you: Interstitial Cystitis, another one of your so-called "garbage bag" disorders, is also an actual medical condition. I know because I have IC. An IC patient's quality of life is comparable to that of someone with cancer or end-stage renal failure. Again, "Doctor" Drew, this is a REAL medical condition. Maybe you skipped the Urology classes in med school because you were too busy thinking about how you could make millions "helping" drug-addicted celebrities on reality television... I don't know, and I don't care. I do know, though, that Interstitial Cystitis is a REAL medical condition.
It's debilitating. Imagine how you'd feel if your bladder were ulcerated, cracked, and bleeding. Imagine your bladder looking like THIS. How do you think you'd feel?
NOT GREAT, huh? I could go on and on about my personal struggles and what it's like to live with Endometriosis and Interstitial Cystitis. I could fill an entire GARBAGE BAG with images from the surgeries I've had, but it's not worth it.
You obviously lack the compassion and empathy required to be a good doctor, so trying to reason with you is a lost cause. You'd probably respond with some ridiculous soliloquy about how I'm just another crazy woman faking an imaginary disease. You have no clue, dude, so just stick to your reality TV and relationship advice and leave the real medical opinions to the doctors who diagnose and treat Endometriosis and IC every day.