I got some bad news today

Let me start by giving you a little history of my experience with doctors and diabetes. From diagnosis (at age 3) until last year (with only a brief hiatus when I was young) I had been going to the same doctor. He technically was not an endocrinologist, but was a pediatrician who specialized in children with diabetes. He was my lifesaver. He was also the doctor at the camp I’ve gone to since I was 7. In fact, he’s pretty much the reason why I started going to camp in the first place. He got me on the pump. He was amazing. I’m pretty sure I ended up being his oldest patient ever. I was 22 when I had my last appointment with him. And the reason I stopped going to him was because he was retiring and downsizing his patient load. We ended every appointment with a hug. He came to my wedding. We danced at my wedding. He was/is very important to me! I trusted him with my diabetes for nearly 20 years.

The timing kind of ended up working out perfectly. Jeff and I were engaged so I knew I was going to be moving to Virginia.

I, however, was very worried about trying to find an endocrinologist to treat my diabetes. I had actually seen endos in the past but only for my thyroid because I was diagnosed with Grave’s disease a few years ago which is a form of hyperthyroidism. None of my experiences with these doctors were very pleasant. The first doc I saw was ok even though she had a very thick accent and was hard to understand at times. Everything she said did make sense according to all of the research I had done right after my Grave’s diagnosis. I lost that doctor because something happened with her visa and she was no longer able to practice. The last thing I want is to have my doctor constantly changing. It’s much better to have a doc who knows your patterns and your history.

The next doc I saw was really freaking scary. He was very old. He told me he doesn’t “do” insulin pumps. He also almost poked my eyes out when measuring my eyes (enlarged eyes is a symptom of Grave’s). No really, he almost poked out my eyes. He made the measuring thing so small that instead of touching the very outside corner of my eyes, it was going to go directly into my pupils. The look on my mom’s face was classic. And I’m pretty sure I backed away pretty dramatically. He also only took this measurement once so I’m really not sure how he would be able to tell if my eyes were changing in size.

So, the point is, I was really not so excited about having to find a full time endocrinologist to take care of my diabetes.

However, I pretty much I hit jackpot (again). I did some research online and ended up finding an incredible doctor! He has a private practice here in Charlottesville which is co-owned by an internal medicine doctor. It is a small practice. There’s no revolving door of doctors. I was even more excited when I found out that this endo is actually diabetic himself! At my first appointment we discussed different types of pumps and meters and CGMS. He told me about all kinds of research that’s going on. I was in diabetic heaven! He also hooked me up with every lab test necessary. I had never been tested for a Vitamin D deficiency before and it turns out I am actually deficient in Vitamin D. My new doc explained to me that there are studies going on linking D deficiencies to autoimmune disorders including diabetes and Grave’s disease. I felt like so much of my life had been explained. I looked at the timing of my diagnoses and the depression I tend to go into in the winter time. It just felt really good that it could be the answer to my life long unanswered question of “Why me?”

Jeff and I have also been going to the other doc in the office as our primary care physician. He is simply… amazing! He has helped us so much. Jeff hurt his back about a month after the wedding and has been on medical leave. And our doc has done literally everything possible to make Jeff feel better and make him as healthy as possible.

Jeff had an appointment with our PCP today and I tagged along (like I usually do because it’s like visiting family). In the middle of the appointment our doc says, “Ooooooh I have some bad news for you guys… We’re moving.” I felt my heart hit the floor! It turns out because of some changes to the Virginia State Constitution in recent years which are incredibly discriminatory, our doctors have to move because their lawyer doesn’t think their business and finances are safe. Virginia apparently is very harshly and extremely against gay marriages, civil unions, or any kind of domestic partnerships to the point where they are driving all of the gay couples out of Virginia. Lovely.

So, my doctors are leaving me for a state that will welcome them with open arms. And I don’t blame them. But now I am stuck going through the process all over again. I’ve been pretty depressed all day. I’m really hoping I can get lucky for a third time but I know the chances of that are slim. I am constantly hearing stories from other diabetics about how they hate their endos. Not to mention I will likely have a PCP who is clueless about diabetes. Ugh.

I really wish the Virginia House of Delegates and most of the Commonwealth’s voters weren’t bigoted jerks. I really wish they would realize how their stupid and discriminatory amendment was hurting more people than they realize! Charlottesville is losing two of its best doctors and it’s solely the fault of the awful amendment.

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2 Responses to I got some bad news today

  1. Lynsey says:

    That is just so sickening. Bigotry is making the quality of care suffer. Chances are, there’s more than two doctors who are being driven out — and this will hurt everyone.

    I’d email this post to my senators and representatives at both the state and national level if I were you. There’s just no reason for this to happen.

    I hope you find another great endocrinologist and primary care physician. I’ve been through similar frustrations growing up in small town North Dakota — a great doctor would move to town for a year or two and then move somewhere so they could make more money, give their children better opportunities, or simply be more accepted in their personal lives.

  2. Sanda Miller says:

    Colleen, that’s horrible.

    I’m so sorry– for those two doctors and for you.

    Some time ago, we had a scare when my husband’s company changed their health insurance benefits– initially, it seemed that Joseph’s endo was not covered on the new plan.

    I was frantic– Joseph has been seeing her since he was hospitalized at diagnosis. We’re all very attached to her– she is, in a word, amazing.

    Thankfully, it was a false alarm. But the incident gave me a taste of what it will feel like when our son outgrows his wonderful pediatric endo.

    Hang in there — and I hope you find another great endo soon.

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