The Mighty Logo

My Anger at Being Denied Medical Treatment Because of My Gender

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

When a man is angry about a perceived injustice, it is said that he is “righteous.” When a woman is similarly angry, it is said that she is “crazy” or “emotional.” Doubting someone’s sanity and denying them their voice, angry or not, is a level of abuse that I am not willing to accept in my life. I spent far too many years believing that garbage, years that could have been much better spent not trying to secure my place in a mythological afterlife. I was accepting suffering as a must-have in order to gain entry. I justified my own abuse as necessary.

We live in a country where women are considered less than men. No part of men is regulated by the government. They do not experience someone denying them care based on their personal feelings or laws set in place to “protect” women from themselves. I am not willing to accept this new reality. This is not the 1950s when a doctor would tell the husband about the wife’s illness, and tell the woman to just rest and let the men discuss the next step.

I am angry and rightfully so. I am done with people calling me a murderer. I spent 20 years of my life caring for others and saving lives. The first time someone called me that, I was a sitting State Representative; it was a teamster from Vermont who said that I needed to cut my salary, not the budget. If you live in NH, you know just how stupid that sounds, but imagine someone yelling “murderer” at you while being ignorant. Reflecting on more recent events, imagine it coming from a stupid chatroom during a live stream. In my world, women can hold their own with other women and do not need a man to race in to defend them. It is, after all, the 21st century.

I remember being 22 and being told that I would likely never have a child. I was put on birth control pills to try to control the ovarian cysts and endometriosis, as these issues were destroying the reproductive system that I had planned to use. I vividly remember having a pharmacist announce that he would not fill my prescription. I was humiliated. It was “against” his beliefs. I was crying, and I explained that I wasn’t on medication to prevent pregnancy; I’m on it for endometriosis. He said that he didn’t care, and he wouldn’t give me the medication that my doctor had sent me there for. At this point, I was in the hospital every other month with ruptured ovarian cysts, and other cysts hanging out inside of me, causing every single move to result in agonizing pain.

Something similar happened later after my son was born when I would be denied a hysterectomy in my 30s because I might change my mind later and want another child. What I really wanted was to not suffer in horrific pain and internal bleeding anymore. A surgery had discovered adenomyosis of the uterus. My oven was not healthy, and why the hell would I want to carry knowing that? I could choose to not create a life that could be born with lifelong medical struggles. No way was I willing to risk it. Too bad the doctors didn’t care what my reasoning was. Eventually, in my mid-40s, my doctor said they regretted not doing it when I wanted to have a hysterectomy. Now that I had hormone-positive breast cancer. Now that I am too great a surgical risk and it can’t be safely done. You just can’t make this up and none of it needed to be. If only science had been followed, and my life had been held worth protecting. My existing life should be valued. It should be held in more value than the “maybe someday” life that doesn’t even exist.

I know that I’m sick with incurable illnesses, and I have been trying to keep things rather smooth around me. It happens from time to time that I pick up people who expect me to be someone other than myself, after asking me for help because of who I am. (Yeah, it’s a head shaker at times.) They then judge me in the harshest of ways, for being me. I don’t do well when ganged up on, especially when a man is threatening towards me. That is something that I absolutely cannot have in my circle. That’s the kind of thing that gave me C-PTSD in part. It’s a work in progress to be able to walk away and not fight.

I am angry, and I am not going to remain silent, or rein in my righteousness to suit your opinion on how a woman should “behave.” Save that nonsense for your own children. Those old fashion misogynistic traits are exactly what we don’t need in this country.

Women get angry, and that does not make them less than human, nor does it mean that they should be controlled, subdued, and silent. It does not make a woman stupid, unhinged, crazy, or whatever other descriptors you want to throw in that are never expressed toward an equally angry man.

In some way, my life affords me the ability to choose my circle, and how I spend my time. I recently gave something a chance that was not good for me. In the end, I realized that it is exactly what I need to say away from.

It’s sad, really, but too many times I have been so let down by those that treat me differently in their circles, just because I don’t have their genitalia. My balls are on the inside, but they are just as big as yours, trust me.

I also get to be that voice that other women can’t be if they want to stay employed. They are gagged for fear of losing their livelihoods. I am that voice for them. If anything, you have given me a reason to be louder by proving me right. I’ve said all of this before, and I have no intention of ever backing down. I don’t just “bark” at people. I actually get in the arena and fight. Nothing changes if all you do is yell into the wind. You have to be willing to put the time, money, and effort into doing the actual work to make the changes and laws that you want to see. I’ve done this since 1989, the year that I was awarded a Massachusetts State Citation for working to save lives. Raise your hand if you have done that now, or in the past. If you can’t, well, sit down and let those willing to get their hands dirty get it done. Maybe take notes, you might learn something.

Getty image by Cosmaa

Originally published: November 15, 2022
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home