My Story: Searching for Doctors Who Will Not Dismiss My Symptoms

By Saniya Ghanoui —

CK shares her experience with finding the right doctor to diagnose a heart problem she was having in the summer.


OBOS Today: So just to start us off if you could please introduce yourself just tell me your name and a little bit about why you wanted to talk about heart health today? 

CK: So, I’m Claire. I am a rising senior. I’m from Connecticut and I go to school in Ohio, and I wanted to talk about heart health because, the topic sort of caught my attention as I was like sort of working through like a mystery diagnosis thing regarding like my heart last summer, and I was really frustrated by my experiences, and when I learned that they were a little bit more universal for women, it sort of put it in context for me so yeah. 

OBOS Today: Wow um, can you tell me a little bit more about like what like what your heart problems were if you knew any, yeah, if you know? 

CK: Um so basically what started happening is when I was running and like I normally run a lot. I’ve never really had any issues. I would, like, start to lose feeling in like my legs and like get just very, very quick dizzy spells. And so initially, I did Zoom meeting with the doctor that had actually like seen me when I was a baby by some like crazy coincidence, and so he, he ordered a test, and those results came back. Like nothing really stood out. I had to call the office itself to you know get the results and then even then they wouldn’t entertain my requests to get like the you know physical data back. I never actually spoke with the doctor, but the like nurse or patient representative was very, very dismissive, and it was frustrating for me because something weird is happening with my body and I don’t know what it is. 

And so that was within like one hospital system, and then I was able to get sort of like a secondary evaluation through a doctor that like specialized in kind of like funky, funky stuff at I think like the best hospital in the country for cardiology, and that appointment was in person, and I felt like, even though he was also male, just I was better able to articulate like how I was feeling. And throughout the process, I had sort of been you know told by internet searches that this is probably just some you know manifestation of things anxiety, and again they did a lot, a lot of tests and nothing showed up.

But at least in that experience, I felt like, you know, me being able to be there and advocate for myself helped a lot in terms of like getting the information that I wanted and feeling like I was actually participating in the conversation rather than being passive. And then sort of when I looked into the broader realm of like how women are perceived, especially with like heart attacks and things being you know different and especially women of color that it just amplifies it so that’s kind of my experience, and I was very lucky to have kind of intel within the medical field and people to guide me, but it was still frustrating.