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emmaberry101

Obgyn And Convent?

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mantellata
Just FYI emmaberry - while I [u]totally[/u] understand your feelings at present (such exams are never pleasant) it is [u]totally[/u] normal for Sisters to go to doctors for such exams. If you are not in an area where many nuns in habit are present (and you have had the fortune of not needing such exams for other reasons) you may not have experienced this. In my experience however, people didn't even look at you twice when you were in the office waiting for examination. It's pretty normal, routine and all the rest.

My doctor told me that (as for the same reasons you mentioned) that I didn't need a PAP until I was 35.... but that was also after taking a look at my family history etc.... so it really is best to ask your physician about you in your own particular case. If it is recommended - no worries. It's normal. :)

If your nuns have any health insurance at all - a yearly PAP and breast exam is most often covered for women. So no extra charge to your community to ensure your basic health! :)

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Lilllabettt
Like I said. I consider myself fairly well acquainted with medical tests.

So I know that the broad "population based" recommendations are based on a cookie cutter average person and a lo of assumptions about that person. For example, they assume, among other things, that a woman who has reached puberty is, has been, or soon will be, sexually active.

Some important "educated and qualified" health professionals have lately decided that cookie cutter person does not need so many tests - the decisions about Mammograms, cervical cancer screenings for women, prostate cancer for men, there are others.

But that is besides the point. We are not cookie cutter people, and the thing to do is to find a doctor you trust and WHO WILL TRUST YOU. ( when you say you are not sexually active, for example.) Then you can decide together whether the "broad population" recommendations really are appropriate for you. Edited by Lilllabettt

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emmaberry
[quote name='mantellata' timestamp='1346641311' post='2477748']
Just FYI emmaberry - while I [u]totally[/u] understand your feelings at present (such exams are never pleasant) it is [u]totally[/u] normal for Sisters to go to doctors for such exams. If you are not in an area where many nuns in habit are present (and you have had the fortune of not needing such exams for other reasons) you may not have experienced this. In my experience however, people didn't even look at you twice when you were in the office waiting for examination. It's pretty normal, routine and all the rest.

My doctor told me that (as for the same reasons you mentioned) that I didn't need a PAP until I was 35.... but that was also after taking a look at my family history etc.... so it really is best to ask your physician about you in your own particular case. If it is recommended - no worries. It's normal. :)

[b]If your nuns have any health insurance at all - a yearly PAP and breast exam is most often covered for women. So no extra charge to your community to ensure your basic health![/b] :)
[/quote]

:eek: haha! Oh well, better jump into 'all that' sooner rather than later rather than letting the fear just multiply!

I go to the OBGYN quite often, and I am in a VERY Southern area (with all the typical stereotypes of the South). You'd be amazed some of the glares I got at 14 sitting in the waiting room. I wanted to wear a shirt that said "True Love Waits" just so they'd know I wasn't there for sexual/pregnancy-related purposes. Not a fun place to be when you have no ring on your finger and you are in 'the South,' so to speak.

My OBGYN is actually my main doctor that I go to for checkups..not sure if that is strange or not. Anyways, as kind as he is, and as much as I am not just plain scared of OBGYNs anymore...the pap smear is still just scary, as is the pelvic exam. Sex is not one of those things I was scared of when I discerned religious life, but as I grow closer to actually entering somewhere I am somewhat relieved that I will never have sex or children, in the purely biological sense, though for the first year of my discernment I kept telling God, "I want a husband (and sex) and kids!"

I guess even religious don't get a 'get out of jail free' card on those womanly checkups/exams/issues. Sometimes I wish God would say, "I want YOU to be a Sister!" by not giving a girl any typical mothering attributes (menses, etc)..but I would suppose that severely inhibit the whole free will thing concerning our vocations. It would make life easier in the convent though! Although, if God took away many of those female qualities, then Sisters would be asexual, therefore not really 'Brides of Christ.'

Nevermind-I'm now thoroughly convinced God knows what He is doing. Please ignore me.. :) Edited by emmaberry

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OnlySunshine
[quote name='emmaberry' timestamp='1346637055' post='2477728']
I have PCOS, which I have been treating with a very strict diet. Still, I have heard that it poses increased risk for ovarian cancer and things of that nature. I put all this on my application, but talking to Mother about it will definitely be the wise thing to do. The Roswell Clares are very poor, so they either A) go to a doctor who gives services pro bono (but he is probably not an OBGYN!) and they trust him to recommend them to an OBGYN/specialist when needed, or B) they wait until a condition is very serious and then seek (expensive) medical treatment.
[/quote]

I have PCOS, too, and this is a question I need to ask my prospective community if I am accepted. Fortunately, most of the Sisters are nurses in the order and they keep up to date on medications and medical needs, so I doubt they would go without necessary medical treatment.

My friend entered a Carmelite order back in 2009 and told me that the Sisters get yearly GYN physicals and pap smears. I asked her how they handled it and she said that one of the senior Sisters such as the Novice Mistress or Superior went along and stayed in the room to protect the Sister's rights and make sure nothing fishy happened. She said that she felt a little uncomfortable at first, but got used to it because she knew it was for her benefit. :)

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OnlySunshine
[quote name='emmaberry' timestamp='1346645468' post='2477771']
:eek: haha! Oh well, better jump into 'all that' sooner rather than later rather than letting the fear just multiply!

I go to the OBGYN quite often, and I am in a VERY Southern area (with all the typical stereotypes of the South). You'd be amazed some of the glares I got at 14 sitting in the waiting room. I wanted to wear a shirt that said "True Love Waits" just so they'd know I wasn't there for sexual/pregnancy-related purposes. Not a fun place to be when you have no ring on your finger and you are in 'the South,' so to speak.
[/quote]

I know what you mean! I went to the OB/Gyn at 19 even though I have never been active and felt uncomfortable being surrounded by pregnant and married women. But, my mom insisted that since we have so many cancers in our family history, it's best to keep up with the best healthcare. A few years ago (2010), my grandmother was diagnosed with endometrial/uterine cancer so my OB/Gyn told me that it is important to get yearly physicals to make sure I don't get it.

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Chiquitunga
[quote name='Chiara Francesco' timestamp='1346634137' post='2477710']Of course, I've come across a few communities (mostly Carmels) who all they wanted was a letter from your doctor saying that your health was either great, good or adequate and list, if any, health concerns or problems the woman had. No psych exam, no blood work, chest xray, etc. Very inexpensive, quick and easy to obtain![/quote]
This has been my experience of Carmel too. I was in a Carmel and only had to have a simple physical and statement good health to enter.. no psych exam, blood work (perhaps that, a simple blood test) chest xray or obgyn, etc.

At another Carmel I asked if they had health insurance and they said they didn't but had savings for that and that they were blessed to be not far from a Catholic hospital that would often offer them free services. They said the Sisters always have a Sister to accompany them. They (the Prioress) also said that they do not receive all the tests that ordinary people in the world do... which perhaps meant obgyn/other tests. I didn't think to ask at the time, but next time I will. Emmaberry, I'm in the same boat as you! Thanks for being brave enough to bring up the topic.

On another note, I know that it was the norm in the past for cloistered nuns to have doctors visit them and they could enter the enclosure (as has been mentioned already) rather than the nuns going out.. though I am sure sometimes they would have to. In Valparaiso at least, you don't have to go out to the dentist, as they have their own dental room in the enclosure, [url="http://www.thomasaquinas.edu/alumni/dentist-sisters-thomas-hart-dds-91"]http://www.thomasaqu...mas-hart-dds-91[/url] pretty sweet!! :like: Edited by Chiquitunga

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Antigonos
[quote name='emmaberry101' timestamp='1346626122' post='2477679']
My questions in this post contain somewhat adult content concerning the OBGYN, which is better suited for the 18+ board, but it's a topic relating more to VS. Read at your own discretion.

[spoiler]I am wondering if, in the convent, the Sisters are required to go get pelvic exams, mammograms, and OBGYN-related (or just woman related) checkups. Since they are not having children, I didn't know if they still needed all the things of that nature. On my application, my doctor deferred my pelvic exam and said, "You don't need those kinds of tests where you're going!" I thought that a bit odd-though admittedly I was relieved! I just think this must be mortifying for some of the Sisters who enter right out of high school .. I know it is a matter of health, but it still seems strange to think of a convent of Sisters loading up to go get their pap smears! I appreciate any information or advice you may have about these things, and May God reward you![/spoiler]
[/quote]

Unfortunately, being a virgin does not relieve a woman from gynecological problems [although obstetric problems are rare--giggle]. In fact, women who are sexually inactive have a different set of gyn problems in some ways that sexually active women are less liable to! And ALL women can get cervical, ovarian, or breast cancer although it is true that those with certain genetic markers for the latter two are much more liable than those without the gene. PCOS [polycystic ovary syndrome], uterine myomas [benign tumors of the uterus, which are hormonally dependent, and can bleed and cause pain], endometritis, menorrhagia [exceptionally heavy periods], metrorrhagia [frequent or irregular periods] and dysmenorrhea [painful menstruation], as well as all forms of vaginitis are conditions that all women can have, no matter whether they are cloistered nuns or wives and mothers. About the only condition that nuns should be free of is pregnancy :hehe2: and I wouldn't want to claim it's never happened in the two millennia the Church has been in existence :unsure: The current medical opinion about Pap smears is that they can be done every three years unless a woman has a history of an abnormal one, btw.

While it would be sensible for every community to have regular medical, dental, and gyn checkups for the sisters, I suppose it is one of those things that varies with the community.

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emmaberry
[quote name='MaterMisericordiae' timestamp='1346645960' post='2477776']
I know what you mean! I went to the OB/Gyn at 19 even though I have never been active and felt uncomfortable being surrounded by pregnant and married women. But, my mom insisted that since we have so many cancers in our family history, it's best to keep up with the best healthcare. A few years ago (2010), my grandmother was diagnosed with endometrial/uterine cancer so my OB/Gyn told me that it is important to get yearly physicals to make sure I don't get it.
[/quote]
Your poor grandmother! I hope she is alright.

[quote name='Chiquitunga' timestamp='1346649227' post='2477798']
This has been my experience of Carmel too. I was in a Carmel and only had to have a simple physical and statement good health to enter.. no psych exam, blood work (perhaps that, a simple blood test) chest xray or obgyn, etc.

At another Carmel I asked if they had health insurance and they said they didn't but had savings for that and that they were blessed to be not far from a Catholic hospital that would often offer them free services. They said the Sisters always have a Sister to accompany them. They (the Prioress) also said that they do not receive all tests that ordinary people in the world do... which perhaps meant obgyn/other tests. I didn't think to ask at the time, but next time I will. Emmaberry, I'm in the same boat as you! Thanks for being brave enough to bring up the topic.

On another note, I know that it was the norm in the past for cloistered nuns to have doctors visit them and they could enter the enclosure (as has been mentioned already) rather than the nuns going out.. though I am sure sometimes they would have to. In Valparaiso at least, you don't have to go out to the dentist, as they have their own dental room in the enclosure, [url="http://www.thomasaquinas.edu/alumni/dentist-sisters-thomas-hart-dds-91"]http://www.thomasaqu...mas-hart-dds-91[/url] pretty sweet!! :like:
[/quote]
I wish my application had been so 'easy'-I don't want to imply that yours was a breeze, but I felt like the Roswell application was the equivalent of a modern college application. I was happy to do it, but that's great that your former community didn't require a psych test or other extras. You must have seemed very sane. :hehe:

That's wonderful about the Carmel near a Catholic hospital. In A Right to Be Merry, Mother Francis mentioned the nearby nursing sisters at the hospital, and I think the PCCs had many operations done for free. The Sisters (and the Catholic hospital) are gone now, but that is certainly an ideal situation for the nuns!

I don't know where you find these articles but I am grateful! I would have never come across that on my own. How interesting-all those Catholic dentists. The 'going out vs having doctors visit' debate is something that makes me realize how true it is that we are called to a particular community! I love that the Roswell PCCs are so poor that they cannot install a room for dental exams, so they have to leave the enclosure for that. Then again, I am sure (one of the many!) girls called to the JMJ Carmel love that the nun's built that to reinforce their enclosure so they wouldn't have to go out.

Also, no need to thank me on the thread. My main fear was whether I would get a PM from an admin saying that the topic was inappropriate for VS! VS really is such a supportive and understanding place, and everyone is so wonderful here! There aren't many places on the internet where I would've felt comfortable asking these questions. No, I am not paid by dUst. :P

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somethingfishy
Women who have never been pregnant have an increased risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer. And while breast cancer is often curable, the last two don't have such a good prognosis and once you have symptoms it's often too late to do much. So get your annual exam, because it's a lot less scary than dying of cancer.

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OnlySunshine
[quote name='emmaberry' timestamp='1346651575' post='2477807']
Your poor grandmother! I hope she is alright!
[/quote]

She is, thank God! We didn't learn about her diagnosis until after her surgery because she is the kind of person that tries to keep everything about her health (and my grandfather's) a secret. It drives us crazy! She doesn't realize that prayerful support is so important in those instances. She had a radical hysterectomy and radiation therapy and has been in remission ever since. She was 75 when the diagnosis was made.

Cysts run in our family, too. It seems everyone gets them at one time or another. :hehe2:

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Antigonos
It would also seem quite possible that in communities situated in urban areas it would be not too difficult to find a female OB/GYN. In rural areas it might be more difficult, but even so, with help from the local diocese, it might be possible to find a woman doctor, especially a Catholic doctor, willing to make a trip every so often [once or twice a year] to the convent to check everyone out. Obviously, in serious conditions, like cancer, the earlier detected, the higher the percentage of cure. Certified nurse-midwives can take Pap smears, as well as doctors, btw.

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krissylou
[quote name='emmaberry' timestamp='1346645468' post='2477771']
I go to the OBGYN quite often, and I am in a VERY Southern area (with all the typical stereotypes of the South). You'd be amazed some of the glares I got at 14 sitting in the waiting room. I wanted to wear a shirt that said "True Love Waits" just so they'd know I wasn't there for sexual/pregnancy-related purposes. Not a fun place to be when you have no ring on your finger and you are in 'the South,' so to speak.
[/quote]

Could you use this as an opportunity to pray in solidarity with teenagers who are pregnant and alone and scared?

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Chiquitunga
[quote name='cmariadiaz' timestamp='1346633992' post='2477709']
In the last religious community that I was in, there was a young sister who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I don't think she was more than 30.

OBGYN visits are part of normal routine preventative care, even if not sexually active. And there are other exams (ex: transvaginal ultrasounds) that can be used to diagnose problems, particularly involving the ovaries.

I think the key here is to pay attention to your body. The sister who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer ignored what her body was telling her, because that particular community really wasn't too accepting of anyone who got sick. She didn't speak up -- and unluckily the consequences was cancer that was at a more advanced stage than if she had spoken up when something with her body wasn't right. That is true regardless of where you enter, or if you marry, or if you stay single.
[/quote]
Cmaria, just wondering.. how is she? :( .. :pray: Can you say, did she have to leave the community because of this? How difficult..

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emmaberry
[quote name='krissylou' timestamp='1346677786' post='2477846']
Could you use this as an opportunity to pray in solidarity with teenagers who are pregnant and alone and scared?
[/quote]
That's a great idea! I never used it as an opportunity to pray, but it did make me realize what young pregnant girls or girls being tested for STDs go through-at least here down South. I don't know if glaring at young girls at the OBGYN is quite as common up North. :)

I pray outside abortion clinics, and it made me more compassionate towards the girls walking into the clinic..because, I can stare at them or judge them or whatever, but I don't really know what's going on with her. Maybe she's not having an abortion..maybe she's there for a consultation or an ultrasound (doubt it though). That little experience at the doctor's office just made me more aware than I never have a full enough picture to instantaneously and definitely judge someone.

[color=#222222][font=Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif][size=4][background=rgb(255, 255, 255)][quote name='Antigonos' timestamp='1346659146' post='2477831']
It would also seem quite possible that in communities situated in urban areas it would be not too difficult to find a female OB/GYN. In rural areas it might be more difficult, but even so, with help from the local diocese, it might be possible to find a woman doctor, especially a Catholic doctor, willing to make a trip every so often [once or twice a year] to the convent to check everyone out. Obviously, in serious conditions, like cancer, the earlier detected, the higher the percentage of cure. Certified nurse-midwives can take Pap smears, as well as doctors, btw.
[/quote]
It would be such a relief to have a woman do these kinds of tests, which is probably immature on my part. If I were in the cloister and had hardly even [i]seen[/i] a man for years, I would prefer a woman to do the pap smear! I did not know that certified nurses could do it also...[/background][/size][/font][/color] Edited by emmaberry

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Chiquitunga
[quote name='emmaberry' timestamp='1346707064' post='2477971'][color=#222222][font=Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif][size=4][background=rgb(255, 255, 255)]It would be such a relief to have a woman do these kinds of tests, which is probably immature on my part. If I were in the cloister and had hardly even [i]seen[/i] a man for years, I would prefer a woman to do the pap smear! I did not know that certified nurses could do it also...[/background][/size][/font][/color]
[/quote]

NO WAY is that immature! That is totally your personal decision, which must be respected. There are plenty of women in the world, also married, who prefer a woman obgyn.

p.s. I think the person who would tell you that is immature is the immature one. Edited by Chiquitunga

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