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Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain
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PublicAffairs 2018
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Description
For any woman who has experienced illness, chronic pain, or endometriosis comes an inspiring memoir advocating for recognition of women's health issues
In the fall of 2010, Abby Norman's strong dancer's body dropped forty pounds and gray hairs began to sprout from her temples. She was repeatedly hospitalized in excruciating pain, but the doctors insisted it was a urinary tract infection and sent her home with antibiotics. Unable to get out of bed, much less attend class, Norman dropped out of college and embarked on what would become a years-long journey to discover what was wrong with her. It wasn't until she took matters into her own hands — securing a job in a hospital and educating herself over lunchtime reading in the medical library — that she found an accurate diagnosis of endometriosis.
In Ask Me About My Uterus, Norman describes what it was like to have her pain dismissed, to be told it was all in her head, only to be taken seriously when she was accompanied by a boyfriend who confirmed that her sexual performance was, indeed, compromised. Putting her own trials into a broader historical, sociocultural, and political context, Norman shows that women's bodies have long been the battleground of a never-ending war for power, control, medical knowledge, and truth. It's time to refute the belief that being a woman is a preexisting condition.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/06/2018
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781568585826
ASIN:
B073P44NCP
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Abby Norman. (2018). Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain. PublicAffairs.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Abby Norman. 2018. Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain. PublicAffairs.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Abby Norman, Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain. PublicAffairs, 2018.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Abby Norman. Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain. PublicAffairs, 2018.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:13:50
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 02:40:27
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      • bioText: Abby Norman is a science writer and hosts a daily podcast on Anchor.fm. Her work has been featured in the Rumpus, Independent, Paste Magazine, Medium, Atlas Obscura, Seventeen, Quartz, Cosmopolitan, and Lady Science/The New Inquiry. As a patient advocate and speaker, she has been on conference faculty at the Endometriosis Foundation of America, Stanford University's Medicine X conference, and received health literacy training through the Dartmouth Institute. She lives on the coast of Maine with her dog, Whimsy.
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title
Ask Me About My Uterus
fullDescription
For any woman who has experienced illness, chronic pain, or endometriosis comes an inspiring memoir advocating for recognition of women's health issues
In the fall of 2010, Abby Norman's strong dancer's body dropped forty pounds and gray hairs began to sprout from her temples. She was repeatedly hospitalized in excruciating pain, but the doctors insisted it was a urinary tract infection and sent her home with antibiotics. Unable to get out of bed, much less attend class, Norman dropped out of college and embarked on what would become a years-long journey to discover what was wrong with her. It wasn't until she took matters into her own hands — securing a job in a hospital and educating herself over lunchtime reading in the medical library — that she found an accurate diagnosis of endometriosis.
In Ask Me About My Uterus, Norman describes what it was like to have her pain dismissed, to be told it was all in her head, only to be taken seriously when she was accompanied by a boyfriend who confirmed that her sexual performance was, indeed, compromised. Putting her own trials into a broader historical, sociocultural, and political context, Norman shows that women's bodies have long been the battleground of a never-ending war for power, control, medical knowledge, and truth. It's time to refute the belief that being a woman is a preexisting condition.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 1, 2018
        A science writer's account of her frustrating experiences with the medical establishment as she tried to understand an illness that defied easy explanation and diagnosis.Futurism associate science editor Norman is nothing if not a survivor. She overcame dysfunctional family circumstances to become an emancipated minor at age 16 and attend Sarah Lawrence College on a prestigious scholarship two years later. However, one day during her freshman year, she was hit with pain so debilitating that she was forced to leave school permanently. The first (male) doctor she saw assumed she was just another "bright and wound tight" college girl whose problem "was of a sexual nature." He dismissed her with prescriptions for antibiotics and advice to drink lots of cranberry juice. Soon after, Norman began in-depth research--which she presents throughout the book--on female health issues. She discovered that her struggles to be taken seriously for extreme pain were actually a legacy of "the medicalization of female internal sensations, which began as early as the 1800s." Feeling powerless to question the all-male medical establishment, women "[began] to question their reality," much as the author started to do in the face of doctors that implied her problems, which included heavy, fatiguing menstrual cycles and, later, painful sex, were imagined. Eventually--and thanks to Norman's tireless self-advocacy--doctors correctly diagnosed her with endometriosis, a condition in which "displaced uterine tissue" caused painful lesions on other internal organs. Interviews with experts and continued self-education on the topic showed Norman that, contrary to popular conception, endometriosis was not just a "female disease" or a "period problem" and had also been found in men. Compelling and impressively, Norman's narrative not only offers an unsparing look at the historically and culturally fraught relationship between women and their doctors. It also reveals how, in the quest for answers and good health, women must still fight a patriarchal medical establishment to be heard.Disturbing but important reading.

        COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 15, 2018
        In this disjointed memoir, science writer Norman intertwines her own experiences with endometriosis, a painful immune-system disease occurring primarily in women, with a larger history of the systematic underprivileging of women’s health in Western medicine. The book details Norman’s numerous failed attempts to receive adequate treatment for her condition. Despite her clear symptoms and repeated hospitalizations, doctors continuously overlooked or dismissed her disease and reports of pain over the years. In one jaw-dropping example, a doctor proposed that her symptoms were most likely connected to her troubled childhood. Meanwhile, Norman also examines “the discourse of the ills of women,” pointing to diagnoses of hysteria in women and the unethical practices of male physicians who sexually exploited women in the 19th century. While the connection between her own story and the larger history is clear, Norman’s personal experiences are too often positioned as an afterthought, jammed into the sociological and historical narrative. She breathlessly shifts from discussing eight known cases of endometriosis in men to the story of her first period to a history of women dying during childbirth. Readers looking for a more personal and relatable account (as the title suggests) will be disappointed.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 15, 2018
        In this rags-to-not-exactly-riches memoir, Norman creates vivid pictures of her less-than-idyllic childhood, followed by a pain-filled young adulthood. Finally, doctors identified the culprit: endometriosis, a disease of the female reproductive system where cells from inside the uterus wind up in places that they shouldn't. Mixing medical information with memories, Norman writes about her bulimic mother (and her own disordered eating), her successful legal attempt to become emancipated from her parents, and her mixed feelings about intercourse ( Despite the pain of penetration, I really liked everything else sex involved ). She has a dark sense of humor. Comparing endo to delivering an infant, she writes, With childbirth, at least there's some kind of payoff. A book lover, she starts each chapter with quotes, including this from Susan Sontag: Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. In the end, the young science writer advocates for patients to trust their instincts and for doctors to practice the art, not just the science, of medicine.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 1, 2018

        With searing prose, science writer and editor (Futurism magazine) Norman pens a heartfelt medical history and memoir of coming to terms with the limitations of one's physical body. In seeking to identify pain rather than identify with it, she shares her own story of uncertainty; escaping the trauma of her childhood while learning about her pain in order to manage it. After several visits to doctors and emergency rooms, Norman receives a diagnosis of endometriosis and considers what it means that women are often taught to hide their pain. Her research reveals the patriarchal structure of medicine, specifically how "hysteria" has historically been a catch-all diagnosis for women's health conditions. In 2014, Norman founded the blogging community Ask Me About My Uterus, which features essays on reproductive issues. The author is at her best when relaying her story of health literacy and medical debt; taking control of her medical records and speaking at the Endometriosis Foundation of America. She raises valid questions about the number of women truly living with endometriosis, as white women are more likely to seek treatment. VERDICT A thoughtful read for those interested in health as a social justice issue. For a better understanding of health inequality, read alongside Jennifer Weiss-Wolf's Periods Gone Public.--Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

popularity
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For any woman who has experienced illness, chronic pain, or endometriosis comes an inspiring memoir advocating for recognition of women's health issues
In the fall of 2010, Abby Norman's strong dancer's body dropped forty pounds and gray hairs began to sprout from her temples. She was repeatedly hospitalized in excruciating pain, but the doctors insisted it was a urinary tract infection and sent her home with antibiotics. Unable to get out of bed, much less attend class, Norman dropped out of college and embarked on what would become a years-long journey to discover what was wrong with her. It wasn't until she took matters into her own hands — securing a job in a hospital and educating herself over lunchtime reading in the medical library — that she found an accurate diagnosis of endometriosis.
In Ask Me About My Uterus, Norman describes what it was like to have her pain dismissed, to be told it was all in her head, only to be taken seriously when she was...
sortTitle
Ask Me About My Uterus A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Womens Pain
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subtitle
A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain
publisher
PublicAffairs
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      • description: Health & Fitness / Pain Management