Sunday, March 15, 2015

Compassionate, Doctors that Listen Make a Tremendous Difference

I've been put through the ringer with doctors since getting sick 3 years ago. I've had doctors tell me there is nothing wrong with me, there's nothing I can do about my symptoms and that I can't understand anything they have to say because I don't have MD after my name. They've called mediators into the room like I'm a psych patient, told me I have an eating disorder, asked me if I take cocaine, asked me if I eat, looked at me with tremendous skepticism as if my symptoms are completely fabricated, told me there's no way for Lyme to persist after a short course of doxy, refused IV fluids when I've been vomiting all day with undetectably low BP, insinuated I'm too young to have heart problems, and much more.

The situation is extremely frustrating and many times I've wanted to give up on even trying to get medical help altogether. I don't want to keep going to doctors who have no desire to help me. It's like they see a young, female patient and assume that medical symptoms are unlikely and the more logical explanation is hypochondria. I don't want to keep fighting for help for legitimate medical symptoms. I don't want to have to prove everything I say and justify and argue that chronic Lyme does exist. I can't do it!

That being said, I cannot emphasize enough how much it means to a patient with an unusual set of symptoms to finally have a doctor listen to them, acknowledge and objectify their symptoms and try to help. In my case that's been two ND's, a TCM doctor and my electrophysiologist. They have not dropped me because I'm an unusual case (yet). They have not insinuated that my problems are psychological (which has absolutely no objective basis whatsoever in my case), and they keep trying. That prevents me from completely giving up. It gives me a sliver of hope in a situation that's very close to being completely hopeless.

I don't think anyone truly knows how much this is affecting me and how much I miss my normal life; a life that I will never get back. Unless you are in a similar situation with chronic illness, you couldn't possibly understand what it's like to lose your ability to work in a career you've worked your entire life for and then didn't even get a chance to start, or what it's like to struggle with just getting through the day and the daily tasks that entails in your 20's.