A few years ago, at my worst, I was crying in a doctor’s office begging for help. This, mind you, was before I received over 20 different diagnoses including Lyme, leaky gut, autoimmune disease, and more. The doctor I saw that day told me something I would never forget:
“You just need a gym membership and a therapist.”
In a 30 minute appointment, because I was visibly upset and tearful, she was able to conclude that I needed a therapist and a good sesh of kickboxing. Needless to say I went on and conquered many beasts since then and my gym membership wasn’t worth squat when I could barely get out of bed.
Today I took my middle kiddo to the doc for what I believe to be a recurrent infection. My mommy gut is usually right but I took her in to confirm. After explaining her horrendous tummy pain which is occurring only in the evenings, he told me he believes there is a behavioral component and a psychosomatic element. I know in my heart this is not the problem but I listened respectfully, gave my 2 cents, and requested for her to be swabbed for strep anyway. She was POSITIVE.
Even with a positive strep culture (rapid test, still being sent off), he insisted there was a psychosomatic component. I’m not downplaying mental illness and have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks myself, but I found this particular doctor to be dismissive and conclusive based on the fact that he lacked the ability to think outside of the box. Because HE didn’t have the answer right away (and even after we DID), then my daughter MUST have a mental disorder.
There are a lot of good doctors out there: ones who advocate for their patients, who dig and are determined, who look beyond the limited text in their med school books. There are also a lot of practitioners who are self-serving, near-sighted and who will never have US, their patients at heart.
I am writing a book about advocacy, about my history of illness, the tools I’ve used, the doctors I’ve sought out, the labs and tests I’ve asked for, and the rules I’ve lived by to promote my own health when those I trusted didn’t. I want you to know that you hold more keys in your healing than you realize, that doctors are humans too and that you have the right to research, to get 2nd, 3rd, and 4th opinions, and to do right by you and your family.
Today was a reminder of the WHY to my mission, because had I not been in a place of knowing how to advocate for myself, I would have left with a daughter with a psychosomatic condition with a “behavioral disorder” instead of a kid who unfortunately has a return of a throat infection that manifests in her gut (same with my other 2 kids).
Don’t be afraid to speak up and question authority. It may not have been what you were taught but in this complex world of autoimmune disease, it is something you MUST do to take control of your health and your family’s. Use your voice!
Be well my friends. L’chaim! Jen