I participate in several forums focused on specific health conditions. I initially joined them in the hopes of learning more about some of the conditions I have.
What I’ve found is that most of the people participating are in the early stages of some sort of sickness – or at a minimum, they haven’t yet been diagnosed.
I am a chronic complex case.
My symptoms started when I was a young adult. Things would happen that just didn’t seem normal.
But test results were not conclusive for any major illness – so my symptoms were not concerning to the doctors.
It wasn’t until I became bedridden that I started pushing back. Doctors would tell me my labs were normal, so I wasn’t sick.
I wanted to say, and sometimes did, “then why the hell am I so damn sick?”
The pain was real.
The weakness and debilitating fatigue was real.
The nausea and vomiting was real.
The rashes, the confusion, the shortness of breath, the high heart rate, the many other symptoms that kept me confined to a bed and a wheel chair were all very real.
I can’t help but wonder how different life would be had just one doctor taken my symptoms seriously before they became so severe.
But here’s the catch – the doctors have a lot of knowledge, they know all the right labs and all the right symptoms to make a diagnosis.
However YOU know your body better than anyone else. If you suspect something is wrong, don’t stop looking for answers.
If your current doctor dismisses your concerns, be your own advocate and either push back or move on and find another doctor.
Laboratory reference ranges represent 95% of the population. Which means you have to be in the bottom 5% for most doctors to take you seriously.
Health practitioners who practice functional medicine general use “optimal” reference ranges. Meaning they will compare you against healthy people.
We call my current doctor (I’ve seen more than I can remember) a detective. She listens to my symptoms, she asks questions that seem bizarre (such as do you have a lot of static electricity – do you get shocked a lot?, and she reaches out to other doctors to get their thoughts.
She knows I research and she takes me thoughts seriously. So when she tells me she doesn’t think it’s whatever oddball condition I’ve come up with, I trust her.
I can’t use that word enough. Not just in regards to the doctor/patient relationship, but for your own gut feeling.
It all boils down to these few trains of thought:
- You know your own body
- Trust your gut
- You are your best advocate
“I would rather make the gravest of mistakes than surrender my own judgement” ~ Cora Monroe, Last of the Mohicans