Stand Your Ground With Your Healthcare Team
Doctors and the tests they order are not infallible. I would be filthy rich if I had a dollar every time a doctor dismissed an unrelated symptom and blamed it on one of my chronic conditions.
Being my own advocate
I knew that my knee would not improve just by losing weight or exercising. I could feel something moving in my knee and spent years searching for physicians that would not only take me seriously, but also find the real source of my pain: loose cartilage and bone fragments would lodge themselves into the joint. I spent two years arguing with doctors when they wanted to blame abdominal pain that was later discovered to be caused by a botched hysterectomy on fibromyalgia. Last year when abdominal adhesions began attacking my bowels, my physicians wanted to diagnose me with every GI condition possible and refused to consider what was really happening. But I persisted and after all of their tests proved me to be correct, they finally agreed with my assessment. These are just a few examples of how I have had to stand my ground, I could list them all but then I would be writing a book instead of a blog post.
We know our bodies better than anyone
We know our bodies better than anyone else. Chronic pain increases that knowledge because we feel pain in parts of our bodies that most healthy people will never experience. I have found that the longer I live with my conditions, my sense of knowing when something is different or urgent in matter grows stronger. If you feel that you have received an incorrect diagnosis or test result, speak up!! In the two years spent seeking relief from my botched hysterectomy, I saw 21 surgeons. Twenty of those visits ended with tears and I often wanted to give up. However, the joy of surgeon number 21 discovering the truth made the two years I spent standing firm and refusing to be written off worth it.
I recognize how difficult it is to diagnose and treat patients with conditions like psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia. These conditions have symptoms that are similar to or mimic other conditions which make being diagnosed correctly difficult. However, if you have never experienced a particular symptom before or if something feels off to you, stand your ground. You are your best advocate and if you don’t speak up for yourself, no one else will.
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?