Doctor’s Limitations

Back in the day, I think patients placed blind faith in their doctors, taking comfort in the belief that most doctors were acting in their best interest. Today, I’m not so sure this level of comfort exists.

The economics of practicing medicine has changed dramatically – from health insurance restrictions to increased medical malpractice premiums, as well as the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses” by acquiring high-tech medical equipment. Bottom line: doctors aren’t making the kind of money they used to. As a result, many are looking to unnecessary surgeries and testing (on their new equipment, of course!), and are even peddling supplements and other moneymakers.

Am I saying that all doctors are bad? Absolutely not! Not by a long shot.

What I am saying is this: don’t sell yourself short. Remember, YOU are your body’s expert, and YOU play an important role in restoring your health.

Regardless of what doctor you’re seeing, he or she may go home to a restful night’s sleep while you’re tossing and turning with discomforting mysterious symptoms. Today’s doctors are more powerful, more specialized, and perhaps more deaf than those of years gone by. Find a medical practitioner who will listen to your symptom picture, and work WITH you in developing a treatment plan. Above all, take an active role and a proactive approach at your next doctor’s visit.


Healthcare Reform – More Questions than Answers

Chances are, if you turn on your TV to any news channel you’ll hear mention of the Health Care Reform. While it’s likely that not a day passes when you haven’t at least heard a snippet about the Health Care Reform, it’s equally likely that if you ask 100 people for their opinions about the reform that you’ll receive a 100 different responses:

  • What’s wrong with the system we have?
  • Where’s all the money going to come from?
  • Should everyone have healthcare coverage?

Then, add to the mix countless politicians feeding the frenzy with endless comments about what needs to be done to fix the system. Do they really have a clue?

Today, our population is getting sicker younger; children are suffering with respiratory ailments and other illnesses once found in adulthood while young adults are getting illnesses and conditions once reserved for the elderly. Meanwhile diabetes, the equal opportunity disease, shows no age discrimination as it rampantly attacks all generations. What does having a population that gets sicker younger mean for the Health Care Reform?

Next, let’s consider the concept of preventative measures. Currently, many insurance companies offer discounts to companies whose employees take part in a wellness or general health program. Personally, I think this is a great idea. However, while wellness and general health programs help keep the healthy healthy, how can they benefit those who are misdiagnosed, chronically ill, or suffering from mysterious symptoms?

The Health Care Reform is certainly a hot topic, and rightfully so.  Over the next several weeks (or maybe even months), I’ll be researching and letting you know how healthcare reform will affect the undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or chronically ill.

What are your thoughts about Healthcare Reform?

The Great Divide: How Undiagnosed, Misdiagnosed, and Mystery Illnesses Effect Family and Friends

Familial relationships and friendships can be a challenge to maintain even when your body is functioning at peak performance. So, what happens to these relationships when your body becomes ravaged by the symptoms of an invisible or mystery illness?

Your Symptoms are only the Beginning

Initially, family and friends offer sympathy. They believe that you are suffering, and provide comfort and support. With good intentions, they pay a visit laden with casseroles, heating pads and analgesics – all short-term remedies designed to help “until you get back on your feet.” During the early stages, missing social functions, taking a few days off work, and having a messy house is totally acceptable. In the beginning, family and friends wait with bated breath for the results of your latest medical test, or for news of your latest office visit with the specialist. What happens when the results are inconclusive, or there’s simply no “news” to share? Onward, to the next phase…

Advice from Family and Friends

During the middle stages, family and friends adopt a new mantra: “The doctor can’t find anything wrong, and your test results are all fine.” Family and friends lose heart along with their desire to believe. While you’re still invited to family functions and social gatherings, no one really expects you to attend. Your unkempt home and absence from work begins to be perceived as laziness. At this stage, family and friends feel free to dole out advice such as:

  • “Why don’t you start taking vitamins?”
  • “You probably just need more exercise. Why don’t you buy a treadmill?”
  • “You need more sleep. Start going to bed earlier.”

Or, offered with pure intent from Christian friends:

  • “You need to have more faith.”
  • “You need to pray more.”

Experiencing Isolation

During the latter stage, you become isolated from family and friends. More often than not, this isolation is self-inflicted. You begin to lose the desire to make your family and friends “believe”, and start turning to the Internet for solace, reaching out in cyberspace to connect with others who are also suffering silently. In the latter stage, you may feel like you’re a bother to family and friends, or like a tiresome broken record that’s continually recounting symptoms and failed treatments.

Getting Your Life Back

During the final stage, you rediscover hope. You’re reminded of what your mystery symptoms can’t take away and you make the decision to be proactive and take control of your health. Here, at the final stage, you regain freedom and control over your health challenges.

So, what stage of your health journey are you in? And, what are you doing about it? Share your story, and post a comment.

Related Posts:

Invisible Illness Intro

The Not so Invisible Costs of a Having an Invisible or Undiagnosed Illness

Using the Internet as a Healing Tool

We all know that the Internet is a great resource for shopping and current events, but have you considered using the Internet to research mysterious symptoms or chronic illnesses? If so, then you have crossed ranks and are now a member of the ever-growing population of e-Patients.   There are a number of ways to harness the power of the internet for medical research:

  • Diagnostic Tools – Although it isn’t a good idea to rely exclusively on online tools, they can offer assistance in finding the outlying symptom. For example, identifying a symptom that doesn’t quite synch with the rest of your symptom profile can help with a diagnosis, or rule out certain illness categories.
  • Blog – Writing is therapeutic, and a confidence builder. When you put thoughts into written words, you’ll strengthen communication skills, which will make asking your doctor questions or voicing suggestions and concerns a much easier task. Plus, when you keep a written record of your health journey, you’ll have a road map of your successes as well as of the potholes and bumps in the road.
  • Read, read, read! – (Did I mention that reading is important?) The Internet is filled with articles, blogs and sites with valuable information that may provide a clue to solving your medical mystery. If you’ve recently been diagnosed, learn as much as you can about your ailment as well as what measures you can take to prevent future problems.

With a little patience and diligence, you’ll learn to master what the Internet has to offer and will  be able to use the information you gather as a steppingstone for moving beyond your illness and regaining freedom and control over your life.

The Not-So Invisible Cost of Having an Invisible or Undiagnosed Illness

If arming yourself with analgesics, tissues, and cough syrup for a week long battle against the common cold racks up a $30.00 tab at Walgreens, just imagine how costly it can be to suffer with a chronic invisible misdiagnosed, or undiagnosed illness.

While initially in the throes of mysterious symptoms, you look to the medical community for help and guidance. After countless office visits to specialists, surrendering pints of blood for testing, and subjecting your already weakened body to a series of invasive and painful procedures, your quest for a diagnosis becomes more harrowing, exhausting, and emotionally draining than Indiana Jones’s search for the Holy Grail.

Personally, I would’ve been happy to spend $30 at Walgreens.  Instead, I bought into every promise made by the supplement industry.   I literally had over three full boxes of supplements and at one point I was taking over 20 pills three times a day!  If I’d known what I know now, I could’ve saved myself hundreds of dollars on supplements alone.

My supplement tab had nothing on my doctor’s tab.  I tried every specialty, both traditional and non-traditional, I could find.  Some doctors charged up to $475 for the first visit alone and, you guessed it, they sold me a ton of supplements.  It was a truly mind boggling and expensive experience.

What price have you paid, or are you continuing to pay for your medical mystery illness? Share your comments, or email me at   I would love to learn more about your health journey.

Related Posts:

Invisible Illness Week is Almost Here!

What your Mystery Symptoms Can’t Take Away

When your body is gripped by the symptoms of a mystery illness, it’s easy to lose sight and feel as though you’ve surrendered everything to your health challenges.  It’s equally discouraging when a debilitating chronic illness such Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia zaps your body of all its energy.

Now is the time to take stock of your assets, and have a closer look at what Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and the symptoms of mystery illnesses cannot take away.  First and foremost, the symptoms of chronic illnesses and mystery illnesses are not omnipotent. They do not have the power to:

  • Overpower your spirit
  • Diminish your accomplishments
  • Destroy your inner drive
  • Stop you from dreaming
  • Quiet your inner thoughts

However, mystery symptoms CAN take over your life – IF you let them!

Think about it….have you been letting your mystery symptoms take over your life?