What has been your diagnosis journey? Our patient advocate Lana describes hers.
If you were reading a book or watching a movie about a person with a disease, the main character’s chronic illness would have some dramatic beginning: a fall, an accident, a lump, or a call from the doctor about a test result. But in real life, chronic illness doesn’t always work that way. In fact, most of us got sick gradually and then suddenly. We usually can’t pinpoint an event in our lives when the onset of symptoms started.
When I tell my story, I tell people I have been sick for a long time—long before any doctor diagnosed me. I identify the start of my symptoms by looking back at my mid-20s when I had to overcome some of the most stressful events of my life. Shortly after, I developed debilitating fatigue and always felt like I was coming down with the flu. I look back at the years that followed, when I endured muscle and joint pain, headaches, and unrelenting chronic fatigue.
When no medical tests gave answers, I was given medication for anxiety and depression. At some point, my doctors made me believe that my symptoms were all in my head. And another benchmark came in 2006 when my gallbladder stopped functioning.