I thought I was going crazy
I had abdominal pain and diarrhea. The pain was bad. Sometimes it was so bad it would drop me to my knees. But I was poor and no one believed me.
No one was listening to me
Sometimes I was fine. Sometimes I felt bloated or twingy. I knew something was wrong, but no one would listen. Clinic and charity hospital doctors told me I had PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), ectopic pregnancy, that I was overreacting, and that there was nothing wrong with me. Most of the time, when I was seen, my white blood cell count would be high, so they gave me ampicillin. They gave me a lot of ampicillin and kept telling me it was all in my head. I started to believe them.
Living under the black cloud of chronic, uncertain, undiagnosed pain can do terrible things to your self-confidence and sense of worth. The diarrhea didn't help.
Then, yet another round of ampicillin made me turn bright pink, so that treatment was no longer an option. Even I could feel a mass in my lower right abdomen, but still the doctors treated me, a twenty-something female, like the village idiot.
I got mad
As a student at the UW, I took myself to the medical school and begged for someone to examine me. Finally, a female instructor/doctor agreed.
After examining me, she told me to reschedule all of my final exams for the next day and to admit myself into the local hospital.
Since that time, I have had obstructions, resections, and a variety of medications. Currently, my Crohn's is under pretty good control with Humira and 6MP. I watch my portion sizes. I pay attention to what works and what doesn't.
Most important, I know that I deserve to be heard by medical personnel. You do, too.
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