To the Lab Employees Who Have to 'Deal With Me' Again


Dear lab employees,

You may have noticed that I frequent your lab more often than other patients. And you may have found it strange that I have unusual testing done during many of my visits. I’m writing this letter for myself. Not because I owe you an explanation, but because doing so will make my visits to you more comfortable for me.

When I approach the front desk and you exclaim, “Oh my god! There are 50 tests on here!” that is unprofessional and makes me feel as if you’re annoyed that you have to deal with me again. Please know that this does not help my already challenging situation.

I have been sick for 11 years. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid condition, but with my continued severe symptoms, doctors believe there is more going on than just that. Yes, I have had more lab work than many of your patients combined. No, having lab work is not my pastime. But I do desperately want some of my life back so when new testing is recommended, I am fully willing to have it done. I have chronic weakness and pain throughout my limbs as well as muscle twitching which constantly reminds me that something is not right. My legs do not have enough strength to stand or walk for any period of time, so by the time I’ve arrived at your desk, I’m likely struggling to stand and anxiously awaiting for this to all be over.

I am not strange. I am not a hypochondriac. I am just a human being with an undiagnosed chronic illness who is fighting hard to find an answer. If I’ve learned one thing from all of this, it is to never judge someone unless you’ve walked a day in their shoes. My shoes are worn. The tread is long gone. They have taken me on a long, difficult journey and while it has been the most difficult journey thus far in my life, they’re still in one piece.

Please remember my story if another patient appears to be in my situation. She may look healthy. She may seem just fine. Be friendly and kind and remember that there is a life behind that face, an untold story that likely has many chapters that you know nothing about.

Sincerely,

Your chronically ill patient

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