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To the Doctor Who Restored My Faith in Medicine

Dear Doctor,

There’s so much I wish I could tell you, but in all honesty,¬†we only have ten minutes together, and usually, my body is failing me in so many¬†ways that it’s impossible for me to talk about anything other than how the¬†fibromyalgia is ruining my body that particular week.

I wish I could take you for coffee (or champagne, you deserve it) and tell you about the first time we met. I wish I could tell you about the tears I cried when you believed me when I told you my symptoms. I would tell you about the dozens of doctors I had seen before you, the knock-backs, the disgust, disbelief, and rude remarks. You were the light at the end of a long, dark, painful tunnel, and I had been in the dark for so long I was convinced I had gone blind.

I would tell you that you restored my faith in medicine.¬†That even though I have been let down so, so many times before, and countless¬†times after meeting you ‚Äď it didn’t hurt as badly, because I knew I could come¬†to you, cry my tears with you, and find the next steps. You held my hand, heard¬†my cries, and soothed my fears, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Because I¬†know, no matter what comes next in this never-ending battle, that with you by¬†my side, I may just make it out of this alive.

There comes the point when you’re being told over and over¬†that it’s all in your head, that there’s nothing physically wrong, that you just¬†need to try harder and exercise more, eat less, get fit, be healthy. There¬†comes the point where you’ve heard all of that so much you start to think you’re going insane. Is this pain real? Am I somehow imagining all of my symptoms? Am¬†I just lazy? You begin to wonder, will anyone ever take you seriously, find¬†something wrong with you, and work to help you.

And that’s where you come in. Because every step of my¬†journey, you’ve been there to share my disgust and my anger and outrage at¬†every doctor who shrugged off my symptoms. You’ve been there to pick up my¬†fight when I’m too exhausted to lift my own head. And you have always believed me. Even when it sounds¬†ridiculous, or unlikely, you have always taken me seriously and believed my¬†symptoms were real, and treated them just as seriously as any other physical illness.

And before our coffee cups (or champagne flutes) were empty, I would ask you about your life. Are you happy? Do you have everything you need? Are you treated fairly at work? I would give you my time, and listen to you. For all the time you have given me. Being a doctor is a wonderful and selfless profession, but there are real people behind the medical degrees, and listening to/seeing the pain people are in day in, day out. It can wear you down.

I’ve said before how thankless the medical profession is,¬†and so all I can say again is, thank you, for all that you do for me, and for¬†the many other patients under your care. If all doctors provided the same¬†standard of care and treatment that you do for me, then Fibromyalgia wouldn’t¬†be half as mentally damaging as it is right now. All we can do is hope that¬†someday, other doctors follow your shining example.

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