The Mighty Logo

When My Doctor Gave Me That Look

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

At the end of one of my rheumatology appointments, my doctor, who spends every day seeing children with rheumatic conditions, gave me the most heartbreaking look of pity.

She said I will need many doctors but just not her right now. This was not how I pictured the appointment where my joints were finally doing well to go.

In my head I figured if I ever got to a point where I could go a full year without seeing a rheumatologist it would be a happy occasion. This had been the appointment I’d been waiting for, and my joints behaved as I wanted them to. Yet the look the doctor gave me at the end is what’s ingrained in my memory.

Yes, I am sick. No, I don’t enjoy getting about 95 percent of my nutrition through a tube. Yes, I wish I could reliably stay vertical whenever I please. Yes, I do miss gluten sometimes.

Here’s the thing though — even though I wish my health was different, if changing it meant I risked changing other aspects of my life, I would keep everything the same.

My life is pretty darn good.


I’m a college student who loves my major. I’m working toward my dreams and getting closer every day. Unlike many of my friends who spend hours looking for jobs to no avail, I practically fell into two jobs, both of which I love. One job I would have never gotten if it was not for being diagnosed with celiac disease during my freshman year.

On top of work, I’m part of a couple amazing student organizations that give me leadership roles and the opportunity to help others. Best of all, I have the most awesome people I know as friends who always pick me up when I fall down (some of whom I met because of my horrible health).


I may not have my health but I have so much more. My life is better than many people I know who are completely healthy. That is why you should not pity me, because my life is pretty amazing.

 A version of this post originally appeared on Life With a Flare

Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.


Originally published: March 30, 2015
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home