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Why I've Had to Trust My Gut During My Journey With Chronic Illness

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I remember when I first started experiences symptoms of my chronic illness. It happened suddenly. I remember rushing to the emergency room where my symptoms were minimized. Tests were ran and I was given medication and sent on my way.

Over the next year I would see nine to 10 specialists. I would see doctor after doctor, and it was always the same. The test they ran was negative and I was referred to another doctor. It was a confusing and scary time. I had never been in so much pain in my life. I could barely walk or get off the couch to go to my appointments. I was extremely depressed and just wanted to be out of the pain.

I was in physical therapy for six months where I still wasn’t having any relief and they could not find a proper diagnosis for me. The therapist finally told me that she couldn’t help me anymore. It seemed like most doctors were getting to that point.

There were discussions of was this is my head, or a manifestation of past trauma that is coming out in physical symptoms. I started to feel “crazy,” and a part of me even questioned was this in my head. However, deep down, I knew in my gut something was wrong.

I sought for an answer and became an advocate for myself, but it hasn’t been easy. I have had to fight for myself and stand up to doctors at times. I have had to go to other doctors, and I’ve had to get another opinion before making a decision.

It seems like when someone is chronically ill, there is always someone who thinks they know what to do to fix it. I have experienced that. I have been told of products to buy, procedures to do, medications to take, supplements to take, diets, exercises, drinks, and more. I think the best advice I was given is that no one knows my body better than me because I live in it. I have taken that to heart. Now I weigh decisions out in my head and what is best for my body, no someone else’s. Just because I have the same diagnosis as someone doesn’t mean that the answer for treatment is the same. I have tried a lot of different things in order to help heal my body.

Recently I made a tough decision, but a decision that I felt was best in the long run for me. I talked to other medical professionals that agreed and supported me. I have found relief I haven’t found in a long time. I joined online support groups and started talking to people who have my disease. I have found that helpful as well. Being chronically ill is a difficult thing to go through. I used to question each decision I made – now I have found peace and acceptance surrounding it. I have found that when I trust myself and listen to my body it helps tremendously.

Getty Image by Marjan_Apostolovic

Originally published: March 6, 2018
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