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Dear Doctors: I Am a Person First, Not a Sickness

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Dear doctors everywhere,

I come to you with fear and exhaustion. I have set my expectations too high for a mortal to accomplish, and yet I still expect you will meet them. Before I even see you, I know my hopes are too high, but that doesn’t stop them from rising every moment.

From the second you walk into the room, I lay my problems down in front of you. Out of my mouth they pour like a waterfall. They keep going until I pause and look to you for an answer. My eyes are fixed upon you, watching your every move. I cringe on the inside as you open your mouth, but I stop you and ask before you answer, please remember one thing.

I am first a person, not a sickness.

I have never gone to medical school, but I assume the work is hard. To learn the complexity of the human body in only eight years and then to be expected to regurgitate all the information on a moment’s notice is a heavy responsibility. In those eight years, I assume you read over studies and syndromes and learn the quickest way to diagnose people who are of only two dimensions. But I am not of paper. My story starts before my symptoms did. Before I became sick, I was a person and I still am.


How to deal with humans cannot be taught through a test but through listening. I have a voice that needs to be heard, and you are my microphone. My medical story is not simple, and to find the answer, you must understand my past. You can’t put a puzzle together if the frame is lost.

Who I am before I got sick is still there. My likes and dislikes have not changed. I am simply a new version. Please understand the mystery before you try and diagnose me.

A chronically ill patient

Follow this journey on Falling Scales.

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Originally published: September 27, 2017
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