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To the Doctor Who Restored My Faith in Medicine

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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 – 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.

Getty photo by Rawpixel

Originally published: September 11, 2018
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