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Doctors Gave Up on My Mother. What Happens If They Give Up on Me, Too?

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I live in Norway, and here we are lucky to have access to a great health care system, but what happens when they fail us? What happens when they give up on somebody? When they say there’s nothing left to do, when they tell you you’re going to have to live like this for the rest of your life?

My mom has been living with chronic migraines almost daily since 2004, and after years of tests and examinations and trying out medications, they gave up on her. The doctors gave up on her.

In 2008 I was diagnosed with the same condition, having migraines more days than not, and now I fear the same will happen to me. I have been in and out of the hospital, done X-rays and other scans, tested out more medications than I can count and still, after all of this, nobody has figured out why I’m sick.

As young as I am, I still have things left to try out, but what happens when I have tried them all? What happens if the next medications I try out have the same effects as every other, and I won’t get any better? Will they give up on me too? Will I also be told that this is what the rest of my life is going to be like?

As a 17-year-old people expect me to finish high school, know what I want to be, maybe even have a job next to school and eventually move out. As a chronically ill 17-year-old on the other hand, the list is a little different. Hopefully, I will finish high school, but over a little longer time and with more absences than I would like to admit. Working next to school I can only dream about. And what I want to be, what I want to work as in the future? I don’t even know if I will ever be able to work. And how am I supposed to move out when I can’t have an income? How can I be independent if I have to live with my parents until something changes?

woman standing on a path outside between plants

I have dreams for my future just like everybody else, but it’s so hard to keep my head high, to actually believe these dreams can come through, when on my worst days even the simplest tasks take everything I have. When I try as hard as I can, but it’s just never good enough.

I need to be able to hope for a better future, but what if all that awaits me is “sorry, we’ve given up on you, from now on you just need to live like this”? What if my future is daily pain and being unable to work? Shouldn’t we be able to expect more from our health services?

This post originally appeared on Meninger.

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Originally published: December 27, 2017
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