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To the Doctor Who Believed Me

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Dear doctor,

I am so glad I was able to get an appointment with you. I am not sure you are aware of the countless doctors I have been to that have not known what to do with me, or how to help (if they even believed me at all). I am not sure you are aware of the tears I have shed due to doctors thinking my diagnosis is not valid. I have let other doctors’ beliefs and personal opinions affect me so deeply that I started questioning myself. I am not sure you know what that is like, but I do know that you can and want to help. I know you are the right doctor for me, because you aren’t afraid of me and the complexities that come with my illnesses. You are not invalidating my experiences, and you are not brushing off my symptoms. You are not putting your two cents in where it does not belong. You are not questioning and doubting my diagnosis. You are not giving up.

I have had many doctors dismiss me and my struggles. I have had many doctors make comments when they do not truly know or understand my illness. I have heard, “That won’t really affect you unless you become pregnant.” I have also heard, “That diagnosis is likely not valid. You probably received a false positive.” Then there is my personal favorite, “You aren’t severe enough. We can’t help you.”


During my appointment, you looked me in the eye and held up the results from my muscle biopsy stating: “This is real. This is not in your head. You did not make this up. This stuff is real.” I don’t know if you realize just how grateful I was for that moment of genuine reassurance. Yes, the doctor who diagnosed me told me it was real, but when you have subsequent doctors telling you that you are fine, that it is no big deal or that you are making it up, you start to believe it.

At that moment, I believed you. I believed in the doctor who diagnosed me. I believed in myself. I heard what I needed to hear said in the right way. Thank you for spending over an hour with me, explaining my illness in a way I could understand. Because let’s face it, a lot of it has gone over my head. I know the very basics and that is about it. Thank you for taking the time to show me results I never saw. Thank you for being thorough, and for embracing patients who have been seen and labeled as a challenge. We need more doctors who do just that.


A hopeful patient

Getty Image by megaflopp

Originally published: March 16, 2018
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