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To Those Who Remain Undiagnosed, From a Now Diagnosed Patient

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To those who remain undiagnosed:

Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve waded through the weight of dark, hopeless days. Days that run into weeks, and weeks into years. Time passes as your bodily functions fade away and your being becomes unrecognizable to your own eyes. I’ve laid awake countless nights wondering what category of illness I fall into. Will there be treatment? Will I need to use a wheelchair? Why is no one finding an answer for me?

I was in your shoes for 13 long, harrowing years. I deserved an answer more than anything, but I didn’t believe I would find one after that long. Thankfully, I was wrong. It seemed as though I’d had every test that can be done to a human body, but there was one more that eventually led to my diagnosis. On the days my hope was depleted, I wish I had held on tighter. In the moments I felt lost, I wish I had kept my eyes on the future. Being undiagnosed is like riding an emotional, torturous rollercoaster, but no matter how long the journey is, there is always hope for an answer.

If you’re wondering how you can go on, remember me and know your days can be bright again. Don’t take no for an answer; if a doctor stops searching for you, find a new one. If you get rejected from the undiagnosed diseases program like I did, it’s not the end of your road. All it takes is one doctor; keep moving until you find that one.

I look back now, and wonder how I had enough physical and emotional strength to make it to today – but the important part is I did make it. I take two pills a day to treat my now diagnosed multiple sclerosis. Each time I swallow one, I remember those days that filled my 13-year search and I am thankful for my second chance at life.

My life is far from perfect; I still fight a disease each and every day, but now I have a name for it. My treatment is not a blind leap of faith as were many experiments I had tried in the past. My dark, hopeless days have become full of light and promise. If you focus on the light that is sure to come, your dark days will become a little brighter until you reach your destination.

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Thinkstock photo via Anna_Isaeva.

Originally published: October 18, 2017
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