Imagine going into the hospital with one set of symptoms and emerging with a very different, but much more debilitating set of symptoms. You immediately go to your doctor, expecting to receive a prompt diagnosis and treatment so that you can hurry up and feel better. You expect to get back to life as usual within a few days.
Seven years and thirty-seven doctors later, you are still seeking the correct diagnosis and treatment for these mysterious symptoms. You can’t work, you can’t drive a car, and you can’t shop in most stores because your brain doesn’t tolerate stimuli. Even without stimuli, you feel like you are halfway between fainting and conscious 24/7. Your vision is dark and flashing, you have hissing in the ears, clumsiness and short-term memory lapses. By this time, your career is long gone and your marriage is deteriorating.
You have been to some of the top medical facilities in the country, where one physician after another can’t find the source of your symptoms. Some physicians have even suggested that perhaps your symptoms are all in your head, and you are subjected to a battery of psychiatric tests. You are eventually told that you are depressed, to which you reply, “Of course I’m depressed!”
This was my life until he appeared - doctor number 38, my hero. This amazing doctor correctly diagnosed me with an autonomic disorder that was most likely triggered by a high fever and caused by a build-up of neurological assaults, including a lightning injury eighteen years earlier. He prescribed a combination of medications that has gradually given me back most of my life during the last eight years. Prior to my diagnosis and treatment, I had trouble walking from the front door to the mailbox. Now I run 25 – 35 miles per week and I drive my car every chance I get!
My amazing medical journey inspired me to write a book entitled Taking Charge of Your Own Health. Because of all the valuable lessons I learned along the way, I feel compelled to share my messages of hope and patient empowerment.
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