It’s tough living life with chronic illness. It’s even harder when the people around you aren’t compassionate. I’m very grateful that my family and close friends understand me. Sure, I was never the social type. It might seem like it when you meet me, but in reality, I am much happier at home. I’d rather stay in my sweats all day watching Netflix than go out. I’ve missed birthday celebrations and other get togethers just because it was never really my “thing”.
Then I started getting diagnosis after diagnosis. Sure, I’ve had chronic illness before (I’m asthmatic) but it’s never REALLY put me out. My asthma attacks have been pretty much non-existent since moving to Canada from the Philippines. I’ve had 9 diagnoses since 2013! NINE! I haven’t been diagnosed with anything this year, THANK GOD! *knock on wood* With each new diagnosis, my social life diminished. It’s pretty much non-existent now and I’m more than okay with that. I have my family (which is the most important), and I have my close friends who take time out of their day to message me, to visit me once in a while – all for which I am grateful for.
Living life with one chronic illness is difficult enough, let alone living with 10! I mean, I’m up to the point now where when I list my illnesses… I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten at least one. I feel very fortunate to have family and friends who are very understanding. It really does help!
But what inspired me to write this post?
It’s because someone in my life – someone I go to for help – makes me feel worse about myself. Who is this person, you ask? Would you believe it if I said it was my family doctor? Well, it is.
It’s coming up to three years that he’s been my family doctor. My family and I had to find a new family physician since our last one retired. We chose this doctor because his clinic is a 10 minute walk from our place (when we first moved here), but the kicker was that his practice opens early at 7. This was so great! We thought it was amazing, just incase we ever need to see him, we can early morning and not have to miss school or work.
Have to admit here. It was all good in the beginning. Got a cold or a cough? He’s your guy. Need a flu shot? He’s your guy. Refill for our asthma inhalers? He’s our guy. But that’s really as far as it went.
A little peek at my diagnoses
The last of my diagnoses are anxiety and depression. Can’t say that I’m surprised considering all the things that have happened the last few years. I’m currently on my second medical leave from school (the first one was in 2014 when I was diagnosed with a heart condition at 26.) I’ve been on medical leave for a total of 24 months by the time this post goes live. My program (Registered Massage Therapy) takes 22 months to complete and I had to go on this current medical leave right before I started my very last term. But all of this school stuff will have to wait until a different post! My point? I’m not surprised with my latest diagnoses. I doubt anyone else around me is either.
I would have to say that 2015 is when it all started going downhill for me. With each diagnosis I received, the world slowly but surely got darker. The amount of pain I’ve experienced, I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I still experience pain but nowhere close to the pain I experienced then. I still cry in the shower at times because it feels like lemons on all of my open wounds. I still can’t function as well with 4 spinal conditions. I’ve actually had to stop working because of them.
Chronic illness and an uncompassionate doctor
It does not match. Nope. No siree. Nuh uh.
I am already depressed. The last thing that I need is to feel worse after seeing someone I go to for help. Unfortunately, that’s how it’s been the last few months with my current doctor.
I’m also in the process of applying for disability. Though all of my illnesses are chronic, the pain they cause me are different. Some are constant (like my spinal conditions) but others have remission and flare-ups (like my heart and skin conditions). In order to fill out the form, I saw an advocate who filled out a photocopied version of the disability application booklet. I sat with her for almost two hours going over everything. The last step is for my doctor to fill out the form using the photocopied version. Having been my doctor for 2 years at the time of first filling out the form, you’d think that he’d know the troubles I’ve faced.
But as he filled it out, he’d look at me and say “oh but you’re fine now” over and over again. Actually, no. I am NOT fine now. Sure, I am not crying right now and I’m not doubled over in pain at this VERY moment but that does not mean I’m fine. He even contradicted himself a bunch of times while filling in the booklet because he kept changing things. He wrote down that I’m independent but in other parts he explained how I require aids to function. Since he filled out the form wrong, I cannot hand it in. I have to start a new application. I have to start this process all over again and it’s going to be that much longer.
One of the questions that he CONTINUALLY asks me is whether or not I am working. This is where I started thinking that his personal beliefs are interfering with his work. I can feel and hear the judgment.
Why aren’t you working? You’re able to work now. Oh, you’re in pain? Are you really in that much pain that you can’t work? hmm….
Uh, yes. Yes, I’m in so much pain that I can’t work. There are nights when I don’t sleep because of all the side effects of my medications. Nights when I’m so uncomfortable and in so much pain that I toss and turn all night. Loading and unloading the dishwasher hurts my back from repetitive bending. The same goes for the laundry. I only need to walk for 5 minutes before I feel it in my back.
And you still judge me. Even with all of the specialists I am seeing, you still judge me. I understand that there are people who abuse the system, but that’s not me. I WANT to work. I want to earn my own money. I want a career. BUT MY HEALTH WON’T LET ME!!!
What job can I get with all of my conditions? I can’t stand for too long. I can’t sit for too long. What job can I have with a boss or supervisor so understanding that they’ll be okay with me constantly calling in sick at least twice a week, or constantly having to leave my shift early because my back hurts? I can’t think of one that doesn’t require some sort of certificate or the like.
Needless to say, I’m in the process of looking for a different one. A compassionate doctor. A doctor that doesn’t just prescribe me pain killers instead of finding out the actual cause. Someone who understands that my pain and suffering is REAL.