February 26, 2020
I was about 20 when a physician told me my pain was all in my head and that I just needed to reduce stress. I quit my college job and dropped a class . . . then had a painful attack.
It was decided I would have my gallbladder removed. This didn’t feel right to me, so I asked if the surgeon could look around while I was under to make sure. It was my appendix. I had to advocate for myself.
I was about 22 when a nurse dismissed me because I looked okay. Later, I went to the ER, so sick I couldn’t remember my address. The doctor sternly replied, “What do you want me to do about it? So, you have the flu.” I had to advocate for myself. A chest x-ray showed double pneumonia. I took months to recover.
I was 17 when I began a medication that caused insomnia. Doctors couldn’t figure it out. I stopped the medication eight years later and was able to sleep again. I had to figure it out on my own.
I was about 34 when a doctor told me I was having difficulty breathing because I thought about breathing too much. “‘It’s all in your head, you silly little woman.” Sound familiar?
I went to the chiropractor the next day. He gave me an adjustment, and I breathed deeply. My rib wasn’t in alignment.
I was 31 when my son’s pediatrician was baffled and said, “I don’t know. I feel ignorant about this.” (He was honest.) We advocated for our son, finding a physician who could diagnose and treat him.
Now, I’m 41, and see people say, “Trust the experts. You aren’t qualified to read studies. Where did you get your degree? Google?”
My point isn’t that physicians are bad. They are human. They make mistakes in a high-pressure field.
My point is this: You have every right to advocate for your health and the health of your children. Not being an “expert” does not invalidate your experience.
Read the studies. Read the medical literature. Voice your experience. If it doesn’t feel right, have courage to say so. Your voice matters.
Honeybee and her husband of 17 years have two children. Since her son’s recovery from PANDAS/PANS, Honeybee’s passion is walking other parents through the diagnosis so their children will have the same opportunity to heal that her son had.
For more by Honeybee, click here.