“Don’t judge me until you walk a mile in my shoes or live a day in my life.” —Unknown
To all my doctors who may not understand what my life is like:
I wish you truly understood how my life has changed, in both small and profound ways, since my fibromyalgia diagnosis. I certainly didn’t ask for this illness and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I know you have a higher education than I do, but if you don’t take the time to learn about my disease, how can you truly help me?
Due to its unpredictable nature, I never know what a day will bring. You may catch me on a good or bad day. No two are the same.
My symptoms depend on so many factors: What are the current stressors in my life? What’s the weather like? What kind of medication side effects am I experiencing? What’s my energy level?
Those considerations are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. If you don’t get to know me, listen — really listen — to my concerns, and help me find workable solutions, how can I trust you to guide me on my health journey?
Perhaps if I gave you one of the books I’ve written or co-written, you could get small glimpses into the lives of others who are suffering with fibro and understand better. I also need you to work with me as part of a team, not dictate what you think I should do without getting my input. I’m not a disease, I’m a multifaceted human being. My goal is to trust you, and I think that you need to learn to trust me.
I understand that you are busy with many patients and lack the time to investigate all the illnesses you are confronted with daily. So, here’s a bit of personal history about me:
I was diagnosed about 10 years ago. I’m not a fan of taking medication if I can find an alternative method to address my symptoms. I do my best to eat healthy meals and get a bit of exercise when my body cooperates. Even though I get a pretty decent night’s sleep most of the time, I wake up exhausted and struggle with foggy thinking.
I’m lonely due to the isolation I feel because life has moved on without me. People tend not to include me in their plans anymore because — let’s be honest here — I often have to cancel at the last minute. I spend most of my time in bed as a result of debilitating fibro fatigue.
I just want to know that you see me as a person, not a 15-minute appointment. Please be patient if I can’t think of a word I was trying to say or lose my place in our conversation. Could you try, for a moment or two, to walk a mile in my shoes?
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.
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