You become quite the detective when you’re chronically sick or in pain. Doctors have usually stopped listening to you long ago. (And, in some cases, accused you of drug seeking behavior, as one of mine did.) but you still feel crappy and you know you’re not imagining it. I mean, if I’m going to lie about something, why would I pretend to be in excruciating pain every day? Why would I choose insane weight fluctuations and swelling? Or any of the other horrible symptoms? It doesn’t make sense. If I’m going to be crazy, I’m going full on batshit Miss Havisham insane. I’m talking rotting wedding banquet, cobwebs, wearing a wedding dress every day. That at least seems fun and interesting.
Back to detective skills… You have to develop them because they are the only way you’ll find out what’s wrong most of the time. It’s how I found out I had Fibromyalgia and how I found out I had Hashimoto’s. I literally got little to no help from doctors with diagnosing either. They mainly just confirmed my suspicions. It was just me and years of research. Me demanding different tests. Demanding to see results of said tests. Computers and the Internet have made it so much easier to do research now. I used to have to go to library after library and read book after book. See if I could go to local college libraries and take out books. Read medical journals. Teach myself a lot about medicine. I joke that I should have a Ph.D. because of all of the studying I’ve done just to figure out what was wrong with me. And not just figuring them out, staying on top of the latest information.
So part detective, part physician, I guess. The trick is convincing your doctors that you aren’t a hypochondriac. That takes time. They have to get to know you and see that you don’t exaggerate. For that, I’ve found that sometimes keeping notes or a journal on how I feel helps. Symptoms, times they occur, pain level, possible food sensitivities involved, etc., whatever works for you. It also helps you with your research in the end, so it’s a good thing to keep handy. I found that when I went in with well thought out notes and spoke clearly about what was wrong, I was taken more seriously. Usually. There are, however, some jerks who will never listen. Get rid of them. Find a new doctor. When you present your case, it’s easier to discuss a plan of action. Anyway, that’s what worked for me. It’s what I tell friends and family to do.
Never be afraid to disagree with your doctor. It’s your health. If your doctor is not respecting your feedback, run, don’t walk, to another doctor. Get a second opinion on important diagnoses. If your gut is telling you something, listen to it. Take control of your health. Be your own detective.