It Took this Military Spouse Six Doctors and Nearly Dying to Get a Diagnosis in America

It Took this Military Spouse 6 Doctors and Nearly Dying to Get a Diagnosis in America

Doctors told me there was no way I had cancer, especially the same cancer as my little brother. They disregarded my symptoms; trouble breathing, chest pressure, extreme exhaustion, dizziness, night sweats, swollen lymph nodes, and sudden weight loss. They spent more time trying to convince me that I was wrong than helping me discover the reasons behind my symptoms. One doctor said I was paranoid; another mocked me for being a "typical military wife who couldn't handle deployments" even though I had already been through several. 

Those impacted by illness must navigate this horrendous United States for-profit healthcare system. Some people are left to deteriorate and suffer because they can't afford treatment or medication. Others give up fighting for appointments and adequate care and against insurance companies because they are too sick to advocate for themselves.

I had to tote a newborn infant in a car seat and an autistic toddler in and out of emergency rooms and doctor appointments, and I was heavily judged for not having anyone to pawn my children off while fighting to get answers as to why a 26-year old couldn't walk two steps without nearly fainting. 

I had recently given birth to my second child, a daughter, still healing, and my husband was on his third deployment. The doctors assumed I couldn't handle the stress and even commented about the stereotypes of military wives. My severe symptoms boiled down to "being a typical military spouse under stress." Two doctors refused to give me an x-ray because my kids were with me. The horrific experience was repeated by one doctor after another. 

My desperation for answers became so dire I crossed the United States border to a walk-in clinic in Mexico. The clinic was a deteriorated building, and I'll never forget the examination room where the chair was a piece of plywood laid over two benches. At this point, my gut told me I would die if I didn't try, and the conditions were the least of my worries as I could no longer breathe properly and was experiencing vertigo episodes. This was the first doctor to do an x-ray of my chest and diagnose me with bronchitis, prescribing me antibiotics. 

It wasn't until I got sick, and had to use the healthcare system, that I discovered the number of doctors losing opportunities to save lives and how broken our system is. A total of 5 doctors misdiagnosed me with panic disorder, asthma, bronchitis, allergic reaction, and other unrelated individual symptoms. 

As I had cancerous tumors rapidly growing in my body, their solution was to throw medication at various misdiagnosed problems; anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications, asthma medication, amoxicillin, allergy treatments, pain killers, and muscle relaxants. Despite my persistent prodding for real answers, I wasn't being listened to.

A few months after my little brother's diagnosis, and six doctors later, I got the results of my biopsy back at stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma Cancer, a determination that I was repeatedly told was impossible.

My experience with neglectful and arrogant doctors, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical greed left me with lost trust in the American healthcare system. As I grew extremely sick, going through the unthinkable, these physicians added to my suffering and pain in unspeakable ways.

Sadly, the reality of our healthcare system is that you will have to fight for the appointments, tests, and answers. You are your own best advocate. You know your body best. Your instincts are there for a reason. Don't question your sanity or allow anyone to make you feel insignificant. That piece of paper these doctors receive after years of schooling doesn't make them ethical. You are worth the quality and quantity of your life. 

An estimated 9,290 people living in the United States (US) will be diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2013. —

Has anything like this happened to you? What did it take to find your diagnosis?

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