I read somewhere that properly diagnosing chronic illness can take from two to three years. Many of you wait even longer. In the meantime, while the doctors scratch their heads, we're expected to be happy we're alive. And that's if they don't write us off with "It's psychological."
It took a year and three doctors before I was diagnosed with scleroderma. Just remembering what I went through during that year-from-hell gets my blood boiling and I was one of the lucky ones.
If you are experiencing symptoms but don't have a diagnosis yet, here are some tips that I hope will help you get through this trying time a little easier.
Trust yourself. You are not crazy. Physicians have referred many people to me before they had a diagnosis, even doctors who don't know what else to do for their patients. ALL of them eventually received a medical diagnosis. That's right. ALL OF THEM.
Maybe I see a skewed sample of the general population but I don't think so. Medicine is slowly catching up to the experience of hundreds of thousands of people reporting symptoms for which there is no hard, "objective" test. They should be believed. Even the Veterans' Administration has come to recognize that when a combat veteran says he is suffering from PTSD, he is not faking. We do not want to be sick and it just pours salt in the wound when anyone suggests we are making this stuff up.