As I edit this blog to be re-published, originally written on 3/22/10, I can only stop and laugh. I truly believed the worst was behind me. Boy did I need a telescope into the future!
Health care is something I know way more about than I ever wanted to. I now speak the language of deductibles, EOB's, MOP's, co-pays and in/out-of-network, fluently. My medical costs have been astronomical, mainly because modern medicine offers very little preventative or alternative coverage and doesn't know squat 'bout Fibromyalgia! It has taken me years, and many amazing doctors and providers, and many stages and levels of healing, to get to where I am today. I have a great doctor at the Fibro & Fatigue Center in Las Vegas to thank, an amazing acupuncturist in the Bay area, a UCSF resident that was the first doctor to take me seriously, a research doctor at Stanford, and currently an awesome osteopath at the Mayo Clinic. There have also been many duds in the mix. There have been lots of bad drugs, asshole physicians and unsympathetic caregivers. We have paid and paid and marched on, always with the faith that things would get better...they had to!
I had to believe I would not always be unable to sleep, every inch of my body in writhing pain and mentally unstable. I would not always suffer from vice-gripped headaches, everyday at 4:00 that darn "afternoon flu", stiff and swollen hands and throbbing feet stabbing knives into my calves with each step. And I am so overwhelmingly happy to say that today, I don't! Oh it's not gone...never gone. But so well managed I can now look back with perspective and say with confidence that the worst is behind me. What I have learned about myself and my character is huge! My capacity to march forward into the eye of the storm, my ability to pick myself up by the boot straps and do what needs to be done. There were months on end when my only activities were 3-4 doctor appointments a week, and that was exhausting! The money we have spent on prescriptions and supplements and provider expenses could have paid for a house by now! And now the USA has all these changes to our health care system coming into law. It is definitely a system that is broken and needs to be fixed, but I don't know if these are the changes needed to fix it. Nor do I think these new laws will change things for me, you, people living with Fibromyalgia, or those yet to be diagnosed. It will be interesting to see if it does not indeed make things harder.
But certainly we will still have a tireless time getting a diagnosis, we will only be offered drugs that "mask" the symptoms, not heal the source. We will still gain the best relief from a personalized combination of modern medicine and natural, holistic living, something that is not given its proper importance in mainstream medicine. And we will still cling to any concrete proof that what we have is indeed real, needing it very badly to be researched and understood, and ultimately cured! Will I say at the end of the day I am better off for this? Am I a better person for having stripped myself of all control and options, surrendering to an illness that required intensive, repetitive perseverance to conquer? And then having to rebuild my life brick by painstaking brick? I am stronger and more capable, a belief in my ability to survive the storm discovered deep, deep inside. The perseverance of the human spirit of survival is mine! My priorities are correctly in place and I have educated myself to the truths of the relationship between man and nature. But if you asked me to go through it again, to gain the same insight, I would have to tell you to shove it...where the sun don't shine!
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