Apr 26, 2015

Dr. Mom, Ph.D

Not so long ago I read a comment on Facebook that caused me to stop and think.  The comment made reference to those who get their Ph.D from Google University.

The Internet has been an invaluable source of information for many and has opened the door to learning anything you want.  Personally, it's helped me through my years with chronic illness. I'm sorry to say that I've developed a love-hate relationship with doctors and the medical establishment as a whole because of my personal experience with tick-borne infections and some other serious medical issues where I did not get the diagnosis or treatment that I needed.

Living with chronic illness has taught me to be more compassionate with others.  The harder lesson I'm learning is being compassionate with those who have no idea what it's like to have chronic pain and fatigue but try to compare our suffering with some minor ailment they had for a week.  I have a hard time remembering when I was healthy and when I was the one who wasn't able to understand those who were sick or in pain.

I'm sure it's difficult to understand what it's like to watch your own child suffer day after day, struggling for air from Babesia attacks or suffering from severe fatigue, nerve and joint pain. I'm sure it's hard to understand what it's like to sit up in the middle of the night almost every night for years because your child is so overcome with anxiety that they're just sure they're going to die.

It would be hard to know what it's like to sit in countless doctor's offices being told your children are fine, nothing shows up on the lab reports, maybe your kids are just depressed or worse that you need better parenting skills.  When you're not able to find the help you desperately need from the hospital or the doctors in the surrounding area or the feeling of defeat when you're given the diagnosis "psychosamatic."

Most wouldn't know the desperation that causes you stay up throughout the night researching and reading everything you can, trying to find a way to help your family. 

Google has much to offer, you can find just about anything you want online.  I agree that you really do have to be careful where you find your information.  There is a lot of misinformation online and when it comes to medical information it's very easy to misdiagnose yourself and even completely wig yourself out by reading all the "worst case" scenarios.   What's worse is finding those sites where people share their stories or who try to help diagnose you. 

Great wisdom and discernment needs to be used when researching online.  I have found physicians whom I can trust and seek counsel from.  They know I like to study, research and be in charge of my own health as well as that of my children.

Years ago as I sat in my pediatrician's office for the hundredth time with each of my children only to be told they were fine when they clearly were not, I realized that I needed to take matters in my own hands. 

When we were under the care of a knowledgeable Lyme Literate MD, I continually advocated for my children.  Much of Chronic Lyme care is experimental, especially when typical treatments fail.  I refused to allow my children to be a guinea pig.  When prescribed medications I always asked questions and a lot of them. I researched the medications, spoke to my pharmacists and sometimes called the drug company itself.

Recently someone asked me, "what would ever make you question your doctor in the first place?"

I had never thought about it before, I just thought that's what you're supposed to do.  As I mulled over that question in my mind later I realized that most people place too much trust in their doctor.   

Doctors are well educated, much more then I am, most of them really want to help people.  Unfortunately, most are also trained to place too much faith in a system that is failing us.

The most obvious reason for why I questioned our doctors is because this is my health, these are my children, I knew they were very very sick. 

If I had not already been diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease I shudder to think how long it would have been before my children would have gotten a correct diagnosis. 

How much sicker would they have become and how much more would they have had to suffer being misdiagnosed or taking unnecessary medication.

I do respect doctors and I respect the fact that they have a tremendous amount of education, training and experience.  I however do not respect doctors who dismiss their patient, label them as stressed or depressed just because they can't find a reason for illness or refuse to believe that a disease even exists.

Thanks to Google University I found the information that I needed about the many ways Lyme Disease can and does present in children. 

I found information explaining why Lyme Disease is so controversial.  I found the information I needed in order to get a correct diagnosis and I was able to find good doctors.

So, maybe I have a degree in Google University or maybe I'm just a Mom with a relentless passion and purpose to care for my children and to make sure that they have the best treatment that they need and deserve to get better.

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