Invisible illnesses

My story sheds light on what so many others experience

File:Doctor uses a stethoscope to examine a young patient.JPEG
So many people go through their whole lives never knowing what illness they suffer from

There are many people out there who are lucky enough to enjoy every day without having to worry about a thing, except perhaps having to manage their time. Unlike them, there are those unlucky few who live with unseen medical conditions that would require talking to them to know about.

There are times when people might ask you to go out and do something, and despite wanting to with every fiber in your being, you have to sit there and explain why you can’t. This explanation is no small task. 

Personally, I live with stomach issues, and yes, I understand why people have a tendency to downsize this struggle easily. However, it is hardly easy to live with it. 

Even though I was born with these issues and it became apparent to my parents during childhood, they went unnoticed. As I grew up and learned to maintain myself, I never really noticed that what was happening was unusual.

I thought there were other kids who had these ‘normal’ problems as well. As I entered puberty, beginning to live my life and become more physical, I noticed how my stomach issues were actually affecting my ability to live my life. When I first visited the doctor I was given a different eating regimen and told to follow specific dietary rules.

I tried out these new eating habits, and yes, it helped me. Yet, it did not stop my overwhelming pain and regurgitation. They continued to test me, take further investigations into possible problems, but my results always came back as normal.

Now, at this stage in my life, my problems have only increased and my ability to live with them gets even more complicated. It had gotten to the point that eating, an activity most college students look forward to, is a task I have to do to survive.

It was never my goal to be the person who had to take pills and medications. Instead, I wanted to naturally heal my body. Still, doctors, still confused about what was actually wrong, gave me pills because my symptoms, when untreated, could have devastating long-term effects.

What the doctors failed to inform me is these pills too had long-term negative side effects. Now, I’ve come to find out that research has shown that one of the pills I have long been on is cancerous. When refusing to take these pills could harm me, and continuing to take them could be cancerous, how am I supposed to know what to do?

My story is just one example of how problem-solving in the medical world needs to become a serious priority for each individual patient. No one should have to continue living with life-altering symptoms or continue to take medications which could eventually harm them. Yet, this is my reality and the reality of so many others.

I am hoping here at North Dakota State, as well as many other colleges, medical and research students are trying to learn more about these unknown illnesses than they have ever tried to before. There needs to be a specific point in time where doctors refused to continue letting people suffer from bad genetics or medical issues. I am hoping for these people and any young people, to start working harder to be able to help others out there.

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