Wednesday, July 30, 2014

An Open Letter to Doctors

"You must stick to your conviction, but be ready to abandon your assumptions."
~Denis Waitley

In response to the visit I had today at the Cleveland Clinic and the doctor who dismissed me.  Here are some notes I wish every doctor would read.
1) Please listen to me.  

I know my body.  I know my capabilities.  I have googled every symptom and read every test result to the point I could probably do your job with my eyes closed.  I know there is something wrong.  Please don't blow me off.  If I say there is something wrong, there is something wrong.  I don't want meds.  I actually avoid them at all costs.  So don't assume I am coming into your office after already seeing 4 other doctors because I want you to give me drugs or I just want to miss work.  

I worked 13 hours yesterday to make up the time I was going to miss by going to this appointment.  My kids had cereal for dinner.  I didn't even have time to eat.  What time did you get home from the office?

2) Do not waste my time with extra appointments and more tests.  I paid a $50 copay for 5 minutes with a cardiologist today.  And I'm sure you will bill me extra for the EKG you ran even though I had one done 2 weeks ago with the same results.  Instead of doing the recommended ECG test while I was already in your office and took time out of work, you are making me come back in a week to pay another $50 copay and lose more time at work that I will have to make up.

$100 might not seem like so much to you.  But do you know what I can do with $100?

- Buy groceries for a week for my family of 4
- Buy school supplies for my kids
- Buy all 3 of my kids very needed tennis shoes for school
- Get new brake pads on my truck since that I've needed for over a month

What will you do with that $100?  Take a few colleagues out for dinner? I'm a single mom.  I don't have that luxury.  I don't mind paying my part between insurance and copays for necessary tests, but you guys are just shooting in the dark and scheduling appointment after appointment just so you can charge that insurance a little more money to pay off that beemer in the parking lot.

3) Don't assume.  I walk into your office and you see a middle-aged women that is overweight.  You naturally expect that whatever my symptoms are have been caused by the extra pounds I carry like a scarlet letter stitched upon my clothing.  You only give my records a cursory glance and barely listen to my responses.  

Yes, I am obese by your standards.  

Yes, I know this is not the healthiest I can be.

Yes, I also know that this is the healthiest and fittest I've been my entire life; extra weight and all.  I eat 80% clean.  How many of your patients can say that?  I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  I run.  I did a half marathon 3 months ago.  And I can't walk up a flight of stairs now. 

Guess what, Doc?  I was just as heavy 3 months ago.  Nothing has changed except now I am sick so it must be the weight.

Do NOT assume that a person is unhealthy because they are fat.  

Do NOT assume a person is healthy because they are skinny.  

You have to look at the whole picture.  And a 5 minute consultation is not going to give you that.  I spent $50.  The least you can do is spend 15 minutes with me to find out a little bit more about me before you make a diagnosis.

4) Heal me.  Don't pacify me.  Heal my body and help find the root cause.  Teach me from your vast knowledge what I can do to heal myself.  Don't fill my body with poisons that will just give me more symptoms.  

5)  I am not just a medical record.  

Please - see me as a person.  

I am an Engineer.  

I am a single mom with 3 beautiful children that depend on her. 

I am a runner.

I am a mixed martial artist.

I am a human being.  

And I need to know what is wrong with me so I can get back to doing all of the above instead of sleeping most of the night on the couch because I am so exhausted from whatever this is. 

Please help me be human again.



  1. Thank You so much, my dear Michele. More open letters need to be written.

    I don't know how to help you. Just know that I am praying and loving and sending so many positive vibes your way. :)

    1. Thank you dear Amy! You know me and my story and you understand what I'm going through. I really appreciate the prayers!

  2. You are spot on Michele. I'll message you the story of my friend whose 4 year old daughter had a brain tumor and the doctors kept telling her she was just trying to get attention.

  3. Exactly why I keep fighting Chris! There is something wrong. It's just a matter of finding out what that is before it is too late. My heart breaks for that little girl!

  4. i love this michelle! i love it because i can hear my own story in it. after years of exhaustion and issues and countless trips to the dr to only be given iron tablets or antibiotics for a continuous sinusitis i went to a different dr as my own was on holiday. she looked at me and began asking me if anyone had connected the dots and figured out WHY i was always deficient and tired and sick. the blank expression on my face must of said it all. She could join all the dots and had a couple of ideas as to what was CAUSING all the problems. wow, a cause. fancy that. that is when i found out about being allergic to wheat/gluten and it changed my life. literally. hopefully i've used that word correctly. but my life is radically different. its amazing to have energy. and no pain. and a normal gut. sure i eat a restricted allergy diet, but i would rather do that and be well. praying you find some answers michele. wish i could teleport you over to see my amazing ""new dr"" and have a cup of tea with ya! blessings, claire mclean

  5. Don't give up, Michele. My heart breaks for you. I'm right there with you. Sick as a dog and have no answers. If you ever need to vent we can make a party of it. We are here for you!!

  6. You're lovely. I'm on your team.