Voices Across America

Healthcare isn’t easier for providers who become patients

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State: California
Congressional District: CA08


Eye Disease, Migraine, Neurological Disease, Rare Disease

Issues and Challenges

Rochelle has encountered: Access to Expert Providers, Rare / Underserved Disease, Disability, Medical Devices

My Story

In 2014 I had a traumatic accident to my eye. I initially had a corneal abrasion, a scratch on the outer part of my eye, and it didn’t heal well. From this injury I ended up developing Recurring Corneal Erosions which caused ongoing eye pain (Corneal Neuralgia), Chronic Migraines and severe light sensitivity.

It's been 8 years since that injury and I’ve had 100’s of medical visits with primary care providers and specialists, multiple surgeries and unplanned urgent health visits. My recovery has felt like the fight of my life and while I’ve come far, I still experience daily symptoms which can include nausea, pain and migraines.

While I am fortunate to have had access to care and have a background as a medical provider, my experience has reinforced to me those with chronic illnesses are often confronted with gaps in services, limited treatment options and a lack of community services. We need to keep looking for opportunities to improve our health system so that patients, our community, may receive essential preventative health services as well as the clinical care, treatment and services that they deserve to support them through health crises.

My Motivation and Inspiration

I continue to serve on advisory committees and boards for non-profits that are focused on improving health, design and equity.

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