Using my mobility aid just to be taken seriously by doctors
Congressional District: WY01
Chronic Pain, Immune Disease, Mental Health
Issues and Challenges
Bianca has encountered: Mental Health Access, Rare / Underserved Disease, Transportation, Disability, Gaslighting, Invisible Illness, Medical Discrimination
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2019 after almost a year and a half of chronic pain, fatigue, and brain fog among other symptoms. I have since been diagnosed with several other invisible chronic illnesses, and occasionally use a cane or walker to help me with my mobility.
Even still, my family doctor repeatedly refuses referrals until I get confirmation from a psychiatrist that the symptoms I’m having are not psychological. He has gone so far as to ask “are you sure some of these symptoms are not psychological.” He denied me access to a pain clinic because he felt that since I was continuing to work I wasn’t in enough pain to warrant going to one. Because my illnesses are invisible, I am often questioned, denied medical care, and gaslit by providers. I appear young and in good shape, so it is difficult for medical providers to take me seriously when I explain how I am feeling. I have brought a mobility aid to the emergency room several times even though I didn’t need it, as I am taken more seriously by medical staff if I am using my cane or walker.
I have generalized anxiety disorder, so the first thing that medical providers do is blame my mental health. Providers make suggestions like, “You need to practice mindfulness so your symptoms get better.” Which ignores the fact that I have physical chronic diseases that are causing my symptoms. No amount of meditation is going to change that.
My Motivation and Inspiration
I watched my mom battle brain cancer for five years before she passed away. The disease stripped her of everything she was as a person, and I watched the person I knew slowly disappear.
Throughout that, she never wavered in the strength she put into fighting to get healthy. She tried everything anyone could suggest to her. She didn’t isolate herself, she remained part of the community, she showed up for people she loved, she lived her life authentically. When I am struggling with my situation, I remember her, and I think, if she could do that, then I can do this. I am, after all, a part of her.