Voices Across America

Step Therapy has Caused Me Years of Serious Health Issues

Becca

State: Arizona
Congressional District: AZ08

Diseases

Chronic Pain, Gastrointestinal Disease, Genetic Disease, Neurological Disease, Rare Disease, Reproductive Disease, Skin Disease

Issues and Challenges

Becca has encountered: Access to Expert Providers, Insurance Issues, Rare / Underserved Disease, Disability, Discrimination (nonmedical), Gaslighting, Invisible Illness, Step-Therapy / Fail First

My Story

My husband is always asking me “Why do you do this?”I always return with a puzzled look and respond with the question of “Do what?, Advocate?” I do this because I didn’t have anyone advocating for me. I advocate for those who don’t have a voice. There are so many illnesses that in medical school it is physically impossible for doctors to learn each and every disease. That is where we come in. We know if something is off within our bodies.

My whole life revolved around people and doctors telling me it was all in my head. That I was just being a hypochondriac. My mom’s favorite line with me was to stop tinkering with my body. I knew things were not right. Perfectly healthy humans don’t just throw up food regularly no matter what type of food it is. Perfectly healthy humans don’t just fall down out of nowhere. Hormones raged on through my teens like most people however I suffered from amenorrhea and when I did have a period it would feel like death. My doctor would put me on Prozac and birth control through my late teens and early twenties. I pushed myself hard to finish college with my MBA.

When I met my husband it got worse. We met in April 2012 and started dating in December 2012. In April 2013 my left foot swelled up for no reason. Underwent blood tests and lots of arrogant doctors. Next thing that happened was my back going out. Being an obese female with problematic female issues leads so many doctors to say it is just your core muscles, or your thyroid is off. I had to go through step therapy at the time, but I didn’t know what it was called. Physical Therapy, Steroid Injections, Blood Panels, and EMG testing. Then just to hear the doctor say I don’t know how this could happen. The “2” hour surgery turned into 5 hours. Which then turned into a 5 day stay in the hospital because I thought I was getting better but it turned out I had MRSA.

We got married in 2015 and he started working at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. I was never so happy! The Rheumatology department there was quick to point out that I didn’t have Lupus, Gout or thyroid issues like all the other doctors thought. He mentioned Connective Tissue Disease. That is when I started researching and figuring out that MY WHOLE LIFE issues are connected by faulty tissues! I started working with groups in the valley to help others so they don’t have to go through this alone.

My last back surgery had a failed step therapy protocol as they did the steroid injection within 2 weeks of surgery. This opened my spinal cord up to the steroids causing permanent inflammation. My spinal cord tail gets lost in my column, plus my fusion area is still extremely irritated. That was done in 2017. Five years and the pain is still just as bad.

My Motivation and Inspiration

Now I am ready to go even further because the recent health care laws are making life impossible for so many of us with debilitating illnesses. The opioid laws are hurtful to chronic pain patients. People need to have a voice and others that are willing to help them. We were not meant to live this life alone.

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