Voices Across America

My Patient Story

Adriana

State: California
Congressional District: CA45

Diseases

Chronic Pain, Neurological Disease, Rare Disease

Issues and Challenges

Adriana has encountered: Access to Medicine, Copay Issues, Insurance Issues, Medical Records Access, Mental Health Access, Surprise Billing, Gaslighting, Geography, Invisible Illness, Job Insecurity / Loss, Medical Devices, Prior Authorization, Step-Therapy / Fail First, Suicide / Self-harm, Transparency in Health Care

My Story

Ever since I can remember I have lived with pain and thought it was completely normal, so I pushed through until pushing through wasn't enough. I was always the girl that had a headache, that had to miss class, outings with friends, family dinners, you name it. But everything seemed fine, top of my class in highschool, graduated from medical school, and a very active life.

After years of pushing through, it was enough. I was preparing myself for the board exams in 2016 and I couldn't even eat, sleep or live. After many years of indescribable pain, treatments and misdiagnosis I had to leave my dream of going into residency and helping others in need.

Last year I was diagnosed with Chronic Cluster Headache aka Suicide Headache, and everything changed, finally I have the correct diagnosis and better treatment options as a wonderful consequence. That means better pain management and the ability to go back to studying and doing what I love and enjoy.

Living with this invisible illness means that pain can’t be seen, but trust me, it’s there and it affects every aspect of my life.

I suffered alone for so many years without understanding what was happening to me. For many, I was healthy, I just suffered from headaches. It’s just a headache, but it's not. Now I’m able to advocate for myself. No, it is not just a headache, it is a neurological disease.

Over the last year I created my Instagram account, to advocate for myself and others and teach about how this disease affects my daily life. This has granted me with an amazing community that I hope keeps growing.

My Motivation and Inspiration

Living with a chronic condition and living with a disability has taught me so much. Now I am able to advocate for myself and others, understand my future patients and their family and empower everyone out there living with an illness, invisible or not. It has taught me to be kind with others no matter what and judge less. Because we would never know what is happening in others lives unless they let us know.

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