1. Do you have a primary diagnosis, if so, what is it?
A: POTS and ME/CFS.
2. How long did it take you to get diagnosed?
A: It took 15 years of symptoms before a doctor even mentioned POTS.
3. How did you feel when you were first diagnosed? (ex: relieved, upset, numb?) What was the first thing you did?
A: On one hand I was upset because in a way, it lead to even more questions… Yet in another way I felt relieved because every symptom I'd had for the last 15 years finally made sense.
4. What advice would you give to someone who is chronically ill but undiagnosed?
A: Don’t give up on your instincts. If you feel a doctor is not listening to you, find one that will. Also, local support groups in your area can help you find local doctors who understand the conditions and will actually check for them.
5. Has your chronic illness changed your perspective, and if so, how?
A: It has most certainly shown me who my true friends and family are. It has also given me a greater appreciation for finding joy in the simple things in life.
6. What moment are you most proud of in your chronic illness journey thus far?
A: When I was hospitalised in an extremely severe, partially paralysed state, I endured a hellish experience over the course of two months. To get throigh that and to come out stronger and more determined than ever, I am extremely proud of.
7. What was your hardest (or lowest) moment, mentally and/or physically, that you’ve been through on your journey
A: The decade of dismissals from doctors telling me I should stop searching for answers to my conditions and instead spend the money on psychiatrists. Ten years of being old it’s all in my head and being bullied and treated horrendously certainly left it’s scars.
8. What or who has helped you the most during the lowest days?
A: My wife and my incredible online community of amazing warrior friends.
9. If you had any words of advice for someone struggling with a similar diagnosis, what would they be?
A: To the best of your abilities, don't isolate yourself from people. Even on a bad day, never do nothing. And even on the worst days, remember that will pass.
10. What would you like the world to know about life as a chronic illness patient?
A: Don’t let us fall off the radar. If you’re a friend, reach out and make sure no one ever has to go through this alone.
By Michael | @TorturedWriter