My Autoimmune Diagnosis – A Dark Comedy. Part 1.

When I received my autoimmune diagnosis several years ago, it was like a satire of poor bedside manner where I, as the patient, was the butt of the joke in a system designed so patients have limited access to information, little or no leverage, no advocate, and all the risks and expenses of their situation.

I’ve seen 5 different doctors and gotten a variety of indifferent points of view over time. This story is part of that journey.

“Do you have an autoimmune disease?!”

After seeing my allergist for a few years and telling him about various concerns, all of which he argued vehemently were not allergic — including tiredness, fatigue, stomach upset, various digestive issues — he finally asked, exasperated, “Do you have an autoimmune disease?!”.

I was a little shocked, more that he asked me something I couldn’t possibly know, than he finally recommended a possible answer to my continuing questions.

“I don’t know,” I answered, “That’s why I’m seeing you.”

He said he could order some tests, then he didn’t write the orders. We finished our visit, I temporarily forgot about the orders, and he walked by as I was paying the administrative staff. I asked him if he’d write the orders. He hesitated — maybe autoimmunity is outside the narrow confines of the allergist/immunologist ‘s area of practice or concern — then he wrote the orders.

Normal

When the results arrived, a member of office staff called to say everything was normal. I asked for a copy of the results for my records, and when I reviewed them I had questions.

Two of the results were unequivocally out of the “Normal” range for the assessment. I called to discuss those, and she fudged, clearly out of her depth. She made up some implausible explanations, then when I asked more questions she said I should probably speak with the doctor.

Autoimmune

The doctor said something like, “Basically, your body is attacking your thyroid gland. Eventually, your thyroid gland will burn up, and you’ll go on thyroid medication.”

“Will I ever be able to go off the medication?”

“No.”

At this point I’m thinking this one-way ticket to chronic medical supervision and pharmaceuticals is a bad joke, where our medical/insurance establishment has written a storyline for people to follow through a lifetime of chronic illness and medical treatment.

This is the perfect business model for:

  1. people in white coats who run businesses called doctor’s offices,
  2. the manufacturers of the pharmaceutical products only the people in white coats can prescribe,
  3. the people who work for the insurance companies who pay them, and
  4. employees and investors in all those and related enterprises

The arrangement is lousy for the customers and the economy, since the end of all this inconvenience, discomfort, and cost is always a fatality.

“What’s plan B? If I were your sister or daughter or mother, what would you recommend they do?”

“Well, that’s pretty much how it goes. I guess you could talk to an endocrinologist.”

What Next?

For the slapstick account of my visit with the endocrinologist, click here.

Alternatively, go here to learn what I’ve learned about being a smarter medical consumer.

Or learn more about me and this blog.


Also published on Medium.

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Dylan Cornelius helps business people create laser-like focus on exactly what they want in their lives and businesses, re-invent themselves, their lifestyles, and their business systems to powerfully support getting those results, devise workable action plans to deliver the results, and master the skills necessary to build and sustain the results — all in 10 sessions over 4 months.

Our approach works because it enables anyone to quickly leverage fundamentals of sustainable change revealed in:
– a decade coaching individuals to breakthrough results in their lives, including weight and fitness, job and career, relationships and effectiveness, satisfaction and decision-making,
– more than two decades building products and leading large scale change for Fortune 500 companies including Dun & Bradstreet, Oracle, IBM, Accenture, Deloitte Consulting, Best Buy, Circuit City, CVS, Sears Holdings, Ross Stores (Dress For Less), and Applied Materials,
– training in neuroscience and human development at UC Berkeley, management of innovation at Santa Clara University, and ontology and phenomenology at Landmark Worldwide.

You care because any aspect of your life or business that does not serve you, your family, and community diminishes the gift you’ve been given in life.


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Also published on Medium.