Sunday, June 18, 2006

everyone an expert

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When you have a chronic illness, it sometimes feels like everyone is an expert on your condition. I can't begin to count the number of times an acquaintance has heard I have migraines and attempted to share some crucial tidbit of information gleaned from contact with other migraineurs or watching the evening news.

I've easily been on 35-50 different medications. I'm on my fourth neurologist. I've tried supplements, chiropractors, biofeedback, physical therapy, massage, acupressure, acupuncture, aromatherapy, guided relaxation, and meditation with varying degrees of success. I've read at least five books on how to "cure" your migraines and a couple of good ones about how to manage the disease. I read all the articles and blogs on the subject that I can find.

What is it about migraine disease that makes these relative strangers believe I might benefit from the same treatment as their cousin or friend from grad school? I've spent more time, money, and energy pursuing both mainstream and obscure treatments to try to find a way to make myself feel better than anyone I know, save others with chronic illnesses.

It's a Catch-22. If I don't explain that I have chronic migraines, there is no hope the people in my life will understand that I have certain limitations and obstacles. If I do tell them, it's open season for them to critique my treatment plan. Is everyone such an expert on cancer? Sometimes I wonder.

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