Thursday, April 16, 2009

Doctors, Failing Treatments & Guilt


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Guilt is a strange emotion. It comes easy to me, but rarely has much, if any, basis in reality.

I knew I felt guilty about my wasted education and the seemingly futile investment of time and money in my once-promising future. About my inability to contribute to our finances or do what needs to be done to keep the household functioning. About breaking plans with family and friends, never shaving or having sex with my husband, being late to so many appointments I can't count them anymore and not giving as much time to my pets as I should.

I didn't know, however, that I feel guilty about having to tell my care providers the treatments we're trying aren't working. Isn't that something?
If anything shouldn't my doctors be disappointed they can't help me? But somehow that seems unnatural. Yes, my mind is that twisted.

I don't think I felt that way when I first started having chronic migraines six years ago. I felt so sure we would find the right option that ruling a medication out just felt like an opportunity to check something off the list and move on. Slowly my doe-eyed optimism began to wane.

By the time I'd tried dozens of medications and every therapy imaginable, I started to feel like there must be something really wrong with me that I'd not been helped by any of the things that fix so many other people. I began to worry my doctors would think I didn't want to be helped.
With time, exam rooms became host to the same scenario over and over again:

Doctor: "How are you doing?"

Me: "The same. Terrible and experiencing three to four migraine attacks a week.
"

I hate giving that answer. It never gets any easier. My stomach flips over and I often stare at the floor like a child being reprimanded. It's hard to make eye contact when you feel like you're letting someone down.

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