My story starts back in early 1999. I was a very active teenager, on the honor roll, involved in school activities, and even had two after school jobs. Mono started “going around” and several of my friends got it. They were back to school the next week and had no lasting effects. I, on the other hand, had a difficult time going to a full day of school for months. But eventually I was back to my busy schedule. Then later that fall I became more sick than I had ever been. I was in excruciating pain and was beyond exhausted. I was sleeping 18-20 hours a day and never felt rested. I was in so much pain, it was difficult to find a comfortable position to sit or sleep. When friends would stop by to visit, they would give me a hug and I would be sore for hours from it.
My parents brought me to many doctors and specialists. Each doctor would draw 12-20 samples of blood to test. We would wait the standard 2 weeks to get the results back, and then would be referred to the next doctor since nothing was found in the blood work. The more doctors I saw, the more the doctors stopped believing me. Several doctors pulled my parents aside and told them I must be doing this for attention. Thankfully, that was something my parents never believed. One doctor even took my hand, looked me square in the eyes and said “You are a healthy young woman. You need to choose to get up tomorrow morning and lead a life any other healthy young woman would.” I wondered if he was onto something. I would try to pretend there was nothing wrong with me, but my body had other ideas after a few short hours or even minutes. I knew that it was not “in my head.” I knew I was telling the truth. Eventually, we reached a point where insurance would not cover any more visits and I could no longer be referred. My primary care doctor had many doubts about my symptoms too, and suggested that maybe when I go to college and “have fun” that I will feel better. It was an extremely hard time in my life. I knew I was sick, my parents knew I was sick, but no doctor could find anything wrong with me.
At that point I decided I needed to accept the fact that this was my life. I was going to have to live with the pain and exhaustion forever. I knew that I could choose to feel sorry for myself or I could choose to live my life to the fullest I could. I chose the latter. I decided to go to college. I went part time, with the minimum amount of credits I needed to still get financial aid and qualify to live in the dorms. I had times where I needed to call my mom to pick me up so that I could go home and rest for a few days when the exhaustion and pain became overwhelming. But I continued to do the most I could possibly do each day. Some days that meant I took a shower. Other days that meant I went to class and hung out with my friends.
Off and on I have had other symptoms that were new and I would go to the doctor for them, as anyone would. Time and time again I would find new doctors that didn’t believe me. I started to learn that it was not worth it to go to the doctor.
It was not until the summer of 2009, when I came into contact with an old friend of mine who is now a doctor, that I even considered seeing a doctor again. When I started talking to my friend, I began telling her all the gynecological problems I have had over the years, not even mentioning the pain or fatigue. The longer we talked and the more questions she asked, I decided to remind her about ALL of my symptoms. She immediately said that naturopathic could help me. Within a couple days she had referred me though a colleague of hers to Dr Purcell. I was terrified. What if this doctor was going to be just like all the rest? What if she was going to claim she could help me and then do blood work and throw her hands up in the air when nothing came back? What if I took this leap of faith and she didn’t believe anything I said? My husband, on the other hand, could not wait for me to call Dr Purcell. He was beyond thrilled at the chance that a doctor could possibly help me. Finally, after days of mulling it over, I decided to give Dr Purcell a call. After I hung up the phone I thought “What was I so worried about?”
At my first visit I cried several times, mainly because for the first time in my life I had found a doctor who was listening to me and believing what I was saying. I had no expectations of how or if naturopathic medicine would help me. All I really wanted was to find someone who could tell me “Yes, there is something wrong with you, you are not making it up.” I found that in Dr Purcell.
It has now been 7 months that I have been seeing Dr Purcell and I honestly could not have imagined I could have felt this great! Dr Purcell has been able to adjust her plan to suit my needs as they have come up. I have much more energy and my pain is very rarely an issue. I have even started having regular periods, which is something I have never had. It may sound simple, but it is wonderful when I can go to the grocery store, come home and put away all of the food, and then have energy to do a couple loads of laundry, plus make supper for my family. With each passing month, I feel substantially better. I know the future is bright and I will continue on the path to being even more healthy. I no longer have to accept chronic pain and fatigue as a part of my life.
~ Jill J.