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Lisa's Story

Northern Virginia

Age: 46 or better

A little bit about my journey:

My Diagnosis

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, IBD, degenerative disc disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia

Time to Get Diagnosed

9-40 years

Year I was Diagnosed


Sending Love to

Dr. Karen Freeman

Hospital I'd Recommend

University of Chicago

This is my story:

I come from a hyper-stoic Polish family by way of Chicago. You. Do. Not. Complain. Period.
So decades of “potty problems” bred inattentiveness in class, crappy (NPI) grades and therefore a 3rd rate secondary education. That amounted to jobs I could manage as opposed to a career I aspired to. Friends were fleeting moments where I didn’t have to cancel and relationships were born out of much tolerance in silence on my part. Having parents also with GI issues (mother Chrons, father diverticulosis, both RIP); I’m between anger and sadness when I think what I might have been, had I been properly diagnosed (read: NOT psychiatric) at an early age. Having awareness and labels are the compromise with myself today, as half my life or more is behind me.
But the message here isn’t boo-hoo bust out the Puffs Plus for Lisa. It is to please, please speak up for yourself when you’re in pain..be that physical or emotional. Today we have the all-knowing Interweb to tie symptoms to possible outcomes, doctors who are specialists in their fields and the good graces of privatized insurance where you don’t have to wait 6+ months for appointments and testing. Be your own advocate. Print pages and talk to your parents, teachers, make your own appointments. Do anything but let your life literally and painfully pass you by. Once I understood that I had to be the one to do the asking, I started to see the test results that came with labels. A lump became hypothyroidism, scar tissue Chrons, MRI identified a degenerating L5. It’s an exhaustive process getting to the bottom of a deep pit of pain..take it one diagnosis at a time. And do not stop until you have answers…and a wellness plan…because you don’t have to suffer in silence.

Let’s play 20 questions:

The song that keeps me going is:
“Light the Way” by Craig Connelly
I never leave home without my:
My go-to feel better movie is: 
If I was in the hospital, the celebrity I would most love to visit me would be:
George Washington or George Carlin (calling all geneticists of South Korea)
When I need to relax, I:
Mix techno & trance
My favorite food is:
Breyers Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
The quote that keeps me going is:
True happiness is to understand our duties toward God and man; to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence on the future; not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears, but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is abundantly sufficient. /Seneca
When I need a laugh, I:
Meet my pets (or favorite stuffed animal):
Looking to foster a cat to kill the mice in my garage
My hero is:
Babcia. Truly a “one suitcase and $100” American success story.
When I’m having a down day I binge watch:
90 Day Fiancé
My favorite book to get lost in is:
“The Ponds of Kalambayi” by Mike Tidwell
I want to be best friends with:
Nardwuar the Human Serviette (you also want to punch him in the face)
The thing I’m most proud of:
Public speaking as part of my job. Mastering mind over matter when your body just wants to die.
The most wonderfully unexpected thing that has happened to me as a result of this journey is:
Solo international travel. Just be smart about your safety.
The most hilarious thing that has happened to me is:
Being approached to work at Hooters. Then to serve. Now would be to scrub toilets. After closing.
It really means a lot when someone does this:
When it’s recognized I’m a great listener. And doing my job means my guidance wasn’t second guessed.
My favorite social media account to follow is:
Still looking
The advice I would give to myself back at the beginning of this journey would be:
Speak up. Taking action now isn’t worth the regret later.
Words of encouragement that I’d give to my fellow warriors are
As ^ above.
Follow my journey: It’s uninteresting drivel of real estate

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