If you're currently struggling with your health—or have been for years—and you're frustrated because doctors aren't taking you seriously, you're not alone.
Since last month, people have been responding to a tweet from editor and writer Suzannah Weiss, asking women with chronic illness to share how much time had passed and how many doctors they saw on their journey to get a diagnosis for their debilitating symptoms, Scary Mommy reports. Weiss herself has a chronic illness, and in her tweet, revealed that after 11 months and meeting with 17 doctors, she finally got an accurate answer. In her post, she listed what each doctor told her—some dismissed her illness as nonexistent or the result of anxiety—to show others what women go through "just to begin to heal."
Here's how 15 moms responded to Weiss' question. What they confessed just might make you cry.
Women with chronic illnesses: how long & how many doctors did it take you to get diagnosed? I counted 11 months & 17 doctors & wrote down what each did to show what we go through just to begin to heal. pic.twitter.com/2TJ7FOyH3B— Suzannah Weiss (@suzannahweiss) October 16, 2018
1. This mom waited 15 years and was told by countless doctors that her symptoms were due to being "lazy and fat."
All my life—countless doctors who told me I was lazy * fat. Fat Bc I was lazy. Lazy Bc I was fat. I had a mini stroke. Stanford dr tested me 4 meningitis. Cleared me. 15 yrs later I had a real stroke tht left me w a 15 Min short term memory. THEN THEY FOUND THE HOLE IN MY HEART.— Christine H. Lee 🐓💨 (@xtinehlee) October 19, 2018
2. This mom finally got an accurate diagnosis after 14 years—because her husband pushed her primary care physician for an MRI scan.
Misdiagnosed at 14, it was about 14 years later that I showed my husband the write up on MS symptoms in a magazine and then he pushed my PCP to order an MRI. I lost track of all the doctors that told me I needed antidepressants, despite not being depressed.— Jessica Lewis (@Jthemom) October 25, 2018
3. This mom had been experiencing symptoms of celiac disease since she was 19, and continued to be misdiagnosed until her daughter started showing symptoms of the disease. That's when she convinced doctors to test her as well.
Celiac disease. At 19, a doctor told me college girls have stress and make up symptoms. Refused to test. Gave me ulcer medication. 2nd doctor said IBS. No tests. 3rd one said childbirth changes your body. (1/2)— Tara Brancato (@musetta_waltz) November 2, 2018
My daughter was diagnosed by accident last year. They didn’t believe her either. They apologized. Went to a 4th doctor. Took 6 months and a positive genetic test to convince them to test me. 15 years of massive unnecessary damage to my GI tract. Finally diagnosed.— Tara Brancato (@musetta_waltz) November 2, 2018
4. After getting a diagnosis after two years, this mom said she's still told by doctors that "it's just in your head!"
It took my first issue 1 yr and 4 doctors all the mean while suffering from other issue which took an additional year and 7 doctors and still now with confirmed results and images I still fight doctors to get proper treatment and still hear the words it's just in your head!— Sarah Carr (@stangthangeli) October 26, 2018
5. This mom waited three years—and her doctor thought her symptoms were due to the fact that she had children.
4 doctors. 3 years. Nearly died. Kept being told I was just depressed because I had children!!!! GP apologised after my op.— Jillybe (@llijbe) October 27, 2018
6. This mom said her 14-year-old daughter was the one who helped figure out her diagnosis.
My 14 yr old daughter figured out what I would later be diagnosed with. Over a dozen drs and tests and it was all missed. My daughter heard about my symptoms and then pulled out my “normal” MRIs and figured out what I had. She found other health issues & plans on med school.— Mary Cremer (@cremer_mary) October 27, 2018
7. This mom finally got a diagnosis after over 25 YEARS.
I don't even know...25+ years... Migraines since age 8, glasses not long after, FINALLY diagnosed with intracranial hypertension last year when a new eye doc saw the swelling on my optic nerve. Headaches are irregular & nowhere near as bad with right med.— Vivian (@little_girl_blu) October 27, 2018
8. Although this mom was diagnosed quickly, she said she still had to deal with health professionals who didn't believe what she was experiencing.
I got diagnosed straight away, and then I had to start dealing with ‘professionals’ who didn’t believe in my condition... today I’m bedbound and in so much pain I cried myself to sleep and had to organise childcare for my daughter... according to one dr I’m just fat— Chelsie Boyack (@chelsieboyack) October 29, 2018
9. This mom said it took 10 years for doctors to diagnose her polycystic ovary syndrome.
10 years to diagnose PCOS and I just fired a gyno for trying to tell me I don’t have it. Fired another doctor when she diagnosed my daughter with anxiety because she had a stomach ache.— Kelly Dickey (@CeallachDiana) November 6, 2018
10. This mom, who was recently diagnosed with B12 deficiency, said health professionals told her her symptoms were just a sign she was having her period.
Finally diagnosed with b12 deficiency, runs in the family. I was told not to be silly and it was my period. Was seen when i was so tired and my limbs felt like lead, my mum had to take my son to school, I definitely wouldn't have been safe to drive.— cornishwanderings (@Rachelcobble3) October 29, 2018
11. This mom said she's been told all her life that her symptoms were because of her weight.
Told my whole life symptoms were bc of weight. Lost the weight via baratric surgery in ‘11. Symptoms worsened in ‘12. ‘14 started steady decline. ‘17 after being nearly bedridden for 1.5 yrs finally dx w/ lupus. 1/2— Elizabeth Cooper Schultz (@HeartzOfGold3) November 1, 2018
Saw dozens of drs b4 my current GP insisted I be dx w/ something. She literally saved my life. W/o her I would still think I was dying & crazy. 2/2— Elizabeth Cooper Schultz (@HeartzOfGold3) November 1, 2018
12. This mom said it took her seven years—and she had to resort to an extreme measure to get a referral to see the specialist she needed.
7 years to be diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. I knew I had it but it took me yelling at my GP for a referral to a rheumatologist.— Liz Summerill #GTTO (@Lizzyiris1963) October 18, 2018
13. This mom also had to take an extreme measure to finally get a diagnosis after 10 years.
10 years to get to an endometriosis diagnosis for me (and I basically had to beg for the laparoscopic surgery to confirm it).— Ashley Doyal (@ashley_doyal) November 1, 2018
14. This mom said she had to diagnose herself and just had doctors confirm she was correct.
15 years (no idea how many doctors... too many) and it was really me who made the diagnosis and they confirmed. Otherwise it would still be a mystery.— Amy Antoinette (@amyantoinette) November 2, 2018
15. This mom is still awaiting a proper diagnosis.
Only 3 doctors have admitted they don’t know what is going on.— Babington (@mericksmom) November 2, 2018
Some said I need to see a therapist, therapists then tell me I am fine and to go back, pt tells me to suggest this or that, chiropractor adds more suggestions.
Specialist send me to other specialist.
Well it’s been close to 10 years, conditions have been morphing.— Babington (@mericksmom) November 2, 2018
4 years ago I was up to 20 something, then I moved.
So add another 20 something. I have seen every doctor at my primary, I have 4 neurosurgeons,2 cardiologist,2 gastros,5 neurologist,pain management gave me a few