The Moment You Finally Felt Independent: Living With Chronic Illness

o-CAREER-WOMEN-facebookI went in every week for a month. I could barely stay conscious while driving myself to my pediatrician’s office. I was seventeen and I’d already had a lifetime’s worth of antibiotics and despite the fact that I was still being slapped on the wrist every time I urged my doctor fill the prescription–he continued to fail to give me any alternatives. I knew that he felt I was faking my symptoms or at least exaggerating them. But today there would be no discussion. My throat had turned from a raw red to completely white. I couldn’t speak without incredible pain.

And after my doctor finally tested and confirmed I had mono (and other significantly gross infections) I walked out of the office with my prescription, feeling relieved and vindicated and I sat in my car for a minute before leaving the parking lot and walked back in.

“I need my medical records,” I whispered to the secretary. A week later I had a new doctor and treatment plan. Maybe it wasn’t the most dramatic coming of age moment–but for me it represented a real transition in my life. I finally took control and felt in charge of my own health.

Moving out, going to the ER by myself for the first time, getting through a trip through the grocery store when I was toppling with vertigo—all empowering moments where I felt like I could really handle myself. No matter what my disease brought.

I’m working on a chapter right now for Outsmarting Chronic Illness on independence– and I want to know–What’s your moment? When did you first feel independent despite your symptoms and challenges? Was it when you moved out? Handled a doctor’s visit on your own? Or spoke up for your preference in treatment?

Please share your stories below along with your name (or the name you’d like me to publish–you may remain anonymous if you’d like!) as well as your age and condition/s.