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Me, Lady Gaga, And The Medical Establishment That Failed Us Both
Sunday 1 October 2017
Me, Lady Gaga, and the medical establishment that failed us both
When I read in the news this week that musical artist Lady Gaga was suffering from fibromyalgia, I winced. I know that pain too well.
Last January, I fell ill with what I thought at first was the flu. Over the next few months, it waxed and waned mysteriously. The pain, exhaustion, and brain fog grew so intense that taking my daughter to the playground was out of the question; even venturing down the block to the grocery store would leave me bedridden for hours. My strange, debilitating symptoms overwhelmed me. I went from doctor to doctor before I finally received the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, joining the ranks of 4 million American women whose lives have been transformed by this chronic illness.
On Twitter, Gaga writes that she is “disappointed to see people online suggest that I’m being dramatic, making this up, or playing the victim.” I had a similar experience: Before I was diagnosed, my own doctor brushed off my reports of pain and exhaustion for months, warning me to “trust the team” at the office and quit Googling. An allergist asked me with a leering smirk if I was “an allergic little girl,” and then, after examining me and looking over my by-now encyclopedic folder of medical tests, said: “You’re clearly very healthy.”
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