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ineedauniqueusername

2+ Year Member
May 4, 2018
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hi all,

I recently got diagnosed with endometriosis. Living in chronic debilitating pain during periods and some days without periods. I was recently accepted to med school and everything was working out for me when i got the news. I know, typical 2020. I just feel so defeated. Does anyone share the same experience and/or is in med school with chronic illness. I would love to hear some advice as to what i should do. I know 100% without this illness i would be extremely succesful. But now I dont really know how to feel. This is the only thing i want to do in life, and i dont know how i will manage through rotations and so forth. Again, i'd love to hear some advice.
 

Crayola227

The Oncoming Storm
7+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
19,394
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Get out now

Or if you must...

I have written a ton of posts on the forum about chronic illness on this path.

Have you pursued every treatment you can? I know so many women who seem to suffer because they don't want hormones or an IUD to try to control this better. Or surgery - which doesn't have to threaten your fertility, but has other potential risks. But you have to do whatever you have to do to be present - sick days are unbelievably hard to come by and at great potential cost to your career starting in med school.

Work with your medical providers, be proactive about setting up that support system for medical school, and proactively reaching out for whatever academic accommodations you can get.

The reality is that if you can't get this under control enough not to need monthly time off, I honestly don't know if this is the path for you. That's OK. Sometimes our bodies determine our destiny. Chronic pain can be more than a part time job. I wish more people got that message.
 

ineedauniqueusername

2+ Year Member
May 4, 2018
32
14
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Get out now

Or if you must...

I have written a ton of posts on the forum about chronic illness on this path.

Have you pursued every treatment you can? I know so many women who seem to suffer because they don't want hormones or an IUD to try to control this better. Or surgery - which doesn't have to threaten your fertility, but has other potential risks. But you have to do whatever you have to do to be present - sick days are unbelievably hard to come by and at great potential cost to your career starting in med school.

Work with your medical providers, be proactive about setting up that support system for medical school, and proactively reaching out for whatever academic accommodations you can get.

The reality is that if you can't get this under control enough not to need monthly time off, I honestly don't know if this is the path for you. That's OK. Sometimes our bodies determine our destiny. Chronic pain can be more than a part time job. I wish more people got that message
So I started a Birth control and its working for me, currently waiting on surgery. I will not let this illness prevent me from pursuing my dreams. If i let that happen and give up, depression and being rock bottom is where i see myself. My entire life i have viewed myself as capable and competent, i refuse to let this bring me down..
 
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Crayola227

The Oncoming Storm
7+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
19,394
22,388
All of Time & Space
So I started a Birth control and its working for me, currently waiting on surgery. I will not let this illness prevent me from pursuing my dreams. If i let that happen and give up, depression and being rock bottom is where i see myself. My entire life i have viewed myself as capable and competent, i refuse to let this bring me down..
Very pleased to hear that you are getting treatment and trying to maximize the therapies available to you by your treating physicians. I think that will be your best chance.

While I totally appreciate your determination to follow this path despite a chronic health condition, and lots of people do, and many even succeed, I would caution you about this thinking "I must do this, but if my body holds me back I'm going to be emotionally devastated."

That day when you can't do something that "means everything" to you, because of your body, in some way way, is coming for ALL of us. It just gets some of us sooner or harder than others.

While I see medicine as a deep sacred calling like the priesthood or parenthood or some such, it's crucial to keep some perspective. Just as your illness is not all that you are, neither is being a physician.

These would be a couple of the most valuable lessons I would ever try to pass on to anyone coming in.

Don't ever let it become so much a part of your identity that you're destroyed if it's threatened. It's more a part of you than "just a job," as some say, but also, it's a job. This thing about identity and destruction, this goes for anything, whether you're a parent (children sometimes die before parents) a guitarist (hands are destroyed) or whatever.
 
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ineedauniqueusername

2+ Year Member
May 4, 2018
32
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  1. Pre-Medical
Very pleased to hear that you are getting treatment and trying to maximize the therapies available to you by your treating physicians. I think that will be your best chance.

While I totally appreciate your determination to follow this path despite a chronic health condition, and lots of people do, and many even succeed, I would caution you about this thinking "I must do this, but if my body holds me back I'm going to be emotionally devastated."

That day when you can't do something that "means everything" to you, because of your body, in some way way, is coming for ALL of us. It just gets some of us sooner or harder than others.

While I see medicine as a deep sacred calling like the priesthood or parenthood or some such, it's crucial to keep some perspective. Just as your illness is not all that you are, neither is being a physician.

These would be a couple of the most valuable lessons I would ever try to pass on to anyone coming in.

Don't ever let it become so much a part of your identity that you're destroyed if it's threatened. It's more a part of you than "just a job," as some say, but also, it's a job. This thing about identity and destruction, this goes for anything, whether you're a parent (children sometimes die before parents) a guitarist (hands are destroyed) or whatever.
Yes, that is something i have been thinking about since before this illness was a part of my life! Thank you for your advice, I always keep that in mind. its especially difficult bc I havent even started the journey into medicine yet.
 

hmockingbird

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Jan 31, 2011
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I am and know quite a few physicians with chronic illness. I both agree and disagree with Crayola. The stigma/discrimination is there but in my experience it’s doable for many people. However, your illness does have to be fairly well under control especially in residency, just because of the hours required.

I don’t have any specific advice for endometriosis since I don’t have that but overall my advice would be: 1) stay on top of your health/healthcare as much as you can. Keeping appointments, taking meds etc. Self care and owning your limits helps too. There were times I didn’t go out with friends or asked to do something more low-key because I needed to sleep or save energy. 2) Advocate for yourself and be creative— the creative part is because a lot of times people who don’t have experience with disability just don’t have any idea how to accommodate it. So I tend to approach a situation where I need an accommodation with a suggestion for what the accommodation could be. (I also use the creativity perspective to avoid needing an official accommodation because often it’s a headache. The amount of times I wolfed down a protein bar in the bathroom between surgery cases during M3 was disgusting. But we were allowed to go to the bathroom but didn’t have time to go to the lounge to eat and I needed to eat.) 3) Be realistic about your abilities and use that as a factor for your specialty choice. Pretty self-explanatory. I have some physical disabilities so made sure I picked a specialty with limited procedures that could basically be a desk job. 4) Once you’re a resident think about getting own specialty disability insurance. Mine only asked about whether I had 5 conditions and no question about any of the rest of my medical history so it’s possible.

Edit: forgot the most important thing!! I found that being somewhat open with my classmates was helpful for networking. It helps you find other chronically ill or disabled students and/or people who are accepting/understanding. Almost all of my friends from residency have some type of chronic illness.
 

ineedauniqueusername

2+ Year Member
May 4, 2018
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  1. Pre-Medical
I am and know quite a few physicians with chronic illness. I both agree and disagree with Crayola. The stigma/discrimination is there but in my experience it’s doable for many people. However, your illness does have to be fairly well under control especially in residency, just because of the hours required.

I don’t have any specific advice for endometriosis since I don’t have that but overall my advice would be: 1) stay on top of your health/healthcare as much as you can. Keeping appointments, taking meds etc. Self care and owning your limits helps too. There were times I didn’t go out with friends or asked to do something more low-key because I needed to sleep or save energy. 2) Advocate for yourself and be creative— the creative part is because a lot of times people who don’t have experience with disability just don’t have any idea how to accommodate it. So I tend to approach a situation where I need an accommodation with a suggestion for what the accommodation could be. (I also use the creativity perspective to avoid needing an official accommodation because often it’s a headache. The amount of times I wolfed down a protein bar in the bathroom between surgery cases during M3 was disgusting. But we were allowed to go to the bathroom but didn’t have time to go to the lounge to eat and I needed to eat.) 3) Be realistic about your abilities and use that as a factor for your specialty choice. Pretty self-explanatory. I have some physical disabilities so made sure I picked a specialty with limited procedures that could basically be a desk job. 4) Once you’re a resident think about getting own specialty disability insurance. Mine only asked about whether I had 5 conditions and no question about any of the rest of my medical history so it’s possible.

Edit: forgot the most important thing!! I found that being somewhat open with my classmates was helpful for networking. It helps you find other chronically ill or disabled students and/or people who are accepting/understanding. Almost all of my friends from residency have some type of chronic illness.
Thank you so much! i really appreciate your response! I will definitely keep these points in mind. Its nice to know that others have similar experiences. Medical training needs some real improvements to make things easier and accessible to all people especially given the high demand for physicians worldwide and moreso now. Hopefully new changes will be made. But yes, I am seeking the treatment I need and I am doing well rn, fingers crossed it stays the same!
 
Dec 29, 2020
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Hey! I agree with hmockingbird, being open about it is really the most important thing. I have endometriosis also and some days it is simply impossible to move. I suggest letting people know before hand about your condition and have an open conversation about the possibility of having a few days a month where your schedule is more flexible. Also, have you ever tried to use stick on heating pads? They are like $6 at Walgreens and in combination with pain killers they tend to make my pain manageable enough to do my tasks. I don't agree with Crayola that you need to get out now, but you do need to make sure you can learn and be the best possible practitioner while taking care of yourself. I think it is really important that more people with varieties of life experiences go into medicine because we can understand and help different people more effectively.
 
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ineedauniqueusername

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May 4, 2018
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hey! I agree with hmockingbird, being open about it is really the most important thing. I have endometriosis also and some days it is simply impossible to move. I suggest letting people know before hand about your condition and have an open conversation about the possibility of having a few days a month where your schedule is more flexible. Also, have you ever tried to use stick on heating pads? They are like $6 at Walgreens and in combination with pain killers they tend to make my pain manageable enough to do my tasks. I don't agree with Crayola that you need to get out now, but you do need to make sure you can learn and be the best possible practitioner while taking care of yourself. I think it is really important that more people with varieties of life experiences go into medicine because we can understand and help different people more effectively.
Thabk you for responding! Its definitely hard sometimes but I think k I can manage. May i ask what you are in/pursuing ?
 
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