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Navigating residency with Addison's Disease.

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by Zline, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. Zline

    Zline 7+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2009
    New England
    Hey all,

    I'm an MSIV and was diagnosed with Addison's during MSII (ironically enough, during my endocrine unit). I powered on through MSIII, but by the end I was really struggling with managing my condition. I subsequently took a year off from medical school for a research fellowship, and just re-entered my fourth year. The research year was very successful and took place at a high-profile institution, and I've been told by various PDs that I should have no concerns about matching at one of my top choices (I'm applying to family medicine anyway, so it's not exactly rife with competition).

    I have searched far and wide for other medical students with Addison's, and I've come up empty-handed. Undoubtedly many students and residents struggle with chronic illness, but typically their conditions (most commonly gastrointestinal conditions, perhaps cancer) are ones I don't feel like I can relate to. I understand what intern year and residency entail in terms of expectations, work hours, and overnight shifts, and these are realities that I was prepared to face prior to my diagnosis. However, even with medication management, my condition has been rocky at best, even during my relatively cushy year off for research.

    I'm trying to figure out the next best steps from here. I have been advised everything from taking another year off before applying for the match, to applying for some sort of handicap/special treatment during residency, to just sucking it up and dealing. I have very strong board scores, grades, and letters of recommendation and notable extracurriculars, and have made strong connections with residency program directors and residents through my research this year, so I'm not too concerned about matching. At the same time, I don't want to be given special treatment during my residency years, but it may be a necessity. I'm at a loss.

    Any advice is welcome and appreciated.

    Thank you.

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  3. TraumaLlamaMD

    TraumaLlamaMD Licensed to chill 2+ Year Member

    Sep 18, 2014
    My fiance's father is a family practitioner who was diagnosed with Addison's sometime during pre-med/medical school. He went through residency some time ago (before work hour restrictions, for sure), and while I don't know the details of how he managed the challenge, he's doing well now as the head of his own practice. If you have any specific questions, feel free to send a PM and I'll see what I can find out!
  4. j4pac

    j4pac PM&R resident 10+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2005
    I think that only you can answer the question. Only you know your capabilities. I do know that internship (even the easier ones) aren't easy and you better prepare to work 70hr/week on stretches. If you don't believe that you could do it...I would take a year off and continue research until to get to that point. There is no point in doing something that could potentially be detrimental to your health if you aren't ready. As for as applying for a handicap...I have no idea.

    Either of luck!

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