For those of you who didn’t get to read the first two parts of the blog journey, here are the links:
Let’s continue, shall we?
Time for a new rheumatologist. I sought out recommendations from a community page on Facebook and received many recommendations for this one doctor. He was taking new patients, was a part of my Jewish community (I like to support fellow members if I can, but it’s certainly not a requirement.) and came with glowing recommendations. I made an appointment with a rather short turn around time and eagerly anticipated the date.
The date came, I brought all the paperwork I was requested to fill out, and was excited to meet this highly recommended doctor. As most initial appointments go, I reviewed what I painstakingly wrote out, explained why I switched doctors and awaited what this new doctor’s plan of action was going to be. His response?
“I think before we address any of your fibromyalgia needs, especially related to medication, we first need to address your sleep. Once you get your sleep under control, it’ll be easier to address your fibromyalgia symptoms.”
I responded, patiently and kindly, that I had a psychiatrist who was doing just that and I was comfortable with his work. The doctor put his foot down and insisted that I return to a medication that was no longer working because it is a medication that works for most people living with fibromyalgia. I wasn’t going to get out of this, at least at the appointment, so I agreed to start. I allowed the doctor to give me a script for the meds. I walked out of his office knowing very well that I wouldn’t be seeing him again and wouldn’t be using that script.
I had been out of work for months. I was denied unemployment benefits because I quit my job. And, for some reason unknown to me or any of my friends, I was denied food stamps. I was out of a job, in pain, and without a competent doctor (that’s my opinion of course). I started looking into applying for disability. I completed the documents online and sent requests from all the medical professional that I had seen in the couple of years I had lived in Pittsburgh to send their records. I waited months for a response and received and very thin letter in the mail (think college rejection letter) stating that my needs were not severe enough to qualify for disability.
I had decided to apply on my own because I didn’t think I had the funds to pay for a lawyer. But, once someone alerted me that the lawyer only gets paid if I qualify for disability, I was in. I requested, again, a recommendation for a disability lawyer on that same group facebook page. I called his office, made an appointment, and prepared to meet with him.
I will stop there. I know how hard it is for many of us to focus so this will be continue as a multi-part series of my journey. If you identify with some of this, or are considering application to disability, please feel free to reach out and I can help you with the knowledge that I now have from the experience.
I’m Kate Straus and I’m a Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor. I help Jewish women feel confident in their ability to practice their faith while navigating the ups and downs of fibromyalgia. I’m using the disease that at one time knocked me down, to help support others live life to their fullest.