Call for essays: WTF is happening?

diagnosis and testing
As I mention on my page on chronic, undiagnosed illness, my estimate of how many Americans share my experience with inscrutable health issues has evolved over the years from maybe 10,000 to at least three million. In my online interactions with other sufferers, I've found we have a habit of shouting from the rooftops once we find a treatment that works, convinced it is the cure we've been looking for. Then we discover that although we've regained a significant amount of ground, it is not getting us all the way to however we picture good health. As a group we've narrowed down a lot of causes -- gluten, mold, Lyme, heavy metals, parasites -- but the onion just keeps unfolding. What do you think is behind all this? How do…
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Chronic illness and “nice” people

I recently started thinking again about a phenomenon I first experienced at the nadir of my health woes 14 years ago, and several times since. I wondered briefly about it each time it happened, but was too beleaguered and distracted to dwell on it. To wit: on several occasions I developed noticeable symptoms over a short period of time that were visible to others. Twice I developed slurred speech, stammering, and word loss. For a while my memory was so bad I couldn't repeat a telephone number back to you or remember articles I had edited two months before. I also once gained 21 pounds in six weeks (a 15% weight gain). Not one person ever mentioned any of this to me. Not my closest friends, not family members, not…
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Conditions to consider if you’ve been mysteriously sub-par for a long time

diagnosis and testing, health reference and research tools
Updated August 14, 2017. Here's a list of conditions I've investigated over the years as I tried to solve my health problems. You've no doubt heard of some of them but might think the symptoms don't apply to you, or might have been given the wrong test or had your test results evaluated with the wrong lab ranges. All but two of the items listed (Lyme disease and mold / biotoxin poisoning) have the benefit of being easy (if not cheap) to test for or at least rule out. You cannot trust your doctor to know the right lab ranges, so if you do have tests taken, make sure you arrange to have copies of the test results sent to you. I can't be the only person who had a…
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Getting the most out of a doctor’s visit, especially for chronic, unexplained illness

doctors and practitioners
Updated January 18, 2017 After a dozen years and scores of doctor's appointments to investigate various angles of my health annoyances, I have discovered that the majority of doctors will do the same time-wasting things over and over. This is especially maddening when I am dealing with a complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) practitioner not covered by my insurance. Here is a list of suggestions for dealing with this. I suggest you treat appointments like you're running a business meeting with the head of another department you know nothing about for a project you'll both be working on. You have no reason to be embarrassed by the fact that you don't know a great deal about his subject, and the other person has no reason to be surprised if you do not.…
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