The Story of Diagnosis — Undiagnosed Pain

I am visiting your clinic with undiagnosed shoulder pain. I’d like to let you in on my story.

In my story, pain isn’t an annoying symptom. It’s a change in my wholeness and therefore impacts me deeply. The sudden inability to perform a simple function most people take for granted — like tucking in my shirt — can be a lot more than frustrating. I am feeling mortal — perhaps for the first time in my life — or maybe for the 50th time. It can be depressing.

Perhaps this helps you understand why it’s important for you to be a part of my story, instead of making me a part of yours. As a person experiencing a change in my wholeness, I am looking for validation that you “get me” and that you will treat me within the context of my story. I am not like any of your other clients, though my symptoms might be the same. The way my pain affects my life is unique to me.

It started with just a bit of an ache. It’s part of life — even your brief pain inventory says so. It was easy to deal with it for a while, but it progressively got worse and I became progressively more confused. My exposure to anatomy was a coloring book when I was little and then that health class in high school. I really don’t understand what’s happening, so I start to assume things. I look up my symptoms on the internet. Wow! That’s scary! I could have either bone cancer or bursitis? Now that I think about it, it feels a lot like bone cancer.

As you can see, my state when I visit you is not very healthy. To say that I have questions is inaccurate — I am nothing but questions. The pain itself is impacting my mood. I’m not sleeping well. I’ve been, regrettably, short with my kids. My productivity at work isn’t what it should be and there is more guilt about that. My emotional state — despite saying “Pretty good,” when you ask how I am — isn’t very good with all of these things on my mind. Especially since it could be bone cancer!

This is my story — I have undiagnosed pain I want to know what’s happening to me. I want to know that you understand my story.