I vividly remember lying on my bed as a teenager doubled over with sharp, shooting stomach pains. I linked it to oranges, since the pain usually came shortly after eating them. While eliminating oranges from my diet helped a bit, the pain didn’t go away entirely.
I also had a pretty significant case of anemia, which didn’t respond to iron supplements. Behaviorally, I had poor impulse control—but hey, I was a teen. That’s normal, right? Well, as a mother of teenagers now, I can certainly see that my behavior was not within normal ranges. (All I can say is that my parents were saints!)
Those teenage years were bad, but unfortunately, they weren’t the worst of it. In fact, I can pinpoint when I really went off the cliff health-wise: I was a second-year resident, sitting at the nurse’s station on the Labor and Delivery floor reviewing a fetal heart tracing. That’s when I realized that my heart was racing—like, 130 beats-per-minute racing—while sitting still.
Thankfully, I was in a medical facility, and one of the doctors was kind enough to run tests on my thyroid and do an electrocardiogram (EKG) to check my heart. All of the results came back normal, so I started going to acupuncture, but otherwise kept on as usual.
The next five years flew by: I moved back to Boston, graduated my medical residency, started my first job as an OB/GYN, bought and renovated a home, and had two kids. While everything in my personal and professional life seemed to be hitting a stride, my health was not. Those mystery symptoms which began in my teenage years started to flare up—and things quickly went from bad to worse.
One morning, I woke up and realized that my issues spanned my entire body: