“I knew deep down there was something seriously wrong and I’m glad I didn’t give up on finding answers.”

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Kristal caught a bullseye rash in 2015. She quickly read about the importance of receiving immediate treatment. So she went straight to her family doctor. She had done her research. She was concerned. The doctor immediately dismissed her, telling her she had nothing to worry about.

Kristal trusted her doctor and continued on with her life. But in the following months, she started to experience severe night sweats, head pressure, and strange lumps all over her body. Her doctor kept telling her it was all in her head. Kristal had to beg her to run basic tests, but her doctor wasn’t listening.

Her list of symptoms kept getting longer with time. So she took matters into her own hands. She sought second opinions. She saw eight different doctors, but they each only recommended anti-anxiety medication.

She was continually encouraged to focus on one symptom per visit. She describes feeling defensive, thinking “I know myself. I’m tired of explaining everything all over again, each time, to each new healthcare practitioner.”

At one point, she found herself in the ER with such severe paralysis, they thought she was having a stroke. Two years later, her list of symptoms was over one-hundred. She was on a liquid diet, unable to swallow. She had vertigo and could barely walk.

She finally received a Lyme Disease diagnosis. Today she’s still continuing to reclaim her health each and every day.

Kristal felt dismissed and side-lined. She describes feeling like she was navigating a system that wasn’t built with her in mind.

Plus she felt lucky to be a resourceful person, to maintain a strong spirit to advocate for herself. She attributes part of that strength to the support from her family, something she acknowledges so many other women don’t have.

Over half of women surveyed in In Her Words felt overlooked. Kristal is just one of these women. But today she’s found strength in sharing her story.

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BC Women’s Health Foundation is BC’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the full spectrum of women’s health. The information shared on our website or social media is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition.