‘I had unexplained chronic pain for 18 years. It took becoming a doctor to finally get a diagnosis.’

I was in a healthy BMI range by the way, but that didn’t seem to matter to the doctors who were giving me this advice. This led to disordered eating and eventually, I began to feel like the pain I was in was all my fault. 

I’m actually not writing this to criticise doctors by the way (I am, after all, one myself now). I know many of them did the best they possibly could with the information and evidence base available to them at the time. 

I also did not become a doctor because I felt like I was treated poorly by other doctors back when I was a patient. I became a doctor because my own struggles with chronic pain made me appreciate the importance of the medical community, and made me fascinated by medicine itself, given all the research I’d done on my own symptoms over the years. 

I had also seen my grandparents grow older and become incredibly unwell with Alzheimer’s dementia, as well as bowel cancer. I was so grateful for the care they received from doctors, nursing home staff, and palliative care nurses during these tough times, it inspired me to give back to the community in the same way. 

Now, let’s flash forward to February 2023. 

I’d just started my third year working as a junior doctor, taking on a new job in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department at a public hospital in NSW. 

I was Senior Resident Medical Officer at this new hospital, which funnily enough, happened to be back in my old hometown. All of a sudden, I was seeing women I went to high school with 10 years ago, (I’m 28 now), coming into the hospital to have babies, and I was their doctor!