Worth The Ride

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Yesterday, I smiled hearing a friend’s story about Oktoberfest in Germany. I laughed walking to two former co-workers. I rejoiced over extra time with my fiancé. But I grimaced on the walk home from pain in my hip and lower back. When I got in bed, I saw a new 5 star review for my memoir: Misdiagnosed: The Search For Dr. House on Amazon. Lesson: life is full of high and lows but it’s worth the ride.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Beamon does a good job at describing the utter agony, frustration, and day-to-day struggle of her search for the answer. Misdiagnosed… is a great read and comes with great resources so that others will not fall victim to being misdiagnosed.”

 
Full review:
A guide for folks to find the right doctor.

ByJason L Huffon October 6, 2017

“Misdiagnosed: The search for Dr. House” by Nika C. Beamon is a story about a young, successful, African-American woman who by her mid-20s/early-30s was falling apart on the inside, and no doctor could tell her exactly what was wrong with her.

Each doctor seemed to not want to state that they had no idea what was going on, instead they continually misdiagnosed Nika until she finally lead a search to find someone who could tell her what was going on.

The book is a mildly paced, interesting, and often times heart-breaking tale. It goes through highs and lows battling one diagnosis after another with different medications, treatments, and surgeries. Beamon does a great job at leading the reader on the chase with her to find out what is going on and doesn’t reveal too much too soon.

A couple issues I had was: the time jumps, they seemed to not be too coherent as to when exactly things were happening as we fast-forward through some major events in her life. Like one minute we are with Bryce in Harlem with a near-death scare to a book signing some odd time forward that was never clearly defined. However, it doesn’t really detract from the book as a whole, it was just mildly distracting trying to place ‘when’ we were.


I did enjoy reading about how her lovers helped her, and how they supported her and her battles with one of their infidelity. I also enjoyed figuring out what was going on with Beamon. I shared her frustration at a boyfriend who was unfaithful, her struggles with wait times, finances, and wasting time.


Beamon does a good job at describing the utter agony, frustration, and day-to-day struggle of her search for the answer. Misdiagnosed… is a great read and comes with great resources so that others will not fall victim to being misdiagnosed.

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Bonded Through Suffering

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“It’s really great to see,” I said as I extended my hand to greet my general practitioner of more than 15 years.

“You heard I died, right?” He said as he walked over to the computer to review my file.

“The nurses told me you’d been sick that’s why I came to see you for myself. I wanted to make sure you were okay. You’ve certainly done that for me over the years,”

“Well, a couple of days after I last saw you, I went to see my daughter in Germany where she was doing a junior year abroad. We had dinner and I was heading back to my hotel when I collapsed. My heart stopped on the a train platform. Two strangers did cpr and called for an ambulance. I woke up in a hospital in Berlin. I was in icu, intubated and had no memory of what happened. Doctors told my wife I wouldn’t make it so she flew over. Eight days later I was moved to the regular floor but I could walk or anything I was so weak. The scary part is doctors have no idea why my heart stopped. I got a pacemaker and a defibrillator implanted but no answer.”

“Wow! You know how I feel about not getting any answers from doctors.”

“I do but you got yours.”

I did, I thought, but that took a lot of years. However, you were the one constant presence who referred me to any specialist I wanted, treated me no whatever ailed me and guided me through my through my mini strokes. You fought to save my life and diagnose my autoimmune disease when other physicians gave up or were indifferent. I wish you’d had an advocate at your side.

“I was in a foreign country with a medical background and I couldn’t get any information.”

“That is frightening. It’s not fun being a patient, is it?”

“No. I’m just glad I made it back from the dead to see how well you are doing.”

“I’m just glad to see you.”

“So, I guess I should run some blood test on you so we can keep you going.”

“Yes, please,” I replied.

#invisibleillness #chronicpain #chronicillness #disability #igg4 #autoimmunedisease #doctors #advocate #doctorpatientbond

Model Patient

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Did I ever mention I hate having my picture taken? Well I do. I hate my toothy smile, huge cheeks, narrow eyes, double chin and shiny forehead; at least that’s what I see in photos. Yet, the money being offered to me in my youth, lured me to take a brief turn in front of the camera. However, I quickly learned that the best way for me to maintain a positive self-image was not to view myself in pictures. In fact, I chose a job behind the scenes in the television industry in order to avoid being seen on a giant screen.

Despite this, I’ve spent my entire adult life in front of a camera; one attached to an x-Ray machine. Technicians and radiologists have peered into every crevice of my body, from my head to my feet. The snapshots they’ve taken have uncovered the flaws that continually threatened my life. In dark hidden places, unable to be seen with the naked eyes, they’ve found tumors, inflammation, damaged nerves, and clogged blood vessels caused by my connective tissue disorder.

So, as much as I hate stripping down, I modeled for doctors for more than two hours again last week. This time the focus was on my spine. The orthopedic surgeon and anesthesiologist requested images of the complex mechanism that allowed me to begin walking at nine months old but now makes taking steps excruciating, stiff, slow or unsteady. Standing still isn’t much better; doing so without moving often leaves my feet with numbness or a tingling sensation like they’ve fallen asleep. As if that isn’t disconcerting enough, holding my head up regularly triggers sharp pains down my head, left shoulder and arm.

Therefore, it didn’t take much coaxing to get me to pose in front of the lens at the hospital for special surgery wearing nothing but a revealing gown. I laid down, bent over, stretched, turned and leaned during my latest photo session, unconcerned about my chubby tummy, saggy thighs, or less than firm arms. I just did my best to follow the directions I was given so the best photo of me could be achieved. My incentive wasn’t a big check like I collected in my twenties. Rather, the reward will likely be something far greater; an answer about how to fix my troubles.

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#misdiagnosis #medicine #modeling

About the author:

Nika C. Beamon is a journalist working in New York.  She is the author of the medical memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House (7/14).  She also published the non-fiction book, I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married: Successful, Single Black Women Speak out (Chicago Review Press, 2009).  Beamon has also written two mystery novel, Dark Recesses (2000) and Eyewitness (2002)