In a field of Zebras, I am a Unicorn.
Ever heard the saying, “If you hear hoof beats think horses, not zebras”. Medical students are taught to look for what is the most likely possibility when trying to diagnose an illness. Horses are thought to be more common than zebras. Zebras are rare and many times overlooked. Because of this theory, many people travel a long road over many years to get a diagnosis and some never reach it. It is a fallacy in the medical community culture, when used as labeling someone as a hypochondriac, which I believe needs to be discarded. I would even go as far to say when misused in this way, it should be considered an act of negligence and malpractice.
Ask anyone if they believe in unicorns, and most will answer with a resounding “No”. Unicorns are thought to be a myth. A magical creature that only exists in one’s imagination. However, did you know that the bible mentions unicorns 9 times? It is a real animal that is mentioned in history. Disbelief doesn’t change the fact they existed.
I have been dealing with disbelief from others about my illness for most of my lifetime. I have been told I am crazy, a hypochondriac, an actor, a faker, an attention seeker, a person who likes to be “sick”, …the list goes on and on. I’ve even been accused by one physician of brainwashing my family into believing I am sick. The absurdity never ceases to shock me.
I’ve seen countless doctors, specialists, even traveled to the Mayo Clinic which has been my greatest disappointment so far. I can’t even recognize myself as a Zebra like so many in the Rare Disease Community because my illness has not even been officially diagnosed. The word “suspected” gets thrown around a lot. It’s not that I don’t have any diagnoses because I do. I do have at least one rare disease. I do have chronic illnesses which have been diagnosed. But my UNDERLYING illness remains undiagnosed. This is why I refer to myself as a Unicorn.
I am a Zebra, but more than that, I am a Unicorn.