Chapter 1

Beginning the Journey: The Search for a Diagnosis

Being sick is hard work. When pain and fatigue become part of our everyday lives, we need extra energy for routine tasks, such as showering or making dinner. Many days, that leaves little energy for our new job of being a person with a chronic disease. One of our first and most important tasks is to figure out why we don't feel well. In this chapter, we'll explore why it is so important for us to get a diagnosis, and we'll discuss the great lengths to which we go in order to do so. We'll examine the vagaries of the diagnostic process, which help explain why it can take months or even years before we know what is wrong with us. Finally, we'll consider the fact that our need to have a definitive diagnosis may be less important than our need to learn how to take care of ourselves. We can only begin to get better when we balance self-knowledge with self-care.