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  • Johana Medina

Years of Misdiagnosis

I had my first ever flare at eighteen years old. I was a senior in highschool and had just gotten out of a weight training class. When I was writing notes for my next class, I noticed that my wrist was very swollen. Oh man! I must have injured myself in gym practice again. At the time, I believed I would be out for two weeks. After a week, my symptoms got worse and the pain spread to my knees. That's when I decided to visit my primary care doctor. My doctor didn't believe it was anything serious and had just sent me to physical therapy for a couple of months. Little did I know that I would experience a lot more widespread pain and would be fighting for a diagnosis for three and a half years. As time passed, my pain was getting much worse and had spread to a lot more other joints. Week after week, month after month I had more and more new symptoms. After months of physical therapy with no help, I decided to go back to my doctor to request an MRI of my wrist in hopes that it would give me an answer; my doctor dismissed me. He said that I was “perfectly fine and healthy”. I was referred to an orthopedist who also dismissed my symptoms. Finally in March of 2020, I was referred to see a rheumatologist. Unfortunately, I was misdiagnosed and was told that I just had “very flexible joints'.' This led me to a long path of misdiagnoses and seeking for answers for more years. After this, I was left with no hope and not knowing what to do; I visited tons of other doctors seeking answers. Orthopedists, geneticists and physical therapists all told me that they couldn’t help me or that I was “perfectly fine and healthy”. These were honestly the worst years of my life; I felt so alone and hopeless because I knew something was wrong. I became very depressed and bitter about life; I couldn't do anything that brought me joy any more. Once I was finally diagnosed in 2021, I became very passionate to share my story. Although it took many years to get to where I am today, it is an honour to spread awareness and find a community that means the world to me.

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