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"Finally someone listened to me"

About: Epworth HealthCare

(as the patient),

I have spent many years complaining about how I felt, how it so drastically affected my life every day. Every doctor I saw kept telling me that my "dizzy spells", fainting, chronic fatigue and constant nausea were all because I was a skinny young girl. As I started to progress with age I was then told I had an eating disorder, anxiety and that it was all in my head.

As a teenager, I was fainting at my part time job nearly every shift. I would race to the doctors but by the time I would get there my ECG would read normal and they'd say oh it's because she hasn't eaten properly, even though anyone who knew me would vouch for the fact I ate more than most fully grown men.

So I went on with debilitating fatigue and dizziness and completed my VCE which was the hardest 2 years of my life. I got to university and crashed. I was so unwell I had to drop out. For the first 6 months doctors still told me it was all anxiety, nothing else and wouldn't warrant any other tests.

Finally I was referred to a GP by a friend; I was apprehensive about going to see someone new, share my story AGAIN and be told the same thing. At my first appointment it was amazing to have someone treat me as a young adult and not as a child and to actually listen to my issues. It was as simple as her taking a sitting BP and then a standing BP to realise something was very wrong and that it wasn't all in my head. She referred me to a cardiologist who too actually listened to my problems and assured me that it was NOT in fact in my head at all that I did have a cardiac issue. He investigated, tried some medication and still felt I was not receiving the best treatment I could be, so he referred me onto a colleague of his, another cardiologist/electro physiologist at Epworth Healthcare. Finally I met someone who completely understood my symptoms and concerns who assured me time and time again that this was most definitely not in my head at all.

It is now 12 months later, I have a cardiac pacemaker, a diagnosis of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Dysautonomia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Neurocardiogenic Syncope and I am finally receiving the help I really need. Some of the healthcare providers I have met need to take the time to listen to a patient and not just tell them it’s all in their head because then you actually make things worse...

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