Author Shares Her Medical Journey 'Down the Diagnostic Rabbit Hole'

Robyn Okrant
Robyn Okrant

Robyn Okrant is a writer, director, performer and yoga teacher. She was supposed to have a banner year this year, as her wonderful book — a skeptical take on trying to live "her best life" according to Oprah's advice — came out and she waltzed from talk show to talk show.

Instead, she turned into a patient. She vividly describes her journey into illness and the "health care system" — a definite misnomer, she points out — in this Huffington Post piece. It's deeply worth a full read, especially because it begins with sickness — what turned out to be lupus — and ends with inspiration:

Luckily for me, Thanksgiving was my Independence Day and I've grabbed back the reins of my out-of-control, fragmented health care. I have a second wind and have started to insist my physicians speak with each other. On the phone. I even fired one of my doctors who never responded to my questions in a satisfactory manner. So while congress hasn't yet decided whether healthy American citizens are worth their votes, and a Virginia judge has decreed that it's unlawful for the government to require us to be covered against the possibility of health maladies (I guess Virginia is specifically for Lovers who won't ever get sick or injured. Or pregnant. Or depressed. Or old.), I've come to my own conclusion: As a patient, I have to be a damsel in distress and my own hero all rolled into one. While I might dream of having a partner in health, I honestly don't think I ever will. That knowledge inspires me to be vigilant when I visit the doctor. I have to organize my own health management without allowing myself to be beaten down by the "system." Because in 2011, when people ask me how I'm doing, I wanna say, "I'm pretty damn powerful, thank you. How about you?"

This program aired on December 21, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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