The COVID-19 pandemic fills Doctor’s Day (March 30) with a new quality of meaning. It’s not just a day to offer physicians a nice lunch or a tweet. It’s a moment to pause and reflect on all that doctors are doing around the world to combat an unprecedented, deadly coronavirus.
In new ways, we who receive health care honor those who train and practice medicine with rigor and human compassion. For patients who live with hard-to-diagnose rare and chronic disease, there’s often a much-appreciated doctor who served the role of sleuth and solved their medical mystery.
Machelle Pecoraro remembers years of doctor visits, “countless vials of blood, test after test, each one diagnosing me with something new – allergies, mental illness, possibly cancer.” None of them were the real cause and nothing stopped the unpredictable swelling, triggered by unknown causes.
But when Pecoraro was 21, her doctor referred her to yet another specialist, a new immunologist in town.
“I had zero time, zero desire and zero money to go to another doctor,” she said.
But that immunologist would be the one who finally diagnosed her with hereditary angioedema, a rare disease that causes potentially fatal swelling episodes. Pecoraro went on to get treatment, have two sons and become an advocate for people who live with HAE.
Learn more about Pecoraro’s story and watch this video to get tips for building a strong relationship with your doctor.