It seems that nowadays just about everyone has some sort of title. They're an MD/doctor, RN, lawyer, CPA, social worker, publicist, trader, agent, manager, consultant, actor, singer, director, writer, and so on.
Well, the day I became full blown sick with FM/MPS complex, CFIDS/ME, and just about everything that comes along with it, I thought, “Hm… what am I now?” I felt really lost. I've always been a very confident and secure human being, but suddenly I felt like I was my illnesses. I didn't know how to differentiate between being my illnesses and having my illnesses.
It took me a couple of years to finally realize that I'm not my illnesses. I'm the same person with a few “limitations,” but stronger in other ways.
Does anyone ever hate having to fill out forms, especially at doctor's offices, that ask for one's “profession” or “occupation?” It's almost worse than an SAT test! Once I got sick I would always leave that space blank, as I had nothing to insert. But as time went on, to add some humor to my life and see if a new doctor was more of a scientist, genuinely curious and interested, I'd write “CPCP,” which stands for “Certified Professional Chronic Patient.”
I knew I couldn't put “student,” “professional ballet dancer,” or “publicist for a record label” anymore, so I cooked up this title.
Well, the doctors and other healthcare professionals who did ask me what CPCP stood for usually passed at least part of my test. They seemed interested. That's good. If they flew right by the CPCP, than a red flag would go up (still does) – because to me this indicates they're either not interested or not really reading my chart. The very same chart/questionnaire I had spent a lot of time filling out, describing my incessant head/neck pain and other symptoms.
So, while I don't identify with my illnesses any more (I'm not my illnesses; I just “have” chronic illnesses), I find that putting “CPCP” gives me a little bit of insight into the doctor I'm seeing, as well as a chuckle.
Hey, we're still entitled (no pun intended) to have titles too, right? Just because we're not practicing what we used to do for a living doesn't mean we're not still the same people. We need to remember we are, only stronger. My biggest piece of advice to others, besides finding a good medical team, is to find some humor in a tough situation. And you know, humor is the only medication that won’t interact with any other medications or herbs. – Leeza Behar, BA, CPCP